How to Find the Best ASO Keywords for Your App

28 Jan 2021

Keywords are a major factor in your app store optimisation (ASO) strategy. App store users use keywords in various combinations to find your app, so in order for your app to be found by your target audience you need to identify the best relevant keywords.


Keyword research can be a daunting task, but thanks to the following tools and resources, you can definitely quickly build a very good keyword list and lead new customers to your app.



1. Competitor Apps
2. User Reviews
3. Autofill Results and Related Keyword Searches
4. Apple Search Ads
5. ASO Tools
6. Google Keyword Planner
7. Thesaurus



1. Competitor Apps


Analyse your competitor’s keyword data

Take time to analyse your competitor's keyword data to bolster your own ASO strategy plan.


The first thing you should look at is their app title since that’s the most influential place where keywords are ranked from, which means that any keywords you see in it are likely useful for informing your keyword choices. Other than that, descriptor keywords in an app’s description can also give you great ideas for your keyword research.


Remember, in ASO, a ‘competitor’ is any app that’s targeting the same keywords as you. In other words, apps that are in the top 10 for any of your keywords are your ‘competitors’.



2. User Reviews


Read your and your competitors’ user reviews

Reading your and your competitors’ user reviews will give you more insights into how users describe apps in your niche. Peruse through these reviews to find popular phrases and keywords that best describe your app in your users’ language.


Pro tip: On App Store Connect, you can sort reviews to prioritise the ones that have been voted the most helpful by other users. This helps you to zero in on reviews that resonate most with people.



3. Autofill Results and Related Keyword Searches


Research and compile a list of autofill results and related keyword searches

One of the simplest ways to find new keywords and keyword variations is by typing one of the keywords you’ve already identified into the search bar, which will pull up a list of autofill results and related keyword searches.


Autofill results and related keyword searches are popular searches that other users have done that are relevant to your search, which in turn means they may be relevant for your app. You may come across many irrelevant suggestions, so filter through them and weed out the unrelated ones.



4. Apple Search Ads


If your app is on the App Store, you need to use Apple Search Ads to find the optimal keyword set – after all, it is the first-party platform that provides real, reliable App Store-sourced search data.


On Apple Search Ads, you can gauge your keywords’ popularity using the popularity scores, which are indicated by the number of blue dots – the more dots there are, the higher the popularity of your keywords.


Gauging the popularity scores of your keywords on Apple Search Ads

In addition, Apple Search Ads can help you safely and strategically test your keywords and get a better idea of which keywords have the best chances of hitting your KPIs.


Did you know? We have a very helpful article on how to leverage Apple Search Ads to boost your user acquisition.



5. ASO Tools


It’s a no-brainer: If you want to do ASO keyword research, you need to start using ASO tools. Here are some suggested to get you started:


  • MobileAction: Tells you the popularity of the keywords, how well they rank, how many impressions they receive, who is bidding against them, etc.

  • AppTweak: Offers many features, including pulling keywords directly from autofill results, related keywords, and Apple Search Ads suggestions.

  • App Annie: Widely used for obtaining data on competitor apps, and tracking top keywords for any app on app stores as well as what an app's search position is for certain keywords.

  • Sensor Tower: Capable of making technical recommendations to prevent you from needlessly chasing uneffective keywords.

  • AppFollow: Great for keyword research and optimisation as you can easily create a set of relevant keywords, monitor the ranking of your and your competitor's apps, and analyse keywords on the same page.

  • App Radar: Its Competitor Rankings Feature lets you see which keywords your competitors rank for – ideal for competitor keyword research.

Keyword popularity metric on MobileAction

AppFollow Keyword Live Ranking tool


6. Google Keyword Planner


Use Google Keyword Planner to generate keywords for free

Google Keyword Planner is a highly popular free keyword research tool that generates suggested keywords based on your seed keyword. In addition to keywords, Keyword Planner also gives you estimates on metrics like impressions, clicks, and cost.


While it is not (yet) integratable with any app store, it is still very useful as a thesaurus for finding relevant keywords.



7. Thesaurus


Speaking of a thesaurus, you can also just go straight to an online thesaurus like Thesaurus.com. Users may be searching for apps like yours using different wording than you would expect, and using a thesaurus can help you find new keywords that are related to your main keywords.



Now let the fun begin!


Finding the best keywords is just the first step. Next, you need to put your keyword strategy into practice supported by app intelligence tools, creative optimisation, A/B testing, and regular monitoring.


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