#74 - What Do You Need to Rank for the Hottest Keyword Right Now?

Ariel Ariel
3 minute read Sep. 19

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.


#74 - What Do You Need to Rank for the Hottest Keyword Right Now?

What does it take to rank in a keyword that's hot right now? Let me spoil the surprise and tell you -- it's everything you need to rank for every other keyword. Let me show you.

Keyword: Widget

70 high 100 very high 7.4K moderate 1.5M very high

The release of iOS 16 last week, which brought widgets to the iPhone's lock screen, made widgets super hot again. The same thing happened a couple of years ago when widgets were first introduced, earning one lucky indie developer over $3M.

Naturally, the keyword "widget" is very hot right now, as you can see by its popularity score (which I'm sure will go even higher by the time this teardown is published).

Let's analyze the current results so you can see that the same rules apply, even to very hot keywords.

And before we get going - I specifically chose the singular version over the plural because it has a higher popularity score.

Search results for "Widget" in the U.S App Store

In first place we have Widgetsmith, that one lucky app that became the most popular widget app back in 2020. Widgetsmith's metadata can only be described as "old school", which ends up working out well, but isn't recommended.

The two important things I'm talking about are the keyword-less name and only having the keyword in the subtitle.

Widgsmith manages to take the top spot because it gets many many many new ratings and also because it has the keyword somewhere in its visible metadata. And because the name is so short, the algorithm places more value on the subtitle.

Not as much as it would place on words in the name, but enough that it can beat the competition.

Right below it, and with a similarly high number of new ratings, is Color Widgets. If you're looking at the results from Inspector right you might be thinking how come comparable new ratings, that are very high, and the keyword in the name isn't giving it the lead. The answer is simple, and if you've seen any of my live streams you probably know the answer.

Color Widgets is committing the ultimate sin of ASO by repeating the keyword in the subtitle and taking an immediate penalty.

To the algorithm, both Widgetsmith and Color Widgets use the keyword in the subtitle, which is why Widgetsmith wins...

FYI - I looked at both in the last episode of This Week in Apps.

In third place we have aesthetic kit, which does a great job overall. It uses the keyword in the name and without repetition, and also promotes an in-app purchase. That helps it ascend to third place with about a third of the new ratings.

It's hard to beat a competitor that has 3 times the ratings and uses the keyword somewhere in its visible metadata, which is why it can't up higher.

Then we have ScreenKit which gets a tiny fraction of the new ratings the others are getting. Low hundreds vs double-digit thousands. Yet, S reenKit manages to snag 4th place in this highly competitive keyword.

How? By not making any mistakes.

It also has a very low average rating, which isn't a problem for ASO but might be for turning page views into downloads. Just something to keep in mind!


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And last on this list is Top Widgets, which is... weird.

Top Widgets gets enough ratings to be the 4th result but then commits the ultimate sin of ASO by repeating the keyword. It also seems to have mixed its localizations, including Chinese in its English name, which I can only imagine is a lazy ASO approach to optimizing for everyone.

Not recommended, obviously.

I don't know how the algorithm sees that, but I'm pretty sure it's not helping it much. Nor is the dash that comes right after the keyword without any spaces.

And that's why it's where it is, even though it was the #1 app in the App Store's Top Overall chart for much of last week.

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 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

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