The Biggest Keyword Entry Differences: Google Play vs iTunes

This introduction to Google Play App Store Optimization will show how keyword entry compares to iTunes.

Until recently, we have primarily been teaching about iOS App Store Optimization. But as we start to develop more ASO features for Google Play, we will be writing more about how to optimize your Android apps for search. If you haven't heard about the recent addition of international keyword tools for Google Play to Sensor Tower, you can read about it here.

As an introduction to Google Play search optimization, we thought that it would be helpful to give you a brief summary of how keyword entry differs between the two app stores.

How Apple Handles Keywords

The primary method for entering keywords in iTunes Connect is the 100 character keywords field. Since you only have a limited amount of space, you have to be sure that you use the best keywords possible and be aggressive about optimizing your rankings for every single keyword.

lt="Keyword character count

Putting important keywords in the name of your app has shown to improve rankings in both app stores. It is a way to both include additional keywords and emphasize the most important ones, so this summary would not be complete without analyzing how each app store handles app names.

Apple allows 255 characters in the app name, so there is quite a bit of space to include additional keywords. One example of an app that makes good use of the name field is top app Run with Map My Run.

lt="Runkeeper example app title

How Google Play Handles Keywords

Now let's take a look at how Google Play differs in these two areas. First, there is no keyword field in the Play App Store. In a more web-SEO-like fashion, the keywords are taken from the app description.

There is a 4,000 character limit for the description field. Keywords should appear five times in the description to be optimal. More mentions has not shown to improve rankings. If you have been doing web SEO for awhile, this should be familiar to you, as that is similar to how webpages used to be optimized for keywords.

Here is a sample description from Fruit Ninja.

lt="Fruit Ninja description field example

Keywords in the title of an app also affect search rankings in Google Play. But Google only allows 30 characters, so choosing the right keywords for this field is especially important. If you have any room after entering your app name, you might be able to squeeze in a couple of keywords. If you are in the process of creating an app or intend to make an app for Google Play, you should definitely take this limitation into consideration when naming your app.


Keep in mind that we are only talking about how keywords are entered and accounted for in the two app stores. It does not take into consideration the other factors that influence rankings like ratings, app use, downloads, etc. We will give you more detailed tips in future posts, but we hope that this has been a good introduction to Goole Play ASO.

Is is easier for you to optimize your app for iTunes or Google Play? Let us know in the comments below.

Sensor Tower's platform is an enterprise-level offering. Interested in learning more?

Hugh Kimura

Written by: Hugh Kimura, Head of Content

Date: January 2014

Never miss an insight. Get quality content sent to your inbox every week.

Thank you!

By clicking "Subscribe" above, I agree to the Terms of Service and acknowledge the Privacy Policy.