I don’t know if you’ve noticed that since a few days ago the search for iOS applications in Google does not result in obvious links to Apple’s iTunes Store. Direct links to iTunes applications now appear deeper in Google search results than usual.
Google explains why iTunes application search results no longer return direct links in the top rankings
The first reports that the search results were not like before were published on Facebook by Ouriel Ohayon , co-founder of Appsfire . “Something really strange is starting to happen on Google” , he said. “It has become impossible to find iPhone and iPad apps by searching with the search engine in a normal query” .
To be fair, it must be said that searching for links to iPhone and iPad applications has not become impossible in Google, just a little more difficult . Other rarities in iTunes-centric searches have also been documented by TechCrunch and TheNextWeb .
Naturally, as is often the case in such cases, conspiracy theories have begun to emerge quickly, with some speculation that Google was deliberately trying to make links to iTunes much harder for users to find. But Google, however, takes the integrity of its search algorithm and corresponding results very seriously. To take this step deliberately with iTunes results would be atypical, if not impossible.
So, what exactly is going on?
Well, it seems that The Verge has asked Google and the explanation they have given them revolves around the low-profile links on iTunes. According to a Google spokesperson:
Danny Sullivan, of Search Engine Land , has posted a Twitter conversation between Ohayon and Matt Cutts of Google, where Cutts points out some problems loading iTunes web pages, while speculating that the problem may be the result of duplicate content by Apple .
Sullivan posted the following image from a search of the WhatsApp Messenger application as an example to illustrate his point. The arrows you can see in the image point to two listings of the application that are essentially the same, although from different national iTunes store instances (the US and St. Lucia, in this case) .
While Cutts cites that this problem may have arisen in parallel with the issue of loading page 403, Sullivan notes that Microsoft’s Bing search engine seems to have no problem locating pages in iTunes applications. Bing may be crawling iTunes pages at a different time, or with a less aggressive Microsoft culling algorithm for pages with access problems. In any case, Cutts insists that the problem is not Google’s .
You conspiracy theorists can rest assured Google may be competing with Apple on Android, but it’s unlikely that it’s deliberately manipulating its search results to hide iOS applications.
Have you had trouble finding iTunes applications by searching for them on Google lately? I must admit that yes, I had quite a few problems searching for the last article I made for iPadizate with applications.
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