How to Supplement The Effectiveness of Your App Store Top Charts Ranking

By Ioana Cailean on November 6, 2014 4 Comments

Guest post by Sensor Tower

There are a lot of tools available, like mobile display campaigns, to help make a launch successful by acquiring a lot of users and getting your app into the Top Charts. This is a huge benefit when it comes to driving organic downloads.

But once your app makes it to the Top Charts, what else can you do to ensure its success? This post will show you how to supplement your Top Charts ranking by properly optimizing your app’s keywords. These influence how you show up in search results. This is known as App Store Optimization (ASO).

If you have already chosen your keywords, don’t make the mistake of thinking that your work is done. App Store Optimization is a continuous process that needs to be monitored and improved over the entire lifetime of your apps.

Why App Store Optimization is Important

Maintaining top keyword rankings can help your app get even more organic downloads. Recent studies have shown that 50% of all downloaded apps are discovered through app store search (both Apple and Google).

This means that if you are not optimizing your keywords, you are missing out on a huge source of organic downloads. There are three simple steps that you have to go through in order to choose the right keywords.

To make sure that you are choosing the best possible keywords, use the following selection criteria. They are listed in order of importance. No matter which ASO platform you use, the selection procedure is the same.

1. Relevance

First, start by choosing keywords that are highly relevant to your app. This may seem like common sense, but you might be surprised at how many publishers are lured into choosing unrelated keywords for one reason or another.

In addition to choosing relevant keywords, they also have to be “download” keywords. This means that they have to be keywords that people would type into search to find an app like yours, not just keywords that are in some way related to your app. Don’t add these simply to boost the number of keywords you have, as these will not help your app reach the right people.

For example, “tire” is a keyword that could be in some way relevant to a car racing game. But it isn’t likely that someone will type in that keyword to find a racing game. In fact, if you search for that keyword, there are primarily apps related to purchasing tires or rims for your car.


Image: Searching for vague keywords 

So carefully consider every keyword you select. It can make all the difference.

Ranking Difficulty

The biggest mistake that publishers usually make is to choose keywords based on traffic. The logic is that the higher the traffic, the more potential downloads their app will get.

What they don’t take into account is that higher traffic keywords are usually also harder to rank for. So it doesn’t matter if a keyword gets a million searches a day, if you end up ranking #2,390 for it. Nobody is going to scroll that far to find your app.

Therefore, you should choose relevant keywords that your app can rank in the top 10 for. How do you find the right keywords?

You need to figure out your target Difficulty Score, a metric that is often used in the field of ASO.

If you have an existing app, you need to look at the keywords that your app currently ranks in the top 10 for. Then get the ranking difficulty metric that your ASO platform uses for each keyword.

Let’s take Difficulty Score as an example. It is an estimate of how hard it is to rank in the top 10 for a keyword. Difficulty Score is measured on a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being the most difficult.


Measure of how difficult it is to rank for certain keywords

As per the example above, if your app ranks in the top 10 for keywords that have about a 6.5 Difficulty Score, then you should choose new keywords that have that score, or lower. That is your target Difficulty Score. (Ignore traffic for now, unless there is zero traffic. Ranking #1 for a keyword that nobody is searching for doesn’t make much sense either).

But what if you have a new app or your app is not ranking in the top 10 for any of its keywords? Then choose relevant keywords with as low a Difficulty Score as possible. This will help you get ranked and allow you to figure out your target score.


The only time that you would look at traffic is when you are deciding between two keywords that have similar relevance and ranking difficulty.

In that case, choose the keyword that has a higher traffic score. Otherwise, the two criteria above are much more important.


Traffic Score for ASO keywords


These are the basics of App Store keyword optimization. It is simple, but certainly not easy.

It is a process and you have to monitor and update your keywords regularly. Be sure to track your organic downloads to see how well your changes are working.

Your goal is to rank in the top 10 for all of your keywords. This will help you supplement your organic downloads and diversify your app marketing.


About the author: Hugh Kimura enjoys travel, surfing and marketing. He is the Content Strategist at Sensor Tower, a tool that helps mobile app developers do App Store Optimization (ASO) for the Apple App Store and Google Play.