Now You Can Add Keywords To Your App Description!

Matthew Campbell, August 4th

Today, went to update Tasting Notes app description on iTunes Connect to reflect the new website that I have created for that app and saw a very enticing new option.

What is new is that you can now add keywords to your app description that are designed to help users find your app after it falls off the new release list. This is exciting news for developers who (like me) have niche apps that users will actively search for. This sort of institutionalizes what some developer have already been doing by including popular app names in their descriptions,

As you know from previous postings of mine I think that keywords are very important in writing your app description. I don’t mean mentioning popular apps in your write-up, but putting in real terms that users will use to search for apps like yours so that you app will continue to earn you money as the months go on.


If you need help finding keywords, check out the Google keyword tool to get some ideas about things to put in your list. For Tasting Notes I used things like “wine journal”, wine, beer, “tasting note” and foodie.


There has been a bit of discussion about keywords on the forums but I’m surprised at how few bloggers have mentioned the potential issues with keywords.

The issues:

1) Seemingly confusing advice about how the keywords are used. For example read the following from the iTunes Connect Help section:

“If your Application Description continues to refer to specific keywords once you begin using official keywords on iTunes Connect, your search capabilities on the App Store could be negatively affected.”

The inference is that, say I had a wine tasting app, and I used the keywords “wine”, “tasting”, “wine tasting” and then in my description I described the app as being ‘a wine tasting app…help’s you choose the best wines…for wine connoiseurs or novice tasting’ etc. then my searches could be “negatively affected”

2) Keywords are now reviewed and are another potential reason for your app to be rejected. Whether this sends it to back of the queue as currently, remain unclear

3) “Application keywords can only be edited in scenarios where your newly set keywords will be reviewed by Apple”

So be careful. If like me you entered your keywords last week without reading the thorough instructions, Apple will not ket you change them!


Sorry I should say the “so called thorough instructions” – in fact there weren’t any instructions at the time so my keywords are currently Space delimitered.


Interesting comments – here are my thoughts on your points:

1.) I do not understand this – if we provide reasonable keywords they are almost certainly going to be also include our app description!

2+3.) This is pretty rough, sometimes it feels like we are abused spouses of Apple when they do things like this: we are afraid to make any move because they will just slap us down.

Like you I also put my keywords in – perhaps abruptly. Part of the reason was that I could not save the new address to my update website without putting the keywords in.

As far as the overall issue: I do want Apple to make apps more discoverable. For niche apps like mine it is the only way to stay profitable on the long tail. The problem is that the app store is a walled garden and it is not transparent. Every little tweak that Apple makes or any bad day an app reviewer has can just crush an tiny iPhone app business.

I doubt things will change and these issues are just going to keep coming up. My only advice is that if you make your living solely from selling iPhone apps (like me) then you really need to think about diversifying a little bit. Get a Mac or Windows desktop app built and start selling that – make it a compliment to your iPhone app. Either way, you need to find a way to hedge against the risk of having Apple completely control your revenue stream.

iPhone apps are a great way to quickly reach and build and audience and cash-flow, but unless you are very lucky iPhone app should not be the only egg in your basket.


Hi Guys,

I have an article here, it’s about optimizing iTunes App search with the use of SEO.

I think it may answer some of your questions for keywords. Here is the link for it:



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