App Store Keywords – Choose Wisely!

by Brook Lenox on August 14, 2009


You can now add keywords to your app store listings. I’m guessing Apple added keywords so that consumers could better find stuff through the growing app store clutter.

I want to share some important things to think about and test when it comes to your keywords.

Here they are:

1) Understand How App Store Keywords Work
2) Choose Wisely
2) Monitor Results

Understand How App Store Keywords Work

Honestly, I’m not sure even Apple completely understands how keywords in the app store work. We asked 2 or 3 different people at Apple and they couldn’t answer our questions.

But anyway here is what I do know:

  • You get 100 characters to enter keywords including spaces
  • Once entered, you CAN NOT change them till you do an update
  • When you update or add a new app you must choose keywords

Here are some theories I have, but am not sure of:

  • Spaces after commas are not necessary (some developers think so)
  • You don’t need to add your app name
  • Once you enter keywords, sales may decrease*

*Why would this happen? One theory is that your keywords “over define” your app, so that you only show up for those terms. You only get 100 characters and if you ranked for 25 words before, and now you just rank for 10-15 words, you could see sales drop.

I mention these theories just to get you thinking. Test them out for yourself.

Choose Wisely

If you’ve never done keyword research, you may want to glance through my 3 part series on keyword research.

Even if you pass on that reading, I encourage you to do at least 3 things before adding keywords to your app listing:

  1. Type some of the keywords that describe your app into Google’s Keyword Tool. This will give you two things: a) how many searches are occurring for those words as well as b) other relevant words.
  2. Type keywords separated by commas into excel (keyword1, keyword2, etc) and use =len(a1) in the next cell to the right to help you count characters.
  3. Bounce your keyword list off someone.

Monitor Results

Once you add keywords, watch your results.

Keep track of when you added your keywords and note if downloads went up, stayed the same, or went down as a result.


 At Pinger we tend to track everything. An engineer sneezes we track it.

So, like I said, choose your keywords wisely and watch those results!

Questions? Any results you can share?

Need more help? – You’ll find it in my How to Market iPhone Apps eBook

Photo credit: GRwitters