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App Keywords: 4 Facts You Did Not Know

We always say that finding the best keywords for an app is not an easy task. If you’re new to App Store Optimization (ASO), you might be wondering why. Well here’s the reason.

The best keywords for an app would be keywords with a high volume, low competition and high relevancy.

– A keyword with a high volume is a keyword, which is often looked up by App Store browsers during their searches. This metric therefore indicates the « popularity » of a specific keyword. Keywords often typed by users in the App Store would give higher chances of being discovered to apps matching them than to others.

– A keyword with low competition is a keyword that does not match a lot of other apps. In other words, there are not too many other apps responding to that keyword in the Search Result after making a search query with this keyword. Your app therefore stands higher chances of being seen amongst the others since there will be less apps in the results.

– A keyword with a high relevancy is a keyword matching the app’s purpose or universe. It’s obviously important to keep a certain level of consistency while choosing keywords for an app.

Great keywords would therefore be keywords merging these 3 parameters all together. And that’s what’s really hard to find. It can already be quite challenging to find high volume keywords or low competition ones with high relevancy. But imagine how difficult it can be if you need to find keywords with all 3 together?

Hopefully, there are some tools and/or services helping you to find the best keywords for your app. More and more actually. Since Apple does not provide any official data on the volume of searches, ASO tools can only estimate keywords volume and competition. For example, AppTweak is set up on a homemade algorithm to get the most accurate volume estimation.

As you probably already know, when submitting an app on the Apple App Store, app developers are invited to fill in what’s called the “keywords field” with a list of keywords of maximum 100 characters only. It is extremely short so the keywords must be optimized and thoughtfully chosen.

These keywords will help the App Store (based on an algorithm) to rank an app in the search results according to what users type during their searches. There is no such field for Google Play apps so the algorithm uses keywords from the app description instead.

Now that you’ve understood how important (and tricky) keywords are,here are 4 very interesting facts that you need to know.

#1: Localization: You Should Say No to Automatic Translation

Localizing keywords is probably one of the most important things to do when optimizing keywords. Indeed, it is absolutely necessary to match the language of your keywords according to the corresponding language and country in the App Store.

Obvious one might say. What’s not totally obvious is how to proceed. There are currently 2 different ways:

– Finding a list of optimized keywords for instance in English and then translate the keywords from this list directly in another language. These keywords are then translated using auto-translation (via Google Translate API for instance). This process automatically and instantly translate any keyword from a language to another.Easy? Yes. Efficient? Not really…

– The other solution is to start from the beginning for each language. The point is to find the best optimized keywords for each language.

If auto-translation seems appealing at first, it has low chances of bringing optimized keywords up. Worse, it can actually bring totally useless and meaningless keywords!

Indeed, literal translation does not take the context into account nor the popularity and trends of a specific word or expression in a language. A very good keyword in a language can be automatically translated into a very poor keyword in another language.

The most efficient solution would be to use native and genuine keywords.

This would therefore require the intervention of a native speaker who would analyze and then suggest such a list of keywords in his language.

Hopefully, some ASO platforms like AppTweak have conceived native keywords dictionaries. AppTweak provides optimized keywords in English, French, Spanish, Dutch, German and Portuguese. All you’d need to do is to see what keywords have the highest search volume and the lowest competition, but AppTweak also provides all these data.

#2: Find Keywords in Your Reviews

Reviews are a gold mine. They can indeed be a powerful source of keywords. It is indeed very interesting to mine your reviews (and your competitors’ of course) in order to see what keywords your users use the most.

Keywords that are used the most by your users are extremely relevant since they are actually generated by your target group! It’s therefore a smart way to see what is your target’s vocabulary and how your app is qualified.

Keywords ranking history

#3: How Does the App Store Algorithm Rank Apps on the Same Keyword

Some of you might have already wondered how the App Store algorithm ranked multiple apps on the same keyword.

First of all, it is important to know that keywords used in the app name have more weight than keywords coming from anywhere else, such as the keywords field (or in the description for Google Play apps) or the publisher name for example. Apps with that keyword in its title will therefore be ranked higher in the store than apps with that same keyword in their keywords field or description.

But what happens when multiple apps use the same keyword in their title? This is actually extremely common.

Well, in order to decide which app would rank first, the algorithm takes a look at the number of reviews and ratings the app has. The more positive reviews and ratings, the higher it will rank. This is another reason why reviews and ratings are so important.

#4: In-App Purchases Name Have an Influence on the Search Engine 

There are multiple sources on which the algorithm bases its search results on keywords. Keywords taken into account are coming from: the app name, the keywords field (or description for Google Play), the publisher name or app bundles more recently… but also from In-App purchases!

Keywords used in the In-App Display Name do influence the algorithm but only if the search query is an exact match. In other words, users need to type in the exact name of your IAP in the search bar for your app to appear in the search results.

For instance if your In-App Purchase is called “Full Power Candy”, users will need to type all these words and in the same order: “full power candy”, but if they type “candy full power”, your app won’t appear in the search results.

Your IAP name should therefore use interesting and relevant keywords. But also, they should not be too complicated so that you have more chances to be found.  

About the Author

Laurie Galazzo is content strategist at AppTweak. Passionate by new technologies and apps, she loves finding new ideas to spread valuable content on App Store Optimization and App Marketing. She’s in charge of the company’s blog, crafting articles helping users to increase their app downloadsand rankings. She’s also at the head of the ASO University, teaching App Store Optimization basics through video tutorials, all available for free on AppTweak blog.


Lakshmi uma

Lakshmi Uma is Appmaster's Podcast and ASO executive. She loves exploring ancient sanctuaries, architecture, and landscapes.


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