How to Double the Size of Your Keyword List in the App Store

Ariel Ariel
6 minute read 1/21/20
How to Double 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. Keep reading to learn how to do that + several good ASO strategies for using that to increase downloads.

Let's Double It!

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. This means that if your app isn’t already localized into Spanish you can introduce 100 new characters of keywords in English using the Spanish localization.

The English/Spanish combo is probably the most used for App Store Optimization, but most countries have at least one additional localization which you can use. We’ve mapped them all out in the table below so you can apply them to your ASO.

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 localization’s 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 155 countries and all of the localizations you can use for App Store Optimization. We've also added Arabic where we believe it's used since Apple hasn't documented that yet.

Updated: April, 22 2020

By region: North America · Europe · Africa, Middle East, & India · Asia Pacific · Latin America

North America
CountryPrimary languageAdditional languages
CanadaEnglish (Canada)French (Canada)
United StatesEnglish (U.S.)Spanish (Mexico)

CountryPrimary languageAdditional languages
AlbaniaEnglish (U.K.)
AustriaGermanEnglish (U.K.)
BelarusEnglish (U.K.)
BelgiumEnglish (U.K.)French, Dutch
Bosnia and HerzegovinaEnglish (U.K.)Croatian
BulgariaEnglish (U.K.)
CroatiaEnglish (U.K.)Croatian
CyprusEnglish (U.K.)Greek, Turkish
Czech RepublicEnglish (U.K.)Czech
DenmarkEnglish (U.K.)Danish
EstoniaEnglish (U.K.)
FinlandEnglish (U.K.)Finnish
FranceFrenchEnglish (U.K.)
GermanyGermanEnglish (U.K.)
GreeceEnglish (U.K.)Greek
HungaryEnglish (U.K.)Hungarian
IcelandEnglish (U.K.)
IrelandEnglish (U.K.)
ItalyItalianEnglish (U.K.)
KosovoEnglish (U.K.)
LatviaEnglish (U.K.)
LithuaniaEnglish (U.K.)
LuxembourgEnglish (U.K.)French, German
MaltaEnglish (U.K.)
Moldova, Republic OfEnglish (U.K.)
MontenegroEnglish (U.K.)Croatian
NetherlandsDutchEnglish (U.K.)
North MacedoniaEnglish (U.K.)
NorwayEnglish (U.K.)Norwegian
PolandEnglish (U.K.)Polish
PortugalPortuguese (Portugal)English (U.K.)
RomaniaEnglish (U.K.)Romanian
RussiaRussianEnglish (U.K.), Ukranian
SerbiaEnglish (U.K.)Croatian
SlovakiaEnglish (U.K.)Slovak
SloveniaEnglish (U.K.)
SpainSpanish (Spain)English (U.K.), Catalan
SwedenSwedishEnglish (U.K.)
SwitzerlandGermanGerman, English (U.K.), French, Italian
TurkeyEnglish (U.K.)Turkish
UkraineEnglish (U.K.)Ukranian, Russian
United KingdomEnglish (U.K.)

Africa, Middle East, and India
CountryPrimary languageAdditional languages
AlgeriaEnglish (U.K.)French, Arabic*
AngolaEnglish (U.K.)
ArmeniaEnglish (U.K.)
AzerbaijanEnglish (U.K.)
BahrainEnglish (U.K.)Arabic*
BeninEnglish (U.K.)French
BotswanaEnglish (U.K.)
Burkina FasoEnglish (U.K.)French
CameroonFrenchEnglish (U.K.)
Cape VerdeEnglish (U.K.)
ChadEnglish (U.K.)French, Arabic*
Congo, Democratic Republic ofEnglish (U.K.)French
Congo, Republic ofEnglish (U.K.)French
Cote D'IvoireFrenchEnglish (U.K.)
EgyptEnglish (U.K.)French, Arabic*
GabonFrenchEnglish (U.K.)
GambiaEnglish (U.K.)
GeorgiaEnglish (U.K.)
GhanaEnglish (U.K.)
Guinea-BissauEnglish (U.K.)French
IndiaEnglish (U.K.)Hindi
IraqEnglish (U.K.)
IsraelEnglish (U.K.)Hebrew
JordanEnglish (U.K.)Arabic*
KenyaEnglish (U.K.)
KuwaitEnglish (U.K.)Arabic*
LebanonEnglish (U.K.)French, Arabic*
LiberiaEnglish (U.K.)
LibyaEnglish (U.K.)
MadagascarEnglish (U.K.)French
MalawiEnglish (U.K.)
MaldivesEnglish (U.K.)
MaliEnglish (U.K.)French
MauritaniaEnglish (U.K.)French, Arabic*
MauritiusEnglish (U.K.)French
MoroccoEnglish (U.K.)French
MozambiqueEnglish (U.K.)
NamibiaEnglish (U.K.)
NigerEnglish (U.K.)French
NigeriaEnglish (U.K.)
OmanEnglish (U.K.)
QatarEnglish (U.K.)
RwandaEnglish (U.K.)French
Saudi ArabiaEnglish (U.K.)Arabic*
SenegalEnglish (U.K.)French
SeychellesEnglish (U.K.)French
Sierra LeoneEnglish (U.K.)
South AfricaEnglish (U.K.)
SwazilandEnglish (U.K.)
São Tomé and PríncipeEnglish (U.K.)
Tanzania, United Republic OfEnglish (U.K.)
TunisiaEnglish (U.K.)French, Arabic*
UgandaEnglish (U.K.)
United Arab EmiratesEnglish (U.K.)Arabic*
YemenEnglish (U.K.)Arabic*
ZambiaEnglish (U.K.)
ZimbabweEnglish (U.K.)

Asia Pacific
CountryPrimary languageAdditional languages
AfghanistanEnglish (U.K.)
AustraliaEnglish (Australia)English (U.K.)
BhutanEnglish (U.K.)
Brunei DarussalamEnglish (U.K.)
CambodiaEnglish (U.K.)French
ChinaChinese (Simplified)English (U.K.)
FijiEnglish (U.K.)
Hong KongCantoneseEnglish (U.K.), Chinese (Traditional)
IndonesiaEnglish (U.K.)Indonesian
JapanJapaneseEnglish (U.S.)
KazakhstanEnglish (U.K.)
Korea, Republic OfKoreanEnglish (U.K.)
KyrgyzstanEnglish (U.K.)
Lao People's Democratic RepublicEnglish (U.K.)French
MacauCantoneseEnglish (U.K.), Chinese (Traditional)
MalaysiaEnglish (U.K.)Malay
Micronesia, Federated States ofEnglish (U.K.)
MongoliaEnglish (U.K.)
MyanmarEnglish (U.K.)
NauruEnglish (U.K.)
NepalEnglish (U.K.)
New ZealandEnglish (Australia)English (U.K.)
PakistanEnglish (U.K.)
PalauEnglish (U.K.)
Papua New GuineaEnglish (U.K.)
PhilippinesEnglish (U.K.)
SingaporeEnglish (U.K.)Chinese (Simplified)
Solomon IslandsEnglish (U.K.)
Sri LankaEnglish (U.K.)
TaiwanChinese (Traditional)English (U.K.)
TajikistanEnglish (U.K.)
ThailandEnglish (U.K.)Thai
TongaEnglish (U.K.)
TurkmenistanEnglish (U.K.)
UzbekistanEnglish (U.K.)
VanuatuEnglish (U.K.)French
VietnamEnglish (U.K.)Vietnamese

Latin America
CountryPrimary languageAdditional languages
AnguillaEnglish (U.K.)
Antigua and BarbudaEnglish (U.K.)
ArgentinaSpanish (Mexico)English (U.K.)
BahamasEnglish (U.K.)
BarbadosEnglish (U.K.)
BelizeEnglish (U.K.)Spanish (Mexico)
BermudaEnglish (U.K.)
BoliviaSpanish (Mexico)English (U.K.)
BrazilPortuguese (Brazil)English (U.K.)
Cayman IslandsEnglish (U.K.)
ChileSpanish (Mexico)English (U.K.)
ColombiaSpanish (Mexico)English (U.K.)
Costa RicaSpanish (Mexico)English (U.K.)
DominicaEnglish (U.K.)
Dominican RepublicSpanish (Mexico)English (U.K.)
EcuadorSpanish (Mexico)English (U.K.)
El SalvadorSpanish (Mexico)English (U.K.)
GrenadaEnglish (U.K.)
GuatemalaSpanish (Mexico)English (U.K.)
GuyanaEnglish (U.K.)French
HondurasSpanish (Mexico)English (U.K.)
JamaicaEnglish (U.K.)
MexicoSpanish (Mexico)English (U.K.)
MontserratEnglish (U.K.)
NicaraguaSpanish (Mexico)English (U.K.)
PanamaSpanish (Mexico)English (U.K.)
ParaguaySpanish (Mexico)English (U.K.)
PeruSpanish (Mexico)English (U.K.)
Saint LuciaEnglish (U.K.)
St. Kitts and NevisEnglish (U.K.)
St. Vincent and The GrenadinesEnglish (U.K.)
SurinameEnglish (U.K.)Dutch
Trinidad and TobagoEnglish (U.K.)French
Turks and CaicosEnglish (U.K.)
UruguayEnglish (U.K.)Spanish (Mexico)
VenezuelaSpanish (Mexico)English (U.K.)
Virgin Islands, BritishEnglish (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

How To Design Screenshots That Result in Downloads! Musts, Tips, and Don'ts
ASO Guides
How To Design Screenshots That Result in Downloads! Musts, Tips, and Don'ts

Convert more views into downloads by optimizing your screenshots. Here's everything you need to know.

How To Run an A/B Test in App Store Connect (aka. Product Page Optimization)
ASO Guides
How To Run an A/B Test in App Store Connect (aka. Product Page Optimization)

A/B testing is the easiest and best (and safest) way to grow your downloads. Here's how to actually do it!