In this guest post from our friend Chingiz from Pixonic you are going to learn how to do ASO on Apple App Store in the two new languages, Arabic and Hebrew. Thank you so much Chingiz!
This June, Apple finally heard the voices of ASO practitioners and added 2 new locales to App Store Connect: Hebrew and Arabic. We’ve been asking for this for years, even if all 11 Arabic countries were lumped together in just one locale. So it comes as no surprise that this update was met with lots of positive feedback. Before this new release, ASO for these countries required the use of locales like EN GB to upload the required metadata (App Name, subtitle, keywords field) or create a separate app. You don’t need to be an App Store Optimization expert to tell that both these options are as inconvenient as they are inefficient.
Doing multilingual ASO in Hebrew and Arabic on the Apple App Store
However, even with this gift from Apple, optimizing your app for Arabic or Hebrew is still quite a challenge. Especially if you don’t speak these languages, like me. Differences in alphabets, right to left writing, tricky usage of commas, etc. all make it difficult for ASO specialists to prepare even basic assets like keywords. The main reason I’m writing this article is to show everyone out there that even if you don’t know anything about Arabic or Hebrew, but you do understand how ASO works, you can still achieve some pretty impressive results.
Let’s start with a few words about what we used to do in War Robots game ASO for these locales. The answer is simple: nothing. We never did anything to optimize in those markets, so this was a first for us. All we had is our curiosity and a basic understanding of how ASO works in the App Store. The first issue you’ll face is which language you need to optimize your keywords for. At the start of this article, I mentioned that Apple grouped all 11 Arabic countries in a single locale. For us, we decided to focus on Saudi Arabia, as it’s the country were iOS devices are most popular in the region. For Hebrew, everything is much easier.
After deciding which country you want to optimize for comes the main focus of any ASO: creating semantics. In our case, we already had a semantic core that contains several hundred keywords. We asked our colleagues to translate it into Hebrew and Arabic and add synonyms, slang and any memes if possible. This way you can find interesting keywords that have more or less traffic and fewer competitors than “normal” keywords. As an alternative, you can always try something else.
First you’ll need to create a semantic core in English. Try to use all the relevant keywords, synonyms, etc. so you have as many keywords as possible to work with. Then you’ll need to use the power of Google Translate; it can be pretty useful when translating simple search terms. Plus, it can provide you with much needed synonyms. After using a little Google Translate magic you’ll need to upload all the keywords you have to your ASO analytics system. In our case, this is TheTool. With its help, you’ll have information about traffic score, competitors and some other relevant information for each keyword. It’s pretty handy later when you need to filter them to decide, for example, which one you need to add to your App Name. We’ll talk more about this a bit later.
Again, you can use keyword ideas tools to get even more keywords. Never say no to more keywords. And always keep in mind that you can use ASA for your keywords search, which is the most exact source of data about keyword traffic scores. Keep in mind that some ASO Tools, like TheTool, already shows this data in their dashboards, so you don’t need to switch services to get all the data you need for decision-making.
If you’ve done everything right up to this point, now you should have a list of relevant keywords and all the necessary analytics, such as traffic scores, number of competitors, etc. Now you need to choose which ones to use in your App Name, Subtitle and keywords field. Keep in mind that we’re talking about the App Store, and the description is not indexed here, at least for now… This is where the routine work kicks in. You just add the most interesting keywords in your App Name and Subtitle, and put all the rest in your keywords field. You just use simple commas to separate the keywords, with no spaces in-between them. You probably already know how to do this, it’s pretty basic stuff. It’s still a good tactic to use short keywords that can form a long tail, so you can show your app to people looking for something specific and find yourself highly motivated users. And of course, avoid duplicates between the keywords field, title and subtitle. In these two languages trying to avoid them can be really tricky, so be very patient.
Even if you have a big app with lots of downloads, I wouldn’t recommend targeting generic keywords like “game” or “messenger” in your ASO. Of course, you can try, but most likely you’ll find yourself outside the top 10 and barely get any downloads from those keywords. Targeting long-tail keywords like “robot shooter” or “messenger with stickers” can bring you to higher positions with more installs.
Now for some actual numbers. Using the way I described, we prepared metadata for the Hebrew and Arabic store listings of our game. All this was released on July, 1st. No marketing activities were carried out for these locales, just pure ASO (on-metadata). Here are some screenshots from TheTool (keywords rankings evolution) in those countries and from App Store Connect in terms of impressions and installs by search channel.
War Robots Arabic (SA) – TheTool
War Robots Hebrew (IL) – TheTool
Saudi Arabia impressions
Saudi Arabia installs
As you can see, impressions and installs shoot up right after the release of the version with the new ASO. Keep in mind that the actual game wasn’t localized in these languages. We do some basic creative localization, but mostly in terms of translating screenshot text, which to be honest isn’t quite enough. In my opinion, that explains why the trajectories of install lines are a bit different from impressions. In any event, you can clearly see that we managed to get additional search traffic that keeps coming for a few weeks after the release and looks like it will continue that way. And as a bonus, we got a boost in Egypt even though we never optimized there.
To sum things up, I want to emphasize that what I described isn’t exclusive to Arabic or Hebrew. Applying these principles in your ASO efforts will bring you results in every locale and help you get organic downloads of your app for free.
About the author
Chingiz Talybov, ASO specialist at Pixonic. Can grumble for hours about the last season of Game of Thrones, or argue about the differences between Irish and Belgium beer. Loves video games, good movies, vinyl, and table tennis.