How to 10x the Size of Your Keyword List in the App Store

Ariel Ariel
11 minute read 4/25/23
How to 10x the Size of Your Keyword List in the App Store

An important element of App Store Optimization for iOS and Mac apps is the keyword list in App Store connect. When submitting your app, you no doubt came across it and even if you aren’t actively thinking about App Store Optimization you still had to put something in that keywords text box.

The keyword list is capped at 100 characters (not words). While that may sound like a lot it translates to 10 - 12 words, which isn't enough for proper ASO for most apps. There are best practices for optimizing the list, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if you had more characters in the first place?

Well, you actually can! App Store Optimization experts have been using this trick to double the number of keywords they can use for ASO. These days it can get you even more characters.

Keep reading to learn how to do that + several good ASO strategies for using that to increase downloads.

Getting More Keywords Into Your Keyword List

The trick has to do with how Apple uses keyword lists across different localizations. In addition to using the country’s primary language, Apple will also look in one or more additional localizations. Furthermore, the language isn't relevant.

Knowing that, ASO experts have figured out which localizations are used in every country and add those localizations when optimizing, effectively doubling the number of keywords they can use.

For example, in the US Apple uses the keyword list for English as well as Spanish, Russian, Chinese, and five other languages (see table below). This means that if your app isn’t already localized into one of those languages, you can introduce 100 new characters of keywords in English for every additional localization.

If you choose to use all available localizations that's 1,000 characters for ASO.

The English/Spanish combo is probably the most used for App Store Optimization because it was the original set supported in the US, but Apple recently expanded support in the US + many countries have at least one additional localization which you can use.

We’ve mapped them all out in the table below so you don't have to.

Learn more: Optimizing Your App’s Name to Get More Downloads

Accelerate Your Growth

Discover new keywords, monitor performance, and snoop on competitors.

How to Add a Localization in App Store Connect

  1. Log into App Store Connect → My apps and select the app you'd like to optimize. You'll need to have the Admin or App Manager role to be able to make changes to apps.

  2. Create a new version.

Create a new version in App Store Connect

Updating any metadata in App Store Connect requires releasing a new version of the app and uploading a new binary. It's not ideal, but it's not that bad when you consider the improvements this can make to your App Store Optimization.

  1. Click the language selector and select the language you'd like to add.
Select a language to add a localization for
  1. Enter the new keywords into the keyword list.
Update the keyword list with the ones you researched with your ASO tool
  1. Save your changes.
Save your new localization

Your extended keyword list is now ready to boost your ASO and get you more downloads!

Turning More Keywords into More Downloads

Being able to use more keywords in your ASO opens the door to new opportunities. Here are a few keyword optimization strategies you can try:

  • Long tail - Use keywords that when combined formulate longer and more specific searches. For example, if your app offers guitar tabs aim for keywords like "learn to play guitar".
  • Extensions - Use keywords that modify your primary keyword (without combining). For example, if your app provides weather forecast, use names of popular cities like "New York" and "London" in addition to "weather" and "forecast".
  • Trends/Seasonal keywords - Use keywords that have a short shelf-life and are related to a current event or a season. For example, an app that offers access to sports news can include keywords for the sport that's currently playing.
  • More keywords - You don't have to go crazy with these new-found characters and just add some more great keywords. Plain and simple. You'll improve your App Store Optimization just as much.

FYI - Keywords aren’t combined across localizations. Within the same localization, keywords from the name, subtitle, and keyword list get combined so you don't have to repeat them. However, Apple doesn't combine those across localizations.

Remember that you'll still be competing with thousands of other apps, so it's always important to evaluate keywords to get the most out of App Store Optimization.

Need new keyword ideas? Here are 9 easy ways to find new keywords for ASO.

Monitoring Keyword Ranks for ASO

After you add the new keywords into the secondary localizations’ keyword list make sure you track them in your ASO tool just like you would keywords that go into the primary list.

ASO tool to track keyword ranks with hourly updates

Watching how the keywords perform over time you can easily tell which ones are working (and double down on them), and which ones aren't (and replace them) so you're always optimizing for more downloads.

Accelerate Your Downloads

Discover new keywords, monitor ranks, and snoop on competitors.

Secondary ASO Localizations for All Countries

Here is the full list of all 175 countries with all of the localizations you can use for App Store Optimization.

Updated: April 25th, 2023

ISO Country Primary Language Additional Languages
AFG Afghanistan English (U.K.)
AE United Arab Emirates English (U.K.) Arabic
AG Antigua and Barbuda English (U.K.)
AI Anguilla English (U.K.)
AL Albania English (U.K.)
AM Armenia English (U.K.)
AO Angola English (U.K.)
AR Argentina Spanish (Mexico) English (U.K.)
AT Austria German English (U.K.)
AU Australia English (Australia)
AZ Azerbaijan English (U.K.)
BB Barbados English (U.K.)
BE Belgium English (U.K.) Dutch, French
BIH Bosnia and Herzegovina English (U.K.) Croatian
BF Burkina Faso English (U.K.) French
BG Bulgaria English (U.K.)
BH Bahrain English (U.K.)
BJ Benin English (U.K.) French
BM Bermuda English (U.K.)
BN Brunei English (U.K.)
BO Bolivia Spanish (Spain) English (U.K.)
BR Brazil Portuguese (Brazil) English (U.K.)
BS Bahamas English (U.K.)
BT Bhutan English (U.K.)
BW Botswana English (U.K.)
BY Belarus English (U.K.)
BZ Belize English (U.K.) Spanish (Spain)
CMR Cameroon French English (U.K.)
CA Canada English (Canada) French (Canada)
CG Congo, Republic of the English (U.K.) French
CH Switzerland German English (U.K.), French, Italian
CIV Cote d’Ivoire French English (U.K.)
CL Chile Spanish (Mexico) English (U.K.)
CN China mainland Simplified Chinese English (U.K.)
CO Colombia Spanish (Mexico) English (U.K.)
COD Congo, Democratic Republic of the English (U.K.) French
CR Costa Rica Spanish (Mexico) English (U.K.)
CV Cape Verde English (U.K.)
CY Cyprus English (U.K.) Turkish
CZ Czech Republic English (U.K.) Czech
DE Germany German English (U.K.)
DK Denmark English (U.K.) Danish
DM Dominica English (U.K.)
DO Dominican Republic Spanish (Mexico) French
DZ Algeria English (U.K.) Arabic, French
EC Ecuador Spanish (Mexico) English (U.K.)
EE Estonia English (U.K.)
EG Egypt English (U.K.) Arabic, French
ES Spain Spanish (Spain) Catalan, English (U.K.)
FI Finland English (U.K.) Finnish
FJ Fiji English (U.K.)
FM Micronesia English (U.K.)
FR France French English (U.K.)
GAB Gabon French English (U.K.)
GB United Kingdom English (U.K.)
GD Grenada English (U.K.)
GEO Georgia English (U.K.)
GH Ghana English (U.K.)
GM Gambia English (U.K.)
GR Greece Greek
GT Guatemala Spanish (Mexico) English (U.K.)
GW Guinea-Bissau English (U.K.) French
GY Guyana English (U.K.)
HK Hong Kong Chinese (Traditional) English (U.K.)
HN Honduras Spanish (Mexico) English (U.K.)
HR Croatia English (U.K.) Croatian
HU Hungary English (U.K.) Hungarian
ID Indonesia English (U.K.) Indonesian
IE Ireland English (U.K.)
IL Israel English (U.K.) Hebrew
IN India English (U.K.) Hindi
IRQ Iraq English (U.K.) Arabic
IS Iceland English (U.K.)
IT Italy Italian English (U.K.)
JM Jamaica English (U.K.)
JO Jordan English (U.K.) Arabic
JP Japan Japanese English (U.K.)
KE Kenya English (U.K.)
KG Kyrgyzstan English (U.K.)
KH Cambodia English (U.K.) French
KN St. Kitts and Nevis English (U.K.)
KR Republic of Korea Korean English (U.K.)
KW Kuwait English (U.K.) Arabic
KY Cayman Islands English (U.K.)
KZ Kazakhstan English (U.K.)
LA Laos English (U.K.) French
LB Lebanon English (U.K.) Arabic, French
LBY Libya English (U.K.) Arabic
LC St. Lucia English (U.K.)
LK Sri Lanka English (U.K.)
LR Liberia English (U.K.)
LT Lithuania English (U.K.)
LU Luxembourg English (U.K.) French, German
LV Latvia English (U.K.)
MAR Morocco English (U.K.) Arabic, French
MD Moldova English (U.K.)
MDV Maldives English (U.K.)
MG Madagascar English (U.K.) French
MK North Macedonia English (U.K.)
ML Mali English (U.K.) French
MMR Myanmar English (U.K.)
MN Mongolia English (U.K.)
MNE Montenegro English (U.K.) Croatian
MO Macau Chinese (Traditional) English (U.K.)
MR Mauritania English (U.K.) Arabic, French
MS Montserrat English (U.K.)
MT Malta English (U.K.)
MU Mauritius English (U.K.) French
MW Malawi English (U.K.)
MX Mexico Spanish (Mexico)
MY Malaysia English (U.K.)
MZ Mozambique English (U.K.)
NA Namibia English (U.K.)
NE Niger English (U.K.)
NG Nigeria English (U.K.)
NI Nicaragua Spanish (Mexico) English (U.K.)
NL Netherlands Dutch English (U.K.)
NO Norway English (U.K.) Norwegian
NP Nepal English (U.K.)
NRU Nauru English (U.K.)
NZ New Zealand English (U.K.)
OM Oman English (U.K.) Arabic
PA Panama Spanish (Mexico) English (U.K.)
PE Peru Spanish (Mexico) English (U.K.)
PG Papua New Guinea English (U.K.)
PH Philippines English (U.K.)
PK Pakistan English (U.K.)
PL Poland English (U.K.) Polish
PT Portugal Portuguese (Portugal) English (U.K.)
PW Palau English (U.K.)
PY Paraguay Spanish (Mexico) English (U.K.)
QA Qatar English (U.K.) Arabic
RO Romania English (U.K.) Romanian
RU Russia Russian English (U.K.), Ukrainian
RWA Rwanda English (U.K.) French
SA Saudi Arabia English (U.K.) Arabic
SB Solomon Islands English (U.K.)
SC Seychelles English (U.K.) French
SE Sweden Swedish English (U.K.)
SG Singapore English (U.K.) Chinese (Simplified)
SI Slovenia English (U.K.)
SK Slovakia English (U.K.) Slovak
SL Sierra Leone English (U.K.)
SN Senegal English (U.K.) French
SR Suriname English (U.K.) Dutch
SRB Serbia English (U.K.) Croatian
ST Sao Tome and Principe English (U.K.)
SV El Salvador Spanish (Mexico) English (U.K.)
SZ Eswatini English (U.K.)
TC Turks and Caicos Islands English (U.K.)
TD Chad English (U.K.) French
TH Thailand English (U.K.) Thai
TJ Tajikistan English (U.K.)
TM Turkmenistan English (U.K.)
TN Tunisia English (U.K.) Arabic, French
TON Tonga English (U.K.)
TR Turkey English (U.K.) Turkish
TT Trinidad and Tobago English (U.K.) French
TW Taiwan Chinese (Traditional) English (U.K.)
TZ Tanzania English (U.K.)
UA Ukraine English (U.K.) Russian, Ukrainian
UG Uganda English (U.K.)
US United States English (U.S.) Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), French, Korean, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Spanish (Mexico), Vietnamese
UY Uruguay English (U.K.) Spanish (Mexico)
UZ Uzbekistan English (U.K.)
VC St. Vincent and the Grenadines English (U.K.)
VE Venezuela Spanish (Mexico) English (U.K.)
VG British Virgin Islands English (U.K.)
VN Vietnam English (U.K.) Vietnamese
VUT Vanuatu English (U.K.) French
XKS Kosovo English (U.K.)
YE Yemen English (U.K.) Arabic
ZA South Africa English (U.K.)
ZMB Zambia English (U.K.)
ZW Zimbabwe English (U.K.)

Simple, right? All you have to do is find the right keywords. Have any questions about our ASO tools or App Store Optimization in general? Tweet @appfigures and let us know.

Related Resources

10 ½ Advanced App Store Optimization Secrets ASO Experts Will Never Share!
ASO Guides
10 ½ Advanced App Store Optimization Secrets ASO Experts Will Never Share!

ASO basics are no longer enough to get ahead. Use these advanced App Store Optimization tips instead.

How to Validate Your App Idea and Nail Your Launch with Competitive Research (with Examples)
ASO Guides
How to Validate Your App Idea and Nail Your Launch with Competitive Research (with Examples)

Have a great idea for an app or game? Learn how to make sure it'll work by following these simple steps.