All of us here at AppStoreHQ are hell-bent on delivering the best iPhone app search and discovery service on the web. The heart of our offering is app search, and our goal is to deliver the most relevant and useful iPhone app search results for any given query.
While we’re far, far from perfect, we’ve been hard at work on the ‘secret sauce’ that helps us rank our results to ensure that you always get the best ones first. Like any good recipe, our secret sauce has many different ingredients, but we wanted to share a little bit about our algorithm to (a) help our users understand why the get the results they see on our site, and (b) help developers understand how we find their app listings to ensure their apps get presented when they should.
Here are the three most important ingredients in our search algorithm:
- App Name. This is simple — the closer the app title matches the search terms, the more relevant we believe your app will be to the searcher, and the higher it will appear in the results.
- App Description. We also index the app description and other keywords, and matches in the description will also help us prioritize an app when displaying results.
- “AppRank”. This is the most complex (and most secret) part of our ‘secret sauce.’ We don’t want to spill the beans entirely, but here are the basics:
- We monitor a diverse array of blogs,Twitter accounts and other sources for iPhone app reviews and mentions.
- Based on the frequency and source of these mentions, we calculate a “hottest” score for every app, which is refactored several times a day.
- Like Google’s PageRank, this score represents our assessment of how important any app is, based on the velocity and source quality of discussion about it across the web.
- Most important, AppRank isn’t based on the opinions or biases of any one reviewer, but represents the aggregated views of the most knowledgeable sources of iPhone app reviews and commentary around the world. So you’re not taking our word for it, you’re getting the distilled views of folks with much bigger brains than us.
Each time you enter a search term at AppStoreHQ, we calculate a relevance score based on all these elements — and more! — to return the search to you.
We hope this helps you make sense of the results you’re seeing. And for developers we hope this helps you understand how things like reviews, blog posts and Tweets affect our algorithm. If you want to learn more about the blogs we follow, or how our AppBack widget helps us discover new blog posts anywhere on the web, go here and here.
Thanks for reading - and if you have comments or suggestions for how we could do a better job with our search results (or anything else), we’re all ears.