#102 - Popular Doesn't Mean Impossible (Simple ASO Strategy)

Ariel Ariel
3 minute read 5/30/23

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.

#102 - Popular Doesn't Mean Impossible (Simple ASO Strategy)

Competition is key to succeeding with App Store Optimization. Sounds counter-intuitive - ASO is all about the algorithm, right?

Not exactly...

All the algorithm does is sort all the options. ASO requires that you outsort the competition.

Let me give you an example.

FYI - Clicking an app name to open view more details including download and revenue estimates (for free).

Monitor. Optimize. Grow

Get actionable insights in minutes!

Keyword: AI Writer

42 moderate 94 very high 4.7K moderate 512.8K very high

There's a lot going on with AI at the moment. A wave ChatGPT started a few months ago that's now spreading pretty much everywhere. Writing is an obvious use-case for AI, and on the App Store, it's fairly popular!

But popular doesn't mean impossible...

Search results for "AI Writer" in the U.S App Store

In first place we have AI Writer, which placed the full term first in its name. That's the first rule of keyword optimization - important keywords go into the name and early.

AI Writer is duplicating "AI", which is a sin, but no one else is doing a better job so it's getting away with it.

(Almost) proper keyword placement and the lack of that from the competition is what's helping the algorithm place AI Writer first.

Oh, it's the top app even though it has a few hundred new ratings and a DPR of 50 while the app below it has nearly 17K new ratings and a DPR of 12. And remember, lower DPR is better.

How do you think that is?

Below it is Chat AI, which duplicates "AI" and only uses "Writer" in its subtitle. The duplication seems to be par for the course right now, but only using the other half in the subtitle hurts its placement for this keyword - even though it gets more than 16K new ratings.

Keywords in the name get the most value from the algorithm followed by the subtitle and the keyword list.

In third place we have an app that doesn't use the full keyword in its name or subtitle but gets so many new ratings the keyword list, the onle that's tucked away in App Store Connect, is valuable enough to earn a rank.

With more than 18K new ratings you'd expect AI Chat to rank higher, but because "writer" isn't in the visible metadata while other apps do use it in the name or subtitle, the algorithm can't help it any more than it already did.

Important keywords, meaning those with a high popularity score, should go in the visible metadata to earn a rank. If the competition does it, it's a must. If they don't, it's an opportunity.

Next we have Write For Me, which, like the second place result, splits the keyword between the name and subtitle. Unlike the second place, this one gets around 700 new ratings, and order of magnitude(ish) lower.

While keyword placement can win the algorithm's heart, being an order of magnitude away make winning very hard. It works better if you're a bit closer.

Last on this list is AI Writer, like the top result but unlike the top result, this one focuses on just that. There are no other keywords in the name.

That's how it can make its way into the top 5 list with only 15 new ratings.

The algorithm assigns a total of 100% to all of the keywords across your app's name, subtitle, and keyword list. The more keywords you use the less % each gets. If you get a competitive number of new ratings, less % isn't a big deal. If you don't, however, focusing on one keyword can really help your chances at ranking higher.

You'll notice this one also duplicates "AI", which is a sin, but because the competition is pretty much in the same boat, it can get away with it.

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.

Are You Putting My Tips to Good Use?

App Store Optimization is part art and part science. I say it a lot, and I mean it. The art part is what I've been talking about in this Keyword Teardown and in my App Teardowns. The science part is where our simple and intuitive ASO tools come into play.

See where your apps are ranked, track trends, learn from competitors, get smart suggestions, and more, here.

Tagged: #aso

Related Resources

#104 - Your ASO Better Be Ready When It Comes
Keyword Teardowns
#104 - Your ASO Better Be Ready When It Comes

Trends change in the App Store very quickly. Here's what you need to do to be ready with ASO.

#103 - The Trick to Branded Keyword and App Store Optimization
Keyword Teardowns
#103 - The Trick to Branded Keyword and App Store Optimization

How do branded keywords behave on the App Store and how to optimize for them.