How to choose and use keywords for iOS App Store Optimisation (ASO)

Sometimes you’ll find yourself unable to breakthrough on the iOS App Store. It happens. No sweat. If you can’t remedy the situation with a big expensive marketing push it might be worth looking into more natural growth. That’s where App Store Optimisation (ASO) comes in, the most cost-effective way of acquiring downloads. And if you weren’t aware already, the largest part of ASO is using the right keywords.

1) Do your research!

Your goal is simple in terms of keywords. Find high volume keywords, with low competition. A simple proposition, but awfully tricky to execute.

There are, however, a few tools to help you narrow down the search and these include:

You can use these tools to find relevant keywords that will help customers search for and find your app. Afterall, between 50 and 60% of app downloads come from search (depending on who you listen to) meaning an astronomical amount of potential to get customers.

2) Put your keywords in your title

The most effective way of using your new found keywords is in the title of the app itself. For instance, ever heard of any of these apps?

  • Amazon App: shop, scan, compare, and read reviews
  • eBay: Buy, Sell, Save! Electronics, Fashion & More
  • Google Maps – Navigation & Transit

According to research by MobileDevHQ (now Tune) using your keyword in your title can give you a boost of more than 10% to rankings. Also with the introduction of Subtitles in iOS 11, you now have an additional space, for keywords, that’s indexed by the App Store’s search algorithm.

Only a part of planet Earth speaks English. Consider translating your keywords for added benefit.

3) Use your keywords wisely

Oddly enough, many people trip at the last hurdle with regards to actually using their keywords. It can become very tempting to spam your keywords, but doing so can seriously detriment your credibility in the eyes of both Apple and Google’s search algorithm. The most important use of keywords for iOS is that of the keyword field found on your app’s page in iTunes connect. Getting this right can make or break your ASO efforts. Here are some tips:

  • Put only your best (mix of high volume & low competition, remember) keywords in the App Store keyword field – there’s a 100 character limit!
  • Don’t use both the singular and plural – search will figure out plurals (or singulars) when searching
  • Use numerals, not the words of numbers to save space
  • Comma separate your keywords but don’t add in spaces
  • For all that is good and holy, don’t duplicate the same keyword
  • Don’t include words already in your title, company name, category or subtitle (iOS 11 only)
  • Stay away from words such as “Free”, “Games”, “App” etc. These will be automatically indexed based off of your category, price etc.

These tips should give you a good starting point for your ASO efforts. But there’s always more to do. Consider, for instance, getting your keywords translated into other languages to give you that extra boost – every little helps.

I hope this has been useful, and if it has, keep an eye out for the Android version!

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