Power Of iOS Keyword Phrases or Long Tail Keywords

think outside of the box

Let’s face it, getting your app ranked high in the App Store search is not an easy process anymore like it was few years ago. Usually first set of keywords for your app will be too competitive. Now the question is: Should you replace them with less competitive ones? This does not always have to be the case.

Obviously some app developers are forgetting about the power of keyword phrases or “long tail keywords” and how they can help you increase app downloads. Keyword phrases or “long tail keywords” not only have a lower competition comparing to single words but they are also more specific and convert in sales more often.

In the post below I will go deeper and explain what keyword phrases are and how you can find them to get more downloads for your apps so let’s get started!

What Keyword Phrases or Long Tail Keywords Are?

Basically keyword phrases or “long tail keywords” are a mix of several single keywords. While one keyword can be too competitive making a combination of several keywords at the same time can give your app a very high exposure on the App Store.

For example, “fitness” is a single keyword and “my fitness pal” is a phrase. Using phrases or “long tail keywords” is a very effective App Store Optimization (ASO) technique and I am personally using it for all apps I am working on. If you followed me recently it turns out this technique really works well!

Still Wondering Why Do People Need To Use Keyword Phrases To Find Apps On the App Store?

Well, with more then 1.5 millions of available apps on the App Store people will often have to be more specific and type more then one word to find the app they are searching for.

For example, let’s say someone is willing to do some workout and they are searching for “workout” apps. While searching for “workout” apps, first word they will type in the search bar will probably be “workout”. Today word “workout” counts 18.271 apps in the US App Store for iPhone and 9.655 apps for iPad search which is quite a lot. If the first few apps that appears on the list does not appeal to that person, he or she will then have to be more specific and will start searching for keyword phrases most likely. If someone is very specific about what they want they will search for specific phrases. For example, if someone want to do arm workout they will most likely search for a phrase like “daily arm workout”. If someone want to do leg workout they will most likely search for a phrase like “daily leg workout” or if they want to do some cardio workout they will be searching for a phrase like “daily cardio workout”, etc… Guess what? As you can imagine all these phrases have much lower competition comparing to single word “workout” and they will give your app an excellent exposure on the App Store!

keyword phrases

keyword phrases

Let’s pretend your next app you are working on is going to be a Fitness App. Obviously first relevant keyword that comes to your mind would be “fitness” right? As you can imagine this keyword is a very competitive keyword which currently counts 18.040 iPhone apps and 9.538 iPad apps in the US App Store.

At first glance you will probably want to give up on this word and that’s totally understandable reaction but if you wait for a second and think about some other relevant keyword combination this could easily help your app to stand out from the crowd and that particular phrase could actually mean tons of free organic traffic to your app and this is what we all want. We all agree that organic traffic is the best traffic that one app can get! In the sample below I’ll show you how easy this can be. As you can see in the sample below, word “fitness” is totally useless especially for new apps but when it’s used in combination with other relevant keywords it can be perfect to use. You can use any ASO tool you like for checking phrase popularity but I strongly recommend using AppCodes tool. Apart from accurate popularity data, they will also show you exact number of competitor apps as well as chance of getting to the top #10 in iPhone and iPad search which is a very useful feature. Another good alternative would be Sensor Tower tool which is a way more expensive and less accurate.

keyword phrases

keyword phrases

Where And How To Find  A Relevant Keyword Phrases?

Again AppCodes tool provides keyword spying module where you will probably be able to see some single keywords and this could be a great way to start. After collecting enough single keywords to start with there is a free Keyword Mixer tool and I am personally using it for all apps I am working on. Although it’s completely free to use it will amazingly provide you either with the list of 2 or 3 keyword combinations and it will help you find good keyword combinations for your app in no time.

It may sound strange but I am not only focussed on ASO tools spying modules but I also look for other sources like Google and Yahoo search engines as they may suggest even more keyword combinations. You may not always be able to find relevant phrases for your app on these engines but this will definitely help you to come up with more keyword ideas. Even more, as you probably know Google has Keyword Planner tool which is free to use. Basically this tool is very similar to Keyword Mixer above and it will help you to come up with even more keyword combinations. Once you come up with the final list of potential phrases that you want to use for your app you will want to filter them with AppCodes tool and pick only the ones that you can rank well for.


As you can see, with some effort you can make your apps visible on the App Store and maximize your app revenue. I hope you now realize the power of phrases and you will start implementing them to your next amazing app. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Was this post helpful?

Ibrahim Eminovic

Ibrahim Eminovic

Over 5 years in app industry educated by Chad Mureta and Trey Smith. Love making iOS apps visible on the App Store. When not doing ASO love cycling, blogging, playing around with Xcode and re-skinning iOS apps.
Ibrahim Eminovic