Standard Operating Procedure – Keyword Research (App Store)


Standard Operating Procedure – Keyword Research (App Store)


1) Step #1­ App’s Information From iTunes Connect Or App Store Sales Page​. In Column A of the ​SOP­ ASO Report​, fill out each row with gathered information taken from the iTunes Connect page or App Store Sales Page.

a) Current Title

b) Current Keywords​; ​for published apps ​­keywords taken from iTunes Connect page and should be separated by a comma; ​for unpublished & new apps​ ​­proceed with ​Step #3

c) Keywords/ Keyword Phrases taken from the Current Description​; separated by a comma

d) Current IAP Title(s)​; ​separated by a comma

e) Current Category​; ​for reference

f) Publisher’s Name​; ​companies only

g) Additional Notes​; ​i.e. new keyword ideas to target



Itunes Connect Page


App Store Sales Page

2) Step #2­ Identifying Current Keywords. Go to ​App Annie to find out which Keywords and Long Tail Keywords are ranking in the ​Top 20 and relevant to the app​.


a) Current Ranked Keywords and Phrases​; ​list all those keywords ­separated by a comma


3) Step #3­ Generate Keywords and Long Keywords for ​SEED KEYWORDS ​[​Never outsource this part as it is the most important part of KWO. If there are bad seed keywords or no seed keywords it will be impossible to do effective KWO​]​. 

❖ START HERE ​if the app is not yet published.

a) List the ​App Features​; ​separated by a comma

b) List the ​Problems the App Solves in 2­3 word phrases​; ​separated by a comma

c) List the Unique Value Proposition or Key Features which make the app better than the competitor’s apps; ​separated by a comma

d) Describe the App from the voice of the target user and/ or community. What words would the users use to search for the app? ​separated by a comma



App’s Description

❖ If the App is a Game, ​fill out each row for Games:

a) Describe the “​good guys​” and/or ​main character(s)​; ​separated by a comma

b) Describe the “​bad guys​” and/ or ​obstacles​, ​dangers ​or ​anything to avoid losing points​; ​separated by a comma

c) Describe the “​type of gameplay​”­ puzzle, endless runner, RPG, platformer, 3D; ​separated by a comma

d) List the “​features​” ​which make the Game unique and/ or better than the competition; ​separated by a comma

e) Describe ​the app from the voice of the target user​. What words would the users use to search for the app?; ​separated by a comma

4) Step #4­ Keywords Recommendation. ​Use ​Keywords and Long Tail Keywords from ​Step #3 ​into the Autosuggest window of the iTunes App Store. ​Best done on an iPhone and a iPad but Desktop will work.


a) iTunes Auto Complete – Open iTunes application and type in the search bar your base keywords or phrases that you want to search for. ​List the Top 5 results from the drop down menu of the Auto Suggestion window. Click on each suggestion listed to expand your search; ​separated by a comma


5) Step #5­ Identifying Top 10 Competitor Apps from ​Sensor Tower​.

a) List the ​Top 10 Competitor Apps from Sensor Tower [​If the app is not yet published, choose the closest identified competitor to use as a Placeholder App.​]



6) Step #6­ Competitor’s Keywords or Placeholder’s Competing App’s Keywords.

a) List the ​Top 20 Relevant Competitor’s Keywords ​taken from App Annie.



7) Step #7­ Description and Review Mining.

a) List the ​Top 5 Keyword Competitor’s Apps (search Keyword and Keyword Phrase) by ​Title​, keywords from the ​Description ​and keywords from ​Reviews​.




8) Step #8­ Alternate Methods to Find Keywords and Long Tail Keywords. This step can be skipped if there are sufficient keywords to use entering in ​Sensor Tower in ​Step #9​.



a) There are good keywords that can be used as long tail with another word.

b) Find good keywords that are relevant to the app.

c) If there is only one keyword or Long Tail then you must find other seed keywords.

d) If you have trouble finding long tail keywords then go back to the Seed Keywords and find new seed keywords.

e) Make sure there is nothing copyrighted (Example: movie, TV show, etc.).

f) We can also use Long Tails listed in App Annie (case­to­case basis). If the app is ranking for keywords according to App Annie then keep those keywords like “mania”. Some of them may have good ranking but not on Sensor Tower therefore it is still not good to use those terms.

g) There are some keywords that are really difficult but when used with other keywords they make good Long Tail keywords (Example: run, jump, climb, etc.). ​[Try using more seed keywords which are action keywords but not as popular as run, jump, climb, etc.]​.

h) Remember if you find keywords which are exact match and have high Traffic but to many iPhone/iPad Apps then those Long Tails can be used in the Title.

Aside from the current Seed Keywords, expand your Keyword Research process and search for more related terms by using the following resources:

  1. Google Trends ​– Configure the settings and enter your keyword in the search bar to look for more relevant terms.



  1. Thesaurus ​– Easy to use, no need for a snapshot.
  2. Synonym​ ​– Easy to use, no need for a snapshot.
  3. Thsrs​ ​– Easy to use, no need for a snapshot.
  4. Urban Dictionary​ ​– Easy to use, no need for a snapshot.
  5. WordWeb​ ​– Easy to use, no need for a snapshot.
  6. Sensor Tower ​– We will be using the suggested keywords from Sensor Tower. Normally they appear just below our search bar button and we call it “​Small Words from Sensor Tower​”. Find out which ones are the most relevant terms to add up in our base keywords.


9) Step# 9­ Keyword Brainstorming and In­depth Keyword Research from ​Sensor Tower​. This is basically to consolidate our Base Keywords, Primary Keywords and Keyword Phrases or Long Tail Keywords that we acquired from our keyword research process.

Use Sensor Tower to check to see if the keywords fit the criteria at the top of Columns J­N. ​[​Any Keywords or Long Tail Keywords must have data listed in  Columns J­N in order to be used for the final Title and Keywords in Step #10.​]


a) Keyword (Main Keywords, Long Tail Keywords or Keyword Phrases) – List all of the targeted keywords, terms, or phrases

b) Traffic – Data in this column needs to be sorted out in descending order. Must be ​above 3.0​. ​[2.9 score is considerable as long as iPhone / iPad Apps have high ranking data and Traffic data is STILL higher than iPhone /                          

iPad Difficulties]

c) i​Phone Difficulty​ – Should not be ​more than 1.0 above Traffic

d) iPad Difficulty​ – Should not be more than 1.0 above Traffic

e) iPhone Apps​ – Data must be ​below 1,000

f) iPad Apps​ – Data must be ​below 800



In any case that the keywords have bad statistics, data or did not meet with the above mentioned criterias, repeat ​Step #8​ and find other prospective keywords.

10) Step# 10­ Keyword Master List. This is last and final step of our keyword research process. All good­-ranking targeted keywords that we have acquired from our research must be reflected or consolidated altogether in this section.



i) The (New) Title should be created using a unique brand name first followed by the Title Tag; ​separated with a hyphen.

ii) The Brand Name or Game Title is supplied by the publisher.

iii)   The Keywords for the Title Tag come from Column D.

b) (NEW) KEYWORDS ­ US ENGLISH / Character Count = ​?

i) The (New) Keywords come from Column I and should be arranged by Keywords with the ​Highest Traffic ​first; ​separated by a comma.

ii) Do not use any Keywords in the keyword field without inserting the data in Columns J­N.

iii)   Use Sensor Tower to ​count the characters ​to make ​100 ​and enter the Character Count beside it.



i) The (New) Title for Australian English and Canadian English should be very similar to the (New) Title for US and UK English.

ii) Repeat the same title as US and UK English but add up to 6 keywords taken from Column I.

iii)   Do not repeat keywords from any Keyword Field in the Title.

iv) Keywords in the Title can be “​high traffic​” & “​high competition​”.


i) The (New) Keywords for Australian English, Canadian English and (Limited) Spanish come from any keywords not used in the US and UK English Keyword Fields; ​separated by a comma.

ii) Do not use the same keywords from the US and UK English Keywords.

iii)   “(Limited) Spanish” means up to 50% of keywords can be English since, Spanish Keywords are indexed in US English.

iv) Keywords must still have data in Columns J-­N, in order to be used.



i) The (New) Title for Translation should be very similar to the Australian and Canadian English title.

ii) The Title should be professionally translated to read correctly.

iii) A complete sentence using the same Keywords from above translated to read like a native speaker works best. Localization is not the same as Translation.

iv) For Localization repeat ​Steps #1­#9​. ​(See notes on Localization)


i) The (New) Keywords for Translation are made up of both Keyword Fields above.

ii) The simplest “universal” keywords are taken from both Keyword Fields above and professionally translated (if possible) so they are contextually correct.

iii) For Localization repeat ​Steps #1­#9​. ​(See notes on Localization)

iv) Combine all Keywords in US English and Other English. Translation needs to be at least 200 characters because Asian languages (such as Chinese) will often times use very few characters and more keywords will need to be translated to make up 100 characters in the keyword field.



  • Arrange the highest traffic​ Long Tail Keywords from left to right.
  • Separate keywords by a comma​, and NOT by spaces.
  • Do not repeat words​ in the Title and Keyword Fields.
  • Keywords in the Title ​­ ​use a PLURAL version of a word if it ranks higher than the SINGULAR version, (Example: ​✔Apps=5 ✘Apps=3). ​(see notes on Singular vs. Plural and ASO Cheat Sheet)
  • Keywords in the Keywords’ List ​­ Most of the time, ​use a SINGULAR version of a word, (Example: ✘Apps ​✔App​). ​(see notes on Singular vs. Plural and ASO Cheat Sheet)
  • Separate keywords which could form into 2 keywords by adding “­“ or “dash”​ between the words (Example: get­away, run­ner, fast-­paced, etc.)
  • All keywords listed must ​have supporting data​ (Columns J­N in ​Step #9​).
  • Localization is not the same as Translation.
  • For Keyword Research ­ ​Character Count must be between 97 to 100 only​.