Using Google Analytics For App Store Keyword Research

App Keywords
The questions I am asked most often about the app marketing world are, ‘What keywords should I use for my app’ and, ‘What tools do you use for app store keyword research?’. You’ll all understand the answer I give, and it’s well worth knowing (even if it’s one of my more complicated insights). Here goes: we don’t get keyword data from Google or Apple and based on what Google are doing in the SEO world I would suggest that Google certainly aren’t going to consider making this data available any time soon, if ever.

My tactic tip
This post will show you a specific tactic that I use to try to gain a greater understanding of app keyword targeting outside of the usual ‘look at Google AdWords’ that most people tell you. It also helps me get a picture of what time of the week people are more active in search for the product/ service you sell.

In this case we have data from a fashion retailer throughout December which excludes their brand phrases.

Mobile Keywords From Google Analytics Are Helpful

Keywords taken from users who are on mobile device browsing your site are about as close as you’ll get to actual keyword data for mobile from Google. You need to make a couple of assumptions when using this data.

Firstly, people are searching on Google using their mobile device in the same way that they would in the App Store or Google Play. Secondly they aren’t going to put more effort into searching, for example writing longer phrases for Google, than they would the App Store or Google Play. Finally they will use the ‘Google Suggest’ functionality in the same way they would in the App Store and Google Play.

Trend Keyword Data

Looking at the graph below you can see the season’s spikes and troughs over Christmas and when traffic came back to that specific industry. Using information like this can help you understand the user’s behaviour and when you can expect peak traffic across various keywords and keyword sets.

App Store Keyword Research Graph

Keywords, Sets, Volume and Traffic For Apps

Unfortunately I can’t show you the keywords my client ranks for in mobile but I can show that they do rank for a variety of phrases, 263 to be precise. That’s a good start for app keyword research.

App Keywords Research Table

Sort the data how you like. In this case I sorted by volume but you may want to sort by time on page, revenue, transactions. Whatever your KPI is, that’s where you begin.

How To Pick Your App Keywords

So you’ve got this data. What the hell to do with it!?! Firstly you need to remove keywords with anything under five, at least. Few things will convert with such low search volumes. Ideally you’d only deal in double digit traffic phrases – triple is even better!

Secondly you want to look for themes of words. Are people using particular words regularly? Do the words follow certain orders? There is no hard and fast rule. It takes practice and testing to understand what words will work. Once you’ve identified a theme or some sort of regular pattern, you can begin to work these variations into your app title and app description.

Test, Test, Test!

Don’t use one keyword set as a crutch simply because it earned you a few good results. Another set could easily trump that result so make sure you have a plan in place for testing different themed keywords. Be brave about failing. Failure is a lesson learned. The risk is minimal because you can always revert to the more successful set in a week or so.

It’s Not Simple But Keep Trying

SEO Keyword research is easy to learn and difficult to master. App store keyword research is doubly hard but never despair, keep practicing and learning. It’s taken me years working with multiple brands, sites and apps to gain the knack for it but it can be done and you’ll get there eventually.

Here is a link to the custom report in Google Analytics that I’ve build for identifying mobile traffic. All you need to do is navigate to Acquisition > Keyword > Organic and open the report.

Let me know how you get on with the report. Tell me if you find it useful or if you’ve got any questions, please ask away.