Optimize App Store Keywords on iTunes

Getting your app seen on the app store is no small task. With over 1 million apps currently listed on the iTunes store, it can be difficult to stand out among the crowd. We have quite a few apps on the store ourselves, and over time we’ve developed a cheat-sheet of sorts that has helped our apps stay well ranked. We’ve recently gone through and overhauled our listing of keywords on all of our apps using these guidelines below.

  1. Use combinations of words that reach 100 characters exactly! Apple allows you to use 100 characters when filling in your keywords; so if you aren’t using the full 100 characters you are missing out!
  2. Use short words and more of them! It will allow you greater coverage when users are scouring the store for your awesome app (or others like it).
  3. Remove ALL white space. Keywords lists should look like this: Word,Word,Word with no spaces at all.
  4. There is no need to add duplicate words. This includes reusing words from your title. They don’t need to be entered again as keywords.
  5. Don’t include both plural and singular versions of the same word. If you enter “Puzzle” and “Puzzles” as keywords you are wasting valuable space!
  6. Don’t include words that are in your App Name or Company name. For example, If you app is called Puzzle Ninja Quest Master, then you don’t need to include the word Puzzle in your keywords… or Ninja, or Quest, or Master.

We recently dug up one of our first apps and applied this optimization – check out the transformation below! This was our first pass at the keywords for this app:

My little pony, MLP, Party of one,Friendship is magic,Educational my little pony,My little pony book,Pinkie pie 

Once we applied our techniques, we shortened it to this list:


This leaves almost a full 50 additional characters for more keywords… so we get something like this (underlined are new keywords available through our optimization!):


Which is now exactly 100 characters, contains no duplicates, and includes words that we just weren’t reaching before!

By |2015-01-07T08:57:03+00:00January 7th, 2015|App Development, Uncategorized|3 Comments


  1. gabe January 14, 2015 at 1:02 am - Reply

    This is great, I appreciate the examples.
    Fill the 100 characters, be smart and short. Don’t waste white space.
    Curious if you had any data from your site or otherwise to pick and rank your keywords.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • GraphiteLab January 14, 2015 at 8:32 am - Reply

      We’re waiting to get a full month of data before we share rankings and comparisons, but will post as soon as we have them!

  2. GraphiteLab July 13, 2015 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    Little update here – Now several months later, we can say that these changes DID improve our ranking for the new words and didn’t reduce any rankings for DUPLICATE words that were removed. We kept similar rankings for phrases like “Party of one” (#1 rank in January before the change and in June, 6 months after the phrase was completely removed from our keywords since its in the title). We also posted rather pitiful, but noted rankings for the new words (Reading, #293, Story #438).

    So in closing, definitely get the repetitive mess out of your keywords: drop white space, don’t repeat title in the keywords and so forth… but note that simply adding new words to your keywords list isn’t going to guarantee rank either (adding Hasbro to our keywords did nothing for that ranking).

    Happy apping!

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