Using Popularity and Difficulty to Choose Keywords for Your App

In the last two posts, we talked about Keyword Popularity and Difficulty and what these values mean. Now, we’re going to tackle how they work together. Because knowing how to interpret these values in the context of each other is essential to having a great App Store Optimization strategy. 

A Quick Review 

So just very quickly, let’s remember what signals a high or low value for Popularity and Difficulty. 


  • 5 = Very Low
  • 100 = Very high 


  • 1 = Very Low
  • 100 Very high 

If you’re unfamiliar with Popularity and Difficulty values, I recommend reading through the Academy posts below first.

Review: What is Keyword Popularity?
What is Keyword Difficulty?

Deciding Which App Keywords to Use Based on Popularity and Difficulty 

Both of these values come in handy when you’re trying to decide which keywords to swap into and which to trade out of your app store information. 

On the one hand, you want a popular keyword. On the other side, you’re looking for keywords that are easier to rank for. This combination is ideal but, unfortunately, not always achievable. So sacrifices have to be made. 

Let’s go through an example.

Example: Choosing Keywords for a Meditation App

A meditation app probably hopes to rank for keywords such as: 

  • Meditation 
  • Well-being 
  • Healthy living 
  • Meditate 
  • Calm 
  • Relax 
  • Breathe 

Now that we’ve come up with a few keyword ideas, we have to check the popularity and difficulty values of these keywords. You can do this by tracking the keywords in App Radar. Just add them to your tracking list. We’re going to evaluate these keywords for the English US locale in the Apple App Store.  

Easily add keywords into your tracking list in App Radar to check keyword popularity, difficulty, and ranking.
Easily add keywords into your tracking list in App Radar to check keyword popularity, difficulty, and ranking.

We’re also going to assume that your mediation app has already had mild success in the app store. This means you’ll be able to implement higher difficulty keywords and still have a good chance to rank for them. 

So we see that most of our keywords have quite a high difficulty, but also high popularity. The terms that we chose are being searched by many app store visitors, which means our app may be easily found. However, the high difficulty also means it will be more challenging to rank for these terms. 

To increase our chances of ranking in the app stores, we’re going to throw out keywords that are too challenging. Difficulty values higher than 80 are a bit out of reach right now. We’ll throw those out. Now our list looks like this. 

  • Meditate
  • Breathe
  • Meditation
  • Calm
  • Healthy living 
  • Well-being 

Next, we want to get rid of keywords that don’t have as much potential. Remember, your meditation app is already partly successful. Because of this, it’s safe and good practice to get rid of lower popularity keywords. They are only wasting character count space. 

We see that “well-being” is not only a long keyword but also lower popularity. This is especially true when compared to the other terms. Let’s take that one out too. 

Now we’re left with a great set of keywords. 

List in App Radar of potential keywords for a meditation app
List in App Radar of potential keywords for a meditation app

Implementing New Keywords for Your App 

Once you’re satisfied with your chosen keywords, you can implement them in your app store listing. Luckily, this is all possible within App Radar too. So you can work on selecting your keywords and applying them in your app information all in one place.

We’ll go over how to do this in upcoming posts.

Find Keywords that Get Your Apps Found

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