Google Tweaking Market Rankings

Many have noted how ironic it is that search giant Google has not been able to get search right in its own Android Market. It’s a problem that they’ve probably been working on behind the scenes for some time, but recently some have noticed dramatic changes (generally for the better) in how search results and category rankings are weighted.

Some changes may date back to December, when Reddit users noticed that Google was making adjustments. This week, however, social networking site MyYearbook has provided data on how they’ve noticed Market search rankings of their Android apps changing in the past month.

In a post at GigaOM, MyYearbook CEO Geoff Cook noted that the main MyYearbook app recently jumped from #63 to #11 in its category ranking, while a couple of games they’ve published dropped in their categories at around the same time. For all, new installations, previously thought to be the main driver of these rankings, remained fairly steady up to the point the rankings changed.

Cook speculates that Google has begun taking into account the number of active users of each app for these rankings. Distinguishing between users who have an app installed but are not using it and those who are actively using it is something developers can accomplish by using an analytics package within their app, but it would be news to learn that Google is also tracking users’ app usage habits on a broad basis. This makes Cook’s speculation seem unlikely, though MyYearbook’s data does show that Google has changed something about how it’s ranking apps in the Market.

Have you noticed a change in how apps are ranked while browsing the Market? If you’re a developer, have you seen a change in your own apps’ rankings? Let us know in the comments.


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  • Anonymous

    Misleading title; it means Google are tweaking the search algorithms, not the actual rankings themselves.

  • Horatiu

    Oh yeah! Seesmic jumped to #4 in Social.

  • Chrisdavis8

    what do people use to track their ranking?

  • I noticed it changed much for the worse a few months ago, but changed again for the better a few weeks/a month ago. My “Power Hour for Android” app went from the #1 result for “power hour” (because it has the most downloads, most ratings, and best rating) to #12 suddenly, but it returned to #1 some weeks ago.