Google search is one of the easiest ways to find an iTunes Store link on the web. Simply combining the app’s name with the word ‘iTunes’ should do the trick, with the desired result appearing almost instantly. However, this may not be the case anymore, as TechCrunch reports.
As seen in the above image, it took the TechCrunch writer 3 pages to reach the iTunes store link for WhatsApp Messenger, when the phrase used for search should yield the result on the first page.
It appears that this issue is seen across a widespread number of applications.
For instance, while logged in, a search on Google for “Twitter iTunes” returns the iTunes URL in spot #8, below several links to iTunes Twitter accounts. Meanwhile, a search for “Twitter iPhone” returns the iTunes URL in spot #5 (not counting Twitter images results). Previously, the iTunes Twitter URL would rank much higher – often in the top #1 or #2 positions.
The Next Web uncovered some more interesting information, whereby Google rank their own applications particularly well, with Google Maps and Youtube apps the top results to their respective searches.
The Next Web notes that some apps such as Dropbox and Instagram still appear in top spot, despite not having any affiliation with Google, but overall, this is concerning.
There is no definitive evidence that Google has intentionally tweaked their search algorithms to do this, but considering what we’ve seen so far, they may very well have had a part in this.
Both TechCrunch and TNW have reached out to Google for a statement, hopefully we will see some clarification on the issue soon.