5 Best Practices for Mastering Keyword Localization

Your app is a hit in the US—people can't get enough of it! Installs have reached astronomical numbers. But you're not done yet - Keep reading to learn what keyword localization is and how to get it right.

Your app is a hit in the United States—people can’t get enough of it! Installs have reached astronomical numbers and every tech blog and magazine is fighting for a chance to interview you and learn how you became so successful.

But you’re not done yet. You’re about to launch your app in Latin America as well. Since things went so well the first time around, you can’t even imagine your efforts falling flat this time. Except they do… The people in the Latin community just can’t seem to discover your product. After analyzing the data, you realize why: you didn’t implement a keyword localization strategy.

Keep reading to learn what keyword localization is, five best practices to ensure you get keyword localization right, and three mistakes to avoid when localizing your app’s keywords.

Keyword Localization: A Definition

Keyword localization is the act of translating keywords for specific locations while prioritizing searcher intent. This process is more involved than simply converting words from one language to another, which is all that most app developers do.

Why is keyword translation alone not enough? Because people around the world search for different terms when they access the Apple App and Google Play stores.

For example, if you were to target the keyword “coche,” which is Spanish for “car,” in the hopes of attracting Argentinian automobile enthusiasts to your app, you’d be sorely disappointed. The word “coche” is commonly used to refer to baby strollers in this South American country.

By employing keyword localization best practices, you’ll be able to effectively choose keywords for every location your app is available in, drive more traffic, and boost organic installs.

5 Keyword Localization Best Practices

True keyword localization will require more effort than a simple translation. But the extra work will definitely be worth it once you start to drive consistent traffic to your app’s product page. Just keep these five keyword localization best practices in mind to ensure positive results:

1. Research Local Keywords in Every Region

As mentioned previously, people in different regions of the world speak differently. They speak different languages, obviously, but they also phrase things in different ways, have their own slang terms, and more. This means folks who speak the same language might still require different keywords if they live in separate areas.

U.K. residents, for instance, go on “holiday”, while U.S. citizens go on “vacation”. Both people speak the same language, but they use varying terminology.

Because of this fact, it’s absolutely imperative that you research local keywords in every region you plan to promote your app. If you don’t, you’ll likely waste your marketing efforts on terms that aren’t searched for by native residents and have a hard time driving traffic.

2. Focus on Searcher Intent

People in alternate locations may use different keywords to find apps, but their intent while doing so will be similar. Referring back to our previous example, an American who searches for a vacation app wants to find the same exact thing as a British citizen who’s looking for a holiday app. Different phrases, same intent.

That’s why it’s important to dig deeper than the keywords used and understand the mindset behind them. This will help you accurately translate keywords and app product page content from one language to another.

3. Use the Right Keyword Localization Tools

Fortunately, you don’t have to embark on your keyword localization journey alone. There are tools that are specifically designed to help with this process. Here are a few top options:

  • SensorTower: SensorTower is a popular ASO tool that includes keyword translation capabilities. This feature will allow you to insert your list of app keywords and have them converted into 20 different languages automatically. Once your keywords are translated, you can use SensorTower’s keyword research tool to evaluate each one in various regions around the world and assess their value.
  • AppTweak: AppTweak makes the keyword localization process easier by allowing its users to pinpoint top keywords by both country and language. This information can then be used to ensure your keyword strategy is on point for every region in which your app is available for download.
  • AppFollow: Similar to AppTweak, AppFollow includes keyword research features that enable users to effectively choose keywords for multiple languages and countries. The solution also includes a keyword auto-translation tool to quickly convert lists of keywords from one language to another. 
  • Mobile Action: Next we have Mobile Action, an ASO intelligence tool that helps app developers better position their apps for success. In regards to keyword localization, Mobile Action gives its users a better understanding of competitors’ global strategy in order to strengthen their own positions in various world markets. 
  • App Annie: With AppAnnie, app developers can conduct deep market research and analyze top keywords for multiple countries.Want to know how many people search for a specific keyword in the U.S. or which of your current competitors rank for the keyword “discovery” in the U.K.? App Annie will give you the answers.

Each of these apps can assist you in the keyword localization process. But we suggest going the extra mile and partnering with a local linguist, too.

4. Partner With Local Linguists

If you decide to go with one of the ASO apps listed above and use its keyword localization capabilities, you should hire a local linguist afterward to check and edit your work. A native speaker will be able to tell you if each keyword was properly translated, if the intent behind the keyword is still intact, and if there are any other phrases you can use to reach your audience.

We definitely suggest hiring a specialist to read through your translated keywords to ensure they read correctly and convey your intended meaning.

5. Monitor and Optimize Your Strategy

Last, but certainly not least, you should always monitor and attempt to optimize your keyword localization strategy. Once you launch your app in a new territory, wait four to six weeks before changing anything. This will ensure you have enough data to make accurate decisions. Then assess your app’s performance and adjust your keyword strategy accordingly.

Keep the keyword triangle in mind when evaluating keywords:

  • Relevance: You only want to target keywords that are relevant to your app. A term like “music” might get a ton of searches. But if your app doesn’t play or teach people how to create sweet melodies, don’t waste your time targeting that keyword.
  • Difficulty: The second most important thing to keep in mind when evaluating keywords for localization is difficulty. How hard will it be for you to rank for a specific keyword? You might not want to use keywords that have high difficulty ratings.
  • Volume: Lastly, we have volume, which refers to the amount of traffic a given keyword receives on a monthly basis. This is the least important metric to evaluate. Just make sure that the keywords you target are regularly searched for.

An ASO tool (like the ones mentioned above) will help you accurately determine relevance, difficulty, and volume for every term in your keyword localization strategy.

3 Keyword Localization Mistakes to Avoid

Keyword localization is a minefield and app developers frequently make errors in this area. Here are three common mistakes to avoid:

  1. Wrong Keyword Placement: If you discover the perfect keywords in every language, but place them in the wrong areas of your app product pages, you’ll have a hard time driving traffic. For both the Apple App and Google Play stores, the headline is the most important keyword location. Make sure to put your top keywords there.
  2. Ignoring Your Competitors: What keywords are your competitors using? Not sure? It’s time to find out! An ASO tool can help, but you can also browse the app pages of your competitions to get a feel for each one’s strategy. Take your competitors into account when choosing keywords for different languages and countries. Chances are, they chose those keywords for a reason.
  3. Only Focusing on Keywords: Keyword research is designed to drive traffic and boost installs. But you need more than just keywords to do this. Your entire app product page needs to be optimized, from the headline to the videos and imagery you use. Don’t blame your keyword localization strategy for low traffic if you don’t also adjust other aspects of your app product page for each specific region.

Wrapping Up

If you want your app to succeed outside of your own backyard, you need to prioritize keyword localization. This practice will allow you to boost traffic, installs, and revenue organically — without the need to invest in expensive marketing campaigns.

Fortunately, by following the five best practices and avoiding the three common mistakes we mentioned in this article, you’ll be able to succeed with keyword localization for your app.

Jonathan Fishman
About Jonathan Fishman
Jonathan is Storemaven's Director of Marketing. Before joining Storemaven he spent ten years commanding tanks, working on Wall St., consulting high-growth companies, and exploring Black Rock City. In his spare time, he likes building things from wood, writing, and listening to Frank Zappa.