iTunesGoogle search is making it more difficult to surface iOS applications using typical user queries, like “Whatsapp iTunes,” “Whatsapp iPhone,”  or searches by app name, for example. In the past, this would return a page of search results where the iTunes URL would be ranked highly. Today, those links are further down in Google’s results pages. In Whatsapp’s case, the iTunes URL doesn’t even appear until close to the bottom of the second page of search results, when logged in while searching for “Whatsapp iTunes,” and it’s at the bottom of page 3 when logged out. It’s even more difficult to find it using “Whatsapp iPhone,” whether logged in or out. The search penalty, or search bug if that’s the case, doesn’t seem to affect all apps to the same degree. And the rankings also depend on what search terms are used, and whether the user is signed in.

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