App Store Keywords

App Store keywords are standalone words or those that form part of a phrase, which are entered as search queries in order to locate an app or game.

What are App Store Keywords 

App Store keywords are standalone words or those that form part of a phrase, which are entered as search queries in order to locate an app or game in the App Store. They can be broad (short) or more specific (long-tailed) to narrow down the results the App Store throws up. 

App developers use keywords that will most accurately describe their app and choose them based on what the target audience will enter in the search bar for similar apps.

The App Store makes decisions on where to place an app in the search results list by the ranking of particular keywords that are presented in the metadata on a product page. The three elements of metadata are:

  • Title (30 characters). Keywords for this metadata carry the most weight for Apple’s search algorithm.
  • Subtitle (30 characters) this is the second and last place that’s visible to the user which contains keywords
  • Hidden to users keyword field (100 characters). Lower in weight for the search algorithm.

Why App Store Keywords are Important

App Store keywords are important because If a keyword a user searches for appears within the metadata on an app’s product page, there’s an opportunity that the app can rank for that particular word/phrase. App developers need their apps to rank as high as possible for as many relevant keywords/phrases as they can in order to increase discoverability. 

Using keywords effectively can improve an app’s ranking, its impression numbers, and growth. Using them ineffectively will have a negative impact on an app’s discoverability. Less discoverability means fewer impressions which results in limited growth via the App Store search funnel. Even with good conversion rates, an app needs exposure in order to grow. 

Making sure an app ranks for keywords that are most likely to get quality users depends on the intent and the volume of people searching for that word in the App Store. 

It can be tricky for new apps facing a competitive ranking for valuable keywords. If a keyword is too competitive (proven by lots of apps ranking for it) it’s possible an app won’t rank which will affect the app’s discoverability.

But an app developer must try to rank for the keywords similar apps (competitors) are succeeding with. It’s a fine balance.

It’s worth highlighting that in the App Store, developers and marketers can’t use the description metadata to rank with keywords, unlike Google Play where it’s taken into account through Google Play search ranking algorithms.

App Store Keywords and ASO

Keywords optimization is one of two ASO pillars; identifying the keywords that will drive optimum discoverability, growth and ultimately app installs. Without making it a top priority to add effective keywords, check regularly (using one of the countless tools online) that they’re ranking well, and updating them accordingly, it’s highly unlikely an app will see much success through App Store search.

An ASO marketing strategy depends on keyword tracking/analysis and as a recursive process; if an app’s keywords are failing to place it close to the top of a related search it’s time to investigate what’s going on and what steps can be taken to see better performance results.