#61 - Opportunities Are All Around You, If You Look...

Ariel Ariel
3 minute read Jun. 14

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.


#61 - Opportunities Are All Around You, If You Look...

I like to identify keyword opportunities and have a pretty easy process to do that. An opportunity is a keyword that'd popular but isn't targeted directly by most strong apps, leaving a gap that newer apps or apps with weaker performance can get into and grow.

Keyword: Plant Finder

34 low 74 high 186 very low 1.6M very high

Did you know plant finder apps are making a killing? I didn't until I recently covered a few in an episode of This Week in Apps. Naturally, pun not intended, I had to look into search results and stumbled on an opportunity.

Search results for "Plant finder" in the U.S App Store

PictureThis, in the first spot, has everything it takes to be the leader. Almost. It's got the ratings and downloads and almost all of the keyword in its visible metadata. Why is it ranking even though half of the keyword is missing from the name/title? Because everything else is way ahead of the pack!

Keywords can go into your keyword list if your app has the most downloads, by far, when compared to the competition. I wouldn't recommend it, though.


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Right below it we have Plant Identification ++. I don't know what the motivation behind the double plus was, but I bet you it's a way to maintain uniqueness while targeting a very popular keyword.

Yes, "Plant identification" is almost twice as popular as "plant identifier". Definitely not something I would have guessed, considering the word "identification" is so long. But the data is there to back it up.

In fact, that's why all of the top apps seem to be optimized for this keyword and not "plant finder", making it into an opportunity for newer apps that offer this type of functionality.

But back to Plant Identification ++. It floats to the second spot even though its downloads are the lowest of the top 5. But... its ratings are very high, and it has at least half of the keyword in its name.

Keywords in the name beat keywords in the title (almost) always!

Moving on, we see PlantSnap. With fewer ratings and like every other app so far, only half the keyword visible, has to come in third here. The algorithm doesn't have much to do...

In 4th place we have PlantNet, which chose to keep the name pure and use keywords only in its subtitle. It's not even using that many overall. Which... helps it with the keywords its subtitle is actually targeting. It manages to score fourth for this keyword because it gets ratings and likely has the keyword in its keyword list somewhat early.

Last for this set is Seek, which has more downloads and ratings than every other app but the first result, yet comes in 5th. Why? Looking at the name and subtitle, I suspect the keyword list isn't very optimized. Also, having "plants" and not "plant" and using the subtitle and not the name, makes it very weak overall. For this keyword and for others.

Yes, the algorithm can pluralize and can also de-pluralize, but it's better best to have the most relevant form.

What You Need to Know

Keywords like plant finder are an excellent opportunity for apps that offer the functionality but don't have the necessary performance to compete with the top apps.

Why? Because the top apps aim for the most popular keyword, and newer competitors aim for whatever the top apps are aiming for, leaving those who take the time to look a gap. An opportunity.

I discovered this opportunity by searching for plant finder and seeing all of the top results optimize for a different keyword. Well, a bit worse – a different set of keywords, and that showed me there's a gap. An opportunity.

This is pretty common.

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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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.

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