I see a lot of anecdotal advise in ASO. Some of it is valuable, but most of the advise is not battle tested.
Until 2018, reviews with specific keywords used to improve rank for that keyword. For example, if an app had 100 reviews with keyword Best Indian Short Video Apps, it would improve the rank for that keyword. However, even after that, it used to aid discovery. So, suppose if Snapchat received 1000 reviews with the word Pulchritudinous, it would start ranking for the same. (However, it would not improve the rankings).
Now, in last 1-2 months, we started seeming a very different pattern, wherein, adding keywords in the review did nothing. Since May 2022, Google has changed many things, and we felt that, this was again one more change. So, we ran a test. We picked a keyword Pulchritudinous and added that in the review.
At the time of the experiment, there was only one app that uses this word in the description. So, after almost a week, we decided to see if our app would appear for this keyword. And well, it didn’t rank.
So, what it tells us – adding keyword in reviews will no longer result in discovery. Would upvote, or the frequency of the reviews could be a factor? How else would an app rank for alternate keywords – which are neither used in description or title? That’s for us to experiment in the coming months. But adding keyword in the reviews certainly does not seem to work.
Conclusion – adding keywords in the reviews will not result in the discovery. Or maybe, Google is thinking about something equivalent to domain authority for every single rating. (History of upvotes, length of the review etc). We are conducting tests and if there’s any finding, we will update the post.