#49 - A Clever Approach to ASO

Ariel Ariel
4 minute read Mar. 15

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.


#49 - A Clever Approach to ASO

App Store Optimization might seem daunting, and to some even "impossible", leading to a sentence I used to hear too often: "ASO doesn't work!". And that's actually true -- ASO doesn't work when you do it wrong.

Since I started publishing Keyword Teardowns, I've been hearing this statement less, but there's one thing I still see done incorrectly, and that's when apps target the wrong keywords.

Keyword: Period Tracking

17 low 79 high 191 very low 709.7K very high

A while back, I looked at "period tracker" (in Keyword Teradown #39), a popular and competitive keyword. If you have an app in that space you'll probably want to optimize for that keyword too. But! The top results are hard to beat, so you'll end up with no meaningful results.

That's a totally avoidable mistake. Why? Becuase you should compete where you can win. I'll show you what I mean by looking at a relevant keyword that no app is currently optimizing for. This is a great opportunity for an app in the space to advance!

Search results for "Period Tracking" in the U.S App Store

In first place, we have Flo, which has the most new ratings of the bunch and a half of the keyword in the visible metadata. If any other app with some new ratings was to target the full keyword in its metadata, it would have likely taken first or at least got close. But none does, so Flo gets to be the top result.

See the opportunity?


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Clue, in #2, is pretty much the same. Lots of new ratings and the keyword split between the name and the keyword list, which we can't see.

See the opportunity here?

Moving down to #3, My Calendar, we see, again, the same thing is happening. And look at the new ratings and how they're getting lower and lower? That means you wouldn't even need that many ratings to beat it when you target the keyword in the name.

Below it is the brandless Period Tracker. It's got more ratings than #3 but repeats "period" in the app's name, which is bad. That's why it's not ranking higher. Easy fix, but... "tracking" isn't in its visible metadata, so by targeting it you can easily rank better than this one, too.

And at #5 we have, yet again, another app that isn't targeting the keyword.

I'd ask the obvious, but I think you get the idea.

Now, you might be thinking, why would anyone want to target a keyword with a popularity of 17 when there's an alternative that's 67. And the answer is simple - you could beat apps with much better performance. So, even 10 ratings would beat the thousand.

It's not even complicated! All you have to do is find related keywords that competitors aren't targeting.

You can pull out a thesaurus and do that, or... head into Keyword Inspector, enter the main (popular) keyword, and switch to the Related tab. Keyword Inspector will give you a list of keywords that are related on the App Store so you to evaluate quickly.

See why I love Keyword Inspector so much?

What You Need to Do

Look for keywords that no one else, or just a few apps, are targeting with their visible metadata and target them. As long as they have some popularity, which is really anything above 10, you'll be able to start building traction and get more downloads without having competitive performance.

The idea is that as you find more of these opportunities and optimize for them, your downloads and new ratings will go up to the point where you can compete over the more popular alternatives.

FYI - I recently shared my ASO checkup guide, which lists everything I check for. It's an easy read that can easily help avoid this kind of mistake.

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.

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 ASO tools come into play. They're intuitive and easy to get started with.

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

Tagged: #aso

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