ASO for iOS

Posted by

Although I have absolutely no idea how ASO (app search optimization) works on the Play store I have been mildly successful at it on the Apple App store. What follows is what I use to do on iOS to go from barely 0 downloads a month to a few a day without spending a dime, doing any type of advertising or social media.

A couple of things before we start. Please don’t go out and search for my app. I want to run this as an experiment and if you go out and search for it, it might skew the results. And if you want to follow along please create a free account on App Annie and Apple Search Ads.

So the app we are going to work on has gotten a total of 5 downloads in the last 90 days according to App Annie:

Screen Shot 2019-04-07 at 5.36.58 PM

Again according to App Annie it is only ranked on one keyword:

Screen Shot 2019-04-07 at 4.11.57 PM

So let us start:

  1. Write down all the keywords that you can think of.
  2. Go to App Annie and find apps in the category that you want to rank or apps that are similar to yours. If you have a puzzle app look for other puzzle apps. If your app is a real estate app look for other real estate apps. Grab interesting keywords that those particular apps are ranked. My app is a tic tac toe app so I found this particular app that has a few words highly ranked: Screen Shot 2019-04-07 at 4.01.34 PM
  3. Then go to Apple Search Ads create a campaign. Please make sure you select the appropriate country that you are targetting. Type each of the keywords that you found in step 1 and 2 into the recommendation box and record how popular they are. Also, pay attention to any words that show up as recommended with a high frequency. Add those to the list also and record the popularity. Screen Shot 2019-04-07 at 7.55.37 PM
  4. Now you are going to use those keywords in 3 places in your listing. The name of your app, the sub-title, and the keywords. You don’t have to change your app name just append a “:” or a “-” and follow it up with keywords. Try not to repeat the words across all the fields and use the words that you don’t want people necessarily seeing in the keyword field. That is where I place miss-spelled words.
  5. Do this all again in a month with your next app update. Keep the words that you see some movement in the ranking (by checking the free App Annie account) throw out the rest and look for new keywords.

Also, I want to mention a few other things. If you are targeting a specific country search on Google what other languages are indexed for that country. Sometimes it is obvious: French and English for Canada. Then spread the keywords across the 3 fields in all the countries. I usually keep the title and subtitle in the native language but I do stuff non-native language keywords in the keyword field if they are popular.

When searching for keywords try finding as many 3 and 4 as possible and try to have enough for all the fields. I didn’t do either for this experiment so ended up repeating some of the keywords. Use the most popular keywords first and try to fill all the fields until you have 0 characters left.

And finally, I have a handy spreadsheet that you can use if you want. You can create a copy from this link:

Screen Shot 2019-04-07 at 6.51.01 PM





One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.