How to get Started with Keyword Optimization

How to market your mobile app?

When it comes to marketing your new app, a lot can be done. And this can confuse you about where to start from. Let’s broadly categorize mobile app marketing as Paid media and Organic media.
As the name suggests, paid media is the sessions, new users, and retention you receive from paid advertising channels. This includes Google PPC, Facebook, and other social advertising, referral programs to name a few.
Organic media is when someone discovers and downloads your app organically. It is completely free and some of the channels in organic media are your website/ blog, social engagements, word of mouth and people discovering your app within the app store itself.
As everyone loves free marketing, let’s look into the next section of the article to explore more about organic channels and how to optimize them for better results.

What is App Store Optimization?

App Store Optimization is the process of optimizing your app to appear higher in the search results.
With so much competition in the app stores and new apps coming in every day, it is quite difficult for most apps to compete with big brand names. When you don’t have a big budget like brands, ASO is your best bet for getting significant downloads and building your app authority.
A study by Apptentive shows that 63% of users are discovering new apps via app store search results.
This clearly indicates that if your app is not ASO optimized, you will not appear in the search results and in turn lose a lot of potential users.
The graphic below shows you the most important factors that primarily affect the ASO of your app in Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

How to optimize your app for app stores?

It is pretty much evident that keywords are the most important factor for a successful ASO strategy. But what is keyword optimization? Does it mean stuffing of keywords in your title, description etc? No.
It describes the act of researching, analyzing, and selecting keywords in order to drive potential customers to your app.

Why is Keyword Optimization important?

As discussed in the previous section of the article, 63% of users are still discovering apps via app store search result and if your app is not appearing in that result, you might be losing a lot of customers.
Another reason why keyword optimization is very important is that while other ASO factors are not under your complete control, keyword optimization is for you to decide.
You cannot expect to have amazing ratings and reviews overnight. Neither you can have multiple versions of your app in a very short span of time. But you can optimize your app for the right keywords from the very first day of its launch.

How to do Keyword Optimization for Mobile App Stores

Now we have discussed enough the importance of keyword research and keyword optimization and how they can make or break your app store marketing. We should now focus on ways to find the right keywords.
If most of the popular keywords in your app category are dominated by big competitors is it impossible to have no chance of ranking high? The answer is No. You still can rank high in search results to reach your users by following certain strategies.

Going for long-tail keywords

Since it is difficult to rank well for very popular keywords when your competition is very strong, you must explore long tail keywords. A long-tail keyword is a more specific, multi-word phrase, representing more exactly what the potential user is looking for. Those have commonly a rather low competition but if someone searching for such a specific phrase and finds your app first, you most probably have a match.
Think about the intent of your potential users: what will they be searching for just before downloading your app?

Use App store search autocomplete to see what app store users are searching for

The autocomplete feature of app store search has some hidden gems. These are exactly the keywords that people are putting in while looking for an app, so it’s best to invest in these. Here is an example for better understanding:
On writing “holiday games” the autocomplete gave some good keyword ideas that might have been missed otherwise. However, when doing App Store Optimization at scale, using the autocomplete functionality of the mobile app stores is simply too time-consuming.
Instead, using ASO tools is the better way to find keyword suggestions. For example, App Radar is one of the services that already provide you with keyword suggestions delivered from the app stores right in your keyword tracking set for various languages. This saves you valuable time and allows you to see your app’s ranking for a specific search term right away.

Do competitor research

It is always good to do some competitor background research. What keywords are they ranking for, what are the opportunities we have to beat them. This is where you need help from third-party tools, that let you compare your competitors’ ranking with daily updated keyword rankings.
Psst… Apart from this, App Radar will soon be launching approved AI-based keyword suggestion to help you find the best keywords in no time. This way you have more time for optimizing instead of researching for hours.

Where to put keywords?

After you have found the right keywords, it’s time to decide where to put them. You should strategically place keywords in the app name, subtitle and description without repeating it. In Apple App Store you get the additional field of keywords.
Here’s what you have to mind:
  • App title: App title or commonly referred as App name is very important in ranking your app. If your app clearly conveys what it does via its name itself, and has relevant keywords in the title, it will appear higher in the search results. This field is similarly important for ASO in Apple App Store as well as Google Play Store.
  • Subtitle: That’s what helps you further describe your iOS app in Apple App Store. Not only the Subtitle can have great influence on your conversion rate but also on your ranking stats.
  • App Description: Similarly, in case of app description, try to be as descriptive and relevant as possible. Include important keywords but avoid overstuffing. Your app description should make sense and must convince the user to download your app. This field (especially the short description) is relevant for keyword optimization in Google Play Store ASO.
  • Keywords: Keywords are one major factor in iOS App Store Optimization, as customers use keywords in various combinations to search for your app. So the most important action to take when you start your App Store Optimization is keyword research. This means you research, analyze and place selected keywords on your app page to maximize the chance to get found by potential customers.

Why am I not ranking for keywords I’ve put in my app title etc.?

Unfortunately, the app store algorithm is very complex. That means it could happen, that your keyword optimization efforts don’t immediately bring the wished results. That’s because there are more factors calculated than just the placement of results.
Even though you think you have a great strategy in mind, you should not forget about the other major ranking factors for ASO.
  • The number of downloads: As announced by official Google reports and Apple app store trends, the more downloads your app received, the more chances it has to rank high in the search results.
  • Ratings and reviews: Now the number of downloads solely cannot tell the quality of your app, hence Google looks into the ratings and reviews. Here the quality as well as quantity matters. You need to have good reviews in good quantity. For a new app, this can be challenging but push notifications and client referrals can help with reviews.
  • Updates: Frequent and regular updates are a big driver in rankings. Updating not only has a positive impact on ranking factors but also gives room for fixing bugs and staying at the top. Especially in the App Store, when your existing user base updates your app, it gives you a short-term uplift in the rankings. So updating more often can be really beneficial.

So, what can I do to bring my app further?

Great rankings won’t come overnight with a single app update. However, you need to find out what really works for your app and what does not. That’s only possible when you allow yourself to try out things and fail. To keep the effects of possible ranking drops as low as possible and to stay in front of your competition, speed is the magic word here. Not only you don’t want to spend hours drafting and filling out app store metadata for various languages and apps, but you also want to see results quick.

The fastest way to regularly update your app store page

We learned, the process of keyword optimization doesn’t end at researching and putting right keywords but it is about continuous testing.
You need to keep removing non-performing keywords while adding keywords that you think will perform. This is a tough iterative process and requires constant change. Doing it manually can be a really daunting task with so much of data to be recorded and analyzed.
There are services that can be helpful here. They track your mobile app’s visibility in search results in various languages and in comparison with your main competitors. Further, they allow you to directly optimize your app store page without entering any other online tools due to a direct integration with iTunes Connect and Google Play Console.


This was a basic guide to keyword optimization and why it’s very important for your App Store Optimization strategy. With the number of apps increasing every day and startups struggling with small budgets, it’s inevitable that you invest in ASO. If you have any suggestions or comments, please feel free to reach out.

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