Keyword Teardown #12 - You Can Outrank the Competition!

Ariel Ariel
4 minute read Oct. 26

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.


Keyword Teardown #12 - You Can Outrank the Competition!

How can you outrank the competition without having the performance you need to beat them? Easy answer: figure out what they're doing wrong and do it right!

Apple's and Google's search algorithms are black boxes and completely undocumented, but when you look at enough data, patterns start to emerge. I actively analyze search results to reverse engineer how the stores decide which apps to rank and how to rank them, and share what I find, including tips, tricks, and secrets, here for you to learn from.

Keyword: Job Search

58 moderate 88 high 1.3K moderate 1.3M very high

Many things have gone app-first over the last few years. Some make more sense than others. Job searching, however, makes more sense than most. The high popularity score "job search" gets confirms this.

Here's what the top 5 results look like. See how the first result isn't the one with the most downloads or ratings?

Let's analyze!

Starting at the top, you'll notice that ZipRecruiter uses the term in its name but has fewer ratings than #2, and #3, and #4. Yet, it's the top result. How? It doesn't make the cardinal sin of unnecessary repetition, which all of its competitors make. This will become a bit clearer as we move down the list.

Indeed, at #2, has an identical template to its name as ZipRecruiter, which has the brand first and then "job search". It's also getting many more ratings. 16x more, to be exact. But, it repeats a part of the term, "jobs", in its subtitle, which ruins pretty much everything.

Think that's bad? The only reason Indeed sits at #2 has to do with its massive number of ratings and all of the remaining apps in the list also duplicating unnecessarily or not optimizing properly...


Monitor. Optimize. Grow

Get actionable insights in minutes!


Moving down to #3, Snagjob seems to be optimizing incorrectly, and likely because a copywriter put the name and subtitle together and not an ASO (App Store Optimizer). Words like "now", "flexible", and "fast" may sound great to copywriters, but they add very little in terms of discoverability. They're unnecessary, irrelevant, and for ASO are wasteful. The only "useful" term I can see in this name and subtitle set is "hiring". But that has a very low popularity score, leading me to believe someone guessed instead of looking at numbers.

Tip: Before committing to a set of keywords, make sure to run them through a tool like Keyword Inspector to see their popularity and to find alternatives (which Inspector suggests automatically) in case they aren't very popular.

But we're not done just yet! At #4, Glassdoor could outrank all of the apps above it, but it doesn't because it also duplicates the word "jobs" into its subtitle. Also, words like "& more" do nothing for the algorithm other than take away focus from the keywords that are useful. I can rewrite this name and subtitle combo 5 different ways, all without removing any of the features it currently mentions and all without duplication.

And lastly, at #5 we have LinkedIn, which also forgot half of the search term. I didn't even mean for that to be punny. LinkedIn gets a terrifyingly low number of ratings, which indicates the app never asks for ratings, which is by itself a mistake. But! Even LinkedIn can outrank its competitors by adding the word "search" to its name. This is another indication that someone optimized by gut and not data because "job finder" has a much lower popularity than "job search"...

At first glance, this keyword is very simple, but now that we've analyzed it you can see how easy it is to get ahead by avoiding common mistakes and choosing the best keywords to optimize for.

And that's all I have for you today. Subscribe to the newsletter for a new Keyword Teardown next week.

Don't Forget!

You can outrank your competition if you can identify what they're doing wrong and don't make the same mistakes. It's that easy.

  1. Duplication is your enemy. In copywriting, repetition is good because it reinforces what you're repeating. In the App Store, where characters are limited, and focus is a necessity, repetition is wasteful and most cases hurting your discoverability. If you want to rank well, simply remove duplication.
  2. Data, good. Gut, bad. An important key to outranking others is to identify keywords where you can rank well. Be it because you have the necessary performance or because the competition does something silly. I rely on Keyword Inspector to do that, and that's a took that's available to you as well, so there's no reason to guess.

If you have any questions, 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, snoop on competitors, get suggestions, here.

Tagged: #aso

Related Resources

#36 - The Algorithm Can't Read Backward
Keyword Teardowns
#36 - The Algorithm Can't Read Backward

Keyword placement matters. A lot. But it's not just about where, it's also about the direction.

#35 - Are You Focusing On This?
Keyword Teardowns
#35 - Are You Focusing On This?

How well you convert downloads into ratings is critical to the success of your ASO