UPDATE (January 26, 2015): This is NOT the most recent version of this guide. For the most up-to-date guide for this module, click here.
One of the fundamental elements of App Store Optimization is to track how your app is ranking for its keywords. There is an ebb and flow to App Store searches, so your rankings will naturally go up and down, within a range. But if you want to improve your downloads significantly, then tracking and improving your keyword rankings is the best place to start.
The following tutorial will show you how to use the Keyword Rankings feature in Sensor Tower. Monitoring your keywords will allow your remove keywords that you are not ranking well for and replace them with words that you can rank for.
Before we get started, we want to stress that setting your keywords is not a one time event. It is a continual process of updating and tracking. At the same time, be sure to test your keywords over a period of time that will allow you to get a good feel for their true performance. Do not jump to conclusions after just a day or two.
Here is a video on how to use Sensor Tower to track how your app is ranking for your target keywords. If you prefer the written version, it is provided after the video.
After you login to your account, you will be taken to the Sensor Tower Dashboard. The following instructions will show you how to setup keyword tracking.
Add your app by clicking the green Add New App button at the top of the screen.
Then select the default country and if your app is an iPhone, iPad or Andriod app. If your iOS app is universal, then it does not matter which one you choose, we will display data for both.
Next, enter your app's name in the search box. A list of apps with that name will appear, select your app.
We will then suggest a few keywords that you can track to get you started. If you want to use one or several of them, just click on the Track This Search button next to the keyword you want to track. When you are done, or if you do not want to use any of the terms, click on the Add My Own Search Terms button.
You will then be shown a dialog box in which you can add your own keywords. For multiple keywords, separate each keyword with a comma.
After you have added all of the keywords you want to track, click on the Track Keywords button. You can check the box next to Add keywords to all major countries if you want to track your keyword rank in all the major app stores.
Now that you have a set of keywords that is being tracked by Sensor Tower, it is time to see how you are doing. Make sure you are on the Keyword Rankings tab to see your results. Here are a few example keywords from The Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle-earth.
In the first column, you will see the keyword and next to it will be the flag of the App Store country that the keyword is being tracked in.
The second column will show you the estimated traffic that the keyword is currently getting. It is on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most searched for terms.
The next column will show how difficult it will be to rank for that keyword, on the device that it is designed for. If your app is available on both iPhone and iPad, there will be two columns, with separate rankings for each. A keyword with a score of 10 would be the most difficult to rank for.
After that, there will be a column showing how many apps are currently ranking for that keyword. Again, if your app is available on iPhone and iPad, you will see two columns.
Finally, we get to the most important column(s), how your app is ranking for that keyword. As you can see in the example above, Kabam has done a great job of optimizing their keywords, but there is one keyword that they could replace.
If you would like to download the historical rankings your keywords, you can click on the "Download Reports" button to get your report in CSV format.
You can either choose to download a daily report of your US App Store rankings, or weekly data from all the App Stores.
Here is an example of what the CSV file looks like for the US report.
If you have already added an app, choose it from the drop down menu next to the Add New App button. The drop down menu will show you which app store the app you are tracking is in.
If you would like to stop tracking an app, just click the trash icon. Remember that if you delete it, all of the information about your app will be deleted from your account and if you want to track the app again, you will need to re-enter the data. You will also stop receiving emails, alerting you of rankings changes.
Managing your keyword list for any of your apps is easy. Just click on the Add New Keyword button at the bottom of the keyword list to add a keyword. To delete a keyword, just click on the trash icon on the far right side of the keyword line you want to delete.
Tabs make it easy to separate your keywords into different categories. You can use tabs to track things like: keyword ideas, multi-word keywords, old keywords and more.
To get started, click on the Add Tab button above the keyword list. Then double-click on the new tab to change its name. You can add up to seven custom tabs.
Then select the tab that you want to add keywords to and click on the green Add New Keyword button. All the keywords that are added to the custom tabs will automatically be added to the All Keywords tab.
If you click on any of the keywords in your list, you can see two additional pieces of information. First, on the right side, you will see a list of the top 8 apps for that keyword search. The tabs at the top will allow your see the iPhone and iPad Rankings separately, if it is an iOS app. Looking at what these apps are doing can give you some clues as to why they are ranking so high.
On the top of the screen, you will see a graph of the historical ranking of your app for the keyword that you selected. The green pluses show when the app was updated, allowing you to quickly see what effect your update had on ranking for that keyword.
We have tried to make the process of tracking your keyword rankings as simple as possible and we hope that this tutorial helps you get started quickly. As we mentioned before, you should check your rankings often, in order to assure that you are getting the best possible visibility in App Store search. To make things easier, we will also automatically email you when your rankings change significantly, for the apps that you are tracking.
If you have any questions about tracking your keyword rank, let us know in the comments below.
These are the updates that we have made to this module since the original post.