The Magic Behind Choosing The Right Keywords In Your ASO

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The most complicated part of the ASO is finding keywords that actually work. Learn how to find those keywords and get more downloads today.

In the previous article, we talked about various methods for brainstorming your keywords. Now it’s time to evaluate your list and choose the real gems in the ocean of keywords you have generated. Picking the right set of keywords requires time, numbers and some App Store Optimization tool that allows you to evaluate core metrics of each prospective keyword.

Many people do the same mistake in the App Store Optimization workflow – they just randomly pick new keywords and expect miracles. But it doesn’t work like that. Each of your prospective keywords has different traffic volume, difficulty level and relevance to your app.

We will use a tool called Sensor Tower to track those metrics. The basic version of Sensor Tower is free and provides all you need for the initial keyword evaluation.

So once again, each keyword has three core metrics: Relevance, Difficulty, Traffic

The crucial mistake many developers actually do is choosing keywords based on the amount of traffic. Difficulty and Relevance are much more important since ranking for a keyword with high traffic volume requires significantly more resources and time.

Keyword Relevance

Relevance is a fundamental factor when it comes to evaluating keywords in the App Store Optimization. Unfortunately, there are no hard data to help you with your decision.

You need to think as your end user.
What phrases are they likely to use when searching for your app?

For example, you might come up with a keyword “Ford” for your car racing game. It indeed has a huge traffic volume. But think about it for a moment, is that really a word that someone searching for a racing game in the App Store or Google Play would use? I guess the majority of users search for the official Ford apps, not a racing game.

Keyword Difficulty

Now you need to know how hard is to rank for all relevant keywords in your sheet. Sensor Tower has a special metric called “Difficulty Score” which helps you to evaluate difficulty for iPhone, iPad and Google Play apps separately.

Scale goes from 0 to 10 where 10 is the most difficult keyword to rank.

Below you can see few keywords from the game Boom Beach by Supercell in the US Store.

Boom Beach App Store Optimization

Keep in mind that Difficulty Score is more important than Traffic. Even if there are hundreds of thousands searches per day for a particular keyword, there is no point of wasting precious keyword field characters if you rank #400 for it.

Usually keywords with higher traffic volume are more difficult to rank for but it’s still possible to find an exception which could be your gold mine.

But what Difficulty Score is still okay for my own app?

If your mobile app has been live on the App Store or Google Play for at least few weeks and you already rank in the TOP10 for some of your keywords, figuring out your ideal number is piece of cake. Just take the average of Difficulty scores for those keywords you rank in the TOP10.

For example, Spotify’s target Difficulty score on Google Play is 7,9 because it is the average of these 5 keywords that rank in the TOP10.

Spotify App Store Optimization

After calculating your Difficulty Score, you should target keywords with that value or lower.

With new apps, you can’t really determine your target Difficulty Score. Sensor Tower itself recommends to target keywords with a Difficulty Score less than 3. But there are always exceptions and you will need to experiment for a while.

After few weeks of testing various keywords you should be able to determine your target Difficulty score and move forward.

Keyword Traffic

SensorTower uses a Traffic Score to evaluate the amount of traffic one can expect from a particular keyword. It works on a scale from 1 to 10, where 10 is the keyword with the highest search volume.

Logic is plain simple. If you have two keywords with a similar Difficulty Score and Relevance, go for the one with higher Traffic Score. Keep in mind that you should evaluate your Traffic Score as the very last step of your keyword optimization.

Always pick your keywords based on the Relevance, Difficulty, Traffic formula. After few weeks of testing, you will be able to “feel” the right keywords just by looking on their metrics.

For more information about ASO, be sure to check my Ultimate Guide To App Store Optimization In 2015.

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About Author

Martin Palsovic

Martin is the CMO at game development company Pixel Federation. Their games have been played by more than 30 million people worldwide. He also spent two years in advertising agency working for clients as Adidas or Hyundai. Read more...