#100 - It's All About the Proper ASO Mix
Have you ever looked at search results in the App Store and wondered why they're ranked the way they are? In this series of Keyword Teardowns we analyze how the algorithm works and highlight tips and tricks to help you rank higher.
When optimizing for the App Store, many focus on having the best keywords. That's important, yes, but that's only one part of the mix. There are two things you have to get just right for those keywords to really work for you.
Do it right, and you'll see results. Do it wrong, and you won't.
It's that easy.
AI chatbots are super hot right now in terms of downloads and revenue thanks to ChatGPT, so naturally, you'd expect the algorithm to rank all the most popular apps in terms of downloads up high.
A hot keyword behaves just like every other keyword and follows the same rules, which is why ASO is such an important tool for success.
Let me show you.
Up first is Genie, the app that does it (almost) perfectly! And by perfectly I mean the two things that matter most -- keyword placement and ratings. Genie uses the keyword once and in the name, which gives it a lot of weight. It also has more ratings than every other app at the top.
The combination of these two is what allows Genie to own the #1 spot and likely keep it for a while.
The one thing Genie could do better is to move Chatbot to the beginning of the name to really get as much weight put on it as possible. But! That's a technique you'd want to use if you were struggling to get to #1 and needed a nudge.
Genie obviously doesn't need that, so it has the flexibility to use its brand name, which I actually like, right up front.
FYI - Genie also has a pretty decent DPR. It's not in the single digits, which is where you should aim, but it's also not as high as others in this list (I'm looking at you #5), which means every download counts a lot more towards ASO (indirectly).
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That was a lot of analysis for a single app, more than usual, but that's because it's a good example of how to do it right. And it's so simple when you look at it...
In second place we have Chat AI, which doesn't seem to have any real brand name. That's not uncommon in cases like these, where the app is mainly a set of features and not a "brand" per se.
"Chat" and "AI" are two pretty relevant keywords, so using those for the name is actually clever for short-term success. Neither is relevant for this teardown, but when I analyze that keyword in the future, I suspect we'll see this strategy paying off.
It gets into the second spot because it has the relevant keyword in the subtitle, and early which is better, and also gets a good number of ratings. And when I say "good" I mean more than the top competitors. There's no absolute number of ratings that will "win" ASO. The right number is "more" than the competition.
Its DPR is also pretty good - 17. That means Chat AI gets a new rating for every 17 downloads. Faster than Genie's 23. Actually, the fastest of all the top 5 results. That's how it can get half of Genie's ratings with less than a third of the downloads.
So far these make sense. But I bet the next two might confuse some of you.
Third place ChatBot Up has just 53 new ratings. Just 53... How's it #3???
Proper keyword placement!
ChatBot Up uses the keyword as the first word of the name. it cleverly does that as part of its "brand", which works very well for ASO because the algorithm reads from left to right and assigns weight in the same way.
This is why it's better to have keywords first and the brand name later to help with ASO. Controversial, I know, but it works.
Using a keyword in the name is always better than using it in the subtitle. The reason ChatBot Up isn't up higher even though the #2 result uses the keyword only in the subtitle is ratings. Placement and ratings work together. In this case, ChatBot Up's ratings are soooooooooooo far from Chat AI that the algorithm just can't do it.
Third place is plenty good though.
But let's get even crazier! Chatbot AI places 4th in this list with single-digit ratings. Just 8 in the last 30 days!
The reason is identical to #3. The keyword is the first word in the name. That's what the algorithm sees first and that's what the algorithm expects to be the most important "thing" your app does.
Tip: Move your most important keyword to the beginning of your app's name. Now. Right Now. Okay... with your next update. But do it.
And last on this list is the most confusing of all, and also the one that saddens me the most because they're making a very basic mistake that's causing them tons of downloads.
AI Chatbot has an almost perfect ASO posture. The keyword appears very early into the name. Not the first word, but not too far off. Early enough that the more than 8K new ratings it's gotten in the last 30 days can offset.
Its DPR is high. 67 is the highest of this group, which indicates the app isn't as optimized for new ratings as it can be, or that users don't really love the app. I'm pretty sure it's the former and not the latter given the downloads.
Speaking of downloads, AI Chatbot gets more downloads than the second result but because its DPR is much higher it isn't getting as many ratings. If it optimized it could easily outpace them and likely rank up - if it didn't make the next mistake.
The reason AI Chatbot is the last on this list has to do with keyword placement. The keyword list iOS apps have in App Store Connect feels separate from the name and subtitle, and many think it's okay to repeat keywords from the name in there.
But... the algorithm looks at all three together, so it's not okay to repeat keywords in there. When you do that, only the last instance of the keyword will be looked at and the end of the keyword list is the exact opposite of the beginning of the name. It carries the least weight.
So even though the app has the keyword at the beginning of the name, repeating it at the end of the keyword list makes the first (good) instance invisible to the algorithm.
And easy mistake to fix, and fixing it will catapult it up to 3rd place fairly quickly. If you're the team behind this app and you're reading this, you're welcome!
And that's all I have for you today. Subscribe to the newsletter for a new Keyword Teardown next week. If you have any questions or comments, you can find me on Twitter.
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