Apple Displays Own Apps in Top Keyword Positions

App Store search is one of the primary discoverability channels for acquiring downloads. Some studies peg that as much as 65 percent of downloads come from App Store search and ranking lists. For iOS apps in the News, Music, Book, Health and Wallet categories, getting downloads got a little harder in the App Store this week.

Apple began featuring their own apps prominently, targeting numerous high-volume keywords. The positions aren’t any larger than current apps receive. These preinstalled apps are just now in the #1 slot, attempting and reminding users to open them.

Among the apps being pushed to the top of keyword search are Apple Music, Wallet, iBooks, Health, Watch and News. Ranking for a core naming keyword is one thing, but these apps are also appearing number one for other terms. Example: “news reader” and “gift cards.”

From a quick look, here are where takeovers are happening – this is not a complete list:

News: news, news reader, news aggregator, magazines (but not magazine), newsstand

Wallet: wallet, passbook, gift cards, rewards

iBooks: books

iTunes Store: movies, gift card, gift

Health: health

Music: music, radio, song, songs

Watch: watch

One more interesting observation to note: Apple is going after the plural versions instead of the singular in some cases. For instance, Kindle ranks #1 for “book,” but Apple is in that spot for “books.”

It will be interesting to see how this impacts the players in these genres. These are obviously keywords that would be hard to rank for outside of being a massively popular app, but for even those, there are certainly download and revenue implications here.

Google reportedly sees their top search result for queries receive 30 percent of clicks. I would guess that’s slightly higher than the App Store, still enough to grab the attention share of prospective downloaders.

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