Apple Asking Developers to Submit Keywords to Facilitate App Store Searching

MacRumors

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Apr 12, 2001
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MacRumors has heard that Apple has begun requesting that developers add keywords to their App Store application submissions in order to facilitate improved searching. As detailed in a report from AppleInsider, developers are permitted to enter up to 255 characters' worth of keywords for each application.
"It is important to enter keywords for all applications as soon as possible so your application can continue to be successfully located on the App Store," the update from Apple reads. "Keywords can be updated with the submission of a new binary."
At its quarterly earnings conference call last week, Apple noted that it was working on improvements to App Store categorization in order to combat the "race to the bottom" in pricing that many users have complained is hampering developers' efforts to bring high-quality titles to the App Store at sustainable price points. Improvements to the App Store's search function appears to be a logical first step toward improving users' ability to find relevant applications.

Article Link: Apple Asking Developers to Submit Keywords to Facilitiate App Store Searching
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,590
4,040
I do love the way Apple just keeps slaughtering your complaints.

Honestly, this is Apple we're talking about. It seems like everyone who visits MacRumors regularly would be a huge fan of Apple and so would be accustomed to knowing that Apple doesn't stand around letting their products falter.
 

sesnir

macrumors 6502
Sep 21, 2008
344
168
Hmm... I didn't get an email from Apple yet, so thanks for the heads up MR.
 

HiRez

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2004
5,826
1,735
Western US
255 characters? What is this, 1975? Make sure you don't use Unicode for those keywords, it hasn't been invented yet.
 

andiwm2003

macrumors 601
Mar 29, 2004
4,339
399
Boston, MA
seems a good opportunity for a new website that delivers good quality reviews and ratings for iphone apps and weeds out the useless redundant stuff.

is there already such a website?
 

idiosyncratic i

macrumors newbie
Oct 7, 2007
26
0
255 characters? What is this, 1975? Make sure you don't use Unicode for those keywords, it hasn't been invented yet.
I imagine the 255 characters thing is less a technical constraint than an effort to make sure developers don't just enter every single keyword they can think of. This is an effort to prevent a race to the bottom, and we already know from the internet that one of the ways people race to the bottom and generate more hits is to add excessive number of keywords that barely have anything at all to do with their site (or in this case, app). As long as apple is creating an arbitrary number of characters to limit excessive number of keywords, they might as well choose an arbitrary number that works well with databases.
 

jdechko

macrumors 601
Jul 1, 2004
4,094
219
This is a good step forward. My other big issue with the App store is that it's impossible to find something unless you already know what it is you want, and that's on iTunes. This is magnified 100x on the iPhone.
 

akac

macrumors 6502
Aug 17, 2003
470
64
Colorado
255 characters? What is this, 1975? Make sure you don't use Unicode for those keywords, it hasn't been invented yet.
I entered 230 characters worth of keywords and I got:
Keywords cannot be longer than 100 characters.
 

t0mat0

macrumors 603
Aug 29, 2006
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Home
I guess they're going to have this vetted, so people don't add non-relevant keywords just to get search hits? Apple's mentioned publicly they're looking to help people find apps effectively - in our and their interest.
 

jpyc7

macrumors 6502
Mar 8, 2009
276
0
Denver, CO
I imagine the 255 characters thing is less a technical constraint than an effort to make sure developers don't just enter every single keyword they can think of. This is an effort to prevent a race to the bottom, and we already know from the internet that one of the ways people race to the bottom and generate more hits is to add excessive number of keywords that barely have anything at all to do with their site (or in this case, app). As long as apple is creating an arbitrary number of characters to limit excessive number of keywords, they might as well choose an arbitrary number that works well with databases.
Well, if the lack of unicode character support is true as someone mentioned, then it probably hurts the non-Roman alphabet developers the most. Anyway with 100k apps, that isn't that big a database and they should probably have a higher limit.
 

buckyballs

macrumors regular
Dec 22, 2006
169
20
The problem is most users now expect to pay $0.99, so it's come far too late. It's already a lost cause imo. It's a shame, because the App Store really could have flourished by now.
 

GoCubsGo

macrumors Nehalem
Feb 19, 2005
35,753
142
The problem is most users now expect to pay $0.99, so it's come far too late. It's already a lost cause imo. It's a shame, because the App Store really could have flourished by now.
How do you figure? I don't expect to pay .99¢ for everything. Heck, I've paid $10 for something I found to be of consistent value.
 

loesjoel

macrumors newbie
Jul 6, 2009
5
0
And how many devs are now going to use those 100 characters up by naming other popular apps hoping to get a share of their search hits, rather than describe their own app?
 

idiosyncratic i

macrumors newbie
Oct 7, 2007
26
0
Well, if the lack of unicode character support is true as someone mentioned, then it probably hurts the non-Roman alphabet developers the most. Anyway with 100k apps, that isn't that big a database and they should probably have a higher limit.

I entered 230 characters worth of keywords and I got:
Keywords cannot be longer than 100 characters.
In fact, they have a lower limit. Which seems to support that it's more about limiting the number of keywords than any odd technical limitation. I'm also pretty sure unicode is allowed, and Hirez was just assuming that the character limit was something technical, but it'd be nice to hear from a developer whether that is or isn't the case.
 

MacVixen

macrumors 6502
Jan 26, 2009
385
0
Santa Cruz, CA
How do you figure? I don't expect to pay .99¢ for everything. Heck, I've paid $10 for something I found to be of consistent value.
Agreed. I have no issue paying $$ for quality apps.

Maybe Apple should create a "$0.99 & Under" store - stick all those free and cheaper apps in there - still utilize this keyword thing, but also review and edit keywords as necessary, so as loesjoel states, developers just don't add keyword names for apps that are similar to theirs, hoping for hits.
 

dejo

Moderator
Staff member
Sep 2, 2004
15,981
447
The Centennial State
Also, you get once you get a valid, less-than-100-char entry submitted, you can't change it again, even if your app is still "In Review". So, be careful with your one shot to nail it.
 

countrydweller

macrumors 6502
Jul 16, 2009
447
0
seems a good opportunity for a new website that delivers good quality reviews and ratings for iphone apps and weeds out the useless redundant stuff.

is there already such a website?
Don't know, but a trial period for apps would be even better.
 

calisurfboy

macrumors regular
Feb 26, 2008
179
139
I dislike using the APP store a lot. It is too cluttered and time consuming to find the things that I want. I think the app store should include sub-categories like how the movie industry has sub-categories for "action" or "Sci-fi" films. The keywords is a great start as well. Being able to sort by ratings, price, date released or entered app store, popularity, etc. I think also when browsing the apps, the option to have a "list" view instead of a "detailed gallery" view would be a nice addition as well.
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
8,590
4,040
The problem is most users now expect to pay $0.99, so it's come far too late. It's already a lost cause imo. It's a shame, because the App Store really could have flourished by now.
While there are some people like that, they'll just have to get used to things costing a bit more. The iDevices are still being sold to new customers pretty continuously so those new people will never notice the gradual increase in price from everything being 99¢ to a bit more $4.99 apps.

I just hope we don't see a huge price rise with everything costing $9.99+... it's why I don't buy games for the Mac (except Blizzard and id products.) A lot of those suck just as bad as the 99¢ games in the app store but they cost a lot more.
 

dwman

macrumors 6502
Nov 15, 2007
346
130
San Francisco
although a trial period would be good it does not help you with finding good apps. a good website with good reviews is the way to go. anyone?
I imagine that would be difficult considering the 65k + apps, but appshopper.com run by the guys who started MR is a good place to start. They mostly watch for price drops/increases and have categorization. Not so much in the way of reviews.