I wish this post could be about how Apple fixed the search functionality in the iTunes App Store, and that potential customers could find BabyGrow with sensible searches like “growth chart” But it’s not. In fact, as of yesterday, the situation has become even worse.
I hadn’t been keeping track of what search terms matched BabyGrow using Apple’s super-secret search algorithm for some time. I have been trying “growth” every couple of days, but that’s it. Once my other keywords started working, I made the silly assumption that they would keep working. Then last night someone posted on Apple’s Developer Forums that it looked like Apple was messing with the search algorithm again. “Oh good,” I thought, “maybe they fixed it!” Hah!
As of at least last night, very few search terms actually match BabyGrow, even ones that had matched it before. Some terms that worked before, but currently do not:
I’m sure there are others, but I’ve lost the motivation to even try any more.
On the plus side, BabyGrow is now the only app that shows up when you search for “head circumference.” That’s gonna get me a ton of sales!
I did submit an update to BabyGrow this morning. I took the opportunity to change my keywords. This was probably the wrong thing to do, but I specifically left out the 3 keywords I think are most important for discovery of the app: baby, growth, and chart. These all appear in the description, which might still be indexed by Apple. So, in 2-3 weeks when they get around to approving the update, hopefully my potential customers will actually be able to discover the app.
Of course, in that time Apple will probably change the way the search works again.
Update: The day after I wrote the above, Apple posted on their iPhone developer blog that they had completely disabled searching app descriptions, and that the search will now only consider the app’s name, keywords, and the developer’s name. So I went back and rejected the update I submitted Friday, and then resubmitted with “growth” and “chart” included in the keywords again. For the record, these keywords still do not work, even though their search algorithm is now supposed to be completely focused on the keywords. I’ve contacted Apple – again. At this point, I’m not very hopeful that I’ll get a worthwhile response.