App Store Keywords Tracking: How to find and prioritize keywords in AppFollow

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Anna Kochetkova
App Store Keywords Tracking: How to find and prioritize keywords in AppFollow

Table of Content:

  1. Step 1: Collect as many search requests as possible
  2. Step 2: Analyze the search requests

In the previous part, we talked about finding the right ratio of search versus browsing traffic. This time around, we'll discuss how to increase search traffic.

The way app store search traffic works is pretty simple. Users find an app using a particular search request, then they download it. When doing this, they rarely scroll lower than 5 positions on the search results page (games are usually an exception). So, to increase your downloads, the first thing you aim to do is to get into the top 5 or 10 of the most popular search requests. The search algorithms in the App Store and Google Play are different. We'll get into the nuances of these differences later on, but the concept of putting together text metadata remains the same.

ASO beginners make two common mistakes:

  1. Create the app title and subtitle without giving consideration for search queries.
  2. Use only popular keywords while neglecting less popular ones.

You can solve both of these issues with a semantic core, which is a list of the most relevant and popular keywords used to search in an app store. It will help you systematically increase your search rankings and visibility. We'll use it to create the app's title, subtitle, and description, and to fill in the keyword field.

Note, that keywords in the semantic core may include long-tail search requests, for instance: 'match 3 game' and 'match 3 games for adults'. These are two separate requests for a search engine and are indexed differently. The more keywords, including long-tail ones (some long-tail keyword examples can be found in Step 3), you add to your semantic core, the more ideas you will get on how to improve your rankings with popular one-word short-tail keywords, for example, 'match 3'.

Let's take one of our customers' games,Charm Farm, developed by Nevosoft, as an example and use AppFollow keyword research tool to set a semantic core for it.

We'll be gathering keywords for the workspace we created previously. If you haven't done so yet, we recommend that before we get started, you go back and create a list of your apps and competitors. If you have more than one project, you're better off creating a separate workspace for each of them, so your keywords from different themes don't mix. This will make comparing your metrics to those of your competitors' easier.

Step 1: Collect as many search requests as possible

1. Open the Keyword Tracking tool. Your keywords list and any changes to them will be stored here. Select a country, and let's get started on creating a semantic core! If you already have keywords collected from previous optimizations, just copy and paste them separated by commas, in the Add Keyword field. Or use the Edit Keywords section to paste them one in a line.


If you don't have any keywords, check the requests the app already indexes by for the country you've selected by clicking the Missing Keywords tab. The list is organized on the basis of the keywords' positions by top-1, top-5, top-50, or the top-100. Click +Track all keywords to add and analyze these keywords.


2. Find the keywords your competitors are indexed by in the Competitor Keywords tool. Select an app, a platform, and a region. The queries that haven't been added to the workspace will be grey-colored. Press the "+" button to add one of the keywords or the + Track all keywords button to add all of them at once.

Important: AppFollow doesn't display the hidden App Store keywords field data. All data is open source.

3. Open the Keyword Research tool. This is the list of requests that are relevant to the keyword a user is typing, which is offered by the App Store or Google Play. Often people don't finish typing their own search query, opting instead for one of these suggestions. That is why it is important to check the most popular and relevant niche keywords, for example, genre specifics: 'match3', 'match 3', 'puzzles', or your competitor's brand with this tool to find more ideas for your text metadata.

Your selected keyword's exact search results, featured cards, in-apps and Apple Search Ads are displayed on the right. If you click on an app from the search results, you'll find 100 more suggestions for each app. Press + to add these suggestions to your list.

4. The final step is the Apple Recommendations tool. Using this tool, a user can find those keywords that Apple recommends for paid campaigns in Search Ads. When assisting you with configuring your ad campaign, Apple, via it's internal algorithms, shows the most high-volume and relevant queries. We can use the 'Recommended' field to find additional keywords. Simply add any of your applications or competitors, choose Geo, and discover the Apple keywords suggestions.


Note, that this ASO keyword tool is available only for countries supported by Apple Search Ads.

If you're looking for Google Play keywords, you can definitely pick a couple of ideas here, but you'll need to check whether these requests are relevant and popular for Android.

Step 2: Analyze the search requests

We've compiled a raw semantic core. At this stage, we might have over 500 keywords. No problem; we'll probably weed out a lot of them after doing an analysis and keyword popularity research.

Go back to the Keyword Tracking section and evaluate the keywords you've just added. Double-click the Popularity button to filter keywords from highest to the lowest. Don't hesitate to delete all entries with a popularity score below 5. We recommend you only use entries that score 15 and higher. Taking keywords with a lower score might not yield much traffic.

Note: The App Store's Popularity data is extracted from Apple Search Ads, while for Google Play, we've created our own calculation formula that contains over 25 criteria.

None of the stores discloses information about the number of downloads the app might get from each search request in a particular country. Google Play Console shows an approximate number of downloads in the Search section, although it doesn't break it down by geographical regions.

After deleting the search requests that won't bring any traffic, you'll be left with approximately over 200 keywords per country (depending on the type of application). You can easily filter keywords by popularity, keyword difficulty (if you’re wondering what is keyword difficulty, the answer is simple: it means how many others compete for this keyword), or any other metric in the table by simply clicking twice on the necessary column.


Test yourself:

1Analyze your app’s Visibility Score compared to the competitors from your workspace. What can you do to increase it?

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