Keyword Competition in App Store Optimization

There are many opinions in terms of how to determine the “competition” on a keyword in the App Store. Unfortunately, many of these are derived from concepts from Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and the way mobile search works is very different from web search. We’re here to help debunk all of the myths and assumptions coming from the vast corners of the web and tell you what the facts really are, from people who actually conduct optimizations all day long.

1. The number of apps listed in results for a keyword determines competition = FALSE

Many ASO tools (and bloggers) will tell you that the number of apps that are listed when you search for a keyword determines competition. The theory here is that the more apps “competing” for a keyword, the harder it will be to rank for that keyword. We understand that optically this is an easy concept for developers to understand (and an easy data concept to sell) however it is completely inaccurate.

Just like web SEO your ability to rank for a keyword is determined foremost by the relevance of your app v.s. the keyword that you are targeting. Avoiding “competitive” keywords purely based on the number of apps listed is the worst thing that you can do for your app. You’ll be cutting yourself off from traffic that you may easily obtain if your app is determined to be highly relevant.

It is possible for any app to rank in competitive keywords with proper ASO
Beating out Home Depot for “Home Improvement” keyword

 

2. Your Description doesn’t matter for App Store search = FALSE

The content of your description is a key indicator regarding the context of your application for the purpose of App Store Optimization. When Apple and Google are trying to determine whether your app is stronger than any other for a particular keyword and phrase, the description matters. Don’t discount the importance of a concise first paragraph and a detailed feature listing to justify why you deserve to be ranked for important keywords.

Reviews are also an important indicator of which keywords your app might be most important to rank for. Be sure to collect as many reviews and ratings as possible from end users, because this user feedback is weighed highest when determining context for your application v.s the keywords that you choose.

There are some great resources to increase reviews for your app organically including:

Appirater: https://github.com/arashpayan/appirater (organic, from your traffic)

Be careful not to incentivize reviews with cash or be taken advantage of by dubious services online that “guarantee 5-star reviews” because frequently Apple and Google track activity of these services and you could land in hot water. Reviews are best when they are organic and not incentivized with cash.

3.   Go broad and stuff with as many diverse keywords as possible = FALSE

Indeed, it is true that you want to maximize your keyword/phrase reach in the App Store, but stuffing your title and keyword list with random words that are perceived to have high volume is the wrong approach. When you are choosing keywords, be sure to select ones that complement each other and will clearly communicate what your top two or three priorities are for the app. Don’t forget that almost 80% of searches in the App Store are 2-3 word phrases, so build in complimentary “connecting” words.

This strategy is relevant to competition, because the way that you structure your metadata and select your keywords helps you overcome competition on quality keywords and phrases. Just like the web, where Google makes it “easier” for more relevant websites to rank – the algorithm only understands that you are relevant if you feed it appropriate data. When it is linked together, this data must make sense to the computer that is trying to understand what your app is all about.

4.   Avoid “competitive” keywords and target “lower volume” or “long tail” keywords = FALSE

This advice has no logic whatsoever. While you may get some degree of satisfaction typing a phrase and seeing your app listed near the top, if nobody else is searching for that phrase it is effectively worthless to you. Developers need to focus on making their app relevant where it counts, not ranking for sub-par keywords that won’t really matter in the long run. The sooner you get started targeting the higher volume keywords more aggressively the better you will be in the long run – as long as you know how to maintain your ASO every month.

When you take advice for App Store Optimization, it is important to keep in mind where that advice comes from. Often advice will be flavored by what a particular technology or tool can or cannot do, instead of focusing on how the App Store really works. While Gummicube is a technology company (with our own stellar ASO tools!) because we actually conduct optimizations on behalf of partners we don’t have to curb our opinions based on available features of any particular tool.

Following this methodology has helped Gummicube make 1000’s of apps successful in App Store search. Give it a try yourself or contact Gummicube today for help with your App Store Optimization!

 

Gummicube wins #Pitchforce competition at #Runway SF

Gummicube announced as 1st place winner of Pitchforce competition.

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Gummicube is shaking things up in San Francisco taking home the gold at #Pitchforce hosted by #Runway SF.  Our business is flourishing as are the download stats for all of the developers that work with us!

Gummicube – the #topemergingstartup in #Silicon Valley and the BEST technology for #AppStoreOptimization

Gummicube, Patient Army, Piggyback Media selected as Fund-able 50 @ Private Pitch & Demo Meeting Q1 2014

Gummicube Inc, Patient Army Inc and Piggyback Media were selected as Fund-able-50 at the Private Pitch Demo event held at Perkins Coie, Palo Alto. First-place Winner Gummicube, Inc(is also the Winn…

Gummicube, Patient Army, Piggyback Media selected as Fund-able 50 @ Private Pitch & Demo Meeting Q1 2014 

Gummicube wins back-to-back awards as top emerging Silicon Valley startup

In the last two years the team at Gummicube has had the privilege of helping hundreds of amazing developers and cutting edge startups with App Store Optimization for their apps.  In fact, nearly 2,000 campaigns later we have more experience navigating App Store Search than any other company in the world.

We’re happy helping our partners shine, building great businesses with mobile technology – but in the past month the attention turned on Gummicube, which received some serious recognition among top startup communities in Silicon Valley.

On January 25th, 2014, Gummicube won Startup of the Month at the SVEntrepreneur Demo Day.  For readers who may not have heard of SVEntrepreneur, it is the second largest Meetup group in the world  (next to the founder of Meetup.com) and one of the largest startup communities in North America.

Winning this kind of event against a crowded field of innovative Silicon Valley startups is a great honor – and validation of App Store Optimization becoming an essential marketing component for every application.  If you have a website you know how important it is to be on page one of search results and the same is true for mobile apps.  ASO is the bedrock, the foundation of  marketing for any application to be successful.

The house was packed with developers watching Gummicube present

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Gummicube was then invited to pitch at the Launchpad: Idea to IPO event at startup acceleratornestGSV. The Launchpad event was attended by hundreds of developers, entrepreneurs, investors and other contributors to the Silicon Valley startup community.  The event judges were also great – partners and representatives from Wasabi Ventures, Blumberg Capital, Harvard Angels and Kiretsu Forum all attended.

After many great startups presented and some deliberation among the judges, Gummicube won the event.

Gummicube wins Launchpad event at nestGSV

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Successfully optimizing an app for App Store Search requires leveraging mobile data from inside the App Store.  While some view Google search trends as an analog to what is happening in the App Store, this information is often anecdotal at best.  Gummicube  is focused on a mobile centric approach to App Store Optimization – leveraging exclusive mobile data and technologies.

The web and mobile are fundamentally different platforms – the biggest startup tech communities in Silicon Valley agree.

Keyword Stuffing Is Never A Good Idea

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Since we started helping developers with App Store Optimization all the way back in 2011, knowledge of the importance of ASO has spread among the app development community.  This is great news!  We want developers to get great results from their apps in the App Store and acquire the highest quality users which can only come from App Store Search.  Unfortunately, just like traditional SEO for the web there are “white hat” (good) and “black hat” (bad) methods of optimizing your app for App Store search.  White hat methods will get you great results over time while black hat methods may get your app kicked out of the store.

One key part of App Store Optimization is writing the title and description for your app.  Picking the correct keywords and managing keyword density is incredibly important to be “found” with the best keywords in App Store search.  When going through through this process (which we manage on behalf of our clients) it is important to know the difference between writing a useful description that includes keywords and “keyword stuffing”.  Keyword stuffing is considered a black hat technique in which random keywords are “stuffed” into metadata with the hopes of being ranked for those keywords.

Unfortunately, keyword stuffing doesn’t work over the long term for most developers.  First, it confuses consumers. Nobody knows how to read a keyword title that is incredibly long and most end users avoid apps that appear to be spammy.  Second, Apple and Google don’t like this practice.   More and more apps are being rejected from the review process because their titles are stuffed with keywords that make no sense from an end user prospective.  The general rule that we follow when crafting titles and descriptions for apps is that if a consumer doesn’t understand what you offer from reading the title, it is a bad title and may be “keyword stuffed”.

High quality apps + high quality metadata =  high quality users.

Always remember that your title and description are written for the end user first.  Within this framework of telling the user what an app is all about, you then must thread in the key words and phrases that are important to your app from a metadata prospective.  This is what Apple and Google expect to see when they are reviewing your app and in practice following this rule helps developers over the life of their app.

App Store Optimization (ASO) Blog | Mobile App Marketing