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APP STORE OPTIMIZATION · MOBILE APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT · HUGH KIMURA · OCTOBER 2013

Uncover More Useful Keywords For Free With iTunes Review Mining

Learn how to find App Store Optimization keywords for free with iTunes.

Coming up with great keyword ideas can be an exhausting process, especially if you have been doing it for awhile. Our job is to give you ways to make keyword optimization easier, so in this post, we will show you an often overlooked method that you can use to find more keyword ideas.

This process is called Review Mining and it can be easily done in iTunes, so it is available to everyone. The best part is that these keywords will come from actual users, so they may be a better reflection of what people actually search for.

How To Do It

As you have probably guessed by now, we will be looking through the reviews of your app and the reviews of competing apps to find keywords that you can test in your keyword list. If you are brand new to app development and have never looked at reviews in iTunes before, we will run through it really quick. Then we will show you how to filter those results so you don't have to go through every single one.

One of the top ranking apps on our App Leaderboard right now, is Modern War. It is currently #32 overall and #11 in the Games category. We will use this app as an example of how you can find good keyword ideas in app reviews. First, open iTunes and search for the app that you want to research.

lt="Top app example

When you find the app in the search results, click on the "Reviews and Ratings" tab. Also be sure that the "All Versions" button is selected. You want to see all of the ratings and reviews so that you have the biggest pool of reviews to choose keywords from.

lt="Where to find the ratings tab

On the right side, you will see a drop down menu that will sort the reviews. Start by sorting them by "Most Favorable".

lt="The highest app ratings

You want to start with the most favorable reviews (the ones with the highest star rating), because it is more likely that they will contain words that people who like this type of game will search for on the App Store. This will not always be the case, but it is the best place to start.

To illustrate the value of using the rating as an initial filter, you can change the drop down to "Most Critical" and you will see the 1-star reviews first. Words like "crash" and "expensive"come up often. Obviously, those are examples of negative keywords, ones that people would not search for.

This is by no means a fail proof way to find keywords. But with tens of thousands of reviews for this app, searching by rating is the fastest way to get started, given the sorting functions in iTunes. Sorting by "Most Helpful" might be another way to find the best keyword rich reviews, but again, just depends on the app.

Before you starting looking through the reviews, it is also useful to have a spreadsheet open to record your findings. Optionally, you can record the rating and some notes for the keywords that you add to the list.

Recording the rating can help you look back on your list and see if higher ratings are more useful, or maybe it doesn't matter. It could vary by category.

lt="Use a spreadsheet to record results

Now scan through the ratings and pick out keywords that you see appearing often or keywords that you think would be good ideas to research later. This is more of a brainstorming exercise, so don't be too selective at this point.

By looking through the reviews for Modern War, one interesting word that comes up in the 5-star reviews is: "faction".

lt="Unusual keyword discovery

This could possibly be a keyword that Modern War could use in their keyword list. It is more likely that a person would only know about the term after playing the game, but still, it is worth looking into. When we plug it into our Keyword Research Tool, this is what we find.

lt="Possible keyword replacement

As you probably know from our guide on how to choose keywords, this looks like it could be a good keyword. The traffic is pretty good, but more importantly, the difficulty scores are really low. This basically means that it will be easier to rank for this keyword.

From here, it would be up to the owner of Modern War (created by Funzio, but now owned by GREE) to judge the relevance of the keyword to the app and to test it to see if it makes a positive impact on the number of downloads of the app.

But that is just one example of how the reviews can be used to find new keywords. You might also be able to use this keyword if you have a competing game and "faction" is related to your game.

What To Do Right Now

So if you are at a point where you feel that you have run out of keyword ideas, or if you are just starting out and are looking for a free way to find keywords, then just fire up iTunes and Excel and find 10 new keywords from the 5-star reviews of your competition. That's it, just 10.

You can add as many as you want to your Excel sheet, obviously. But setting a small goal of 10 will help you feel less overwhelmed and make it more likely that you will get started. Then use our Keyword Research Tool to check out the keywords that you found. If you are not a Sensor Tower subscriber, you can use our free App Store Optimization trial.

Especially with Modern War, it can be tedious to go through even just the 5-star reviews because people use the reviews primarily for add requests. In a future post, we will show you a much easier way to do this and uncover useful keywords in app reviews faster, with a new tool that we have been working on.

Stay tuned!

Do you have any other tips for excavating app reviews for keyword treasure? Let us know in the comments below.


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Hugh Kimura

Written by: Hugh Kimura, Head of Content

Date: October 2013

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