International Keyword Optimization Modules Now Available

Learn how to track, research and optimize your internationalized and localized keywords on the iOS App Store.

One of the most frequent requests that we used to get was to have the ability to research, optimize and track keywords in other languages. We have been working hard on making that a reality and we are happy to announce that it is finally ready. Let's take a look at why localization is important, how our modules work and how you can get started immediately.

Why Internationalization Is Important (And How It Is Different From Localization)

If you are not familiar with the terms, let's get that out of the way real quick. Internationalization is the process of setting up the infrastructure of an app to accommodate assets for multiple languages. Localization is the adaptation of assets in the app such as text, images, sound files, etc., for different languages. We will use the terms fairly interchangeably, but in case you are wondering, that is the difference.

Localization is very important for expanding the user base of your app because it allows you to reach more users. If you have not read our posts on how the top apps are localizing and how to create localized screenshot templates, they can help you with the process.

The payoff for localizing can be huge. In one case study, they were able to increase their downloads by 767%, just by localizing their keywords. Now that you know how important it can be, here is how to use the new international keyword modules in Sensor Tower.

How To Track And Optimize Your Localized Keywords

Before we get started, it is worth mentioning that in the middle of this year, Apple changed the keyword limit from 100 bytes to 100 characters. This is an important distinction because where some individual characters in languages such as Korean or Chinese would take up 4 bytes, they now only take up one character. If you have previously localized your keywords and have not checked them lately, you may have a lot of extra space available to add more keywords.

The process for researching, optimizing and tracking your localized keywords is pretty much the same as with English. We are going to use Clash of Clans on the Japanese App Store as an example. I know that we use this game a lot in our examples, but they do a good job with their keywords.

After you login to Sensor Tower, make sure that your app is selected at the top. If you need to add it, click on the green Add New App button.

Track a new app

Then in the upper right corner of the screen, click on the flag to access the country drop down menu. In this case, we will select Japan.

Research Japan App Store

You are now in the Japanese App Store, but the functions of Sensor Tower work the same as in the US App Store. Let's look at a few of the key ones.

Keyword Spy

In this example, the first thing that would be interesting to find out is the Japanese keywords that Clash of Clans is using. By selecting the Keyword Spy Module from the menu, this is what we find.

Research competition keywords

You might be wondering why the name of the app appears in English. Just like in English, we include the name of the app in the keyword list because Apple includes it in your keyword list, without you having to explicitly declare it. In this case, they did not choose to translate the name of the app into Japanese, so that is why it is appearing in English.

Keyword List Optimization

Now let's find out how optimized the Japanese keyword list is. When we plug it into our Keyword Optimization Module, this is what we find.

Effective use of keyword field

These are good keywords because they are getting traffic and generally have pretty low competition. As we can see from the Optimization Suggestions however, there is still a lot of room to add new keywords. This might be a case of what we mentioned earlier, where these keywords may not have been optimized after Apple changed the keyword limit from 100 bytes to 100 characters. By using our Keyword Optimization Module, we have uncovered an area that can be improved.

Keyword Research

Since this app needs more keywords, we can use the Keyword Research Module to check out new keyword ideas that we have. For example, here is the data on the Japanese characters for "cannon", one of the words on the English keyword list.

Get metrics on keyword ideas

Not too bad. It has similar Traffic and Difficulty Scores to some of the other keywords on their existing list, so it might be worth including.

Rank Tracking

Now the moment of truth, how is Clash of Clans ranking for the Japanese keywords that Supercell has chosen?

Track keyword rankings

Told you they are good. They rank in the top 10 for seven of eight keywords on the iPad and six out of eight on the iPhone.

Just for kicks, let's take a look at that one keyword that they are not in the top 10 for. It is the third from the top on the list and it is the word for "dragon." If we flip back to the US App Store, this is how Clash of Clans performs for that keyword.

Performance results

Note that there is more competition in the Japanese App Store and it does rank lower than in the US App Store. This is why it is important to optimize your keywords by country. Just because a keyword ranks well in one App Store, it doesn't mean that it will do well in another.


Finally, let's take a quick look at the Clash of Clans competitors in the Japanese App Store. You can use this list to research and track your competition to find out what they are doing well. When we select the Competitors menu item, this is what we see.

Competitors analysis


If you are already a Sensor Tower subscriber, just login to your account and you can get started immediately. Even if you are not a subscriber yet, you can get started with a 14-day free trial.

We hope that you are as excited as we are about this new dimension to Sensor Tower. It is really easy to use and it can help you to significantly expand the reach of your app. Remember the 3 step process for selecting keywords and you will be good to go.

If you have any questions about the new international keyword modules, let us know in the comments below.

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

Hugh Kimura

Written by: Hugh Kimura, Head of Content

Date: October 2013

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