#101 - What's a Keyword Opportunity?

Ariel Ariel
4 minute read 5/15/23

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.

#101 - What's a Keyword Opportunity?

There are keywords on the App Store that are fairly popular and aren't being targeted directly, or are, but not by any strong apps. I call those keywords "opportunities" for apps that can target them.


Because they're easy to get traction and get downloads.

Here's one, submitted by a reader as part of the 100th Keyword Teardown celebration. Want me to use your keyword in the next Teardown? Submit it.

Keyword: Bullet Journal

38 low 91 very high 11.6K high 112.9K very high

Bullet journaling is a somewhat new but fairly popular concept. On the App Store, there are a few ways to search for it, and one, the one, seems to be a great keyword opportunity.

Search results for "Bullet journal" in the U.S App Store

Up top, in first place, is an app that doesn't include the full keyword in its visible metadata (aka the name or subtitle). Considering the keyword's popularity + that the top app is ranking without the keyword means we have us a keyword opportunity.

Zinnia gets the top spot by using the keyword partially in its name (good) and partially in its keyword list (not good), but because other apps aren't targeting it directly, or are but aren't strong, leaves the algorithm no other choice but to push Zinnia to the first position.

ASO is about beating the competition, and Zinnia is doing that with its ratings, having almost the most in the bunch. Not the most, but it's doing slightly better in terms of keyword placement so it still wins.

Note - Zinnia is using a great ASO strategy where the brand name is at the end and not the beginning of the name. This works because weight is given to words from left to right, and Zinnia wants more weight on keywords than its name. There's a lot of competition over those. Much more than over its name.

You should do that too.

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Second place result, DailyBean, has the most ratings of the bunch and the best DPR, meaning it converts downloads to ratings better than the rest, but it's not doing an amazing job with its keywords...

DailyBean doesn't use the strategy I mentioned before, which would have helped it a ton here. It also repeats "simplest", which is a long and wasteful word for ASO, and the rest of the keywords in the subtitle are pretty much the same. And by wasteful I mean keywords that most people aren't likely to search for.

It's a shame because with half the downloads DailyBean could have been the top result if it understood keywords better. All thanks to its low DPR. And low is good when it comes to DPR!

Tip: A good DPR is one lower than the competition. I know you'll ask.

In third place we have someone who realized this is an opportunity and is targeting it! Not amazingly well, but it's ranking third with just 15 new ratings -- 1/100th of the app above it -- that it's good enough.

Buju earns its third spot even with its low number of new ratings by including the full keyword in the name. Not the subtitle. Not half and half. Just the name.


There's a lot I don't like here though. Not using the name at the end strategy, no spaces between keywords, and the one I see happening far too often, using too many keywords. All of that is happening here. Don't do that. Please.

Digital Planner, in fourth place, doesn't have a brand name at all but rather just keywords. That's a strategy. Not one I personally prefer, but it's not repeating any keywords, so I'm okay with it.

It's also targeting a whole bunch of keywords it won't rank in... This is more common than you think.

Oh, and the keyword is split between the name and the keyword list.

So, why is it ranking here? Hundreds of new ratings...

And last on our list is possibly the original bullet journal app. Bullet Journal Companion is doing a semi-okay job. There's repetition, wasteful keywords, and not many ratings.


It uses the keyword right in its name and as the first two words. The repetition is actually helping here because it's eliminating keywords and overall there aren't many so it's not that bad.

But two things are hurting it. One more obvious than the other.

With 13 new ratings in the last month, the algorithm can't do much with it. How is it different than the 15 we saw in 3rd place? Well, that's the other thing.

This next thing is something I've observed quite a few times, and it kind of makes sense, and it all has to do with the category the app is in.

I believe Apple, directly or indirectly, maps some keywords to categories and boosts apps from that category in results.

In this case, see how the top three apps are in the Lifestyle category and the bottom two in Productivity? #4 has enough ratings to overcome the category difference, but #5 doesn't.

And that's all I have for you today. I hope you've learned something new! 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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See where your apps are ranked, track trends, learn from competitors, get smart suggestions, and more, here.

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