12 Mobile Keyword Ranking Tips: Optimize Your ASO and Paid Search Strategies

Mobile Keyword Ranking
There are 2.7 billion smartphone users worldwide. Within the first quarter of 2019, these app users had 2.6 million Android apps and 2.2 million iOS apps to choose from.

Competition to thrive in the app industry is fierce.

Mobile keyword ranking could be your saving grace.

What do I mean by mobile keyword ranking?

Mobile keyword ranking plays a key part in the process of marketing a technological application (app). With mobile keyword ranking, you can measure how well your app stands out when targeted keywords are used.  The aim is to attract the largest possible number of users by ensuring your app ranks highly for all relevant keywords. With an effective mobile keyword ranking strategy, you will maximize the revenue generation of your app.

Keep reading to discover Process Street‘s mobile keyword ranking top tips.

Our top tips have been gathered from App Annie’s Webinar: Win in the App Store with ASO and Paid Search.

App Annie is the guru of app marketing. By listening to their webinar, we have gathered key points straight from the professionals. We have summarized these key points, to produce this succinct tool kit to optimize your mobile keyword ranking.

This article has been structured as below:

Mobile keyword ranking: What is App Store Optimization (ASO)?

ASO essentially focuses on increasing your app’s visibility within the app store by focussing on mobile keyword ranking. The tips covered in this article specifically look at how you can optimize your mobile keyword rankings.

App Annie is an international company that provides data and indicators for more than 11 million apps on a global scale. App Annie has been developed to help mobile app marketers optimize their app marketing tactics.

App Annie’s focus for app marketing improvement is on App Store Optimization. App Store Optimization (ASO) can be defined as below:

App Store Optimization is the process of improving the visibility of your app within a mobile app store (the Apple App Store; Google Play)Genie Patrathiranond, What is ASO? The Ultimate App Store Optimization Guide”

But before we jump the gun, it is important to firstly get a clear view of why you should care about app stores and how you rank within them.

Mobile keyword ranking: App Store Optimization, and why it is important

App stores are at the center of it all.

At the end of Q3 in 2019, global downloads from app stores were 31 billion, resulting in $29 billion consumer spend.

These figures represent the biggest quarter in the app stores, ever.

Why should you care about app stores?: Because this is where the business is.

The consumer world is changing. By this, I mean we are seeing a new type of consumer entering the market. I am referring to Generation Z. Generation Z is the newest generation, individuals born between 1995 and 2015, aged between 4-24 years. As this generation comes into play, companies have to adapt to this evolving consumer landscape.

Generation Z accounts for 32% of the population, making it the largest generation across the world.

Generation Z is mobile-first. For example, they account for 55% more sessions per-use in top non-gaming apps than older generations.

We can, therefore, conclude that mobile apps downloaded from app stores are a form factor to reach this large subset of consumers.

However, it is not enough to list your app within an app store. You need to find a way to make your app stand out. This is where optimized mobile keyword ranking comes in.

Mobile keyword ranking: Organic search strategy

With an organic search strategy, one or several search keywords are used as a single string of text. Using a search engine, results are pulled up based on the relevance of the search terms.

I will go through how you can optimize your organic keyword searches with App Annie. From this process, I will then summarize our top tips deciphered for you to optimize your organic search strategy.

Using App Annie as your search engine, you can generate comprehensive lists of keywords that are relevant to your app. This is done via 3 easy steps using App Annie’s supercharged keyword discovery feature.

Mobile keyword ranking - App Annie Keyword Discovery

With this feature, you can quickly identify your most impactful keywords, and visualize all of these keywords in an intuitive display.

Organic search strategies are dependent on uncovering and defending keywords. With App Annie, you can visualize what keywords your app ranks for, competitor keywords, and keyword suggestions.

mobile keyword ranking - viewing keywords

All in all, by adopting this process for your organic search strategy, you:

  • Understand how specific keywords are driving your organic downloads
  • Dig deeper with each one of your keyword searches, as App Annie can pull up more relevant keywords

Digging deeper with each keyword search could create analysis paralysis. However, coming back to App Annie’s process, the software allows you to view your keyword results in a number of different designed intuitive visualizations.

For example, keywords can also be visualized based on volume and keyword difficulty, in graphs such as the below. These visualizations help you pick out the best keywords.

mobile keyword ranking - volume vs keyword difficulty

It is self-explanatory that you want your keywords to have a high search volume. Keyword difficulty (KD) is a little harder to understand but it is essentially the amount of competition there is for that particular keyword. The higher the KD, the greater the competition, the less likely you are to rank highly for that keyword search.

With AppAnnie, keywords are also ranked in accordance with traffic share, downloads and revenue estimates. With such a wealth of information at your disposal, you can make informed decisions for your keyword strategy.

mobile keyword ranking - viewing keywords 2

Once you have considered your best keywords, you then need to acknowledge geographical and language impacts. That is, the vast majority of people do not speak English as their first language. Geographical and language factors will impact the effectiveness of your keywords within the app store.

For more information on how language and geography can impact your keyword optimization strategy, check out: How a Multilingual ASO Strategy Can Drive Your Mobile App Forward.

To summarize what we have covered so far – regarding your organic search strategy – I have deduced 6 top tips and detailed these below:

  1. Understand how specific keywords are driving your organic downloads
  2. Dig deeper with each one of your keyword searches, to obtain a comprehensive list of possible keywords
  3. Consider the keywords of your competitors
  4. Consider keywords that have a high search volume but a low Keyword Difficulty
  5. Consider how external factors can change the value of your keywords, for example, how external keyword exposure could increase its KD
  6. Consider geographical and language impacts on your keyword search

With 35% of app downloads coming from organic searches, our next question is: where does the other 65% of app downloads come from?

Paid search is used in digital marketing to guarantee the top spot in a search result. Paid search works on a pay-per-click model, meaning that, until someone clicks on your ad, you don’t pay.

Our three tips obtained from App Annie to improve your paid search strategy are as follows:

  1. Quickly understand the paid keyword’s Share Of Voice (SOV) to inform your acquisition strategy
  2. Discover keywords and the apps competing for them, and then view SOV for each keyword
  3. Evaluate your competitors and see who is bidding for your keywords

Share Of Voice (SOV) measures the market that your brand owns in comparison to competitors. In this instance, we are dealing with the share of keywords you own compared to your competitors.

To see how these tips can be used in practice, let’s look into the ISO app store:

Typing in Uber brings up an Uber competitor Lyft.

Mobile keyword ranking - Keyword search

In this example, is obvious that Lyft is attacking Uber’s organic search strategy by using paid search for the same keywords.

Considering the tips given above, Uber should:

  • Consider the SOV for related keywords, and decipher which keywords it can out-perform Lyft on
  • Set out to discover new keywords, look at the apps competing for them, and view the SOV for each to determine which keywords it can rank highly on in a paid search
  • Evaluate Lyft and other competitors, to see which keywords are being bid for

When it comes to your organic search strategy and your paid search strategy, you need to decipher a balance between the two. That is, it is all very well driving app users with a strong organic search scheme, but your results will be masked once your competitors use a paid search for the same keywords.

Using a combination of organic search and paid search will place you in the strongest position.

Within this combination, there will be a specific balance to strike, a balance unique to each app. For example, it is possible to view the causes of app download. By causes, I mean determining if your app was downloaded from an organic or paid search.

Say that, from this analysis, you discover that 99% of your downloads were attributed to organic searches. Yet you are paying for a 50:50 split between paid searches and organic searches. It is obvious you need to re-allocate your resources.

This brings me to our 10th tip for keyword optimization: strike a balance between organic and paid keyword searches that is optimal for your app.

Mobile keyword ranking: Keyword defense

Keyword defense is about identifying which one of your keywords is under attack from a paid search strategy. Your competitors are likely to use a paid search to upend your organic keyword strategy. You can categorize your keywords under the following criteria:

  • Safe: Keywords identified as safe have no imposing competition, and so no action is needed
  • Revealed: No apps are bidding for these keywords. There is untapped potential, and so organic search strategies should be used for these keywords
  • Threatened: You are bidding for these keywords, but you don’t have the highest SOV. You must consider whether the words are worth boosting your spend (by using our three tips on paid searches given above)
  • Critical: You are not bidding on these keywords, but other apps are. Its time to bid aggressively on these keywords

From this section, we decipher our eleventh tip to optimize your mobile keyword ranking: defend your keywords appropriately.

Mobile keyword marketing: Platforms to understand your downloads and optimize target keywords

To conclude this article, we give our twelfth and final tip on mobile keyword ranking: utilize platforms to better understand your downloads and obtain optimized target keywords.

I have listed below our top 5 platforms for keyword analysis. This list has been obtained from our What is ASO? Our App Optimization Strategy to Boost Your Downloads article.


mobile keyword ranking - AppTweak

AppTweak is a dedicated ASO platform, giving you all the necessary data to decide what keywords to go after and helps you understand how to go after them.

If you’ve used an SEO platform like Ahrefs, which we use at Process Street, then you’ll find AppTweak to be intuitive as it structures its information in similar ways.

AppTweak gives you recommendations of which keywords to aim for after running your numbers, and interestingly for us, it also provides a series of in-platform checklists to improve your own listing. You can connect your app listing with the platform and it reviews your setup. From there it will give you an actionable series of recommendations for improving your listing.

The starter package gives you everything you need for basic keyword analysis and comes in at €59 a month. The recommended package with download and revenue estimates is priced at €299 per month.


mobile keyword ranking - AppAnnie

AppAnnie is one of the heavyweights of the ASO game. Its reputation is high and its scope of functionality and service provision is not to be scoffed at.

AppAnnie is great for general reporting and the basic platform is a very useful tool for assessing your regular app metrics.

AppAnnie’s ASO tools are considered to be incredibly useful and accurate with some of the best media content for tackling ASO found in its Insights blog.

The free version of AppAnnie can give you information about your app’s performance as well as keyword rankings, rank tracking, and elements of competitor insight. The paid version includes detailed ASO insights along with download and revenue estimations which can be broken down by country and delivered alongside insights about market size, all from within your dashboard.

The AppAnnie premium version is on the expensive side of ASO services. You’ll have to contact the sales team to understand what AppAnnie can do for you for what price.

Mobile Action

mobile keyword ranking -Mobile Action

One thing I really like about Mobile Action is how wide-ranging its free trial is.

Mobile Action allows you to gather volume and competition scores (think difficulty) across different countries and lets you track keywords over time, all without paying them a penny. It’s a limited service in comparison to what you can get when you pay them, but having the time to get comfortable with the platform before purchase has definitely pulled me into wanting to add Mobile Action to my stack.

Mobile Action is easy to navigate and after a quick play around you’ll find yourself stumbling across valuable data, helping you understand not just which keywords your competitors rank for, but which they receive most downloads from.

An all-purpose ASO tool which is a joy to use, the basic package starts at $69 per month with premium-priced at $499.

Sensor Tower

mobile keyword ranking - Sensor Tower

Sensor Tower
provides many of the same services as the other apps listed.

You can analyze keywords and understand both their volume and difficulty, as per. The platform also offers download and revenue estimates along with info about advertisers and the performance of monetization efforts.

Sensor Tower presents itself as being more geared towards understanding your app as a business, rather than presenting themselves as a tool to help simply boost growth. It boasts about being used by financial analysts and VCs to identify emerging trends in the market; from fast-growing apps to the changing nature of different global market segments.

Sensor Tower also boasts usage data on top of raw downloads. For its small business offerings, pricing begins at $79 per month and tops out at $400 per month. Like the other platforms, Sensor Tower has a range of enterprise services with custom pricing plans.


mobile keyword ranking - SearchMan

SearchMan is part of the AppGrooves family and lets you research different keywords, track them over time, and understand how to leverage them for maximum payoff.

Many of the other services provide API access, as SearchMan do. Through API access to the data you can have your technical team run complex queries and dig deeper into the numbers.

One positive of SearchMan, with this in mind, which I want to pull out is the Spreadsheet Solution. This feature lets you run custom queries in a user-friendly way to give a greater breakdown of the data. For non-technical folks, this provides a good way to investigate further into the figures available.

SearchMan pricing comes in lower than the others, albeit for a slightly more limited service. The paid section of the ‘Freemium’ model is priced at $25 per month and gives you access to a range of ASO tools on top of the free to access trends data. The Spreadsheet Solution is $99 per month with API access priced at $250. Enterprise plans are also available.

Use Process Street to help you optimize your mobile keyword ranking

To incorporate our twelve tips on mobile keyword ranking, we recommend you document the relevant processes. For example, you can document processes for:

  • Your initial keyword search
  • Keyword tracking over time
  • Analyzing keyword results for yourself and your competitors
  • Creating and updating your app store listings

For more information on how you can document your processes, readHow and Why to Document Your Workflows.

With well-documented processes, you can continuously improve and repeat them. Steps can be handed off to the most suitable employees for easy process management and coordination.

By using a tool like Process Street, you will find that process documentation, iteration, improvement, and running takes little effort and time.

With Process Street, your processes are documented as checklists. When I say checklists, I mean to say superpowered checklists. That is, Process Street is superpowered checklists. How are our checklists superpowered?

Process Street’s checklists standout above ordinary checklists. Our checklists have been adapted and refined, containing the following features increasing checklist use-value:

  • Stop tasks to ensure task order
  • Dynamic due dates, so no deadline is missed
  • Conditional logic, creating a dynamic template that caters to your needs
  • Role assignment, to ease task delegation within your team
  • Approvals, allowing decision-makers to give the go-ahead (or rejection) on important items. In addition, necessary comments can be provided

To find out more information regarding Process Street and our offering, watch the above Process Street Intro Webinar September 2018.

To exemplify Process Street in action, I have detailed our SEO Checklist: The Keyword Research Process below.

Click here to access our SEO Checklist: The Keyword Research Process

As you can see, each step of the keyword research process for SEO has been documented. You can jump in and edit this checklist making it more suited for ASO. Alternatively, you can create your very own templates for your mobile keyword ranking processes.

Optimize your mobile keyword ranking today

In this article, we have provided you with the following twelve top tips to optimize your mobile keyword ranking:

  1. Understand how specific keywords are driving your organic downloads
  2. Dig deeper with each one of your keyword searches, to obtain a comprehensive list of possible keywords
  3. Consider the keywords of your competitors
  4. Consider keywords that have a high search volume but a low Keyword Difficulty
  5. Consider how external factors can change the value of your keywords, for example, how external keyword exposure could increase its KD
  6. Consider geographical and language impacts on your keyword search
  7. Quickly understand the paid keyword Share Of Voice (SOV) to inform your acquisition strategy
  8. Discover keywords and the apps competing for them, and then view SOV for each keyword
  9. Evaluate your competitors and see who is bidding for your keywords
  10. Strike a balance between organic and paid keyword searches that is optimal for your app
  11. Defend your keywords appropriately
  12. Utilize platforms to better understand your downloads and obtain optimized target keywords

Use Process Street to implement any one of the above twelve tips. Optimize your app marketing strategy via improving your mobile keyword ranking. Stand back as your app skyrockets to the front page of the given app store, ultimately increasing your app downloads and revenue generation.

How do you improve your mobile keyword rankings? Are there any strategies not covered in this article that you would like to know more about? If so, please comment below, we would love to hear from you.

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Jane Courtnell

Hi there, I am a Junior Content Writer at Process Street. I graduated in Biology, specializing in Environmental Science at Imperial College London. During my degree, I developed an enthusiasm for writing to communicate environmental issues. I continued my studies at Imperial College's Business School, and with this, my writing progressed looking at sustainability in a business sense. When I am not writing I enjoy being in the mountains, running and rock climbing. Follow me at @JaneCourtnell.

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