How to Brainstorm Keywords for Your iOS Apps and Games

Whatever your approach to App Store Optimization is and whatever tools you use, it all starts with brainstorming a list of keywords. Getting into the mindset of your app’s audience is not easy. However, we know a few techniques that will help you come up with a really long list of keywords for your product.

Write down your own keyword ideas

Write down the keyword describing each single feature of your app, what problems it addresses, places where it can be used, and so on. In case, it’s a game, include the words describing its mechanics and all the objects within the game. If it is a photo app, write down the name of filters and the effects the app can create (analogue, glitch, hipster). At this stage don’t analyze too much, write anything that comes to mind. Don’t limit yourself to single words, write down phrases as well. See what a variety of keywords some successful game developers come up with.


Use suggestions of the App Store’s Search field

Start typing the most descriptive keywords from your existing list and carefully check the list that App Store’s search field suggests you. This way you may also discover some competing apps.


Spy on your competitor keywords

Look for the apps that address the same problems as your product does. These are your app store keyword competitors. Competitor apps can also be found among the top apps in your subcategory (App Store > Explore > Categories). Once your competitors are identified, go to Sensortower home page and insert your competitor app name into the field on the page. You’ll then see the list of their keywords (like in the first picture in this post). Write down the ones that are relevant to your app.

Look up slang and abbreviation alternatives to the keywords in the list

This is very important. For example, when we were making a series of holiday-themed apps, we discovered that words like “v-day” and “St Patty’s” are less competitive than “Valentines day” and “St Patrick’s” respectively and yet these words also enjoy good traffic.

Make use of Google Adwords Keyword Planner


This one is free and really helps a lot if you are short for ideas. Create your Google Adwords account (free) and go to Tools > Keyword Planner > Search for new keyword and ad group ideas > insert your keyword / keyword phrase under Your product or service > Get ideas > Keyword ideas. This tool may considerably multiply the list you already have and help you find keyword phrases and combinations that you haven’t thought of in the first place.

Once you are done with the keyword brainstorming, go on to keyword analysis. Some methods can be found here.

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