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How to Choose App Store Keywords for the Best Search Results

In the past, I selected App Store keywords based on what I thought would be the most relevant search terms people would use to search for my app.  It made sense that I would be a good candidate to know what terms would be most relevant to the purpose of my app, after all, I created it.  To further enhance my keyword terms, I used general keyword suggestion tools like Google Keyword Planner to help me refine my keywords to make sure they were most relevant for the 100 character limit Apple allows.  This strategy served me well… back then.

But like all things in the mobile world, things have evolved and changed very quickly and optimizing my app listings in the App Store is now a necessity rather than a luxury.  Gone are the days where I spent most of my time developing an app; I now spend just as much time marketing and optimizing the promotion of it.  Competition and supply has grown rapidly over the last year and it has become more and more difficult to find keywords that are effective in making my apps show up in any reasonable list of search results.  In the last app I published, I couldn’t find my app listed in the first 100 results for ANY of my initial keywords.  The only way I could get it to show up was if I searched for the exact title of the app.  Naturally, my downloads were dismal and it was no wonder why if I could hardly find the app myself.

My strategy for keyword selection had to change.  I was forced to be much more deliberate in my keyword selection process.  My best guess and general keyword tools weren’t going to cut it anymore.  I needed something that would give me precise insights into App Store keyword competition and I had to carefully select each and every keyword to give my apps the best chance of exposure.

After researching for a solution to my app search result woes, I found a handful of online services offering tools to help.  I diligently tried out all of them.  Some gave me limited or sometimes even incorrect data on my app and keyword searches.  Others gave very preliminary information that wasn’t enough for me to feel comfortable making an informed keyword selection.

The one service that stood out above the others was SensorTower.com.  I had heard a lot about this service, but it wasn’t until I had a chance to review its competitors that I realized how thorough and in-depth their service was.  As I’ve had a chance to use it more now, I have a simple 3-step process that I use to select my title and keywords:

Step 1: Keyword Discovery – Build an Extensive List of Potential Keywords that are Best Suited for Your App

a) Start with your own brain.  Make a quick list of the keywords you think would be most relevant to your app.

b) Use SensorTower’s Keyword Research tool.  Type in the most obvious keyword(s) into the search field and press “Research”


- Sort by ranking (highest to lowest).

- go through the list of search results, dismiss results of apps that are “well established” — apps that have been in the app store for more than 1 year, have thousands of reviews and are published by big name publishers (like Rovio, Electronic Arts, Gameloft, etc.).  These apps have had the luxury of time to rank high, get lots of reviews and have likely been heavily promoted by the deep pocketed publishers that own them.

- Instead, look for apps that are relatively new to the market, don’t have a ton of reviews (say 500 or less) and is published by a less known publisher.  This is the type of app I focus on because they are obviously doing something right to be able to rank well.


- In the above example, there are app results that are ranking high and yet published less than 1 week ago.  These are the apps we want to focus on because they are doing well even though they are very new.

- For each of these apps, click on the Keyword Spy tool at the right of the app title and make note of the keywords this app used for their keywords.  Also include descriptive keywords in the app’s title as part of this list

- Build an extensive list of potential keywords that are best suited for your app.

- Most importantly, for each keyword, make sure there is a strong association of your app’s theme and function.  There’s no point in using keywords like “space shooter” when your app is a sports game, no matter how optimal the keyword is.

Step 2: Optimize Your Keywords – Select the Optimal Keywords to Use for Your App Listing

- Use the Keyword Optimization tool and enter in your list of keywords created in the last step (100 characters at a time).


- Sort the list of results by Difficulty Score (lowest to highest).

- The keywords with the lowest Difficulty Score are the best keywords to target as long as the Traffic Score is higher than zero.

- Generally, when first launching my app, I find I have to choose keywords that have a pretty low Difficulty Score (less than 2) to see any initial results.

- As my app gets more downloads and reviews, I can compete with keywords that have a higher difficulty score.

Step 3: Track Your Keywords Over Time and Continue to Optimize

- Use the Keyword Rankings tool to track the position your app results in over time based on the keywords you selected.

- Over time, you will see which keywords are effective and which ones are not.

- Keep the performing keywords and change up the non-performing ones by replacing them with the next best keywords on your list.

- Rinse and repeat until all your keywords are bringing in good results.  Ideally you want to rank in the top 10 for all your keywords.  You need to continually find replacements for your worst ranking keywords.

Additional Tips:

- Use both the Title and your Keyword list to include keywords

- make sure you use all 100 characters of space Apple provides you

- separate each word with a comma

- there should be no spaces in your keyword list

- shorter words are better than longer words

- if you have a compound word, add a dash (-) in between the word

- don’t repeat any words that are already in your title

- Keywords at the beginning of your title and keyword list hold more weight than keywords at the end


That’s my simple 3 step process to selecting the most optimal keywords to bring the best search results.  It’s helped to keep my apps visible in the app store and I no longer have to take the “publish and pray” approach.  What’s your approach?  Share your thoughts and comments below.

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Facebook Cover Photo Maker Pro FREE for this weekend only!

Yes, you heard that right…

In celebration of reaching over 1 million downloads of Facebook Cover Photo Maker, we’ve decided to make the Pro version completely FREE for the next 3 days.  It’s our way of saying thanks for your ongoing support.  If you haven’t already tried this insanely popular Cover Photo Making App, now is the best time to do so, but act quickly because it won’t be free for long…

This promotion ends December 1, 2013.

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Version 1.50 of Facebook Cover Photo Maker Released – Full iOS 7 Support!

Cover Photo Maker App IconWe are pleased to announce version 1.50 of Facebook Cover Photo Maker released in the Apple App Store today!  This version is fully updated for iOS 7 and supports all iOS screen resolutions, including the iPhone 5c and 5S!  The app icon and loading screens have been updated with a simpler design that suits the new OS 7 design.  Update or download your copy and start making amazing Cover Photos for Facebook right now!

Buy Now App Store



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Facebook launches new Camera Photo app for iPhone

Facebook today released a new standalone iPhone app dedicated to posting and sharing photos on the 900-million strong social network. Facebook Camera aims to make using photos on Facebook “faster and easier”, according to a press release.

As you know, we’re all for Facebook related photo apps and this one looks really promising!

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Free Version of Cover Photo Maker for Facebook Released!

This is NOT a cruel April Fools joke!

We’ve released a free version of our app: Cover Photo Maker for Facebook for everyone to enjoy!

Chuckanut Media’s hugely popular iOS app: Cover Photo Maker for Facebook Timeline now available in a free version

The App Store’s first and only personalized, multi-image Cover Photo Maker App for Facebook Timeline is now available for free.

VANCOUVER, BC – April 1, 2012 - After receiving an overwhelming response for Cover Photo Maker for Facebook Pro, Chuckanut Media is proud to release a free version of this iOS app.  Cover Photo Maker for Facebook Free allows users to create personalized Cover Photos for their Facebook Timeline using their own photos directly on their mobile device.

Just like in the Pro version, Cover Photo Maker Free allows users to select one or more of their own photos from their iOS device to create a unique Cover Photo for their Facebook Timeline.  They can also add text to further illustrate their Cover Photo.
“After receiving so much positive feedback about the paid version and seeing it land in the top 30 for Social Networking in over a dozen countries, we wanted to make this easy-to-use Cover Photo Making app available to everyone,” said Bennett Hui, founder of Chuckanut Media, “and we’ve decided to make a fully functional version of this app completely free.”
Users have all the functionality of the Pro version: they can create personalized Cover Photos using multiple images of their own and lay them out in a fun and creative way.  Customized text can be added to Cover Photos with special effects like drop shadow, outlines and adjusting opacity.  The difference between this version and the paid version is that the free version has ads, contains 8 different font styles and has a small discreet watermark in the final Cover Photo.  Users have the option to remove ads, add more fonts and remove the watermark from the output photo through an in-app purchase.
This free version of Cover Photo Maker contains all the features of the latest update, including: better image quality output, a profile picture placeholder to indicate the space that will be covered, options to share and view your Cover Photos by uploading them to a user-generated Showcase and a Quick Connect & Share to Facebook, Twitter and Email.

Cover Photo Maker for Facebook Free is now available worldwide for no charge from Apple’s App Store for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad at:


Please visit http://www.fbphotomaker.com and http://facebook.com/CoverPhotoMaker/ for more Cover Photo Maker for Facebook information, including sample Cover Photos and screenshots of the app.

Chuckanut Media is an independent media services company based in Vancouver, BC, Canada that was formed in 2011 by Bennett Hui for the purposes of creating fun, creative and entertaining mobile applications.

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New Version 1.1 of Cover Photo Maker

New version of Cover Photo Maker for Facebook app available today! Version 1.1:

• Better image quality/resolution output (optimized)
• Profile Picture placeholder to indicate the space that will be covered
• Option to share your Cover Photos by uploading them to our user-generated Showcase
• View user-generated Cover Photos submitted by others in the Showcase
• Easy access to more information including News and FAQs
• Quick Connect & Share to Facebook, Twitter and Email
• Explore other apps recommended by the Cover Photo Maker team!
• Minor bug fixes and enhancements

Download/Update your app from the App Store today!

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Cover Photo Maker Walkthrough by AppsForiPads.net

The folks at appsforiPads.net posted up a thorough walkthrough and review of our app.  This one is specific to the iPad version of our universal app.  If you’re looking for specific steps and details of how this app works, this walkthrough should answer all your questions!

“It is SO simple to do you are going to find yourself changing YOUR Facebook Cover Photo all the time!”

Source: appsforiPads.net

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Cover Photo Maker for Facebook Timeline… coming soon to Android devices!

Due to its popularity on the iOS platform and the increasing demand from Android users everywhere, Chuckanut Media is porting Cover Photo Maker for Facebook Timeline over to the Android platform.  We want to give as many people as possible the opportunity to make personalized Facebook Timeline Cover Photos simply and easily right on their mobile device.  Keep an eye out for it in coming weeks!

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App Introductory Price Ending Soon… Get It Cheap While You Still Can!!

Cover Photo Maker, the first and only personalized multi-image Cover Photo Maker for Facebook Timeline on the iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad, has been warmly received by the press and proven wildly popular among Facebook users.  As with all good things, the current introductory price for this app is about to end.  Get it cheap while you still can! The price GOES UP on Monday, March 12, 2012.   Spread the word!!

Get Cover Photo Maker for Facebook now.

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Cover Photo Maker Ranked #2 in Taiwan

Just like our experience in Belgium’s App Store, Cover Photo Maker is ranked #2 in Taiwan for Top Paid Social Networking Apps.  This is due in no small part to iApp’s review of our app.  Thank you iApp and thank you Taiwan!

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