How to 5x 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 Arabic (and maybe French, I'm investigating that). 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 using for every additional localization.
If you choose to use all available localizations that's 500 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
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.
Create a new version.
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.
- Click the language selector and select the language you'd like to add.
- Enter the new keywords into the keyword list.
- Save your changes.
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.
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: October, 17th 2022
|Country||Primary language||Additional languages|
|AE||United Arab Emirates||English (U.K.)||Arabic|
|AG||Antigua and Barbuda||English (U.K.)|
|AR||Argentina||Spanish (Mexico)||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|
|BO||Bolivia||Spanish (Spain)||English (U.K.)|
|BR||Brazil||Portuguese (Brazil)||English (U.K.)|
|BZ||Belize||English (U.K.)||Spanish (Spain)|
|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.)|
|CZ||Czech Republic||English (U.K.)||Czech|
|DO||Dominican Republic||Spanish (Mexico)||French|
|DZ||Algeria||English (U.K.)||Arabic, French|
|EC||Ecuador||Spanish (Mexico)||English (U.K.)|
|EG||Egypt||English (U.K.)||Arabic, French|
|ES||Spain||Spanish (Spain)||Catalan, English (U.K.)|
|GB||United Kingdom||English (U.K.)|
|GT||Guatemala||Spanish (Mexico)||English (U.K.)|
|HK||Hong Kong||Chinese (Traditional)||English (U.K.)|
|HN||Honduras||Spanish (Mexico)||English (U.K.)|
|KN||St. Kitts and Nevis||English (U.K.)|
|KR||Republic of Korea||Korean||English (U.K.)|
|KY||Cayman Islands||English (U.K.)|
|LB||Lebanon||English (U.K.)||Arabic, French|
|LC||St. Lucia||English (U.K.)|
|LK||Sri Lanka||English (U.K.)|
|LU||Luxembourg||English (U.K.)||French, German|
|MAR||Morocco||English (U.K.)||Arabic, French|
|MK||North Macedonia||English (U.K.)|
|MO||Macau||Chinese (Traditional)||English (U.K.)|
|MR||Mauritania||English (U.K.)||Arabic, French|
|NI||Nicaragua||Spanish (Mexico)||English (U.K.)|
|NZ||New Zealand||English (U.K.)|
|PA||Panama||Spanish (Mexico)||English (U.K.)|
|PE||Peru||Spanish (Mexico)||English (U.K.)|
|PG||Papua New Guinea||English (U.K.)|
|PT||Portugal||Portuguese (Portugal)||English (U.K.)|
|PY||Paraguay||Spanish (Mexico)||English (U.K.)|
|RU||Russia||Russian||English (U.K.), Ukrainian|
|SA||Saudi Arabia||English (U.K.)||Arabic|
|SB||Solomon Islands||English (U.K.)|
|SG||Singapore||English (U.K.)||Chinese (Simplified)|
|SL||Sierra Leone||English (U.K.)|
|ST||Sao Tome and Principe||English (U.K.)|
|SV||El Salvador||Spanish (Mexico)||English (U.K.)|
|TC||Turks and Caicos Islands||English (U.K.)|
|TN||Tunisia||English (U.K.)||Arabic, French|
|TT||Trinidad and Tobago||English (U.K.)||French|
|TW||Taiwan||Chinese (Traditional)||English (U.K.)|
|UA||Ukraine||English (U.K.)||Russian, Ukrainian|
|US||United States||English (U.S.)||Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Russian, Spanish (Mexico)|
|UY||Uruguay||English (U.K.)||Spanish (Mexico)|
|VC||St. Vincent and the Grenadines||English (U.K.)|
|VE||Venezuela||Spanish (Mexico)||English (U.K.)|
|VG||British Virgin Islands||English (U.K.)|
|ZA||South Africa||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.