How To Choose Your First Google Play ASO Keyword

Google Play ASO keyword selection can be a little confusing when you first start out, so this post will show you exactly how to choose your first keyword.

uncover your first keyword

If you are just getting started with App Store Optimization for Google Play, some of the concepts can be a little confusing and maybe even a little counterintuitive. This post will take you through the process and show you exactly how to choose your first ASO keyword for the Google Play App Store.

We will go through the most common mistakes and the hierarchy of selection criteria that you should use when evaluating potential keywords. At the end, we will also show you how to analyze your competition and give you the key to ultimate success with App Store Optimization.

The Most Common Google Play ASO Mistake

People just getting started with Google Play ASO usually make the same mistake. So if you have already done this, don't feel bad.

The natural inclination of most people is to look for keywords that have the highest search volume or traffic. But in ASO, there are actually two other criteria that are more important than traffic.

Much more important.

Before we get into that, let's take a quick look at why simply adding keywords to your app's title and description will not guarantee you high search rankings.

It's Not Only About Keywords

Just because you add a keyword to your app's metadata, does not mean that you will automatically rank for it. Some app publishers add a target keyword to the description of their app multiple times and wonder why they aren't ranking.

It is because there are may other factors that go into search rankings, in addition to the presence of keywords. Things like number of downloads, ratings, uninstalls and engagement all play a role in determining the overall rankings strength of your app.

On top of this, nobody knows exactly how Google ranks apps. The algorithm is a closely guarded secret.

But we do know enough of the major factors to make App Store Optimization very worthwhile. Now that you understand what to expect from this process, here are the three primary criteria you have to look at when choosing your first keyword.

Relevance Is Most Important

By far, the most important thing you have to consider when choosing a keyword is how relevant a keyword is to the download of your app. It can't just be loosely related. It has to be a keyword that people will search look for when they want to find an app like yours.

For example, if you have an app about dog training, keywords like leash, dog and collar might be the first keywords that come to mind. However, if someone was looking for an app to help them train their dog, will they search for those words? Probably not.

Keywords such as "dog obedience," "teach to fetch" and "dog whisperer" are better keywords to consider first. Your ideas will still have to pass the next two criteria, but now you are on the right track.

If you need some tips on how to brainstorm keyword ideas, this post will be helpful.

Next Look At Ranking Difficulty

After you have a list of relevant keyword ideas, then the next step is to find out how difficult it is to rank for each keyword. This is the key step when it comes to ranking well. It doesn't matter if you are targeting a keyword that gets a million searches a month, if you rank #1,402 for that keyword. Nobody is going to scroll that far in search results to find your app.

Your goal is to get into the top 10 for every keyword you target.

We give you an easy way to measure ranking difficulty. Our proprietary Difficulty Score approximates how hard it is to rank for a keyword. It is measured on a 0-10 scale, with 10 being the hardest keywords to rank for.

Simply use our Keyword Research module to get the Difficulty Score for each keyword on your list. It makes it really easy to quickly see how hard a keyword is to rank for. This is a good example of a keyword with a low Difficulty Score.

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For your first keyword, look for a word or phrase that has a Difficulty Score that is as low as possible. If you can find a relevant keyword that has a Difficulty Score of 3.0 or less, that is a great place to start.

If you are having trouble finding one word keywords that have a low enough Difficulty Score, research multi-word keywords. These are known as long-tail keywords and can greatly reduce the Difficulty Score of your target keywords.

Then Examine Traffic

Now it is time to look at traffic. There are only two times when you want to take traffic into consideration, at least in the beginning.

First you only want to target keywords that have a Traffic Score that is above zero. Ranking #1 for a keyword that isn't getting any traffic doesn't make sense. So always choose keywords that have a Traffic Score above zero.

The only other time that you should take traffic into consideration is when you are trying to choose between two keywords that have similar relevance and Difficulty Score. In that case, choose the keyword that has the higher Traffic Score. You can always test the other one later.

Research Your Market

After you research your initial list of keywords, then examine other apps in your category. Take a look at the keywords that are used in their app titles and descriptions. This can give you clues as to which keywords you may want to target in the future.

Create another list of keywords that you uncover, based on this research. Then go through the same process again for each keyword.

The Most Important Thing About ASO For Google Play

The key to successful Google Play App Store ASO is constant testing. Although our metrics are extremely helpful, conditions on the app store change quickly.

Therefore, you have to continually research, test and measure your keyword rankings. Keyword optimization is a process that needs to be continually monitored throughout the lifetime of your app. Our Keyword Rankings module makes it easy to track all of your keywords in one place.



So that is the process for finding your first Google Play keyword. Do not be discouraged if your first try does not turn out as you expected. Remember that it is a process and it takes a little time to get the hang of it.

To learn more about ASO for both Google Play and iOS, sign up for ASO Academy. Enrollment is free and it will teach you all the basics of App Store Optimization.

Sensor Tower's platform is an enterprise-level offering. Interested in learning more?

Hugh Kimura

Written by: Hugh Kimura, Head of Content

Date: January 2015

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