We produce App Store Videos

App Store Optimization (ASO): App Name, Subtitle and Keywords [3.0]

This is a guest post on ASO by Laurie Galazzo, CMO at AppTweak ASO Tool.

UPDATE: July 8, 2019

Your app is live and available on the Apple App Store. It is unique and looks great. One problem: your app is invisible in the search results, lost amongst other apps stealing away potential users from you.

Today, the competition is more impressive than ever before. There are about 2 million apps in the App Store. We can fairly say that there exists “an app for everything and everyone”.

If the total number of apps in the App Store has declined over the past couple of years (due to new requirements and OS compatibility standards), the quality of apps in the store has gone up drastically, which makes it even harder to stand out.

Yet, if your app offers something new and disruptive or solves a problem in a clear and meaningful way, you’re probably on the right path to success.

What matters now is to build a strong app marketing strategy and put together relevant promotional initiatives.

Did you know that the App Store remains the first place where people come to download apps? Actually, about 70% of app store visitors use search to find new apps and over 65% of apps are downloaded directly after a search in the store (this includes brand search).

If you’re reading this post, you probably have heard about App Store Optimization (ASO) and the benefits of keyword optimization.

ASO is like SEO but for mobile apps. It is the process of improving an app’s visibility in the app stores through the optimization of a set of various factors influencing the store ranking algorithm.

Given the high level of competition and the importance of app discoverability, ASO should have a prominent focus in your mobile growth stack, as part of your acquisition and conversion tools.

By making your app more visible and appear at the top of the search results (top 10 at least), you will naturally increase the number of your app users and grow your users base in a cost-effective way.

We will start by looking at the three most important components for an app’s discoverability in the Apple App Store: app name, app subtitle and app keywords.

Keep reading to discover everything you need to know in order to create your app name and select your keywords in the App Store effectively (go here for Google Play Store tips).

This post will not only give you the best practices of keywords optimization, it will also illustrate the positive effects of ASO on various apps and brands through datadriven case studies.

Keep in mind that ASO and keyword optimization are not a one-shot but rather an ongoing process. Your app keywords should be monitored and iterated regularly for the best results.

1. The importance of the iOS App name

The App Store is a crowded marketplace, which makes it difficult for users to find what they’re looking for and challenging for app developers to get their apps discovered.

App Store Optimization (ASO) therefore plays a great role in terms of User Acquisition, as shown on the Mobile Growth Stack from Andy Carvell (Phiture).

mobile growth stack
The Mobile Growth Stack 2019

Keyword research is probably the most crucial part of ASO. The algorithm employed by the Apple App Store uses primarily keywords coming from the app title and subtitle in order to rank apps for specific search queries.

The algorithm also takes keywords from the App Store Connect Keyword Field (100-character keyword set) to index apps.

app store optimization keywords

app store connect keywords
App Store Connect Keyword Field

Other elements (such as installs, conversion rates, reviews & ratings, etc.) are taken into account by the algorithm to make a proper ranking on apps targeting the same app store keywords.

In terms of keywords, the app name has the biggest weight. Your app name is also the first thing your potential users will see after your app icon. You therefore want to make it count!

Keep your app name under 30 characters

In September 1, 2016, Apple had limited the app name to 50 characters, instead of 255 before. With the introduction of iOS 11 a year later, Apple reduced the app name length to 30 characters. The same limit applies for iOS 12.

While it was still technically possible to use over 30 characters a year ago, the limit is today strict and fixed.

The whole idea behind this limitation is to avoid keyword stuffing and, therefore, improve discoverability and the overall App Store experience.

Through its App Store Review Guidelines, Apple clearly illustrates its will to reinforce the quality and the efficiency of its App Store search.

Although relevant keyword stuffing had shown some ranking benefits at some point in the past, more and more apps started to use that technique, which made the competitive edge less impactful.

Plus, some publishers used irrelevant but yet very popular keywords in order to trick the algorithm and get more impressions. These techniques have now been proven to be totally ineffective, given the reinforced guidelines and since conversion rate is today a powerful ranking indicator for the algorithm.

The impact of this new guideline is almost insignificant on popular brands and known apps, as people still search for them by app name. Yet, we found out that most top 10 apps use generic keywords in addition to their brand names in their app title.

For less popular apps, one should strike the right balance between branding and relevant keywords which can create long tail keywords and niche combinations.

App Store Keywords from App Title weigh the most

Although it was already proven that keywords from the app name had more impact on the algorithm than the ones in the keyword field, the reduced amount of keywords allowed in the app title makes them even more impactful.

Gabe from Incipia found from practice that keywords in the title rank 2x better than the keyword field. Plus, there is also a benefit for app store keywords mixed into the title and keywords space, than those found simply in the keyword field alone.

For Pink Cloud paid app, Gabe and his team used AppTweak Keyword Tool and boosted one keyword from #23 to #3 on the day of the update by simply moving it from the keyword field to the title.

pink cloud
Source: AppTweak

This doubled the overall number of keywords they were ranking for. Plus, the effect of adjusting the title and keywords (the prior title held no keywords, just the brand name) led to an average improvement of 67% for category and caused the app to capture a top country rank where it had never done so before.

Ekaterina Petrakova from Rocket Internet also shared with us some interesting results on the matter. One of the company’s venture saw an increase of 40% in conversion rate simply by moving one keyword from the keyword field to the app title.

The change was made in two different countries: Singapore, where the app saw an increase in ranking for that specific keyword from #165 to #64; and in Indonesia, where the ranking increased from the 10th position to the 1st for that keyword.

In addition, the app saw a drastic boost of ranking in its category, increasing from #149 to #52 in one country and from #65 to #57 in the other.

These examples confirm that app store keywords placed in the app title have more weight than the ones in the keyword field, so make sure to keep this in mind while placing your keywords.

How to build the optimal app name

Your app name should be easy to understand and unique. The point is to communicate your app’s main purpose along with your app’s icon and your first 3 screenshots or your app preview (displayed in the search results).

Make sure to always benchmark your competitors in order to stand out, or on the opposite to strike back by using the same keywords.

With the small number of characters allowed, it is important to pick the strongest and most relevant keywords in your title. We’ll show you below how you can find these keywords.

It’s also very important to avoid using special characters (such as the trademark or copyright symbol for instance) since your app name is used in your iTunes’ webpage URL. If it’s not properly recognized, your app ID will be used instead and this is definitely not a good SEO practice.

deezer
Deezer web app’s page

Keyword position in the app name

Some theories claim that keywords placed at the very beginning of the app title have more weight than the ones located at the end. Although there is no real evidence supporting this theory, nothing could disprove it either.

What Gabe from Incipia fairly points out is that we know that keywords from the first half of the app name are displayed for users and don’t truncate. Those could therefore possibly rank higher as users download those apps more, which could be the reason behind the ranking phenomenon, rather than the character location of the keywords themselves.

In other words, you have nothing much to lose in terms of rankings here by repositioning your keywords in a descending order of importance in your app name. It’s up to you to make a few tests and see what works best for you.

It has also been seen that using an exact title match for the search keyword produces better rankings (+109% average improvement). Keep that in mind while creating your app title.

Did you know we gathered all our best ASO content in one place? Check out our App Store Optimization resources.

2. Make sure to optimize your app subtitle!

In September 2017, Apple had announced a series of changes in the Apple App Store. A few of these changes have impacted ASO drastically, forcing app developers and marketers to rethink their app’s metadata strategy.

One of the most significant changes was the reduction of the app name length to 30 characters, along with the introduction of the app subtitle.

Indeed, Apple allows app developers and marketers to use an additional short phrase under their app name which can be seen as a complement of the app name in terms of marketing message but also in terms of keywords.

Since the app subtitle is 30 characters, this makes a total of 60 customizable characters (instead of 50 with the previous app name on its own). App developers have therefore a little more space since that update (still the case for iOS 12).

The best way to optimize your app subtitle is to use very strong and descriptive keywords that will match relevant search queries. Don’t repeat keywords already used in your app name or app keyword field, as they will only be taken into account once.

subtitle

Note: Apple also allows to add a Promotional Text, which is a 170 characters text field appearing at the top of the app description. Its main purpose is to let users know about the latest app news and features. This text is not indexed by the algorithm but it is still interesting to use relevant keywords for SEO purposes. Read more in this article.

3. How the App Store Connect keyword field works

The other very important app indexing keywords component is the App Store Connect Keyword Field allowing you to include a set of 100-character keywords.

The given space is quite reduced so you need to make sure to choose your keywords wisely. Here again, don’t repeat any keywords that are already used in your app name, in your subtitle or in your publisher name: it’s a waste of space since they will be taken into account only once.

AppTweak provides a handy tool counting the number of characters in your keyword list. Make sure to use as many characters as possible and try reaching 100 characters if possible. AppTweak tool sorts your tracked keywords by length so it makes it easier to find one last additional keyword that fits your list perfectly.

app store keyword counter
Image: AppTweak

Although it is crucial to focus on long tail keywords (read more about this below) rather than single keywords, the algorithm will only rank your app on the exact combination if you have used a space.

However, if you use a comma to separate single terms, the App Store’s algorithm automatically combines all the keywords together in order to create more combined opportunities. It will also rank your app on the single words alone.

Here’s a concrete example. If you want to be indexed on “fitness coach” don’t include “fitness coach” in your keyword field but rather “fitness,coach” (no space before/after the comma). This will allow you not only to rank on “fitness”, “coach” but also on “fitness coach” and “coach fitness”.

Since you can get about 10-12 keywords in your keyword field, imagine how many combinations you can target. Don’t miss these opportunities: avoid using spaces.

Here again, do not use trademarks that you don’t own or you will risk being rejected. Also, favor using singular rather than plural. Apple now seems to be handling singular/plural associations pretty well.

Finally, Apple gives some “free” matches on some specific keywords like the keyword “app” or common misspelling of your brand name. Check out the list of 19 free matching keywords that you don’t need to include in your keywords selection.

4. How to find the right App Store keywords?

Keywords research is challenging. Luckily, there is a range of App Store Optimization tools that can help you find the right keywords for your keyword list, your app name and your app subtitle.

AppTweak is one of the best ones out there. Driven by Data Science, AppTweak ASO tool helps you audit, optimize and monitor your keywords performance. AppTweak features can help you figure out some of your competitor’s keywords, find new ones and get insights on keywords rankings over time.

To get a complete list of app marketing tools click here.

You can also have a look at what’s happening on the web, using tools like Google Keyword Planner or Google Trends. These tools can give you other valuable keyword ideas (those can actually help with market research as well).

5. What is a good keyword?

It’s now time for advice on how to determine the right keywords for your app title, subtitle and keyword field.

We usually recommend starting from a long list of about 200 keywords — the semantic dictionary — that would be closely (or less closely) related to the app’s purpose. The aim is to try finding as many keywords as possible and to analyze their performance. This list will then be reduced until creating the ultimate final keywords selection.

One of the biggest mistakes that people new to ASO make is to choose keywords based on how many searches the keyword gets only (Search Popularity or Volume).

Although Search Popularity is an important indicator, it should not be the first element to look at.

There are many different keyword selection strategies. Here are the characteristics we recommend that you should prioritize to find the best keywords.

1. Keyword Relevancy

Of course, the first and most important characteristic is keyword relevancy. It is crucial to choose keywords that describe the app’s main purpose and core functionality.

Conversion rate has a strong weight in keywords rankings. The algorithm will boost your keyword rankings if your have a good conversion rate. On the other hand, Apple will lower your rankings on keywords for which you’re not converting. In other words, make sure that if a user searches for a specific keyword that you’re targeting, they will be likely to download your app.

It’s also important to try aiming for relevant long tail keywords. Not only will they drive more quality downloads (because they are more specific), they will also be less competitive. You will therefore have more chances to rank high for them.

2. Keyword Difficulty / Chance

The second element to take into account in keyword research is the keyword difficulty (competition), which goes along with keyword rankings.

The golden rule in ASO is indeed to aim for high rankings (top 10) for any keyword targeted. Indeed, users are less likely to download an app that is ranking below the first 10 results, as they would not scroll that far.

We’ve actually seen that the top 3 search results grab over 75% of the total organic downloads on a branded search and nearly 50% for searches using generic terms.

Plus, with the stories and the ads that now appear in the search results, organic results are getting a little less room so it is even more important to aim for the highest rankings possible. You can use AppTweak’s Real Phone Experience to check how many scrolls users have to make to find apps.

Of course, it is always better to target keywords with the lowest competition possible in order to maximize your chances of high rankings.

It is important to always monitor your keyword rankings over time, as they can change pretty quickly. Stick to keywords for which you have high rankings, except if they don’t bring you any traffic (too low Volume). Replace keywords for which you are not ranking at all or not ranking high enough (they are useless as they won’t bring you any downloads).

Looking at similar apps’ rankings (competitors), you might want to adopt a defensive or an offensive strategy. The defensive strategy is where you target all keywords you are already ranking for in order to maintain top position on these keywords.

The offensive way is trying to outrank your competitors’ keywords rankings by targeting the same keywords. We recommend trying to find the right balance between these two strategies.

The “Chance” indicator

AppTweak provides a handy indicator called “Chance” (number between 1-100) which tells how likely your app will rank in the top 10 for a given keyword.

The Chance score is based on your app power (overall ranking strength based on the total number of downloads) and the keyword’s competition (based on the top 10 app powers in the results and keyword volatility).

Additionally, AppTweak Live Search History allows you to check how the Top 10 for any keyword changes over time.

3. Keyword Volume (Search Popularity)

Last but not least, look at keyword popularity to make your final selection. If you’re hesitating between multiple synonyms or similar keywords with about the same relevance and competition, choose the term with the highest volume of searches.

With Apple Search Ads, Apple now provides the exact Search Popularity for keywords in 59 countries. When choosing an ASO tool, make sure that the Search Popularity provided comes from Apple and that it is updated daily.

On top of Apple’s daily Search Popularity, AppTweak provides a powerful estimate of the total number of organic downloads a given keyword drives to an app on a monthly basis (read more on our Monthly Installs per keyword). This can help you gauge the potential of a keyword in a concrete and measurable way.

Remember that it is always better to be in the top 10 results for an average-searched keyword than having a low ranking on a highly popular keyword. In other words, it’s better to rank #5 on “fitness exercise tracker” than ranking #345 on “fitness”. This is why we highly encourage to target long tail keywords.

Gabe from Incipia has an interesting approach on the matter. He usually starts with high volume terms to see whether he can get a good rank. For the keywords on which the app won’t rank, he would shift gradually to longer tail until he gets a satisfactory rank. Over time, he would return to the high volume terms as the app’s visibility would grow overall.

Each ASO tool has its own metrics for measuring competition and searches. Make sure to check their exact sources and methodology, as those KPIs are crucial for your success.

A good way to find the right balance between the Chance and the Volume of specific keywords (or long tail keywords) is to look at the Keyword Efficiency Index (KEI) provided by AppTweak. High KEIs highlight keywords with both high chance and high volume.

keywords scores ASO
Image: AppTweak

Choosing Keywords according to their ARPU (Average Revenue per Users)

A very interesting keyword strategy is the one used by Thomas Petit, Growth Consultant and former Growth Hacker at 8fit.com.

Thomas states that keywords with too high of a Volume in verticals that are too competitive are useless to target.

Thomas shared his secret ingredient with us. He targets keywords with a high ARPU (Average Revenue per Users) rather than looking for high Volume and low Competition keywords.

The ARPU is calculated by the amount of mobile revenue generated in a specific time period divided by the number of users actively engaging with your app in that period.

Thomas uses Google Adwords and Search Ads to get the ARPU per query and targets all keywords with high ARPU, even if their volume is limited.

This is the reason why he chose not to use “fitness” or “nutrition” in his app title. They both have a very high Volume but a low ARPU because the intent is too generic.

8Fit

Thomas groups multiple keywords by concept (“workout”, “workout app”, “workouts”, “work out” and “work out at home”) and then chooses the ones with the highest ARPU.

In this case, “workouts” has a very high ARPU and was therefore targeted for the 8fit app title.

According to Thomas, the Volume must still be taken into account in order to balance the keyword selection final choice, but he thinks that people are too focused on it.

This gives him some edge, especially since he’s able to get a pretty accurate ARPU while most app marketers don’t even think about relying on costs and revenue. And if they do, they do it instinctively or base their acquisition on the ROI.

Thomas claims that this comes from the fact that the average app marketer doesn’t have enough data nor the tools required to link revenue and keywords.

Relying on ARPU for your keywords selection could therefore be an interesting lead for you, feel free to let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

6. Additional sources of keyword suggestions and insights

As mentioned, keyword research can be quite challenging. However, there are many tricks and sources of suggestions you can use for help.

We will see how seasonality should affect your ASO, how Search Ads can be a great source of keywords and how Apple’s stories can help you better understand the algorithm and find new keywords.

Keyword Seasonality

Consumer needs constantly evolve according to trends, timing, countries, traditions, celebrations or local events. A key element that is often overlooked by app marketers is the influence of seasonality on searches behaviors.

It is however important to evaluate your users habits and behaviors over the course of the year in order to adapt your app marketing and ASO strategy. By doing so, you will unlock powerful opportunities which could increase your reach and total downloads in the store.

You can easily identify specific search trends according to seasonality using Google Trends, Apple’s Search Popularity History or by looking at your own data.

During one of our ASO Breakfasts in Paris, Simon from Deezer shared with us some key takeaways on the implementation of seasonality in their mobile growth strategy.

First, they have observed that the number of Deezer’s downloads increases during the weekend, as users have more time to listen to music. They therefore increase their marketing efforts on the weekends to maximize growth.

app store optimization deezer
Image Source: AppTweak

Simon also highlights the efficiency of combining seasonal marketing initiatives with ASO. As an example, Deezer partnered with Tinder on Valentine’s Day in 2017 to promote music streaming. Deezer’s storefront creatives were aligned to contribute to ad recall and to match their marketing efforts on V-day.

3

Last December, Deezer ran a seasonal campaign along with French artists to create a playlist including the most famous Christmas songs.

They pushed the marketing campaign through TV and Cinema commercials and also updated their store creatives with the same Christmas spirit as the one used in their ads.

app store optimization seasonality

The campaign was overall a big success: their app downloads increased considerably and reached more than 300 daily installs for 2 weeks straight.

Apple Search Ads

Apple allows app developers and marketers to promote their apps via Search Ads in 59 storefronts and it’s just a matter of time for more countries to be made available.

This means that Apple’s keyword Search Popularity is available for an extensive number of geos, making keyword research more accurate in terms of traffic. Once again, it is crucial to rely on the most up-to-date Search Volume data to make your keyword selection.

A great way to benefit from Apple Search Ads in your ASO is to look at Apple’s Recommended and Related keywords for your app (and your competitors). Those are keywords that Apple recommends developers to bid on and therefore this unlocks terms the algorithm considers relevant to their apps.

Overall, understanding your competitors’ Search Ads strategy will inevitably give you keywords ideas for your ASO as it will help you gauge their semantic strategy. You can use AppTweak Search Ads Intelligence to spy on your competitors bidding strategy.

Story Keywords

Another great source of inspiration for keyword research comes from Apple’s Stories. As you probably know, the App Store has today a strong focus on rich content and provides users with editorial Stories to promote apps.

Those stories appear in various spots on the store. Most of them are displayed in the “Today” tab.

app store optimization stories
Image: Apple “Today” Tab, iOS 12

Apple also features Stories in the search results, where they mix with search ads and organic results. Interestingly enough, we found out that Apple was pushing Stories on keywords that are closely related to the app showcased in the story. Even more interesting, those keywords are not necessarily targeted by the app!

Just like Search Ads Recommended and Related keywords, all keywords automatically computed and suggested by Apple constitute a real source of inspiration as they provide insights on how the algorithm sees the app’s semantic.

Here again, AppTweak can help detect those keywords for both your app and your competitors, as we fetch the stories in which any app was featured and keep all the story keywords in our database.

ASO story keywords
Image: List of Story keywords for Booking.com (AppTweak)

7. Increase your keywords space with localization

As we’ve seen, the app title, subtitle and keyword field are quite limited in terms of characters. It is therefore a real challenge to select the right keywords.

A great trick to increase your number of available keywords in the App Store is to use localization. Apple allows you to submit keywords in various languages per country (in addition to English) in order to make a proper localization strategy.

Localization is actually a great way to drive more downloads. Let’s take the example of for-sale.co.uk, a website allowing people to buy and sell second-hand goods.

After a soft launch of their app in France, the company’s founders noticed some major interest in the U.K. Based on this, they decided to build an effective localization strategy in order to take advantage of this opportunity and leverage their potential in the U.K.

The numbers speak for themselves: the app saw a 33 percent increase in app installs, a 16 percent increase in the number of sessions and a 14 percent increase in active devices.

Apple’s localized additional Keyword Fields can also be used in another way.

Moritz Daan from Phiture made a study and found a few interesting facts on the matter. In the United States, you will rank for Spanish (Mexico) and English (United States). The two fields however don’t combine but if your app isn’t localized for the Spanish speaking market, you can use the available space to store extra English keywords.

For other countries (except Canada), apps rank for keywords in English (United Kingdom) and English (Australia) in addition to their applicable localization. Here, keywords are combined across the different keyword fields.

For instance, if you’re targeting “Hotel” in your French keyword set and “booking” in your English (U.K.) keywords, you will rank for “Hotel booking”.

Another interesting fact is that all apps rank for English (Australia), a well-known glitch in the algorithm.

Thomas from 8fit added the keyword “fitness” in his Australian app title. As you can see on the graph below, there had been a huge increase in rankings for this keyword. Plus, Thomas noticed a long-term positive evolution, which probably translates into a great conversion rate on this keyword.

fitness 8fit
Image Source: AppTweak
Want to learn more about ASO? Check out our App Store Optimization resources: all our best content in one place!

8. Keyword update and monitoring

Once you’ve published your new release with your new app title, subtitle and keyword set, you’ll need to carefully monitor the effect of your new keywords on your app’s rankings and performance over time.

It takes about 3 weeks for the algorithm to index all your keywords properly. Also, Apple gives a 7-day boost to all new apps or new releases so don’t take the first keywords rankings increase for granted as they can fade over time.

The app’s freshness is a determinant factor in the App Store – from both a marketing and an algorithmic view. It is recommended to make an ASO update every 4 – 6 weeks. Of course, use these updates to improve your app at the same time by adding new features or by fixing bugs.

ASO tools like AppTweak can provide you with powerful monitoring features that will save you a lot of time.

Conclusion

Keyword optimization is not a one-time thing. It’s an ongoing process that you need to continually test and iterate.

ASO can bring great results but it needs to be carefully handled. Try keywords for a few weeks and analyze the effects they have on your impressions and downloads. To measure this, you can do a pre-post analysis (before/after) by using App Store Connect Analytics data.

Remember that the App Store is very dynamic and constantly changing so you need to keep up to date and adapt your strategy according to the new trends.

Keep experimenting and you will continue to stay relevant in organic search.

About the Author

Laurie is CMO at AppTweak, ASO Tool pioneer. Passionate about new technologies and apps, she loves finding new ideas to spread valuable content on App Store Optimization and App Marketing since 2014.

Guest Expert

This article was written by one of our awesome Guest Experts. We really appreciate the time and knowledge that they share with the app marketing community in our guest posts.

Looking toIncrease conversion or acquire users?

App preview videos

App preview videos

Play Store videos

Play Store videos

UA & Video Ads

UA & Video Ads

App Explainer videos

App Explainer videos

  1. Hi Sylvain,
    Its quite interesting and helpful topic for ASO. Have a quick question about the update. As you mention that “It is recommended to make an ASO release every 4 – 6 weeks.”
    What if someone has nothing to add new features or to remove bugs in the update. Can Apple accept that update in which just we add ASO release mean to say that just change/add Keywords in that version.
    Looking forward to your reply.
    Thanks

  2. You’ve mentioned in the post that ratings and reviews are reset after every update. Do you mean that an app’s ranking and the contribution of ratings & reviews to that app’s ranking will be looked re-calculated after every update? Could you kindly elaborate on this?

  3. hi
    i have learned a lot in this article i have two questions
    is this available also in google play if it is should i use comma to separate keywords in the discription ?

  4. Hi Is there any way to get the search volume for in-app store searches?. The best I found was searching on the mobile device and taking note on what other keywords show up when typing the root phrase

  5. Could you please inform me that how technical app name or business name generator work / suggest the best name, I mean how generator generate the name, what’s the formula,

    When we enter the certain keywords and generator give us the related business name or synonyms? or something technically behind the suggestions?

  6. Hi, Thank you for the article.
    I have some quick questions :
    – When you say ” Don’t repeat any keywords that are already used in your app name or in your publisher name” does it also work with keywords in the subtitle ? Should I repeat the kw in my subtitle, in the keywords field or not ?
    – Should I use the derived words in the KW field ? (for example : “Book,booking”; “reserve, reservation”…
    Not only in English, but in general.

    Thank you,
    Adams

    1. Hi Adams,

      No, you shouldn’t repeat the keywords already used in your subtitle. On Apple, it is useless to repeat keywords across metadata fields.

      Yes, that is indeed a great idea. Although Apple’s algorithm will most likely automatically associate your app to derived words (usually singular/plural and misspellings), it is a good strategy to secure your ranks on very relevant terms by using them in your KW field.

      Hope this helps!

  7. Hey Sylvain, great article!

    I have a doubt regarding the use of Keywords in title.

    This is what Apple says:
    App names must be limited to 30 characters and should not include prices, terms, or descriptions that are not the name of the app.

    So it’s basically a no?

    1. Hi Laura!

      Apple indeed wants to encourage users to use only their brand name in their app title while using descriptive keywords in the subtitle.

      However, it is still recommended to use one or two keywords in the app name, as they have a huge weight on the algorithm. This is especially true if the brand name is very short of course.

      Hope this helps! 🙂

      1. I have exactly the same question, and it’s written in app review guideline:
        “Choose a unique app name, assign keywords that accurately describe your app…”
        So, what does this phrase mean?
        They tell not “Choose a uniqe app name by assigning…” or smth, but straightly “Choose app name, Assign keywords”… Is there some controversy opinion above?

        1. Hi Ivan – what Laurie is suggesting is not controversial but a best practice in ASO. Your app name should not be stuff with keywords (you can’t anyway now) but if you find a nice way to incorporate 1 or 2 keywords seamlessly you should definitely do it.

  8. Great post ankit I think that ranking for any keyword is not that much difficult if you analyze you targeted keywords properly and try to rank for low competitive keywords instead of high competitive keyword and this is really going to improve your ranks

    Cheers

    1. Hi there,

      You’re right! It is very important to try ranking on low competitive keywords and it makes it easier to be highly ranked on these terms.

      However, it’s also crucial to be indexed on popular terms which will actually drive traffic. Indeed, being visible on keywords that are never used isn’t really effective, as it won’t drive many installs.

  9. I don’t know it just seems random to me. The initial placement on the app store. I just released an app and got #2 placement of the keyword ‘Sudoku’
    It is a simple little kid Sudoku app.
    But Sudoku is a monster ASO keyword. Why was I suddenly ranked 2nd?
    I don’t think there is any other explanation than the app reviewer initially put me there…

    1. Hi Johannes,

      Thanks for your input! Our latest research showed that this bug was still up and running.

      Could you give me more details on your case? App name, keywords used, etc.? We’d love to investigate!

  10. Its great article, but i would like to share my experience and will recommend you to use following tools for what you want to get:
    1. for key word difficulties use MOZ.
    2. to keep an eye on your competitor use SEMrush
    3. for keyword research LTP.

    1. Hi Maverick,

      Thanks for your comment! Happy you liked the article 🙂

      The tools mentioned are indeed a great source of data but they have to be used carefully as they only take into account (mobile) web searches and not app store data. The web and the app store are two different ecosystems in which users behave differently.

      For app store data, we recommend using an ASO tool like ApppTweak, providing all insights you need directly using data from the app store.

  11. Great article! How do you calculate ARPU from search ads? For free apps with in-app purchases, I don’t see how you could correlate revenue with search terms. Or do you just use CPA as a surrogate for ARPU?

  12. I am all for innovative ideas on keyword research, but could you please explain how you get the ARPU on keywords using Adords and Search Ads data?

    Search Ads data only gives you popularity of keywords only in the US so you can’t entirely rely on it for other markets (but I know it’s a good start).

    AdWords – you might be able to connect the platform to CRM to see the revenue generated from people who visited your website based on paid (!) keywords.

    But in Google Adwords you can’t separate google search traffic from play store search traffic as it is under the same umberlla “Search Network”.

    So essentially as far as I’m aware, you can’t see what keywords generated revenue from a direct Google Play search.
    And as we know, Google Play Search semantics are different then traditional Google Search semantics so you are essentially using SEO tactics and measures to do formulate ASO keyword strategy, which is not necessarily good practice.

    But I could be missing something here, so please do let me know if there is a way beyond these limitations.

  13. Hi, I would like to know if you have any advice when it comes to translating keywords to other languages or how to find good keywords for languages other than English? Thank you

    1. Hi Milica – the updated version of the post should now answer your question (look for Increase your Keywords Space with Localization)

  14. Hi,

    Your blog was super informative. I have few questions if you can respond them back.

    1. I don’t have any registration to Keyword search tools? I am beginner in this field. Would you mind telling me is it more helpful to have registration on them? Or i can search the keywords for my games/app on my own?

    2. How can i look for top 15 20 accounts w.r.t. any category like if that is Simulation?

    3. How do we monitor keywords of our competitors like i don’t use any paid tool?

    Answers to these questions from anyone would really help me.

    1. Hi Zia

      1. Yes, it’s better to register
      2. You can look at the charts and then search for the top apps
      3. There’s only so much you can do with the free versions of the different tool. You might need to pay if you need more.

  15. Excellent post and discussion – thank you! Do you know 1) will stores use the app name as automatic keywords (so i can omit them as keywords)? 2) our brand name includes “Children’s” – because of the apostrophe I’m wondering if “children” as a keyword will also trigger results for people who type in “children’s”. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    1. Hi Mistie! 🙂

      1) Don’t repeat your app name in your keywords field. Your app name is indexed by the algorithm and weighs a lot in the equation. Your publisher name is also taken into account into store searches, don’t repeat it in your keywords either.

      2) You will most likely trigger results for both “children” and “children’s” although they are considered as 2 different keywords by the algorithm. They will however be associated and most likely linked but you will rank behind apps targeting “children” and that are most popular than yours.

      Hope this helps!

  16. Hi. We are developing a football app, GROUNDHOPPER. And want to cover both the name and the activity GROUNDHOPPING in the keywords. Will the word GROUNDHOPP cover both?

  17. hi… great blog. Just wanted to know why do we need to repeat the brand name in the App title if its mentioned in the icon. Ex: Paytm has the name mentioned in its icon and does not repeat it in the app title. It saves that for other keywords. Do we have to repeat our app name in the app title. If yes y?

    1. Hi Tulika,

      Interesting example with Paytm! With its limitation to 50 characters, Apple seems to want app names to be the actual app name. I’m assuming that paytm is trying to leverage the app name field for keywords. They do have their name on the icon, and also in the seller/publisher name (Paytm Mobile Solutions) so they might not be taking too much risks with not being found by their brand. So if you decide to go that route, make sure your app can be found by its actual name too. And that your brand name is short!

      Unless Apple decides to take action against this, this looks doable.

      I asked some other ASO experts for their opinion on Twitter – I’ll add their answers here when I get them.

      1. Thanks Sylvain!

        We are launching a new app and our icon itself has the app name, hence was wondering if we need to mention the name again. I would rather use that space for other keywords (till Apple objects). But i couldn’t find any popular apps (besides Paytm and one or two more) who don’t have their name in the App title. Hence i wanted to understand why do we need to have our name in the App title if its already there in the icon. There must be some reasoning behind why everyone is doing it.

        1. Hi Tulika,

          Below is the feedback I got on what paytm is doing. Thanks again for mentioning that example.

          @moritzdaan:

          1/ You mean to remove brand from the title to save KW space? Wise, since icon = name already!
          2/ They prob. need their precious keyword space for all the providers that they allow top-ups for 🙂

          @incipiaco:

          1 I think it’s a good move. I also support spacing brand names (i.e. quickpay = quick pay)

          @Apps_and_downs

          brand keywords are already in the name of developer. It will rank for Paytm search. Well done

          So I think it’s worth a try!

  18. Hi
    2 questions:
    firstly, when you say ‘Apple seems to be handling plurals better now, so you can get precious characters for your keywords that way’, do you mean that I dont have to worry about using plurals as Apple will automatically know or that I should use plurals as it covers both? (i.e. keyword ‘habit’ or keyword ‘habits’)
    Secondly, please clarify if the 50 characters of listed keywords should or should not repeat any of the words used in the app name?

    Thank you for these informative articles 🙂

      1. Hi Stacy,

        1. regarding plurals, yes that is what I meant.
        2. if you have actual keywords in your app name that are important (like Lyft with “Taxi” in “Lyft – Taxi App Alternative”) you should repeat them in your keywords. People used to say it was not necessary but with the new 50 characters limit on the app name and the fact that you’re not really suppose to have keywords in there make me think that Apple give (or will give) less weight to it.

    1. This indeed goes beyond the limit of 50 characters for the app title: App names must be limited to 50 characters and should not include terms or descriptions that are not the name of the app. Apple may modify inappropriate keywords at any time.

      I would advise following their guideline. It will be easier for apps that have a name that’s closely related to what it does!

      The other stuff they mention in 2.3.7 seems like it would have been only short term anyway.

  19. Hii Sylvain Gauchet,

    After looking into a handful of the blog articles on your site, one question which one is very better short or long tail keywords??. Finally I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you’re just too excellent.

  20. Hey Sylvain, thanks for this article, super helpful.

    Curious as to how and when you updated the article to call out that in app purchase names were not important for ASO? Would love to hear your opinion and discovery on that. Thanks!

    1. Hi Meghan – glad it was useful.

      Opinions vary on this matter. Some say that the names given to In-App Purchases are taken into account by the algorithm, but only if the search query matches the exact IAP name: https://www.apptweak.com/learn/why-aso-is-not-seo-but-looks-like-it

      Other say it is no longer taken into account by Apple.

      My advice would be to do it if it make sense (a meaningful keyword for an IAP will be better than “full access” or something like that), but not to force it.

  21. Not sure if this is a daft question….
    However do Apple translate your keywords into other languages for those searching from other countries??

    1. No, you have to fill in the localized keywords for each localization of your app you have. It is however an opportunity to target more keywords (across all localizations).

  22. Apple is discontinuing long names, yet searches seem to bring back only apps that include the key words in the name and not the keyword in the metadata.

    This is extremely confusing.

    1. Hi Gregor – As you’ve seen in the link you posted, this is not the easiest. I would not advise changing your publisher name to some random keywords, it apparently needs to be something quite official (a company name). To change it you can try contacting Apple. Or create a new account and transfer the app: https://developer.apple.com/library/ios/documentation/LanguagesUtilities/Conceptual/iTunesConnect_Guide/Chapters/TransferringAndDeletingApps.html

    1. I think apple is just trying to force everyone to pay for their new promotional methods.

      This is all very frustrating. Now those with big budgets will pay for spots at the top and the rest will be screwed.


Leave a Reply

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