Optimizing for App Store Search

Search plays a huge role in how users discover apps, with search queries accounting for 65% of downloads from the App Store. Learn how you can impact where your app ranks in search results to help users more easily find your app.

Choose accurate keywords.

Keywords are limited to 100 characters total, with words separated by commas and no spaces, so it’s important to make the most of the space available.

Choose keywords based on words you think users would use to find an app like yours. Use key descriptors about what your app does so that the App Store search algorithm can extract your app’s function.

Consider the trade-off between ranking well for less common terms versus ranking lower for popular terms. Popular, functional terms such as “jobs”, “text”, or “social” may drive a lot of traffic, but are highly competitive in the rankings. Less common terms drive lower traffic, but are less competitive. New apps are at a disadvantage for competitive keywords because they typically have low brand awareness and there’s no download history to indicate whether the apps are in high demand.

The unauthorized use of trademarked terms, celebrity names, or other protected words and phrases has a negative impact on an app’s ranking and is a common reason for App Store rejection. The use of terms that are not relevant to the app and the use of competing app names are similarly prohibited.

Avoid special characters — for example, #, or @ — unless they are part of your brand identity. Special characters don’t carry extra weight in search rankings.

If you use a term in your keyword field, don’t repeat it in your title, and vice versa. While you can repeat words in your app description, take care to avoid keyword stuffing throughout your metadata.

Make good use of your app name and App Store description.

Your app’s name and App Store description play a critical role in how users discover and download your app.

The length of your app name is limited to no longer than 50 characters. Choose a simple, memorable name that is easy to spell and suggests what your app does. Be distinctive — avoid names that use generic terms or are substantially similar to existing app names.

Every word counts, so focus your App Store description on your app’s unique features and functionality. Begin with a concise statement of what the app does, and follow that with a short list of the app’s main features.

Assign the right primary category.

Categories on the App Store help users discover new apps to meet their needs. The primary category you select is particularly important for your app’s discoverability on the App Store, as this will be the category in which the app appears in search results. Be sure to select the category that best describes the main function of your app.

Make sure that the primary category you choose accurately reflects your app’s core experience. Assigning categories that are not appropriate for your app is grounds for App Store rejection.

Find out more about choosing the most accurate and effective categories for your app in Choosing a Category.

Foster positive ratings.

Ratings and reviews influence how your app ranks in search, so focus on providing a great app experience that motivates users to leave positive reviews.

Ask users to rate your app on the App Store, but don’t ask for a rating too soon — wait until they have enjoyed a few sessions before prompting. Ensure that the app is stable before you ask, and choose an appropriate time in the session to make the request. Use the SKStoreReview Controller API to prompt users to submit a rating without leaving your app. Since the API only allows three prompts in a 365-day period, consider moments when users are most likely to feel satisfaction with your app, such as when they’ve completed an action, level, or task.

You can address users' feedback, questions, and concerns directly by responding to their reviews on your App Store product page. Make your support channels and contact information easy to find in your app and on your product page, so that if users encounter difficulties they are able to discuss them with you directly and resolve negative experiences that may lead to poor reviews.

For more details, read Ratings, Reviews, and Responses.