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App Store adds search keyword fields for apps

This is great news. So I went to iTunes Connect to add mine. This should give you a rough idea of what it’s like to use iTunes Connect.

At the home screen, there’s now a notice at the top that contains this info (plus other redundant elaboration I’ve removed):

You must separate your keywords by commas when entering them on the application information page and are limited to 255 characters.

Cool. So let’s see, Manage Applications, Edit Information. Keywords field. Good. Let me click the little “?” icon next to it to make sure I have all of the information.

Oops, clicking on the Keywords “?” button pops up the help bubble all the way up there for “What’s New In This Version” instead, because they probably copy-and-pasted the entire field and forgot to reassign the proper IDs. This is very common — I’ve hardly ever had those “?” buttons toggle the field I was actually on.

Oh well. Let’s get through this. I typed in my keywords. Do I need to worry about phrases? Will “read,later” cover the case of a user typing “read later” or “read web pages later”? Is there any stemming? Do I need to type “read,reader,reading” or will all of those be covered by “read”? Should I include any misspellings of common English words? More information would have helped here, but oh well. Baby steps. Can’t complain.

I typed 141 characters worth of keywords and clicked the Save Changes button. I was then returned to the form with a validation error:

Well, that’s not what you said earlier, but hey, that’s OK. I’m used to this sort of thing with iTunes Connect. Let me just edit that field…

Oh wait, I can’t. Because, while it now contains my 141-character input, it’s disabled and uneditable. I guess I need to start over.

Since there’s no breadcrumb navigation anywhere in iTunes Connect, the best you can do to return to the home screen is retype the home URL or click on a lot of Cancel buttons (which only behave as “back-navigation” and don’t actually cancel any of the changes you’ve saved so far). So I clicked “Cancel” to return to the app management screen.

Cannot Process Request

An error has occurred processing your request. Please try again later or send an e-mail to itunesconnect@apple.com for assistance.

This is what it’s like using iTunes Connect.

But I’m glad they added keywords. At least, now, we won’t see the raw evidence of apps spamming their descriptions with the names of their competitors and unrelated top-25 apps to turn up in more searches.

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