SearchMan.com helps 13,000 developers track, research, and improve their keywords to grow search visibility inside the App Store. We are in constant touch with the developers and learn new things every day from them. Here are their stories...
1) Short app names are bad: Descriptive app names rank higher across more keywords because 75% of searches are for app function (fun game) and not for an app’s brand name (Angry Birds).
2) Should I use single words or phrases for iTunes keywords (100 character limit)? It’s complicated. Using “scary,zombies” indexes you for both. Using “scary zombies” (no comma) will index you for the phrase. Therefore start from “scary, zombies”. Then if your app does not rank high for the phrase “scary zombies”, use “scary zombies, scary, zombies” to cover all your bases.
3) Do app descriptions count? Yes, in spite of popular belief. An app unrelated to Hillary Clinton (or any Hillary) ranked highly for “Hillary” because the app description quoted a user review from a user named “Hillary”.
4) Quality Matters? Yes. Lower star ratings consistently hurt search rankings.
5) Does Facebook sharing or Tweeting earn you a higher search ranking in the app store? No. But it does earn you distribution inside Facebook & Twitter news feeds.
6) Is Apple vigilant about keyword stuffing? Yes. If you use popular keywords just to manipulate search rankings, your app is likely to get rejected. In one case, an app was unilaterally stripped of its suspicious keywords (which included Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube) and the app was approved for release. The developer didn’t even know until later.
7) Does download velocity count? Yes. An acceleration of downloads helps search rankings and vice versa. Download count divided by the age of the app appears to be a strong determinant of search rankings.
8) Does advertising help search ranking? Yes. Because advertising boosts download velocity, it helps. The smartest developers push an update with brand new optimized keywords, and then followup with advertising, to enjoy a ranking multiplier effect.
9) Can a developer earn a keyword reputation? Yes. A developer who historically produced (and ranked for) education apps reported that his latest casual game app, which has nothing to do with education, ranks very highly for “education”. His studio has a reputation for the theme education.
10) Do the names of in-app-purchase items matter for search ranking? Yes. But only for the complete phrase. E.g. if an item is called “pots of gold”, it will be indexed for that entire phrase but not separately for the keywords “pots” or “gold”
Bonus) Can I use my keywords profitably for targeted advertising? Yes. Keyword targeted Facebook Mobile App Installs Ads (targeting precise interests with keywords) drives the best quality installs in the market today. Period.
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