Advanced tips for ASO professionals: in-depth keyword research and analysis
You do App Store Optimization on a regular basis? You know your way around an ASO tool but aren’t satisfied with your current analysis and review process? Well, you’re in the right place : we’re spilling the beans on how our own ASO experts do it.
Note : If you’re just starting out with ASO, check out this guide for your ASO first steps and come back to this article later :)
1. Build your initial keyword list
The first step in your ASO process is to start thinking far and wide about keywords. In this step, you want to add as many possibly relevant keywords as you can, before getting picky.
- To do so, start by adding a broad range of competitors (between 5 and 10) to your dashboard.You’ll be able to check which words they use in their metadata, which will help you in finding relevant keywords you might not have thought of.
Looking at Booking.com and its competitors’ metadata, we can already identify a list of relevant keywords to consider : travel deals, hotels, vacation rentals, compare hotels, compare deals, save hotels, plan trips, etc.
- Scan through the the suggestion tools at your disposal on AppTweak and add relevant word to your list to make sure you have a big range of potential keywords for your app
- At this point, you want to add any keyword that is in someway relevant to your app. Avoid adding too specific or too generic words, as the first will drive no traffic and the latter will be impossible to rank on. Focus on combinations of relevant and popular words.
If you’re a food delivery app, words like “food” and “delivery” are probably too generic. Words like “local food delivery” are maybe too specific. Words like “food delivery” and “local food” are a great balance!
- Brand keywords should also be avoided in this process since you won’t be able to add them to your app’s metadata.
2. Deep dive into your initial keyword selection
Once you have your big broad list of words, you want to “clean” it to only keep about 100-150 keywords that have the best potential and are most relevant to your app’s activity. This is what we call the semantic dictionary of your app.
- Check indicators like competition, volume and rankings to understand which keywords have the most potential.
- You can then start selecting the words you will keep for your app’s metadata. First, scan through your semantic dictionary to identify keywords that keep coming up. You definitely want to keep those! We checked the word count of the Semantic Dictionary we built for a group video chat app to see which keywords and combinations were most repeated. This already gives us a clear idea of the words we will be using in the app’s metadata.
- Compare your rankings with your competitor’s to identify opportunities. Keywords with high volume where your competitors aren’t ranked, relevant keywords on which your competitors rank but you don’t …
It looks like Spotify is missing out on a couple of relevant high volume keywords
- Make your choice and select keywords to target. Add those keywords to your metadata. For a refresher of character space and metadata fields relevant on iOS vs Google Play, read this article on boosting your organic visibility in 2018.
Note : in iOS, there’s no point in putting double or triple combinations in your keyword fields, as Apple normally ranks your app for combinations of the single keywords used, so make sure to pick words that lead to a high number of interesting combinations.
3. Build your “target keywords” list
Once your choice of keywords is made and you’ve written your new metadata, you want to make sure you keep track of your app’s performance on these words.
- Create a keyword list with your current metadata keywords and a list with your new selection of keywords, so you can monitor your ranking evolution post-iteration. In each list, make sure to add not only the single keywords, but any combination of keywords that has a good volume. Do that every time you make a new keyword selection/change.
- Build a keyword list of your competitors’ most important keywords (those that bring them a lot of downloads - this is where you can add competitor branded words) and monitor the evolution of their rankings and yours on those keywords. You can do the same for your very important keywords. These lists help compare your app’s visibility on its own brand (and which competitor is most visible on your brand) and vice versa (how visible is your app on competitor brands).
App visibility on MyFitnessPal’s brand keywords. We can see that Lose it! and 8Fit are both quite visible on MyFitnessPal’s brand keywords
Focus on a few main competitors
- For monitoring and progress tracking, it’s best to focus on 2 or 3 main competitors (vs the research period, where it’s helpful to look at as many competitors as possible).Pick the competitors that are the most visible across your different keyword lists (semantic dictionary, target keywords and brand keywords). You can also choose the competitors that have the closest App Power to your app.
Finding the right competitors for Amazon Shopping - Walmart, Letgo, Groupon and Target have a similar App Power.
There you go! If you’ve read all this carefully and applied it to your own app, you should be on the right track to getting more downloads!
The next steps are monitoring your newly selected keywords and keeping your metadata competitive by making regular iterations. You’re already set for success with all your newly built lists, but which indicators should you use? How do you track your visibility progress? How do you know when you need to iterate those keywords? We explain all of that in our article on advanced tips for performance monitoring.
App Market Insights
Average App Conversion Rate per Category 
ASO Timeline - See other apps' metadata updates
App Market Insights