Keyword Teardown #14 - But What About the Keyword List?

Ariel Ariel
3 minute read Nov. 9

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 #14 - But What About the Keyword List?

We've talked about keyword placement and ratings a lot, but one area that you shouldn't forget about is your keyword list. Sure, the keyword list doesn't get that much weight, but! In some cases it can make a huge difference, as you'll see in this Keyword teardown.

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: Affirmations

37 low 96 very high 1.2K moderate 554K very high $1.9M very high

Self-help comes in a veriaty of ways when it comes to apps, and before you ask, as you can see from the numbers above, it's not a small segment. In this Teardown we'll look at one flavor: affirmations. But while the analysis here is very straightforward, so are the mistakes.

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

This keyword shows just how important it is to have your keywords in the right place.

Starting at the top, I Am uses the keyword right in the name. There's not much else going on there, which puts all the focus on it. Combine that with the most new ratings in the set, and you get a #1 result.

Mantra is right behind it. But! With a tiny fraction of ratings. A teeny tiny fraction! Curious why? Because it also uses the keyword right in the name.

This is where things start to get interesting.

Both #3, Good Quotes, and #4 Motivation, don't actually include the keyword in their names or subtitle.

Hold that thought for a second while we take a peek at #5, Selfpause does it the keyword in its name, and like the first two, gives it a good amount of focus. So, why isn't it towering above the apps that don't mention the keyword anywhere visible?

It's barely got any ratings. It got 3, to be precise. That's not enough for the algorithm to notice or care.

Now let's go back to #3 and #4. I suspect they both manage to snag those top results by including the keyword in their keyword list. The one in App Store Connect no one can see (except for when I reverse engineer it for App Teardowns).

So why is #4, which has a considerable lead in new ratings, not above #3? My guess is that it has the keyword very deep into the list or has a list that's not optimized.

You can check how optimized your keyword list is using our free Keyword List Optimizer. If you're curious what the tool does, read my guide on how to optimize your keyword list for App Store Connect.

This is an opportunity because with just a handful of new ratings and the keyword in the name correctly, a competing app could easily overtake these two. I scrolled down in Inspector to see if there were any contenders who could easily do that and found at least two that could get there with a tiny change.

What You Can Do Right Now

Ratings are obviously the name of the game, and although I focused on the importance of the keyword list, there's one other thing that's important to look at. That's how well an app can convert a download to a rating, which we can do by dividing new ratings by new downloads. It's not a precise way to do it for a few reasons, but it's easy and is very useful.

If you do that for your competitors, you can easily tell what you'd need in terms of downloads to overtake them and how likely it is for them to remain where they are.

In this set, most apps convert around 10% of their downloads into ratings. If you don't have as high a conversion rate (and the downloads to go with it), you're better off focusing on other keywords.

Also, make sure your keyword list is optimized with the most important keywords in the beginning.

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, snoop on competitors, get suggestions, here.

Tagged: #aso

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