Hello there guys, I’m Ibrahim, born and raised in Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia & Herzegovina (Europe). I am passionate about keyword research or anything to do with keywords and in this post I will give you a brief about App Store Optimization (ASO) and it’s impact on iOS apps.  Ok, I believe most of you already have heard that App Store Optimization (ASO) may increase your downloads significantly but if you want to go step further and learn more about this field then you have come to the right place. So let’s get started!

What is App Store Optimization (ASO) And Why It Is So Important For Our Apps?

This is a common question among many developers. Well, App Store Optimization is like SEO for apps. According to recent studies even 63% of all installed apps comes directly from App Store searches. Therefore, it is very important to understand this process because it is probably the most cheaper way for your app to get more downloads. Clearly this is what all developers wants. More downloads (sales) means more revenue.

There are so many companies today offering their promoting services and this can also increase your downloads (sales) but why anyone would pay for such companies when you can use much cheaper method and the most important thing is, with a very little effort you can do it yourself and save tons of money and trust me it can be very funny too! The only cost you will have to pay will be nearly $75 per month for keyword monitoring services. Personally I strongly recommend using Sensor Tower tool for this purpose. Besides, another great advantage of doing (App Store Optimization) ASO yourself is that once you find good (relevant) keywords for your app that you can rank well for you may keep getting tons of downloads even after a few weeks or months later.  Hope, now you get a clear picture of App Store Optimization (ASO) and its importance on iOS apps.

Easy 3 Step Process For Selection Your iOS App Keywords

Now that we all understand the importance of App Store Optimization (ASO), here is the easy to follow 3 step process for the selection of your iOS app keywords.

When selecting your keywords the most important thing to remember is that you should only choose keywords that are relevant to your app. This supposed to be obvious but some apps prioritize traffic and low competition over relevancy which is totally wrong.

Keywords that gets a lot of traffic and have low competition are totally worthless if your app is not what a user looking for, so make sure all your keywords are relevant to your app.

Now that you have a list of relevant keywords for your app, the next step is checking for difficulty score. Again I recommend using Sensor Tower tool for this purpose. Their great module and easy to use interface will show you the traffic and difficulty score for both iPhone and iPad and count of apps using a certain keyword. Keywords with the lowest difficulty will be your best keywords to target as long as they have passed the relevancy test above and have a traffic score higher then zero. Keep in mind this is just a general rule and your actual ranking will mainly depend on how many downloads you have, your positive reviews, your app engagement with users, etc…

As your app gets more downloads and ratings you can start targeting more difficult keywords.

The next criteria you should look at is how much traffic your keywords are getting.  Traffic score comes after difficulty score because if your apps ranks #600 it really does not matter how much traffic is getting.

Now that we have created the list of our potential keywords, we have to make sure we fill up the space in iTunesConnect properly by using  98-100 characters.

The last step, once  the app is ready for sale make sure you track all your keywords with Sensor Tower tool and make changes accordingly for those with bad rankings or extremely low traffic. Keywords with zero traffic should be replaced immediately. And remember our goal is to rank in the top 10 or 20 the most for each keyword that we’re using. Keep in mind App Store Optimization (ASO) is continual process and not one time job. By this being said your first batch of keywords probably will not work the best but if this makes you feel better almost nobody gets the best working keywords from the first time of optimization. Don’t give up, keep testing and experimenting and find out what works well for your app and what doesn’t.

How Do I Rank Higher For A Specific iOS App Keyword?

This is also a common question among many developers. Let’s keep this clear and straight to the point. Since only a few people employed in Apple knows how their algorithm exactly works it is impossible to rank higher for a specific keyword and if you are trying to do this you are taking the wrong approach of ASO. What you can do instead is to keep testing keywords that are relevant to your app and keep the ones you can rank well for, and remove those your app doesn’t rank well for.

Most Common iTunesConnect Keyword Mistakes

 Ok, if you are still with me, so far we have learned that the iTunesConnect keywords are crucial for every app developer. Apple allow us to place up to 100 characters per language and those characters can make a huge difference between a successful app or app that never get any traffic. This is probably the easiest, cheapest and most effective form of marketing that you can do for your app so make sure you avoid the most common mistakes.

Not using all 100 characters allowed

  • Why not to use this advantage and fill up all the keyword space with relevant keywords? You can only benefit!


Including your app name or company name in your keyword list


  • There is no need for this. Your company name is automatically included and recognized as the keyword. On the other hand, since Apple allow us to place up to 100characters per language only, using your app name in your keyword section would be only wasting of precious space and you will not benefit!

Wrong formatting


  • The most common mistakes are using unnecessary spaces between keywords. There is no need for this. Use commas instead!

Using keywords that receives no traffic


  • Ranking high for a keywords that is not popular and receive no traffic is worthless. Instead try using keywords with traffic score 1.0 or above.


Using keywords that your app have no chance to rank well for

  • There are keywords with tons of traffic and people search for them very often. The truth is such keywords usually have huge competition and unfortunately as a new app developer it may be very hard to rank well for because there are apps with millions of installs and fairly it is impossible to compete with them. Instead go gradually and choose keywords with lower traffic score until your app get some reputation!

Using extremely long keywords


  • Remember, people usually hate to type extremely long keywords on their device so ranking high for a long keyword of 10 characters does not make any sense and it takes too much space. Instead you can use two different keywords with four characters each that eventually can bring you more traffic.

Using plural and singular keywords

  • There is no need for this. You should only target a keyword that have a greater traffic and lower competition. You will be ranking for both anyway!


Adding Keywords To Your Title Can Make Your App More Visible On The App Store

  • True, adding too many keywords to your title may look ugly but on the other side by adding keywords directly to your tittle Apple gives you an advantage for better rankings comparing to keywords used in regular keyword section. Another good thing about this is that your title is more descriptive and may get a better attention by potential user and you get more keywords that you can potentially rank for. Personally I prefer using longer titles but it is all up to you whether you want to use long or short ones. In case you decide to use longer title make sure it is readable and relevant to your app otherwise it may be rejected by Apple.

Using Long Tail Keywords (phrases)

  • Personally I prefer using long tail keywords or phrases. Such keywords not only have lower competition but also convert in sales more often. In some cases using single keywords is fine too.


As you can see App Store Optimization (ASO) process is not difficult but it is rather continual process of monitoring and tweaking keywords so as long as you can be persistent you should reach your goal. If you reach your goal with all of your keywords and you get in the top 10 or 20 the most and you want to get even more downloads for your app, you may want to consider changing your other parts of metadata like icon, screenshots and description.

Hope you guys found this post useful and you’re ready to go in your next App Store Optimization (ASO) adventure. Good luck!

More info about me can be found at: ASO Services

Ibrahim Eminovic
Author : Ibrahim Eminovic

Over 3 years in app industry educated by Chad Mureta and Trey Smith. Love making iOS apps visible on the App Store.