App Store Optimization and Localization: Keywords (iOS&Android)

On this blog post we are going to talk about selecting the best keywords for your app. It will be one of the most important thing to do in your app store optimization process along with localization process.

Last post we’ve talked about app names and how to decide what should put on title. You can check by simply clicking link below:

App Store Optimization and Localization: App Name (iOS&Android)

App Store Optimization and Localization: App Description (iOS&Android)

App Store Optimization and Localization: App Icon (iOS&Android)

Let’s begin fast. Like the first blog post about app names we are gonna take iOS App Store and Android Google Play separately.

Keywords in iOS AppStore

Apple allows 100 characters to define your keywords and you should make every character count! Simply separate every words with comma. Do not repeat keywords from your app name and app category. Plural keywords are now handling by Apple so you should write singular and plural keywords separately if you have them. Highest relevant keywords and high volume keywords with low competition means higher KEI(Keyword Efficiency Index) and equals to higher download numbers! App ranking algorithm is simply: app name+iTunes Connect keyword field + app publisher name + in-app purchases.

Phrases are not acknowledgeble in keywords by Apple. So simply avoid using long tail keywords in AppStore. And make your keywords combinable e.g (speed,racing,cars)

With all that, check this list one by one:

  • Most important keywords are belong to your app name so don’t use them in keywords too
  • Use commas after every keywords without space
  • Use single keywords, do not use long tail keywords and phrases
  • Make your keywords combinable
  • Use both singular and plural keywords
  • Detect your highest relevant keywords with high volume and low competition
  • Use all available 100 characters
  • Apple does not search app descriptions so there is no advantage by putting your keywords in app description
  • And finally localize your keywords for each targeted language!

These are the steps to do the right optimization for your keywords in iOS AppStore. But how do you find your keywords? That’s another big question!

But before getting into the keyword selection in AppStore, you should also know that the character limit on AppStore keyword field is different when you localize your keywords.

Mobile growth consultancy firm Phiture’s founder Moritz Daan has discovered this feature while working at SoundCloud as a growth analyst.

For example, US AppStore with the Spanish language enabled setting, users can search in Spanish (Mexico). But it works if only you have localized your metadata in Spanish (Mexico). If you haven’t created Spanish (Mexico) keywords, Spanish enabled AppStore users are not going to be able to search in Spanish and find your app in US AppStore.

Knowing which localizatons are used in which country will definitely improve your ASO efforts. And it provides you more than 100 characters to use in keywords.

United States English (U.S.), Spanish (Mexico) 200 characters
United Kingdom English (U.K.), English (Australia) 200 characters
Australia English (Australia), English (U.K.) 200 characters
Brazil Portuguese (Brazil), English (U.K.), English (Australia) 300 characters
Canada English (Canada), French (Canada) 200 characters
China Chinese (Simplifed), English (U.K.), English (Australia) 300 characters
France French, English (U.K.), English (Australia) 300 characters
Germany German, English (U.K.), English (Australia) 300 characters
Italy Italian, English (Australia), English (U.K.) 300 characters
Japan Japanese, English (Australia), English (U.K.) 300 characters
Korea Korean, English (Australia), English (U.K.) 300 characters
Mexico Spanish (Mexico), English (U.K.), English (Australia) 300 characters
Russia Russian, English (Australia), English (U.K.) 300 characters
Spain Spanish (Spain), English (Australia), English (U.K.) 300 characters
Turkey Turkish, English (Australia), English (U.K.) 300 characters

Check the “Increasing The Number Of Keywords In App Store Optimization By Localization” article here. 

Since iOS AppStore does not give you an option to put multi-word/long-tail keywords in keyword section, you still should consider finding lower difficulty score longtail keywords. And separate them with commas such as if you have a “weather forecast” keyword, use them like “weather,forecast” and Apple Connect will combine them. Always use combinable keywords.

What is long-tail keyword?

Simple it’s a keyword that users are searching for but isn’t one the most searched keyword. But long-tail keywords makes significant differences to increasing download numbers.

How to find long-tail keywords?

You can use multiple keyword research tools to find the best long-tail keywords that suits your app. I personally recommend SensorTower’s Keyword Research Tool.

iOS AppStore ASO keyword research tool from SensorTower

Aim for the low difficulty score long tail keywords with high traffic. There can be long tail single keywords, but it’s rare. It is easier to find multi-word/long-tail keywords.

Focusing on the number of competing apps for a particular keyword is not always a good idea. However it can still be a good start. Still, focusing lower competitive keywords to rank higher is not always grants you with high ranking. Using Difficulty Score to estimate keyword competition is one of the most important things that you should keep in mind. Because apps with more downloads, good ratings and etc. are going to be considered by Apple while ranking the apps. Two keywords with the same number of competing apps can have very different difficulty scores.

And obviously using app relevant keyword is the most important thing for keyword selection.

Keywords in Android Google Play

Main keywords in your app name works as we already said that in previous post. But other than this, you should also put your keywords in your descriptions. Unlike iOS AppStore, Google Play searches your description too. And you should definitely want to make sure to repeat your keywords in good frequency in your app description.

Also unlike iOS AppStore, on Google Play you must use around 10 keywords and you should choose them with highest density and volume with lowest competition equation for better KEI.

Here is the to-do list for keywords in Google Play:

  • Use important keywords in your app name
  • Repeat targeted keywords (around 10) 4-5 times in your app description
  • Various keyphrases combinations are allowed so feel free to use keywords as phrases in your app description
  • Focus keyword density
  • Avoid keyword stuffing
  • Care about download relevance obviously, choose relevant keywords to your app
  • Ranking is important, check keywords ranking
  • Check search traffic
  • Select localized keywords carefully (around 10) and put them 4-5 times in your localized app description

Finding keywords for Google Play

Looking for highest search volume or traffic is one of the most common mistakes. There are actually two other things that are more important than traffic.

Putting your keywords into your app metadata doesn’t mean that your app will get a rank from it. There are multiple things to affect ranking numbers in Google Play, such as download numbers, ratings, reviews, uninstalls etc.

Also no one knows exactly how Google rank algorithm works. If someone says “I know how it works” just walk away.

Obviously relevant keywords to your app is very important.

What your app does and why users should download it is number one priority to finding keywords. Also how they search when they are seeking an app is quite important.

Fox example, if you have an app about weather forecast, keywords like rain, sunny, snowy might be the first keywords that come to mind. But if someone was looking for an app to help to find out how the weather is Dublin, will they search for those words? “Weather info”, “forecast app”, “weather in ” etc. are better keywords to consider.

Do you want to brainstorm about the keywords? Check this great article on SensorTower!

Rank difficulty is also another thing that you should consider while choosing the right keywords for your app. Maybe “weather info” keyword gets a million search in a month, if you rank #2001 for that keyword, you won’t get any download from that keyword search.

Your goal must be to get into top 10 rank for every keyword you target in every language you localize.

SensorTower has an awesome App Store Optimization tool called Keyword Research and it shows traffic density, rank difficulty, number of apps on that keyword and ranking.

Google Play ASO keyword research tool from SensorTower

For first keyword, look for a word or phrase that has lowest difficulty score as possible. 3.0 or less difficulty score is a great place to start.

Unlike iOS AppStore, you can use long tail keywords in Google Play (Apple combines single words to find long-tail keywords itself) and if you are having trouble to finding less difficult keyword score, you should try and find multi-word keywords. And they can easily reduce difficulty score of your target keywords.

Traffic of a keyword is also another key factor that you should consider. Traffic score higher than zero is a good place to start. If no one searches that keyword, but you are #1 on that is obviously not good. Always choose keywords that have more traffic. And combine it with the low difficulty score.

If you stuck between two similar relevance and difficulty score keywords, aim for the higher traffic score one.

Check what your keyword/category competitors doing. Take a good look at their keywords in their app titles and descriptions. This could give a major clue.

And remember this is not a one time thing, you must check all your data all the time, improve them, change them and keep track of competitors. And you should do all these steps for every region and language you target. Working with professional ASO expert is always better.

Now, how you should find your keywords. There are multiple awesome tools to find keywords:

Google Keyword Planner
App Annie
Sensor Tower
Mobile Action

If you like what you read here, you should check our other ASO and Localization blog posts too!


App Store Optimization and Localization: App Name (iOS&Android)

App Store Optimization and Localization: App Description (iOS&Android)

App Store Optimization and Localization: App Icon (iOS&Android)

On the next blog post, I’m going to talk about App Descriptions on iOS AppStore and Android Google Play!

Don’t forget to comment and share our blog post! Thank you!

6 Responses to “App Store Optimization and Localization: Keywords (iOS&Android)

  • Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up and also
    the rest of the site is really good.

    • Thanks for your kind words! I’ll keep writing about it!

  • Good post but I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this topic?
    I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit further.
    Appreciate it!

    • Hi, I’ll definitely continue to write about ASO and localization. And after finishing this blog series, I’ll publish a cheatsheet about it. Thank you!

  • Thank you, I have just been looking for info approximately this subject for a
    long time and yours is the best I have discovered so far.
    However, what about the conclusion? Are you sure concerning the source?

    • Hi and thank you. I still have 4 more blog posts to write about ASO and localization. And I’ll finish them this week.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *