The Beginner’s Guide To iOS App Store SEO

app storeSince you read this blog, you already know about web SEO and the benefits it can provide: free organic traffic to your website. But what many people don’t know is that there is also App Store SEO, also known as ASO or App Store Optimization.

This is still very much an emerging field and knowledge about ASO is not nearly as widespread as knowledge about web SEO. So if you want to get in early on this opportunity, there are two ways you can do it.

First, you can use this knowledge to improve your existing apps or to help you create a new app. Second, you can use what you learn about ASO to become a consultant and get paid to help people make their apps successful.

If either of these options interest you, let’s get started. In this post, we will be talking only about Apple App Store Optimization, so this only applies if you are working with an iOS app.


The best thing about App Store SEO is that it is not as complicated as web SEO. Since over half of all downloaded apps are discovered by App Store search, you need to concentrate on it or you are missing out on a lot of potential free, organic traffic.

Although the keyword landscape is changing all the time, ASO can be a more passive app marketing solution, where you only might need to check your keyword rank once a week or less. It is not like an ad campaign, where you have to watch how much you are spending every day.

Also Read – List of Top 10 SEO and Webmaster Forums 2013 

Another benefit is that not many people really understand how it works yet. People who already have several apps available for download are still choosing keywords that are not helping them. This is an opportunity to give your app or your client’s app an advantage, before everyone else catches on.


There are several tools that can help pick out the best keywords for your app. Regardless of what tool you use, it should give you two basic pieces of information.

Any tool that you use should give you two things: estimated traffic and ranking difficulty. These should be expressed as numbers, so you know exactly which keywords have higher traffic and difficulty.

If a tool just gives you: low, medium and high, that is not precise enough for you to make accurate decisions. Here is an example of the traffic and difficulty scores for a keyword from the popular game Clash of Clans.


It also helps if you can get access to information like keyword suggestions, keywords that other apps use and tools to help you optimize your keyword list. Since you only have 100 characters to use for keywords, you need to make the best use of every single character.

How To Choose Keywords

There are three parts to keyword selection. The most important part is relevance. The keywords that you choose have to be closely related to your app. For example, if you have an app about dog training, the keyword phrase “cat bed” would be totally useless to you. You need to rank for terms that people who want to download your app would look for. This sounds like common sense, but we still see people making this mistake.

The next most important element of keyword selection is difficulty. You are looking for a Difficulty Score that your app can rank in the top 10 for. Once you know that number, you should target keywords that have that Difficulty Score, or less. If you are just starting out, target keywords with a low Difficulty Score, but still have some traffic.


If both relevance and difficulty are equal, then choose keywords that have the most traffic. Many app developers make the mistake of using traffic as their primary keyword selection criteria, but those are usually the most competitive keywords.

It doesn’t matter if a keyword has a ton of traffic, but you rank #453. Nobody is going to scroll that far.

Also Read – 4 things that allow to “catch” your blog readers

Always Test

Finally, you always need to test your keywords in real world conditions. Some keywords may not perform as well as you though they would and some might do better than you expected. Just like with web SEO, things are constantly changing, so you need to track your results to see when things change significantly.

Take Action

So if this information excites you, do something right now that will move you closer to improving the ASO of your app or learning more about ASO. If you would like to get started with some free articles, visit the Sensor Tower Blog.

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