Congratulations! You’ve built an amazing app and you’re ready to let it loose on the Apple App Store. Not so fast…although you may want to get your app available as soon as possible, you won’t get any users if nobody can find it, so it’s definitely worth putting some time into creating your app listing. 

There are a number of components to a good app listing, but in this blog post we’ll focus on the keywords section. Keywords make it possible for your potential customers to find your app easily.

There are three things to consider related to keywords: choosing relevant keywords, using highly ranked keywords, and planning to review your keywords on a regular basis.

RELEVANT

With keywords, you want to think of quality over quantity. You don’t want to just use trending or popular words because they have a high search volume — if the term doesn’t have anything to do with your app, you’re going to confuse people. You want the right people to find your app, so that means using keywords that relate to what your app does and why people would want to use it.  

How do you choose the right keywords? A good way to start is to take a look at your app name. You don’t need to repeat any words in the name in the keywords field, since app stores already use them, but you can start by brainstorming synonyms related to those words. A tool like Google Trends can be helpful here. Pop in your app name (or an obvious keyword) and see what related search terms pop up. If there are major competitors to your app, try out some keywords related to them as well. With a little creative searching, you’ll have a nice list to choose from.

There are a couple of other things to keep in mind about keywords:

  • Make sure that you separate each keyword with a comma (no spaces required). 
  • The App Store search algorithm doesn’t differentiate words and phrases, so “weather forecast” should be entered as “weather,forecast” to show up in searches for “weather,” “forecast,” and “weather forecast” without needing to enter all of those as keywords.
  • It’s better not to spell out numbers, so instead of “four,” use “4.” 

Remember you only get 100 characters for the keywords field in the Apple App store — make them all count!

Lyft's App Store listing, showing it's full use of the app name field

Lyft's App Store listing, showing it's full use of the app name field

RANKABLILITY

Using carefully selected keywords will increase your chances of having a highly ranked app. If you want to go further into this, use a tool like Sensor Tower’s Keyword Ranking Tool to see where your app ranks for each of your keywords. Your goal is for your app to rank in the top 10 for as many of your keywords as possible. And while you shouldn’t add phrases to your keyword list, you definitely want to check your ranking for common keyword combinations to make sure your app is front and center in the right searches.

Again, remember to check that the words in your app’s name are highly ranked, too. Even if you have an abstract name (like “Yelp” or “Lyft”), you can add words to it to help your raking. Lyft’s official name on the iOS App Store is “Lyft - Taxi App Alternative,” so even the big brands do it!

REVIEW

Keyword optimization is not a one and done process. Sorry, but app stores are ever-changing. Recheck and adjust your keywords on a regular basis to keep your app on top.

It’s also important to keep up with which keywords your target audience is using. To do that, it’s helpful to regularly run your keywords through a tool like Google Trends to make sure they are still highly ranked. If not, it’s time to tweak them.

Following these tips to find the most relevant and highly-ranked keywords should help your app stay in the top search results for your category, putting you right where you need to be when your ideal customers come looking.

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