Keyword Research Tools for App Store Optimization

Whether you’re a seasoned developer with many submitted apps under your belt, or someone who’s looking to develop new apps for the next generation of Ultrabooks, you’ve probably started to understand that it’s not just enough to submit your app to an app store and then go home and wait for the checks to start rolling in.

In order to get your app noticed in the vast sea of apps already out there, you’ll need to know about search engine optimization and app store optimization, basically, the practice of making your website/app the best it can be for both search engines and search engine users. One of the key factors in ASO is figuring out what keywords to target when submitting your app to the various digital storefronts available to you. In this article, we’re going to go over several different keyword research tools you can use to brainstorm targeted, relevant key phrases that you can use when submitting your app: in the title, in the app description, in the app keywords and tag field, and wherever else you might want to your app to be noticed.


Google is known primarily for their search engine, but they have a whole host of peripheral tools meant to help webmasters and app developers improve their offerings. There are two main tools that Google offers (free) that can help you research relevant keywords.

The Google Adwords Keyword Tool gives you a list of keywords directly derived from and/or related to your original search query, search volume, search competition, and both local and global search trends. You can also use this keyword search tool to estimate possible Web traffic for these terms, filter keywords based on a wide range of different factors, and display ideas that are specifically tailored to your website and/or app copy.

Google Trends gives you an instant synopsis of the Google searches that are receiving the greatest traffic (updated hourly), understand which subjects have been searched for the most (or the least) over a period of time, check if particular keywords have appeared in Google News, examine search patterns geographically, and much more. It's a keyword search tool with numerous diverse uses that help you gain a sense of how a certain keyword phrase could potentially perform now in comparison to historical data. requires a small monthly subscription fee (14.95), and for this price, you’ll get to track 100 different keywords and phrases within your dashboard. Two tools are available for the price of your subscription: a sophisticated keyword prediction tool that using a variety of culled data calculates what keywords competing apps might utilize in their app copy, and a utility that gives you an idea of where your app might land in the app store rankings-wise with the use of specific keywords. Basically, it’s the previously mentioned Google Keywords tool except the data is specifically aimed towards apps and app stores. Data here is not from Apple or other app stores since that data is not typically released to the public. However, the tool pulls data from its index of 450,000 iOS apps and 150,000 keywords, using approximate matching to come up with relevant keyword ideas. A full, in-depth review of this tool is available on TechCrunch.


MobileDevHQ offers a suite of tools for developers looking to optimize their apps, including analysis of keyword rankings, tracking of search queries from within the app store platforms, following where your competitors might be ranked and where you stand in comparison, a keyword research and analysis tool (you’ll also be able to optimize placement here), and more. There’s a lot covered here, and the tools are easy to use with data clearly and efficiently presented. A 30 day trial of the service is available, and prices start at $14 a month for independent developers all the way up to $149 a month for busy app publishers.

Right now, the tools only support apps that are being published in Google Play and the iTunes App Store, but this data could conceivably apply to any of the app store ecosystems that exist out there. Information can be easily downloaded to CSV or Excel files to be digested in different ways, and worldwide tracking/analysis is supported.

Keyword research is just one part of the puzzle

App store optimization is a very new field, and thus there aren’t really that many tools available as yet. There are many ranking factors that go into successful ASO, including reviews, social networking, images, icons, copy, etc., and keyword research is just part of that, albeit a very important part. Using the tools in this article can help you get a top-level look at what people are looking for so you can make your app content even more descriptive and therefore more relevant to what people are searching for. 

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