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Why Stuffing Your App’s Title and Description With Keywords Might Get You Suspended

This post talks about why app's title and description should not be stuffed with keywords and also tells what happens when keyword stuffing is done.

Puneet Yamparala

May 14, 2015

8 Min Read

App Store Optimization (ASO) is a set of techniques and industry best practices that allow your apps to be easily discovered and downloaded on the app store. The three crucial components of any ASO include the app’s title, description, and use of the right keywords.

App Store Optimization is very important. Over 63%of iOS apps (and 58% of Android) are discovered through searches in the app stores. Hence, improper use of ASO is practically costing you one of the largest discovery channels out there!

However, one of the most common mistakes made while employ ASO includes misuse of keywords, stuffing, and not understanding how best to leverage the title and description to the greatest effect.

This post highlights the best practices for creating the app’s tile and description, how to avoid keyword stuffing, and hence prevent your app from being suspended.

Understanding the Mechanics of the ASO

What is ASO made of?

Answer: Title, description, keywords, and analytics about number of download, reviews, and app usage history.

We’re concerned about app discovery and consequent downloads. Hence, our focus will be on the primary factors: the title, the keywords usage, the description, and how not to get suspended.

How to Optimize Your App Title

Your titles capture the attention of your audience, giving them a punch-line about what to expect from the app. Furthermore, App Store algorithms rank/organize the apps according to their titles and the keywords used in the titles. Hence, it is important that you put in some effort in optimizing your title for the customers and for the App Store bots.

Here are some best practices from the experts in ASO:

  • Remember the 32 Character Limit — Though you get a 100 character limit, only the first 32 characters of your app’s title are displayed in the app store results. Cut them short and communicate the punch line within the 32 characters.

  • Include Keywords — Add the most important keyword into the title

  • Don’t stuff — Be descriptive and try to make the title natural and fluent

  • Forget Your Company Name — App stores have a defined area for the company name, so don’t add it again in the title.

  • Put Change on Hold — Once the app gains momentum, it will be referred and cited with the name that reviewers and website found it on the website. Keeping the title consistent increases reach. Stick with eh initial title, and even if you have to change it avoid experimenting every other week month.

What will get you suspended?

Keyword stuffing will get your app suspended. Stuffing, as defined by both Apple and Google, means use of repetitive and/or irrelevant keywords. It creates an unpleasant user experience and can result in an app suspension. Similar to SEO, Google and Apple are targeting a better and more engaging user experience. Hence, any effort to hoodwink the biggest search engine on the planet, or the biggest app store will obviously not be taken kindly.

The Right Way for Using Keywords during ASO

You might have come across the advice: keywords aren’t that important for ASO.

It’s a myth.

MobileDevHQ report (acquired by Tune) has shown that 84% of the apps did not have keywords in their titles, and Apptentive measured the impact of keywords in the title — discovering that keywords in the title affected the ranking of the apps by 10%.

Keywords tip the algorithms and searchers about the content of your app and its relevance. Here are some best practices  avoid negative ranking and improving your app discovery.

Never leave spaces in between words. Here’s an example:

Assuming that your keywords are “1) health 2) exercise 3) cardio” then:

  • Avoid spaces before and after keywords — health, exercise, cardio [WRONG]

  • Avoid sentences — health exercise cardio [WRONG]

  • Write Right — health,exercise,cardio

Use all the 100 characters — Don’t waste the opportunity to elaborate your title. Be descriptive, it’s a waste not to use all the characters.

Avoid FREE — If your app is free for download, the app store knows. You’ve told it, and it will let the searcher know it’s free. No need to waste space.

Don’t Stuff — I repeat, avoid gaming the system. It will get your app rejected and suspended. And even if you can game your system right now, it will hurt in the long run. Who knows? They might even come up with a “trusted developer” badge.

Writing Your App Description for ASO

Your titles and keywords are meant to target and engage your target audience; the app description is to compel downloads.

With optimized titles and keywords, you should have traffic to the app. It’s the description that must sell. Here are some tips for writing ASO descriptions:

  • Focus on the first three lines, and not on keywords — Focus on describing and selling your app. Once the user clicks the app they will see the first few lines (depending on their screen size, it’s likely the first two to here lines of the description). Remember that keywords don’t affect search-ability, hence you should focus more on delivering the app experience or benefits.

  • Write good copy — Make your description easily consumable and readable.

  • Add a Call to Action —Give them the next step, remind them what to do but keep it short “Download Now and…” “Tap install for…” etc.

Once again, avoid stuffing the description with keywords. Real people will also be reading it, and adding irrelevant keywords just for the App Store algorithms will have your app marked for suspension.

In Conclusion — Avoiding Keyword Stuffing

You can stuff keywords into the title and description. But it won’t get past the app store algorithms; rather it will simply have your app suspended.

And though the app stores have become more considerate and do not simply close down the account if stuffing is practiced, it still is a loss of effort.

This blog post is based on the advice given by successful app entrepreneurs in the App Entrepreneurs and Marketers Group. Stay tuned for more informative and insightful posts from us!

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