I was recently talking to a client who went to a session by Apple for app developers. He mentioned that Apple recommends not putting keywords in your app name.
It hurts your branding…
It can hurt your ranking…
…blah blah blah.
In reality, Apple just wants to retain control over the quality of the App Store and make everything look as pretty as possible.
So what about using the names of other apps as keywords? Oh, they sure aren’t going to like that!
But as you know, guidelines and reality can be two very different things.
So what’s the real deal?
Why Do It?
First off, it works.
It works because people tend to find popular apps by directly searching for their name. For example, to find Instagram, they’ll search “instagram,” not “filters.”
Just like the word Kleenex has become the new word for tissues, app names become search terms.
I know, I know…
It seems like the perfect solution, piggybacking off of someone else’s success in the App store is such a logical and easy thing to do.
But whether you like it or not, it’s not exactly included in the book of best business practices.
So you have a decision to make.
App names contribute significantly to your App Store ranking.
Therefore, it would make sense to put keywords in your app name. But put too many keywords in your app name, and you’re running a high risk of getting rejected by Apple.
Apple might also delete keywords without telling you. So be sure to double check, after your app is published.
Luckily, there are some ways around this conundrum that will keep the Apple gods smiling down on you.
Note: Worst practices usually mean that your app will get rejected by the Apple gatekeepers.
How to Use Other Publishers’ App Names
- WORST: In your app name
- GETTING BETTER: In your keywords
- BEST: In your description
*I feel compelled to add*
BEST FROM APPLE’S PERSPECTIVE: Don’t use other app names at all!
Before I end this post, let’s take a look at a good example of how this works.
There are a lot of apps that use Dropbox for storage.
…or they work like Dropbox.
However, Apple has cracked down on using that as a keyword in the app name. But there are still apps that use it in their keywords to get downloads.
Here is one example…
This photo storage app ranks very well for the keyword “dropbox,” as well as other associated app names, such as “onedrive” and “shutterfly.” But as far as we can tell from their website, they don’t use any of these services in their app.
So again, this is a gray area and only you can decide if you want to implement this strategy or not.
Final Thoughts on Using App Names as Keywords
You can decide for yourself where on the app store morality scale you fall in terms of using other app names, but know that all liability is on you. To see what other apps are doing, be sure to take a look at their keywords.
Apple’s policies will change from time-to-time, so stay up to date!