How to Improve Your App Store Search Visibility

Chances are you think the App Store rankings are a bit of a mystery.

You’re not alone. Very few developers and publishers have any idea, much less take the time, to understand.

That’s crazy!

Why would you spend so much time and money building an app without thinking about how people will find it?

You need to be strategic. Thankfully, there are some small steps you can take right now that will give your app a better chance in search results.

App Store SEO

Many people are at least a little bit familiar with search engine optimization, SEO, for websites. With app store SEO, there will be similar techniques, but now we are dealing with less sophisticated search technology.

Since Apple provides no analytics or tracking information from store usage, we can only find out what works from a bit of intuition with trial and error testing.

That doesn’t mean it can’t be done well. There are a few things you can do that will give you the best shot. In practice the app store search engine ranks search results based on title and keywords – both things you have control over. Sales, which you don’t have control over, do play a role, but not as much as name and keywords appear to.

App Name

Make the app name descriptive – Probably more descriptive than it is now. For example, ¬†“Bon Viveur Charcuterie” may exactly describe the app, but few know the meaning, and probably few would ever search those terms. Try something else, like “Restaurants for Food Lovers”, which would probably be better than “Restaurants for Foodies”. Also, this is the app’s title in iTunes Connect, not the given app name you see on the phone.


Changing keywords is straightforward. Start with these tips

  1. Remove plurals – the App Store already adds plurals to search terms
  2. Brand – if you have a strong brand, consider adding the brand name to the keywords
  3. Separate Words – instead of using phrases as a single keyword, separate the words: “dog hotel” becomes “dog,hotel”
  4. Remove small words – a, an, the & others like them need to go.
  5. Remove spaces – no need to put spaces between the comma and the next keyword. use the extra characters for more words: “dog,hotel,concierge” instead of “dog ,hotel, concierge”
  6. Use tools like Google Adwords keyword tool, a thesaurus, competitors’ terms, etc to find keywords that give you a good chance of being found. Think common, yet not overly broad terms.

These changes are all very straightforward and shouldn’t take long.

Just keep in mind that you might have to tweak things a few times until you land on a good sweet spot, but even seemingly minor changes can have big effects.

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