The million dollar question is “how do I choose the most relevant keywords for my app?”
At AppTweak we use this 3-step methodology:
1. Build a semantic dictionary
A Semantic Dictionary is a big bulk list of 100 to 200 keywords that are directly or indirectly linked to your app’s universe and purpose.
To get inspired, check out what your competitors are doing. What words are they using in their Titles? What words keep coming up in their Description? Have a look at your Reviews and Ratings to get an idea of the words your audience is using, those are probably the words they search when looking for your App or a similar one. Try coming up with all possible combinations possible - long tail and niche keywords are proven to be effective.
AppTweak’s Keyword Picking Tool can really help you out in that respect. It offers many different keyword sources and suggestions such as:
Description Keywords: words appearing at least twice in your app’s and your competitors’ app’ description.
Downloads Keywords: words that bring your app and your competitors most organic downloads.
Ranked Keywords: the list of the keywords for which both your app and your competitors are ranking in top 100 position.
Auto-suggestions: what the algorithms suggest users while they start typing a search. You can also check AppKeywords.io, a free Auto-suggestion Tool.
Search Ads keywords: top bidding keywords for both your app and your competitors.
Paid keywords: keywords for which you are bidding or your competitors are bidding on Search Ads.
Category keywords: the top ranked keywords from the top apps in your category.
Top/Worst Search Popularity Growth: keywords that either gained or lost the most interest (search volume) amongst search users since the past day, week or month.
Expert Tip: You can create multiple lists to structure your Semantic Dictionary. For example: all keywords directly related to your brand; all keywords related to your competitors; only generic keywords; all keywords related to a specific feature you provide etc.
2. Define your Keyword Selection
Once your Semantic Dictionary is ready, you want to pick the words you estimate have the highest potential to drive downloads to your app.
We recommend following these 3 rules while making your choice:
High Relevance: the keywords you choose must be relevant to your app. They should describe your app’s universe and features.
Highest Popularity possible: try finding keywords that users actually search for (make sure to correctly define your target audience, it will help you finding the best tone and formulations).
Lowest Competition possible: aim for low levels of competition keywords. This is especially important when your brand/app isn’t strong/popular yet.
The golden rule in this step is to keep in mind that it is more effective to rank high for a lower popular keyword than to rank low for a high popular keyword.
At the very beginning, it is very important to focus on niche keywords with rather a lower volume of searches but for which you would rank for in the Top results. The more downloads you will “easily” gain through long tail keywords the more you will reinforce your app’s authority and weight on the algorithm. As the number or your app downloads increases gradually, you’ll be able to target higher popular keywords.
Again, AppTweak’s Keyword Analysis Tool will help you identify the potential of each keyword in your semantic dictionary. The indicators given in the Analysis Table will help you understand the performance of a keyword in terms of Apple Search Popularity (Volume); Competition; KEI; Ranking History etc.
Expert Tip: You can star the most important words in a list and order the columns by ascending/descending KEI, Volume, Competition etc.
As soon as you’ve carefully chosen the keywords you believe are best for your app, those are the words you want to include in your app’s Metadata to start optimizing (Title, Subtitle, Keyword Field, Short & Long Description etc.).
3. Track, Monitor and Improve
Once you’ve made your keyword selection and updated your metadata, it’s time to wait and see what happens. ASO is an ongoing process that requires patience and perseverance. We recommend to update your keyword selection every 3 to 4 weeks. Indeed, that’s about the time the algorithms need to properly index your app on your new keywords.
Take into account that you will see at the very beginning (after 2–3 days) an increase in your keyword rankings but it usually will fade away after a little while (this is the famous “launch/new updates boost” that algorithms generously give to fresh apps).
Once things have settled down, it’s important to track your app’s visibility and performance on the new keywords you’ve added but also on any other keywords present in your semantic dictionary. Has your rankings on those words increased? Which words are driving most downloads? How have you gained in visibility on those words compared to competition?
AppTweak’s Keyword Monitoring Tool will help you keep track of your app’s performance over time and across countries. Most importantly, you will be able to compare your visibility and keyword rankings with your competitors.
Performance indicators include:
Percentage Stack evolution (% of keywords from the list of keywords you have created for which you rank 1, 2-3, 4-10, 11-30, 31-100, 101-500, >500)
Visibility Score History (compare your visibility progression on a set of words with your competitors)
Best and Worst performing keywords (the top 10 and worst 10 keywords for which you and your competitors have gained/lost rank)
Keyword ranking history (how you and your competitors rank for a specific word over time)
From there, you’ll be able to see which keywords have worked well for you and which keywords you could replace. Always maintain keywords for which you’re ranking high (having a fair amount of Volume of searches of course) and dismiss the ones that are not ranking your app or ranking it very low, albeit trying to rank for them repeatedly.
Iterate this whole methodology every 3 to 4 weeks. Don’t hesitate to make various tests. Try finding the right balance between your various sub-lists and between different keywords performance (in terms of volume and competition).
Once again, it is important to understand that ASO is an ongoing process that needs a regular attention and frequent updates. The algorithms always boost newly updated apps. Also, trends do change, what’s popular today may not be tomorrow. That’s why it’s fundamental to dedicate enough time and resources on your ASO strategy optimization and monitoring.