Picking keywords to remove

Learn the principles for analyzing your ranking, and how to apply them on your next ASO round, and download two free templates to help you with that.

January 3, 2024
 min read

Principles for analyzing your rankings

  • When trying to piggyback on competitors' names, I always try to be #2 or #3 at least. Maybe #5, if it's there's a ton of traffic. Anything below that probably adds zero value to your app. If someone is searching for a specific brand name, it's because they already made their choice. In this case, the #1 result will get 92-98% of the clicks, leaving very little for my app.
  • Also unlike broad keywords, competitor names are only useful to rank for... Well, competitors, of course, but that's all. It also means that's precious space that is fully dedicated to that specific query. When you use broader terms though you're also ranking for anything that contains that particular keyword, which is a much better ROI broadly speaking.
  • For head terms with tons of traffic, it's ok to rank just in the Top 15.
  • For long-tail keywords, the traffic is usually tiny, but we should easily be able to rank within the top 7 (but ideally in the top 3). So the best thing here is to be on the very top - otherwise, you'll be there but not actually getting any downloads from it
  • The title and subtitle have a big influence on CTR and CVR. If I can't rank well for the keywords I want and there are not enough interesting long-tail terms to go after, I'd rather have a shorter title/subtitle that can perform better. You can do that by measuring PPVs over Impressions or Conversion Rates

How to apply these principles on your next ASO round

  • Add all your search terms to your ASO tool. Export it as CSV and open it in Google Sheets.
  • Order it by Traffic
  • Add two columns to the right:
  • One to judge if it's worth keeping or removing each keyword. You use the scale below.
  • One is to take note of the placement of that keyword. Is it in the title? Subtitle? Keyword? Both?

From there, note a few things:

  • For title-based keywords, what's the difficulty we can rank for? How's that different from normal keywords? This is key as it'll enable you to understand which keywords are worth pursuing and which don't.
  • Which keywords actually generate downloads for you? What are the biggest winners? What do they have in common?
  • How many keywords are we ranking outside the Top 5 or Top 10? Is it really worth it trying to rank for them?

Once you finish it, you'll have a list of:

  • What should be your target difficulty for picking keywords for your title, subtitle, and keyword fields
  • Which keywords to keep/remove/sleep on it

This exercise can take anywhere from 40 minutes to 2 hours, depending on your ASO experience.

The difference in tap-through rate within the TOP 10 rankings

Notice how one or two gains in position can lead to 2-3x more taps and downloads:


How often should I run new tests?

Short answer: for your main language, every time there’s an update.

Then I'd also have a calendar with a handful of markets I was trying to grow in and then do at least one optimization every 4-6 weeks.

I'd have my own spreadsheets with translations of the main keywords in my market and then I'd hunt down people in the company who could speak other languages. They don't have to be ASO experts, they just have to know how to name certain things in their countries. Then the backup plan for that was Fiverr or specialized translation services (like Tethras).

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