How to Optimize the Keyword Field for Your iOS App

If you are developing an app you want to sell in the iOS App Store, you will need to learn a few optimization tricks to ensure you can reach your target audience. Everyone that has already developed software for iOS can tell you that there are pros and cons when comparing it to Android development. However, regardless of which platform you are developing for, you’ll need to do keyword research and optimization. Today, we will teach you how to optimize the keyword field for your iOS app so that it comes up more often in user searches.

Finish App Development

While it is possible to update your app after you have submitted it and uploaded it to the App Store, making last-minute updates is a bit tricky. You must submit the changes to update your app and wait for approval from the iOS App Store. While this process is relatively straightforward, we suggest fully completing and testing your app before uploading it to the store. This approach will save you from having to apply any last-minute changes, or even worse – submitting your app to the store and realizing you have to change something due to keyword research and optimization. You can review our checklist for iOS app development to see if you have missed any critical steps.

Perform Keyword Research

First, you’ll need some keywords to work with, so start by doing keyword research. The experts in digital marketing from suggest using SEO techniques to find the keywords users are searching for. However, they also note that, unlike using keywords for SERPs, you should select only the keywords that are relevant to your app. This is because the App Store will push you down in rank if users quickly uninstall your app after downloading it. Therefore, you shouldn’t rely on riding on the coattails of a popular trend that doesn’t relate to your app. You might trick a few users into installing your app, but the App Store algorithm will quickly punish you.

Once you have found the keywords relevant to your app, you will need to find the ones that give the best ranking on the results page. On average, users won’t see many organic results and rarely venture beyond the first 5 or so results. Therefore, you should target keywords that put your app in the top 3 ranking spots in the store so that users don’t have to slide to see more results. We’ll explain how to optimize the keyword field for your iOS app in a bit, but for now, you should have the keywords you will be using.

Understand the iOS Keyword Field

When you have finished app development and go to upload your metadata to the iOS App Store, you will have the option to add keywords for your app. You will be provided with 100 characters to describe to Apple’s App Store what your app is about. The information you enter here tells the App Store how to index your app and for which searches your app will be delivered as one of the results. What you enter in the given field will directly impact your app’s success, so knowing how to optimize the keyword field for your iOS app is critical. Also, note that the keyword field is hidden, so users won’t be able to see what you enter here. Remember, since there are only 100 characters to work with, you will need to make them count.

Here’s How to Optimize the Keyword Field for Your iOS App:

Only Use Single Keywords

Common SEO wisdom states that long-tail keywords perform better since they get less competition and are able to deliver customers that are close to a purchase. However, when entering keywords for the iOS App Store, you should separate single words with a comma. This can be especially important for long-tail keywords since the algorithm automatically makes combinations for your entered words. Also, the use of space has no positive impact on rank, so don’t waste characters on spaces.

Do Not Enter the Name of Your App

Apple’s algorithm will automatically use your app’s name and your publisher name as keywords for searches. You will only be wasting the already limited character count by entering the name of your app into the keyword field. However, since a lot of weight is added to your app name, consider using important keywords when deciding what to call your app.

Do Not Repeat Keywords

We already mentioned that the algorithm uses keyword combinations, so repeating keywords doesn’t accomplish anything. You won’t rank higher by using the same keyword since there is no score for the keyword density. Word order in the keyword field is also irrelevant, so don’t worry about what you write first.

Avoid Non-Keywords

Don’t waste your already limited characters on:

  • Articles – a, an, the.
  • Prepositions – at, on, to, over, of…
  • Conjunctions – but, or, and, because, where…
  • Abbreviations – Apple’s algorithm will ignore any words that have less than three characters.
  • Free Keywords – category names are considered to be free, and so are the words: app, free, iPhone, iPad…
  • Special Characters – @, &, $, #…

Don’t Mix Languages

Apple’s App Store has separate storefronts for different regions and languages. Therefore, localizing your app is much better than mixing multiple languages in the keyword field. By translating metadata and localizing, you effectively double the number of characters you can use since you can enter another 100 characters for the new keyword field. This can be particularly useful for regions that support multiple languages. For example, the US storefront indexes English and Spanish app localizations.

The Bottom Line

Now that you have learned how to optimize the keyword field for your iOS app, all that is left is to submit your app to the iOS Store. Remember that you can easily change the keywords for your app by uploading a new version to the App Store. With the right choice of keywords and a bit of optimization, your app should receive a boost in organic users and some much-needed attention.

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Nick Sanchez

Nick Sanchez is a freelance web and mobile app developer who loves learning new systems and languages to program in. Nick enjoys testing new software to see how it works on different devices.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, who is solely responsible for its content.

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