The amount of available apps in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store increases on a daily base, and it’s getting harder and harder to get your app to be discovered organically. App Store Optimization (ASO) is more important than ever in 2018, and an increasing number of tools are becoming available to assist you in this process.
One of the most important parts of App Store Optimization is keyword research. At Taksu Digital, we use several tools to discover keywords and to monitor and track keyword performance. We have also found ways to utilize some older tools that have been around for a while and weren’t developed specifically for app store keyword research.
In this blog post, we highlight 9 of the tools we use in a typical app keyword research process, starting with ASO Keyword Research Tools, followed by ASO Keyword Performance Tracking Tools.
Part 1: ASO Keyword Research Tools
When it comes to “traditional” Search Engine Optimisation keyword research, there are several well-established and reliable tools to discover keywords with such as Keywordtool.io and Google’s own Keyword Planner tool. They even provide fairly accurate monthly search volume estimations.
In case of App Store Optimisation keyword research the process is a bit more tricky and the available tools are somewhat harder to find. There are less tools available to discover keywords with, so the process involves more brainstorming, creativity and thinking outside the box. Luckily, there are several tools you can use to help you with this. Here are our top 5 tools:
#1 – SeedKeywords.com: For brainstorming
To start researching keywords, it’s good practice to start off with a broad list of keywords that you come up with through classic brainstorming. These are generally keywords that you would imagine yourself typing in, if you were looking for the specific app you are optimizing.
But why not ask others as well?
With SeedKeywords.com, you can ask what people would search for in a given scenario. Each scenario you create will get it’s own unique URL which you can share with family, friends and colleagues. This is a great way to get real keywords from real people. Combined with your own brainstorming you can use the results of this experiment as your starting off point. To organise it we reccomend using spreadsheets for adding and categorizing the keywords.
#2 – Thesaurus.com: For researching synonyms
Now that you have an initial list of search terms, it’s time to maximize this list by adding all the possible synonyms. Thesaurus.com is the perfect tool for this.
As you can see in the screenshot, for a word like “finance” the tool also suggests words like “banking”, “investment” and “business”. While these keywords are not exactly synonyms of “finance”, they are very much related to the subject. Remember, everyone has a different thought process and whereas you would type in “finance”, the next person might just be looking for the same type of app but instead searches for “money”.
#3 – Keywordtool.io: For classic keyword research
For regular SEO keyword research, Keywordtool.io is one of the best tools currently on the market. It has a dedicated section for App Store research, but this functionality is currently quite limited and doesn’t always give useful lists of keywords. Nonetheless, we still recommend giving it a try.
Additionally, the “Related Keywords” tab of a regular search provides extensive lists of keywords which, in most cases, will also be relevant to app store searches. The average monthly search volume displayed could be used as a rough keyword popularity indicator in this case.
Pay special attention to short (1 or 2 words) searches with high search volumes. People tend to use much shorter search queries when they search in app stores, so it’s almost guaranteed that short searches with high search volumes in regular search engines will also have significant search volume in app store searches. In the example above, “finance”, “money” and “loans” are prime examples.
#4 – App Store: For thinking like your customers
To get additional keyword ideas, you can enter your initial list of keywords into the app store search bar and look at the list of automatically suggested searches. This tool is much less extensive than some of the others we mentioned, but it has given us some good keyword ideas in the past that the other tools overlooked. Remember that these auto suggest keywords are coming directly from the app stores, which means they are probably relevant.
Make sure to try this out in both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store, as their auto-suggest mechanisms are different. By entering several of your seed keywords and synonyms, you can expand your list with more keyword variations and long tail keywords.
#5 – Chrome Plugin: To check out your competitor’s
A great way to discover important keywords is by looking at what your main competitors are doing. The Google Play Store is more suitable for this compared to the Apple App Store, because it allows more room to sprinkle in keyword variations.
We suggest looking at the app title and the short description competitors use. There is a free Chrome plugin that displays the short description for each app you open in the Google Play Store in your Chrome browser.
In the example above, we see that the app has the following keywords in the app title and short description:
- Expense Tracker
- Save money
- Track budget
- Personal finance
- Finance manager
- Bank sync
Those are quite a lot of keywords for such a short amount of characters allowed. It’s worth looking at each of your main competitors and double checking if your list contains all the keywords they are also using.
Part 2: ASO Keyword Performance Tracking Tools
After you have optimized your app for certain keywords, it is important to keep track of your app’s performance in the search results for each keyword. There are several tools that accomplish this and each tool uses their own set of metrics. Here are our top 4 tools:
#1 – Thetool.io: Track keyword rankings
The Tool is an extensive mobile app marketing and ASO tool which contains a wide variety of functionalities. Their “Keyword Suggest” section provides a list of suggested keywords based on a keyword you enter.
Additionally, you can also use it to track keyword rankings. For each keyword, The Tool uses scores to estimate the difficulty level and the search traffic.
Some of the other features of The Tool:
- Downloads data
- User ratings
- Conversion rates
- Competitor tracking
#2 – Appannie.com: For extensive keyword tracking
App Annie is a powerful App Analytics and Insights platform which does not currently have a keyword discovery tool. However, it does show an initial list of keywords that apps are currently ranking for in each search region (country).
This way, you could use App Annie to see a selection of which keywords your main competitors are ranking for and add those keywords to your list.
However, the real value App Annie provides in terms of keywords, lies in their keyword tracking capabilities. You can track 300 keywords per app in each app store, up to a total of 10,000 keywords across all apps and app stores. For each keyword, App Annie determines a search volume score and a difficulty score.
Some of the other features of App Annie:
- Downloads & revenue statistics
- Usage statistics
- App comparison
- Demographics analysis
#3 – Mobileaction.co: To spy on your competitors
Mobile Action is another tool with keyword discovery and tracking capabilities, including the ability to “Spy” on competitors and automatic keyword suggestions. Like most of the other tools we mentioned, Mobile Action uses their own metrics for each keyword: Search Score (which they describe as “relative search volume”) and Chance (similar to “Difficulty” in other tools).
Keywords can be tracked per geographical region (country) and per app (which needs to be selected separately for each app store). With their ASO Premium product, it is possible to generate an ASO report which shows the full list of keywords an app ranks for.
Some of the other features of Mobile Action:
- Apple Search Ads Intelligence
- App Update Timeline
- Localized App Comparison
- Downloads & Revenues estimates
- App Competitor Analysis
#4 – Sensortower.com: For that extra level of intelligence
Sensor Tower is an App Intelligence platform with keyword research capabilities that are similar to Mobile Action. They have keyword spy and keyword suggestions functions and there is also an option to translate keywords into different languages.
Sensor Tower uses their own metrics for Traffic and Difficulty scores, which they each give a value between 0 and 10.
Next to App Intelligence, Sensor Tower has modules for:
- Store Intelligence
- Ad Intelligence
- Usage Intelligence
Each module needs to be purchased separately and gives different kinds of insights.
At Taksu, we are always looking for new and more efficient ways to optimize our ASO processes. If we discover new tools for app store keyword research, we will make sure to update this article to include them.
Want your app downloads to skyrocket?
Hopefully you feel inspired to get your ASO on track and give your app a boost. If you want to learn more about our view on ASO, or need some direction and support to help improve your app store rankings, then our ASO team can help you. Read more about our services here, and feel free to get in touch with us.