Why Keyword Stuffing Is a Bad Idea & How to Avoid It

11 Mar 2021

Your app’s title and descriptions are meant to capture the attention of your audience, and to deliver a punchline about what you’re offering.

However, when writing an app title and description, many people cross the fine line between keyword-rich copywriting and keyword stuffing. That’s why we’re here to address one of the most common mistakes people make when optimising their app store listing: misuse of keywords.

What is keyword stuffing?

In simple terms, keyword stuffing means loading app title and description with irrelevant, misleading, or excessive keywords with the hopes of being ranked for them.

Why is keyword stuffing bad?

Similar to traditional SEO, there are ‘white hat’ and ‘black hat’ techniques to optimise your app and get it ranked higher in search results. The former will get you great results over time, while the latter is against search engine guidelines and may land you in trouble – and keyword stuffing falls under the second category.

“Don’t game the system.”

In most cases, keyword stuffing doesn’t work over the long term. Not only will it create an unpleasant user experience, it’s also a practice frowned upon by Apple and Google. More and more apps that are found guilty of keyword stuffing are being rejected from the review process so it’s important to play by the rules when it comes to ASO.

What are the consequences of keyword stuffing?

You can stuff keywords into the title and description, but it will likely not get past the app store algorithms. If caught, keyword stuffing may get your app rejected, or worse, suspended. Both Apple and Google are actively targeting a better and more engaging user experience, so any attempt to ‘game the system’ will likely result in a loss of effort.

Here’s what Apple says about misuse of keywords in metadata:

“Don’t try to pack any of your metadata with trademarked terms, popular app names, pricing information, or other irrelevant phrases just to game the system. Metadata such as app names, subtitles, screenshots, and previews should not include prices, terms, or descriptions that are not specific to the metadata type. App subtitles are a great way to provide additional context for your app; they must follow our standard metadata rules and should not include inappropriate content, reference other apps, or make unverifiable product claims. Apple may modify inappropriate keywords at any time or take other appropriate steps to prevent abuse.”

How to write a good app title and description?

On the Apple App Store, the algorithm identifies, ranks, and organises apps using primarily keywords in the app title and subtitle; whereas the Google Play Store counts keywords in both the title and description. Regardless of which platform you launch your app on, keywords should be used sparingly and strategically in these fields without looking spammy.

Here are some dos and don’ts for writing a good app title to boost your app’s discoverability:

  • Do use your best-performing keyword in the title.

  • Don’t stuff; keep it natural and fluent.

  • Do deliver the punchline within the first few words, because your app title may get cut short in search results.

  • Don’t add your company name, app stores have a defined area for that.

  • Do avoid changing it too often, especially once the app has gained traction.

To write a good app description, follow these best practices:

  • Focus on delivering your app’s benefits instead of getting as many keywords in as possible – especially on Apple App Store, where description text doesn’t affect searchability.

  • Make sure the copy is well written and easily readable.

  • Add a call to action to remind the user what the next step is.

Finally, here are a few more things to keep in mind when it comes to the keyword field:

  • Filter through your keywords and use only the most popular and relevant ones.

  • Don’t put spaces between words, i.e. fitness,lifestyle,wellness instead of fitness, lifestyle, wellness.

  • Use numerals instead of words, i.e. 3 rather than three.

  • Make the most of all the characters you have.

  • Don’t use ‘free’ as a keyword, the app store already knows your app is free to download.

Always remember that your app title and description are intended for your users first.

If you need help finding the best keywords for your app, check out our keyword research tips here. Next, you can learn how to make the best use of your ASO keywords in this helpful guide.

Optimise Your App the Right Way

We hope you’ve found these tips useful in leveraging your keywords when writing a knockout title and description for your app!

Want to chat more about keywords or just ASO in general? Connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or email us at hello@digitalworkroom.co.uk.