This guide is to help you understand how games & other projects appear on our Search and Browse pages. If you're not seeing your project where you expect it to be, then this guide may help you.
We'll answer some common questions like:
Please read through this guide before reaching out for help.
Publishing is making your project publicly visible.
Indexing is when itch.io makes your project available on our Search and Browse pages. A quick way to check if your project is indexed is to search for it directly by the full title.
Note: Projects that use generic or very short titles may be difficult to search for due to how generic their name is. If you want to ensure your project can easily be found by name, try a more unique name. Titles that are a single letter or a single common English word may limit your project’s discoverability in search even if it is indexed.
Publishing a project is simple and can be done by the project creator (or anyone who has permission to edit the page). From the project’s edit page, scroll to the Visibility & access section located at the bottom and select the Public option. After saving your page, your project is published. Published projects can be accessed by anyone from your profile page, directly by URL, and your followers can find the project in their feeds & email notifications.
Indexing is generally available to all developers, assuming your account is in good standing and you aren’t abusing or creating low-quality pages. In order to be indexed, there are a few baseline requirements:
Additionally, please review our Quality Guidelines for specific rules about how you should and shouldn’t use your itch.io page. Creating spammy pages, using disruptive imagery, purposefully being obnoxious, faking comments/views/downloads, abusing tags, or having confusing or misleading instructions/content may result in a moderator deindexing your page. This type of moderation is rare and happens at the discretion of our team for very clear offenses. Please be respectful of the people who may be visiting your page and you shouldn’t have any issues. If you feel like you may have been affected please contact us through our support page.
There are also some scenarios where your page must be viewed by a moderator before it can be indexed. The most common case is for new sellers: If you've just created an account and you're selling your first project, then your published page is placed in a queue for review. We generally review these within a few business days after a project is published. Although your page may not be indexed during this time, it is still published and fully functional via your profile and URL. We appreciate your patience for this step. Established sellers with no history of issues will skip this review step and will be indexed immediately. If you have any questions or need to be expedited, then please contact us through our support page.
There are a few other automated checks (e.g., our spam detector) which may delay your page from being indexed, but these are generally pretty rare. If you find your page isn’t immediately indexed, then we ask that you wait a bit before reporting it. As always, a published page is fully functional and accessible directly by URL and from your profile. We recommend immediately telling your audience about your page as soon as it’s published, even if it may not be indexed yet. This will help you surface in our browse pages when it does become indexed.
Here’s a quick list of things to review if you're having trouble finding your project.
If you've gone through all the following and you believe your project still isn’t indexed, then please contact us through our support page.
The best way to maximize the discoverability of your project is to accurately provide information for all the sections on your project dashboard, including the Metadata tab. The more ways you classify your project, the more opportunities your project will have to appear in front of someone. The primary way of doing this is through our free-form tagging system, but you can also specify things like multiplayer support, languages available, and accessibility options. It’s important to be accurate. Abusing the tagging system may result in your page being deindexed entirely.
Using our devlogs system is another good way to get more people to know about your project. Post about updates, new features, and other things you're working on. Devlog posts are distributed to our users through email digests and more. It may help you get new followers and people interested in your project.
Encourage people to follow you, and add your project to collections. These activities can boost your reach on itch.io, giving you instant visibility when you launch something new or put out an update.
Tell people about your itch.io page as well! Getting real people to visit your page and interact with it can help your page rise up on our browse pages. This can lead to even more people discovering your project and it growing even more.
As a platform, getting search right can be challenging. We have to optimize between all developers wanting their projects to appear versus showing relevant results to people looking for something.
Based on understanding how our search engine is used, there are generally two types of searches on itch.io:
Our search engine is optimized for Direct title search since that is how the majority of people use search. For users who are browsing for new games, we try to push them into our browse pages with tags, which are surfaced on the top of the search results. This means that the text in the body of your project page and any tags you add will not become search queries for your project. Tags are only for our browsing pages, which are separate from search.
We know every developer would want to have their game show up on top when something related to their project is typed in, but there are too many projects to give that to everyone. To handle this, we try to provide a more organized way for people to get their games discovered through our tags system. That said, our search results algorithm is constantly evolving and changing. If you feel there’s something about our search that is broken, then please reach out, but please be understanding if your game isn’t appearing for a phrase or word that isn’t the exact title of your game.
The publish date is set when you publish your project; we will not change your publish date. You may use devlogs to announce a large update, and that may contribute to how your page is ranked.
Often developers reach out to us about updating their publish date because they want to appear on the top of Most Recent. Our answer to this is: Recently released is a very bad place to launch your project! We sometimes get hundreds of games added per day, depending on the recently released list is not an effective way to get your game discovered. We recommend instead that you invest your energy in promoting your game on any channels that you have access to. Encourage your friends and followers to check out and share your page, and that will have the most impact on how it appears on itch.io.