#99 - Poor Keyword Placement is ASO's Worst Enemy

Ariel Ariel
4 minute read 4/5/23

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.

#99 - Poor Keyword Placement is ASO's Worst Enemy

Today, we're diving into a deceptively simple concept that many developers and marketers overlook, ultimately sabotaging their efforts to rank well in their target keywords.

This simple concept is keyword placement — how you use important keywords in your app's name, subtitle, and keyword list.

It makes a huge difference if you do it right!

Keyword: Trading

43 moderate 97 very high 21.4K high 510.7K very high

Not that long ago, trading was one of the hottest segments in the App Store. Although that's no longer the case, the keyword's popularity is still pretty high which means I expect to see some fierce competition and very high ratings.

Well, that's not exactly the case, and the reason is keyword placement.

Let me show you.

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

In first place we have WeBull, not who I expected to star there because investing was largely dominated by Robinhood. WeBull managed to beat the popular brand by doing ASO better.

WeBull uses the keyword right in its name, doesn't duplicate any keywords, and gets a decent number of new ratings. Enough to be competitive.

You'll notice WeBull stuck the keyword aaaaall the way at the end of its name, which isn't ideal, but remember, ASO is relative. You have to be better than the competition, and as you'll see, the competition isn't using keywords correctly so WeBull wins.

And while we're on things WeBull is doing poorly, look at that high DPR of 197. That's really bad! It means one in 197 downloads converts to a rating. Every other app in this teardown does 5x better on average.

This means WeBull can be easily dethroned by an unsophisticated ASO strategy.

Right below it, we have TradingView, which, if you look closely, doesn't use the keyword in its name or subtitle. What??

See those ratings? With 4x the new ratings and the keyword likely in the keyword list, the algorithm wants to rank it higher but can't because the keyword isn't where it really matters.

This is an easy fix! Using trading in the name will nudge the app up one spot to become the top result, where WeBull will have a really hard time reclaiming its spot given its poor DPR.

For context, TradingView's DPR is 20 which is how it can get 4x the new ratings with about 1/3 of the downloads.

Moving on down to what some of you may think is an anomaly even though it isn't. Forex trading, a game, manages to snag third place without a little over 100 ratings. That's a tenth of WeBull.


I'll give you a hint. See where the keyword appears in the name? And then look at the competition. No other app uses the keyword in the name, giving this game that didn't even expect to be here a big advantage.

Where you place your keywords matters!

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Moving on down we reach a familiar name, Robinhood which managed to squeeze into this list without having the keyword in its name or subtitle, but rather somewhere deep in its keyword list.

With 12K ratings and almost-lowest (aka. best) DPR on this list, Robinhood could have been higher but isn't because where you place your keyword matters.

The easy "fix" here would be to include it in the name or subtitle, but as we saw with TradingView, even optimizing your keyword list is important. I believe that's why we don't see Robinhood any higher.

And last on our list is thinkorswim which has a healthy amount of ratings but uses the keyword in its subtitle. It also wins the best DPR award for this bunch, and with a tenth of the downloads of WeBull, it should be a solid reminder of why you have to spend time improving how and where you ask for a rating.

Let's reacap, so the title of this teardown is clear:

  1. Keyword in name, not a lot of ratings
  2. Keyword in keyword list, lots of ratings
  3. Keyword in name, very little ratings
  4. Keyword deeeeep in the keyword list, loooots of ratings
  5. Keyword in the subtitle, decent ratings

Ratings alone won't help you rank higher, you have to choose where you use your keywords wisely.

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.

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Tagged: #aso

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