How to perform an ASO keyword research

How to perform an ASO keyword research

Before you start capturing users on the App Store and Google Play, you must do a keyword research, or in other words, find out what words or phrases people use to get to apps like yours.

The initial step in this process is to create a list of keywords with generic search terms. This keyword list should not necessarily include the name of your app or competitors. You can start by brainstorming with your team, using ASO tools, Google’s keyword planner, app store search suggestions, looking at the keywords your competition uses, or the reviews your users leave. All of this will give you a clue about the features of your app that are searched for, or the words with the highest volume.

Techniques for finding ASO keywords


Before you dive into ASO tools, try creating your initial list of keywords based on common sense. How would you search for your own app? Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Think about your app’s main features and advantages.
  • Search for keywords on your website: home, product or service category…
  • Ask your colleagues to tell you some keywords they would use to search for your app.

Once you have a base of initial keywords, you can move on to more refined keyword discovery methods.

Competitor Keywords

A fundamental source of inspiration is to see what your competitors are doing. If you want to make sure you don’t forget any keywords, check your competitors’ titles, subtitles, descriptions and screenshots. On Google Play, you can see exactly what your competitors have added to their metadata. On the App Store, this is a bit more complicated, since the 100-character keyword field is hidden.

ASO Tools

If you can afford it, we recommend using a paid tool like AppFollow or AppTweak. These tools allow you to see the keywords your app ranks for in detail, if it’s already launched. They also show the keywords your competitors rank for. Additionally, these tools provide information about download volume, difficulty ranking, and search volume trends. This information can be very useful when filling out your app’s metadata fields.

Search Autocomplete

One of the best ways to find relevant, high-volume search terms is using the autocomplete keyword suggestions on the App Store and/or Google Play.

Reminder: although you can use your iOS or Android device to find these autosuggestions on the App Store or Google Play, you can also access them from your computer. However, the search results may sometimes not be the same on mobile vs. on the computer.

Search terms in Apple Search Ads

When you run a search advertising campaign, Apple provides a detailed report of all the keywords your ad was shown for, but you can also do some research and see the popularity index of keywords or related words and phrases. All these suggestions constitute a good base for your keyword portfolio, especially if your main focus is on the App Store.

Google Keyword Planner

Although this tool is initially developed for Google advertising campaigns and measures web traffic, the traffic estimates and keyword suggestions it gives us can serve as a clue to decide which keywords to use.

Features and customer reviews

An underestimated practice is to take a look at what your customers say about your app (if you have already launched it). By looking at your users’ comments, you can learn about the aspects they value most, the words they use to talk about your app… pay attention to the most repeated words or topics in reviews!

In the same way, make a list of all the features, services or products your application offers. If you want to go a step further, get analytics on the most visited or purchased, and make sure they are included in your screenshots and/or metadata.

How to select and prioritize keywords for ASO?

Unlike SEO, the space we have is very limited, so to do good ASO keyword research we must remember that every character counts. Everything must be measured and optimized to obtain the maximum potential.

At this point, you should already have a database with hundreds of keywords, so you may ask yourself: which one should I choose? Well, although this varies for each application depending on the sector, life cycle of the app, and volume of users, there are some tips that we recommend you follow:

Discard keywords without search volume, or with too low a volume.

Yes, although it may seem very obvious, we recommend you avoid keywords whose traffic is null or very scarce.

Discard generalist keywords or those with a high volume of traffic.

Imagine that you have a car racing game with about 3,000 monthly downloads. “Game” can be a keyword with millions of monthly searches, but if you have little traction, it’s better to leave this type of keywords for another time, and focus on other keywords with less volume such as “car driving game”.

Do not mention your competitors

It is normal for a competitor’s app title to contain general keywords like “chess”, “car” or “cooking”, but you should avoid copying titles from the competition or using brand names like “chessable”, “amazon” or “adobe”.

Prioritize relevant words

Many ASO tools have a keyword analysis that includes the relevance of that word for your app. You can also look at the volume of keyword conversions if you have active advertising campaigns.

Avoid keywords with a lot of competition.

In relation to the second point, if there are many competitors in an app it’s because there is usually more traffic, and vice versa, so if you don’t have many downloads yet, focus on keywords where there is less competition to be able to stand out more easily.

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