ASO Keyword Strategy & How To Reach The Best Keywords
App Store Optimization

ASO Keyword Strategy & How To Reach The Best Keywords


Buse Kanal

Introduction – “How to do keywords research for ASO”

App Store Optimization (ASO) is a crucial route to securing new users for your app. It’s an integral component of developers’ efforts to escalate their brands to the top of the search results wherever the keywords come into play. Moreover, it’s a reliable way to improve App Store and Google Play visibility.

The overall goal is doing app store keyword research the right way. There’s no denying that keyword strategy lies at the root of ASO. It means identifying the right keywords out of the gate. In this article, we intend to address a range of considerations that contribute to helping you do precisely that. They are as follows:

  • Getting a handle on keyword optimization
  • Understanding why data drives keyword optimization
  • Selecting the right keywords every time
  • How to collect keywords
  • Keywords with high popularity – a primary focus for developers
  • Determining the keywords you’re likely to compete for
  • Whittling it down to the best 5-10 keywords
  • Learning how to monitor and iterate

A. Getting a handle on keyword optimization

You can depend on Apple’s and Google’s search algorithms to match users with the most suitable apps they’re looking for. It’s common sense that the algorithms scan app names, subtitles, and descriptions to appreciate their inner workings and user needs as expressed by search terms. Then, the technology behind them goes to work, bringing all the pieces together to create a reasonable (if not perfect) match.

Remember this:

  • The app store algorithms are continually in flux, changing under Apple and Google management initiatives.
  • However, one thing never alters: they will always connect to the information developers provide to make an alignment.

So, the path ahead is in your hands. It’s waiting on you to provide accurate iOS and Android data, thus giving the algorithm enough ammunition to feature your app on essential searches. That’s what keyword optimization is all about. However, keep in mind that Apple and Google impose restrictions, mainly around the number of characters you’re allowed. Therefore, picking high traffic-centric keywords should be top of mind. Don’t waste your time on empty terms; find the diamonds in the rough.

B. Understanding why data drives keyword optimization

The primary methods for assessing one’s chances of ranking high for any selected keyword are:

  1. Trial and error – requiring patience while failing numerous times before hitting gold.
  2. Data and insights –  allowing you to bypass (a) above with faster results.

Naturally, anyone prefers saving time when optimizing instead of laboriously plodding a circuitous route to the same thing. Therefore, we’ll deliver a thorough step-by-step keyword research process to fit into an expert’s perspective of ASO. It’s also the way a free aso keyword research tool works.

C. Selecting the right keywords every time

Many developers approach finding the right keywords as a route to ASO, expecting it to be highly complicated. It’s not the case – pretty simple, really. Begin by pinpointing potential keywords by asking yourself what your typical users think when searching. The first things that come to mind are primarily:

  • Benefits
  • Features
  • Competitor terms you’ve seen in competitor advertising, names, and subtitles.

Along these lines, an extensive list should emerge. Even though you think that every one of them qualifies, they do not. Test them for popularity, and make minor adjustments to record the exact terms searchers use. Indeed, it may mean deleting a “the” or an “and” (for example) or shortening it to something that grammatically doesn’t sound right. However, the actual users’ terminology is all that counts in the end.

The next step is to test each term for popularity and rank them. Delete those scoring under ten and draw a line that divides the lesser searched ones from those coming up most often. Then, in the latter, extract those you believe best represents your app and which you can compete for with conviction.

Understand this: The algorithm takes many things into account when ranking results on any search.

  • A fundamental influence is the number of downloads and the app rating.
  • In other words, no matter how good your keyword optimization is, you need user traction. App search ranking will remain out of sight on vital searches without it.
  • Conversely, given that app downloads are accumulating and ratings are boosting your brand, a faulty keyword strategy can be a drag on the app’s search ranking.
  • Thus, we advise looking at the top apps’ keyword terms and assessing how your performance compares.
  • Those you match or beat give a powerful clue as to where to focus your attention and build a keyword strategy around. Based on this premise, many keywords fall away.

The process, in a nutshell, is to select between five and ten keywords that:

  1. Are used often.
  2. Bring up apps high in the searches and with which you can hold your own.
  3. Integrate the terms into your metadata and descriptions.

Keep a careful watch on what happens after that over the next three to four weeks. See what’s working best for you, and continue the process with finding more driving keywords to uplift your search ranking along similar lines. ASO Keyword Strategy & How To Reach The Best Keywords

D. How to collect keywords

As intimated above, getting keywords into a shortlist is crucial. You start by collecting many, and through elimination, you drill down to the few that create brand visibility. You may begin with thirty to fifty but end up with only five to ten.

E. Keywords with high popularity – a primary focus for developers

Popularity of the keyword (Search Score) 

While doing app store keyword research, there are certain ASO intelligence tools that are used by marketeers/developers. All these tools have terms that describe the popularity of the keyword and the higher it is the more searches are done for that keyword. For instance as ShyftUp we use Mobile Action and Mobile Action uses the term Search Score.

  • The Search Score rests between 5 and 100, reflecting the number of users searching with a keyword compared to other keyword options in The App Store and Google Play.
  • The highest ranking is 100 (e.g., Facebook)
  • The lowest possible score is 5 (where there are next to no searches). Unfortunately, many keywords will never achieve higher than the lowest score.

Can you get a keyword with a score of zero? Yes, very rarely, though – indicating that the algorithm fails to understand its meaning.

So, Rule #1 – Focus only on keywords with reasonably high popularity and where you believe you have the brand power to compete. In many cases, the highest-ranking keywords align with apps you can’t compete with – they’re out of your league. There’s no mileage in tilting at windmills if the algorithms view your downloads and rating as inconsequential.

  • So, set your sights on high search scores.
  • For apps making their debut, you’re looking for some traction – any traction.
  • The gaps may exist with keywords reflecting some popularity but not involving superior performing apps.
  • You’re trying to find terms that offer user following but don’t attract heavy hitters. The latter can too easily push your app to the sideline.
  • Everything in double digits is fair game.

Tip: Stay away from scores under five – they’re a waste of time and effort.

F. Determining the Keywords You’re likely to Compete For.

We’re probably belaboring the point, but popularity is one side of the coin. The other – much more crucial side – is being realistic about your chances of competing. So, for example:

  • Even if you like a particular term, apps may emerge at the top of the searches with two, three, and four times your downloads.
  • Then you’ve got an uphill battle on your hands.
  • Instead, select lower popularity (as long as it’s still double-digit) and pinpoint app results you can see are in your shooting range.

It’s vital to note that users probably go no lower than the top five search results, so that’s your target. You’re facing the law of diminishing odds for every place you drop below that. Once you drift out of the top ten, you’re in the app wilderness – unlikely to ever enjoy discovery. So, when assessing the competitive latitude you have for popular terms, look at:

  1. Estimated downloads your competitors are achieving.
  2. Their category rank and ratings.
  3. Age of the top 10 results.

Tip: The Competitiveness assessment depends on (a) to (c) above analyzed in combination. Take your time scoring yourself here; stay grounded and brutally honest with yourself. Once completed, you’ll know the popular keywords that give excellent chances of success.

G. Whittling it down to the best 5-10 Keywords

The one thing developers want to know right away is how to measure competitiveness versus others coming up in the searches. The goal is to establish a benchmark that signifies you should “go for this keyword” or leave it alone. Here are the steps (alluded to above, but more specific here):

  1. Overview of the top 10 results.
  2. Note down the app in that grouping with the lowest number of downloads.
  3. Average out the downloads across all ten.
  4. Make similar assessments for ratings and rankings.
  5. And there you have it – those are your benchmarks, with downloads as the heaviest weighting.
  6. Look at your app’s downloads, rating, and ranking and compare accordingly:
    • You want to meet or beat the minimum.
    • Hopefully, align with the average.
    • If you fare well versus the benchmarks, you’re in the game.
    • Don’t waste your time where you can’t compete.
    • Select up to ten keywords you want to compete for against other apps.
    • Get them into the following for both iOS and Android:
      • The name
    • For iOS only:
      • Subtitle
      • Keyword list
    • For Android only:
      • Short description
      • Long description

After completing your analysis, we advise getting an expert into your corner to finesse the keywords into the described content. In short, you have to insert them into the metadata in all the critical places for the best outcomes.

H. Learning how to Monitor and Iterate

After all your analysis and keyword insertion, you must be a little patient.

  • It takes the app stores close to a month to reconfigure everything and update its index.
  • Therefore, ensure that you monitor your keyword ranks around the fourth week to see if your expectations are coming to fruition.
  • You should see movement and the ranking moving steadily higher. Also, observe impressions and that you’re not moving in the opposite direction. The bottom line is:
    • Follow our guidelines and step-by-step methodical approach, in which case:
      • The only path for your keyword ranks, impressions, and downloads should be up and away.
    • Don’t rest on your laurels. Once you see progression, get back to your keyword list and find the next 5 – 10 keywords.
    • Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat – that’s the way this works best.
    • Eventually, you’ll get a sense of the searches and keywords giving you the most traction.

It’s vital to note:

  • As professional as it is, the process outlined above isn’t a secret.
  • You should assume that competitors are doing what you are to emerge in the top five or ten results.
  • That’s the nature of the app business – it’s competitive with a Capital C.
  • So, don’t believe that some other app can’t displace you once you’re ranked.
  • Monitoring the situation is crucial and looking for new gaps is crucial.

I. Some other useful tips

  1. Never include any competitor’s name in a search result. Why? Because when a user searches for an app by its name, they want it specifically and are generally not interested in anything else. You’ll rank below that app in that situation, and it wastes time.
  2. Frequently your opening list of keywords is close to fifty. Don’t let that deter you. Our process will kill off most of it quickly.
  3. You may find that your original guesstimates are way off the mark. No problem! That’s quite common. Press on as directed above.
  4. When dealing with many solid brand name options, don’t worry about counting ten results. Narrow it down to five or even three to establish benchmarks.
  5. In iOS, the keyword list gives you much more latitude to get your keywords working for you – more so than name and subtitle. So make the best of it with an expert in your corner. It’s also the place to squeeze in less essential keywords.
  6. When getting the best ASO, forget about repeating keywords (in 2022). It doesn’t help you at all. Indeed, it takes up valuable space and detracts value from the keyword itself. So, repeating is a massive no-no, resulting in a downgrade of your ranking.


ASO and keyword optimization require a systematic approach. There’s no other way. There’s an app store keyword tool free, but understanding the logic behind its deployment is paramount. We’ve provided that above under primary headings that draw your attention to the goal. To fill in gaps, talk to ShyftUp – a leading global User Acquisition Agency. They’ll help you decide on the best-ranking strategy for your app portfolio. ShyftUp focuses on two primary services:

  1.  App Store Optimization (ASO) – unleashing the power of organic user growth by creating boosted visibility on the app stores
  2.  Paid User Acquisition – to help you grow your user base by converting your paid marketing budget into real users, thus revenue. ShyftUp specializes in Apple Search Ads and Google UAC channels.

[sc_fs_multi_faq headline-0=”h2″ question-0=”How do I optimize keywords for ASO?” answer-0=”Through a process of finding the most popular and then assessing the popular ones your app can compete for. Once decided, you get them into your metadata for both app stores. ” image-0=”” headline-1=”h2″ question-1=”How do you use keywords in ASO?” answer-1=”You get them into your metadata for both app stores. ” image-1=”” headline-2=”h2″ question-2=”How do you research keywords for ASO?” answer-2=”Go through the following process: Getting a handle on keyword optimization, understanding why data drives keyword optimization, selecting the right keywords every time, how to collect keywords, keywords with high popularity – a primary focus for developers, determining the keywords you’re likely to compete on, whittling it down to the best 5-10 Keywords, learning how to monitor and iterate. ” image-2=”” count=”3″ html=”true” css_class=””]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *