#64 - Is Apple (Finally) Playing Fair with ASO?

Ariel Ariel
4 minute read 7/5/22

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.

#64 - Is Apple (Finally) Playing Fair with ASO?

Apple's own apps have been outranking every other app in search results for as long as I can remember, and it's not because of their performance or proper keyword placement. That's annoying but also important to know if you're competing with them.

But I managed to find a keyword where Apple's own app isn't the top result but rather the second, and that's a big deal.

There's also another lesson in this teardown.

Keyword: Tape Measure

44 moderate 73 high 5.8K moderate 132,000 very high

Continuing with apps built into the iPhone, the Measure app is one of those apps everyone has, but no one thinks of when they need it, making room for a TON of 3rd-party apps. Can you compete with Apple? Absolutely. Well, really, kind of. Still a yes.

Also, don't forget keyword research. You'll see why at the end.

Search results for "Tape Measure" in the U.S App Store

In 1st place, we don't have Apple's own Measure app. More on that in a minute.

In 1st place, we have Tape MeasureĀ®, which has the keyword as its name and doesn't duplicate anything else. This is really an ideal setup if you're targeting a very focused set of keywords. It doesn't have the most new ratings of the bunch, but because the app that does messes up its ASO, this one gets to lead the pack.

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Right below it is Apple's own Measure app. That's a first and a sign that Apple is doing _-something different here. Normally, Apple's own apps rank 1st for one keyword, and that's the app's name. Here, we see an app with no subtitle and very few ratings rank 2nd for no obvious reason. Yes, it's Apple manipulating it into place, but for a keyword it isn't targeting, which is weird.

I'm not entirely sure if this is something to expect more of or Apple making an exception because the name of the app as-is isn't all that searchable, but I'll be sure to do some more digging. If you've battled Apple's apps in search results, the tide might be turning.


Tape Measureā„¢ takes third place, and no, it's not the same app as the top result. The difference is that one is a registered trademark, and the other is just a trademark. I'm no lawyer so I won't attempt to explain the difference, but obviously, there is one.

Although this one gets more ratings and has the same focused name, it's ranked lower. Why? Because it commits the ultimate sin and repeats the word "measure" in its subtitle. A simple and silly error to lose ranks over.

Speaking of duplication, 4th place results Ruler AR - Tape Measure also duplicates the word "tape" in its subtitle. It doesn't really have the performance to go any higher, so this is just okay.

And wrapping up this set is Ruler, Measuring Tape - AR, in 5th place. It doesn't duplicate any words but... uses the term in a way that's reversed, so it's not as strong. Much like 4th placer, the ratings aren't there for it to float any higher, so this is just okay.

This all makes sense, but if all of these apps had done some research, they'd see that there's a better ASO opportunity here.

Why You MUST Research First

With a popularity score of 44, tape measure is a very popular keyword, and the top results are going to be hard to beat.

But if you look in Inspector's Related Keywords tab for exactly three seconds, you'd find an even more popular keyword that's relevant and has very similar results. We know these results are very focused, so if they show up at the top of any other keywords, it means that keyword is an opportunity.

The keyword I'm talking about is measuring tape, which clocks in a popularity score of 52.

Most optimizers I talk to, from devs to marketers, believe all the good keywords are taken. That's certainly not the case. Yes, finding opportunities isn't always going to be easy, but it really took me a few seconds with the right tool (Keyword Inspector), so time shouldn't be your excuse.

What You Need to Know

Keyword placement and ratings, the pillars of ASO, still don't hold true for Apple's own apps... But that might be changing.

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 suite of ASO tools comes into play.

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

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