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February 22, 2016

Improvements to Windows Store apps and games visibility

Windows Store has received feedback from some developers who were not able to find their apps in the Store and we’ve been working hard to improve app visibility. In addition to improving app visibility, later this month the Store will also optimize the algorithms that determine which app reviews are shown in Dev Center and Windows Store.

In this blog post I will share with you what has changed, and what you can expect going forward.

App visibility improvements

When Windows 10 launched last year, the Store was rebuilt from the ground up and optimized to support all Windows digital content types in one location. Changes were made to Store listings and search algorithms at that time, and in the last months the Store has made additional improvements in these areas:

  • More accurate rankings: The algorithm used to rank search results has been adjusted to give more weight to app quality signals such as the number of downloads and ratings. When searching for apps or games, customers now see apps with more downloads and higher ratings earlier in search results.
  • Search enhancements: The algorithm to index apps has been updated to make apps easier to be discovered, specifically when searching by app name and related keywords. The Store will continue to limit search visibility for apps that don’t meet quality requirements, such as those that abuse keywords or are considered spam, as described in the Give Your Apps More Visibility blog .
  • Support process adjustments: Developer support is reviewing tickets opened for app search and visibility issues, to confirm they are solved by the two updates mentioned above or to identify any remaining gaps before a ticket is closed.

App review improvements

In parallel with the changes listed above, the Store will be adjusting the way it manages app reviews.

The Store runs a process to validate the reviews and identify the ones that will not be shown to customers and will not be taken into consideration in calculating the app rating. As a result, all reviews appear in Dev Center and the Store after customers submit them, and a few days later those reviews that do not meet the requirements are hidden, following these principles:

  • The Store protects customers by removing reviews that for example are fraudulent or spam
  • Currently, the Store does not post reviews created by customers running any Windows 10 Insider Preview build, as their experience may be different than customers running final versions of Windows.

However, now that Windows 10 is available to the general public, the average rating from customers running Windows 10 Insider Preview builds are not statistically different from ratings given by customers running final released versions of Windows 10. Therefore, starting in March, reviews created by customers running Windows 10 Insider Preview ‘Slow ring’ will be shown in both Dev Center and the Store. Reviews created by customers using the Windows 10 Insider Preview ‘Fast ring’ will continue to be hidden to protect developers from negative reviews that may be due to preview builds of Windows 10 rather than app quality.

With this change, more reviews will be visible in the Store, while keeping some protections in place for any issues seen by fast ring customers that could impact app ratings. Both the app visibility updates and app review changes will help increase app visibility in the Store, while aiding customers in finding high value and relevant apps.

Additional Information

If you still aren’t able to locate your apps, please read the Give Your Apps More Visibility blog post and ensure you’ve followed our guidelines. If the issue seems unrelated to those discussed in the blog post, then open a support ticket, and include the App ID, confirmation, direct link provided and the search terms you tried.