#8 - The Same ASO Rules Still Apply...

Ariel Ariel
3 minute read 8/26/21

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.


#8 - The Same ASO Rules Still Apply...

Some people forget algorithms are basically a bunch of rules. They don't take sides and they don't pick favorites. If you know the rules you win. It's that simple.

Keyword: Travel Planner

35 low 98 very high 189K very high

Here's a highly competitive keyword that isn't that popular. 35 isn't a low score in any way, but 98 for competitiveness definitely is. How does that happen, you ask? It's usually a result of apps that target multiple keywords.

At first glance, I see every rule we've seen so far apply. Apps with the keyword in the name do better with those that don't, and of those that do, it's really all about ratings.

Let's have a look.

At #1 we have TripIt, which uses the term right in its name. It's worth noting that it isn't the app with the most downloads. That's reserved for #3 Roadtrippers, but what Roadtrippers gets wrong is its keyword placement. I'll get to that in a minute.

In second place, we have Trip Scout, which barely gets any ratings (262 in the last 30 days), but of the top 5, it + #4 are the only other apps to use the term in the name, and #4 has fewer ratings. Are you starting to see the matrix here?

The #3 result, which could easily tweak its name to #1, chose to focus on a different term (Trip Planner) with this keyword as its secondary keyword, and it shows. I checked out trip planner, and it is more popular, so that's probably a good choice.

This is a good point to pause and remind you that just because a keyword sounds good, it doesn't mean it's the best one for your app. Learning from competitors is a great way to find keywords that are relevant and potentially more popular than the ones you're targeting now.


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In 4th place, we have what I can only describe as hope for new apps. Tripsy has just a few downloads, not enough for our estimates to catch it, and just a handful of new ratings. But! It's using the keyword in the name and without any of that ugly duplication we've seen before. Its competitors don't use their keywords right, so it manages to squeeze into the top 5.

That means any app can do that! Nodding your head in disbelief? Well, there's a secret...

You can't do that with every keyword. Why? Because it's really all about what the competition is doing. Or, in this case, not doing. If you can find relevant keywords that competitors aren't targeting fiercely and are still somewhat popular, you can use them to gain visibility and downloads, which will give you what you need to (later) tackle more popular keywords.

And guess what... You can find those keywords quickly by looking at what other competitors rank for. The Competitor Keywords is a super easy way to do that.

Lastly, at #5, we have InRoute, which also seems to be more focused on "trip planner". Not even all that much focused because that keyword is at the end of its subtitle. What inRoute seems to focus on is "intelligent routing", which has a popularity score of 5. That's what we'd call wasteful. Very. Very.

What You Need to Know

Today we learned that splitting two-word keywords between the name and subtitle devalues the entire term. In general, you want to keep them as close as you can because the distance between two words is also relevant (but very little, in the grand scheme of things).

Also, low popularity keywords follow the same rules we've seen all along and are easier to rank in because most other apps don't focus on them. Use them as your stepping stone or for practice.

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, snoop on competitors, get suggestions, here.


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