This does not, however, happen magically. Applications that appear in a user's search results have been purposefully set up to do so. If you want to ensure that your target audience can see your app, you must take the time and effort to tune it strategically. This would involve a little something known as ASO, or better still, App Store Optimization.

Getting apps in front of potential users is the number one problem faced by mobile app developers and marketers. There are millions of apps in app stores, with most of them performing the same function.

What is App Store Optimization?

App Store Optimization (ASO) refers to techniques that raise a mobile app's exposure in app store search results. With the right ASO approach, your app can rank higher for numerous search terms, making it simpler for target consumers to "see" you and boosting the number of organic downloads that your app gets.

Although ASO primarily focuses on generating more app downloads, other benefits may be enjoyed from a brilliant ASO strategy. These include better brand awareness, increased volume of app reviews, which further drive-up app visibility and downloads, increased audience engagement, and diverse marketing channels.

What is Keyword Optimization?

Keywords refer to words that are associated with your app. They are the words that you want your app to rank for when a user types them in the search bar. Selecting the right keywords is a major component of any ASO strategy. This technique, known as keyword optimization, or keyword research, is the art of researching, analyzing, and selecting the best keywords to make your app more visible to users.

5-step process to carry out ASO Keyword Research

It's crucial for an app to have a compelling title, keyword set, and description to be found in the Apple App and Google Play stores. Most app store queries are generic. For instance, users will typically search for "PDF reader" rather than "Adobe reader." Being smart with an app's metadata can consequently produce a significant organic uplift.

1. Carry out master list keyword research

The first step of the keyword research process is the most crucial. This step involves identifying and creating a master list of all long and short keyword strings relevant to your app. At this stage, you're answering the question “Is this keyword relevant to my app?” rather than “Is this keyword the best to use for my app?”

Completing this step can be quite arduous. The keyword research process is like a funnel, and this stage is the top wide part of that funnel. Completing your master list involves a lot of brainstorming. You need to consider your app's features and functionalities and identify relevant keywords. You may also use ASO keyword tools such as SeekKeywords or to generate a list of keywords for which an app will rank based on its functionality.

2. Conduct competitor research and find out your competitors top ranked keywords

After identifying a list of relevant keywords, the next step is to identify the top keywords used by your competition. A key strategy in keyword research is finding a balance between search volume and competition. Having generic, short-string keywords with high search volume may seem beneficial; however, competition for these keywords is typically high, and if there are many apps similar to yours, it is easy for your app to rank lower.

3. Find gaps and target keywords strong competitors are not ranking on

When you do your competitor research, you’re not just looking for the keywords your competitors use but also for the keyword they miss. Especially when competing in a popular category, identifying gaps in keyword usage equips you to take advantage of those non-targeted keywords and drive traffic to your app.

4. Prioritize keywords on your master list as per their importance & select the most relevant keywords

You should have a keyword list that you can work with at this stage. You have a master list of keywords relevant to your app; you have identified which keywords your competitors rank for and struck a balance between search volume and competition. You have also identified the relevant gaps in keyword usage and incorporated them into your list. What you must do at this stage is to narrow down your working keyword list based on specific metrics so that you can select the keywords with the topmost priority.

Prioritizing your keywords involves analyzing search volume and app store conversion metrics and assessing how your current keywords rank. When you’re done, you may select the best 10 or 15 keywords.

5. Incorporate top keywords in your app metadata and track performance

After selecting the 10 or 15 most relevant keywords, you must incorporate these words into your app metadata. App stores typically have three metadata sections for apps.

  • The Title: The app title typically has a 30-character limit on the Apple app store and Google play store. The app store search algorithm primarily searches through keywords embedded in the title section. Thus, it is essential that you include your most relevant keywords in this section.
  • The subtitle or description: This section provides brief information about the app’s functionality. The subtitle section has an 80-character limit on the Google play store and a 30-character limit on the Apple app store.
  • Keyword set: This section is only available on the apple app store and allows you to provide a brief but concise description of your app. In this section, the goal is to use as many keywords as possible, including long and short strings, to improve your app’s visibility in search queries.

But it’s not only about including keywords in your app’s metadata. You must also monitor the performance of your keywords. You must analyze how well your app ranks when you search for the various keywords that you have included in your app metadata. Analyzing your performance will help you know whether to continue with your current keyword optimization strategy or whether to change it.

Written by Bar Nakash, Co-Founder and CEO at TeraGen

Credit: Tomer Shalom