Just about a month ago, Apple started requiring iPhone app developers to specify a list of keywords for their apps. The keywords would be used as part of the iTunes App Store search algorithm and, in theory, will eventually supplant searching through the app’s description. As a good little iPhone app developer, I did as Apple requested, and added keywords for BabyGrow.
Boy, was that a mistake.
Ever since I added the keywords, it has been practically impossible to find BabyGrow through the iTunes App Store’s search functionality. For the first several days, the only search term I tried that even included BabyGrow in its results was “BabyGrow.” Now how useful is that?
After a few days, the situation improved somewhat, and most of the keywords I entered started working. But one still does not work, and still does not work to this day. I have contacted Apple multiple times about this, and received nothing but silence in return until a bit over a week ago. The email said, more or less, that it should all be fixed up in a week.
Of course you would expect that all my keywords work now, since it’s been a week since I was told it would be fixed in a week, right? Wrong. The situation has yet to change.
So what is the keyword that does not work?
That’s right, you cannot find BabyGrow, an app whose primary purpose is to produce growth charts, using the search term “growth.” Or “growth chart.” Or any other search with “growth” in it. Oh, sure, you can find it with “weight” and “baby.” But not “growth.”
You can, however, find every single one of my competitors with searches like “growth” and “growth chart.” Maybe I’m crazy, but I feel like this puts my app at a major competitive disadvantage, through no fault of its own. My sales numbers seem to agree, having dropped noticeably starting the day after I added keywords to the app, and never having recovered.
I plan to keep working on BabyGrow, and keep improving it, and hopefully Apple will actually get around to fixing this mess, but it sure does leave a bad taste in my mouth.