App Store Search: Putting Keywords in the App Store Name

When it comes to App Store search, I’ve never been 100% confident on how words in the App Store name compare with words in an app’s keyword list. Do they all contribute equally to the App Store’s search engine?

Note, by “App Store name”, I’m referring to the name field entered in iTunesConnect; that’s the name seen in the App Store itself, not the display name seen on the device, or the bundle name.

Equal contribution? That’s the part I haven’t been sure about. But words in the App Store name definitely contribute.

For example, Reminder+ 2.0 currently ranks on the phrase “send reminders”. Neither “send” or “reminders” are in the keyword list, but they are both in the App Store name, which is:

Send reminders with Reminder+

More to the point, Apple’s documentation is quite clear. Regarding the keywords field for iTunesConnect:

Your app is searchable by app name and company name, so you do not need to duplicate these values in the keyword list.

Quite clear – in that the documentation doesn’t explicitly say which app name field. Going back to the example of my app, above, the words “send” or “reminders” are in the App Store name and only the App Store name…

Is it, therefore, a viable strategy to fill out the App Store name with important keywords? After all, the name field (limited to 255 characters1) is the only place2 you can add additional keywords beyond the 100 character limit of the keyword list.

Personally, I don’t want to have a bad or ugly name in the App Store. Even if others weren’t put off by it, I still would be.

That said, I am happy to look for an effective title. Something that looks appealing, represents the app well and is descriptive. A good name that includes good keywords. I’m ok with that.


1. At the time of writing I noticed an inconsistency in Apple’s documentation when checking on this. One reference suggested the limit for the name field is 75 characters, which I belief is wrong. iTunesConnect, most importantly, still shows 255 as the limit.
2. Excluding the company name, which you probably don’t want to change for this purpose 😉

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App Keywords: How do they Work when a User Searches the iOS App Store?

The keywords for your app are one of the few components under your control, which can have a direct impact on the visibility of your app, within the App Store. Specifically, from searches within the App Store. This makes your keywords important.

Deciding on what keywords to use, however, is not the focus of this post.

With only 100 characters available for your keywords, it’s necessary to know how Apple will interpret the input. How are individual words and phrases grouped to form compound keywords? What keywords and phrases will you rank for? What about commas and spaces?…

How does the composition of your keywords work for App Store searches?

These questions are the focus of this post. I’ll use personal experience from my own apps combined with a little reseach to answer them…

Plurality and derivations

Question: if I have the keyword dog, will I rank for searches of both dog and dogs?

Answer: no.

Wafflr’s keywords include these characters: “cue,card,presentation”. Among other variations, Wafflr ranks for:

  • cue card
  • presentation card

But it does not rank for a search on “cue cards”.

Duplication of terms

In an earlier iteration of Wafflr’s keywords, the following characters were used: “wedding speech,best man speech”.

I was unsure if “speech” needed to be used twice. It doesn’t.

When replaced with “wedding,best man,speech”, Wafflr still ranks for both the search phrases I’m interested in:

  • wedding speech
  • best man speech

Delimiters: commas or spaces?

The previous step led me to ask a couple of related questions:

  • Is there a need to specify phrases, rather than single words only?
  • What counts as a delimiter in my keyword text?

I viewed “best man” as a phrase; as a single unit. That is not the case. The white space acts as a delimiter in the same way as the comma. So, the characters “wedding,best man,speech” will rank for:

  • wedding speech
  • best speech
  • speech man
  • best wedding speech
  • etc.

There is no difference between the following keyword strings:

  • “wedding,best,man,speech”
  • “wedding best man speech”

Simple Rules for How iOS Keywords Work

As mentioned at the start, the keywords for your app are very important, they will determine how many people will find your app when searching in the App Store. With a limited character set part of your approach is maximise the number of keywords you use.

This summary should help you understand how your keywords will work with searching in the App Store:

  1. Searches will match the exact word only. You don’t get derivations of your keywords for free.
  2. Commas and white spaces both act as delimiters, in the same way. Use either a single white space or a single comma between every word in your keyword text.
  3. The compound phrases formed from the different permutations of your individual words, will all be associated with your app.
  4. As an extension of #3, although it might help you in working with your keywords, the order of the individual words does not matter.

Although it hasn’t been the focus of this post, in addition to how you put your keywords together, it’s necessary to research what keywords to use. It’s not just about relevance, you also need to consider the traffic for a keyword and the competition for a keyword. This will be the focus of a future post.