Every day, people watch over 1 billion hours of video content on YouTube. It is the most popular video platform in the world. YouTube videos are a great way to get your target audience interested, whether you're a new company trying to build your brand or an old company trying to solidify your position as a thought leader.
But what makes a video viral on YouTube?
Well, the answer is a mix of some amazing video content on the most relevant topics and targeting the right keywords. Just like blogs, videos that target the right set of keywords perform better and get higher engagement.
In this blog, we will help you understand the basics of video SEO on YouTube and how to find the best keywords for your videos.
What are YouTube keywords?
YouTube keywords are words that people use to find video content they want to see. From a creator’s point of view, a YouTube keyword is a single word or phrase that gives context to the contents of the video.
With more than 800 million videos and 37 million channels on the platform, getting your videos noticed by your target audience is a major task. It requires marketers and creators to optimize their videos and target specific words or phrases that users will search for when they want to see similar video content.
How does Google SEO differ from YouTube SEO?
Yes, Google SEO and YouTube SEO function on the same logic, helping people find the best content for their search queries. But they are not the same.
The first point of difference is the amount of effort it takes to rank in the first SERP.
Since YouTube is a video-only library, ranking on the platform involves less effort than ranking on Google, which is a repository of all the information on the internet.
Google uses more than 200 different ranking factors that take into account a website's UI/UX, how long people stay on the site, and how many links it has. YouTube uses different ranking factors such as video watch time, audience retention, season duration, and channel watch time.
What is YouTube keyword research, and why is it important?
YouTube video keyword research is the process of understanding and identifying the search queries that people use to find video content similar to yours.
More than 500 hours of new video content are uploaded on YouTube every minute. So, if you want your videos to reach as many people as possible, you must optimize them by using the right keywords.
Using the right keywords in your meta tags, video description, transcripts, and title will help the YouTube search algorithm understand what your video is about and index it properly. It will also help you rank higher than other videos that are not doing so.
When a user searches for something related to your videos, YouTube's algorithm will immediately recognize your video as a good source of content and show it in the search results. Further, on the search results page, if your video titles are keyword-loaded, chances are higher that the user will click on your video from all the SERP videos.
It is not limited to promoting and marketing your videos. YouTube keyword research is also a great way to find lucrative topics for your video. It helps you find content gaps and create videos that your audience will love watching.
9 ways to do keyword research for YouTube
Now that you know the YouTube SEO basics and understand the importance of finding the right keywords, it's time to take a look at the best ways to find YouTube keywords.
Use YouTube search bar to find new keywords
The first place to start your research is the YouTube search bar. Simply visit the website and start typing your primary keyword. Midway through typing, you will start seeing YouTube’s suggestions related to the topic.
For instance, let’s say you are trying to find YouTube keywords for a salmon cooking video. Just type in "how to cook salmon," and you will see some suggestions.
As you can see, "how to cook salmon fillet in a pan", "how to cook salmon in the oven", and "how to cook salmon in an air fryer" are some of the many related keywords to salmon cooking.
If you want your salmon video to get the maximum engagement from viewers, try including these keywords in your video content, title, description, transcript, and other meta tags.
Play the alphabet game (Go from A to Z)
If your primary keywords have a lot of videos targeting them, it makes sense to create a mix of primary and long-tail keywords for your YouTube videos. This method is a great way to find long-tail YouTube keywords.
- Type in your primary keyword with the letter ‘a.’
- Youtube will show you keyword suggestions for the primary keyword beginning with the letter ‘a.’
- Repeat the same process with ‘b’, ‘c,’ and so on till ‘z’ to find long-tail keywords starting with every alphabet.
Pick and choose keywords from this method that are relevant to the content of your video.
Find the LSI keywords in “Related search results”
Another great source of finding the best keywords for your YouTube video is searching for that term on Google.
- Search for your primary keyword on Google.
- Head to the ‘Related searches’ section at the bottom.
- Select the most relevant keywords from the suggestions.
Google’s related searches section is not only a good source of keywords for your blogs but also for your YouTube videos. Since Google has a rich snippet feature that shows related videos, targeting these keywords might help your videos be one of those featured videos.
Use third-party tools for research
The above-mentioned methods are a great starting point for your YouTube keyword research. However, if you are looking for some advanced research techniques, it makes sense to use third-party keyword research tools like Keyword Everywhere, Moz, Semrush, etc.
We will cover this in detail later in this blog.
Analyze your competitors’ YouTube for keyword ideas
Competitors with more famous videos than yours can be a keyword goldmine. Just click on one of the most popular videos on your topic and look at its title, description, key moments, and hashtags, if any.
Do this exercise with all the competitor videos you can find. Doing this will not only give you keywords but also help you understand the kind of video optimization your competitors are doing to get maximum reach.
Use Chrome extensions for YouTube keyword research
Chrome extensions are a quick and easy way to find YouTube keywords without having to visit separate websites. Here are three easy-to-use free Chrome extensions for YouTube keyword research.
- Keyword Everywhere
Keyword Everywhere is the most popular keyword research extension. Simply install the extension, log in to your KW account, and start searching.
Every time you search for something on YouTube, the extension will show you the ranking difficulty for the keyword, search volume, top-ranking YouTube channels, and a list of related keywords on the right side, among other things.
vidIQ is another Chrome extension that works simultaneously as you search on YouTube. To use this Chrome extension, simply download and sign-up for a free account.
Once you search for your primary keyword on YouTube, it will show you the competition for your target keyword, the top 3 creators for the keyword, and the top related keywords you can rank for.
You can also set an alert for your target keyword to keep track of all the latest videos that get published for that term.
TubeBuddy is a good Chrome extension for video creators to find the most relevant keywords for their target topic. All you have to do is install the extension and connect your YouTube channel with your TubeBuddy account.
After you have connected your YouTube channel, the extension will integrate itself with YouTube and help you find the right keywords for your title, description, and tags.
To do this, simply hover over the TubeBuddy icon on the right side of your YouTube channel and open the ‘Tools’ tab.
Select the ‘Launch Keyword Explorer’ option and enter your primary keyword. Once you do that, TubeBuddy will analyze YouTube for that keyword and give you information about the keyword.
It will also show you the top 3 related keywords, which you can use while optimizing your videos.
Use Google trends to identify unique and trending keywords
Google trends is another way to find YouTube keywords. Visit the Google Trends website, enter your target keyword and search.
Once you get the trend result, change your search category to 'YouTube Search’ to see the most relevant YouTube keywords and search trends.
The website will show you search trends, top regions where the searches are coming from, and a list of related queries.
Utilize YouTube channel analytics to find keyword opportunities
The YouTube Creator Studio is a great place to find keywords. Log in to your creator account, and head over to the ‘Analytics’ section.
Switch to the ‘Research’ tab and enter your primary keyword.
You will instantly get a list of all the related keywords people are searching for. It will also show you the search volume of those keywords (high, low, or medium.)
You can also filter your results and look at ‘Content gaps only,’ but this will only work for popular topics.
Something very specific, like ‘how to cook salmon', is not broad enough.
But just 'salmon’ gives us a content gap that we can target in our video to increase viewership.
Use Google search to understand what videos are ranking for the keyword
From blogs, images, and videos, Google searches give users a wide variety of content. You can use this feature of Google to find what videos are ranking at the top for your topic.
Simply search for your target keyword and scroll down to the ‘Videos’ section.
You will find the top-ranking videos you can analyze for keywords to find the most lucrative ranking opportunities in this section of the Google SERP.
Top 10 YouTube keyword tools that you can use
We have already seen some of the best ways to find YouTube keywords for your videos. But just in case that is not enough, here are the top 10 keyword research tools you can use.
Kparser is a free YouTube keyword research tool you can use for your videos.
The tool will give you a list of related YouTube keywords that you can export for future reference.
PS: Downloading keywords is a premium feature.
In any case, the free version gives you a broad list of keywords that you can use in your YouTube videos.
- YouTube Keyword Tool by Keyword Tool Dominator
Keyword Tool Dominator is another YouTube keyword research tool that helps you find the best keywords for your target topic.
Users just have to enter the target keyword, select the target location, and search.
The tool will quickly produce a list of keywords with their source, country, and popularity score ranging from 1 (least popular) to 100 (most popular).
This tool lets you download the keyword list without a premium plan.
It also produces a graph of the top 10 unique words most commonly used with your target keyword.
TubeRanker lets you do keyword research for your niche and discover related keywords to improve your YouTube content strategy.
The tool will make a list of related keywords and how many times each one is searched for on YouTube every month.
- Keyword Tool.io
Keyword Tool.io uses YouTube's autocomplete feature to come up with long-tail keywords that are very relevant to a certain topic.
For any keyword you search for, the tool will produce a long list of keywords with their search volume, trend, average CPC, and competition score (1 to 10).
- Zutrix YouTube Keyword Tool
The Zutrix YouTube Keyword Research Tool is a simple tool that will help you find relevant keywords for your Youtube videos.
Just type in your main keyword and choose where you want to look, and the tool will give you a list of related keywords.
The premium version of the tool shows details like search volume, competition, CPC, and the current search trend for the keyword.
- Youtube Keyword Tool by SEO Review Tools
The SEO Review Youtube Keyword Research tool gives you suggestions for both main keywords and secondary keywords, ranked by how relevant they are to the main keyword.
The tool will give you a list of primary and secondary keywords that will help your videos reach more people.
- Morning Fame
Morning Fame is an end-to-end YouTube research and optimization tool that helps creators track their channel stats, create engaging YouTube titles, descriptions, and tags, and grow their channels.
This is a paid tool that comes with a free 1-month trial.
Users have to connect their channel with Morning Fame to start using the tool.
Here is how to use this tool:
- Enter your video topic.
- Choose a target search term from the results.
- The tool will give you a competitive analysis between your channel and the most popular channels for the selected search term.
If you have already published your video, it will help you optimize it to increase your reach and views.
Note: All the ranking opportunities will be marked with ‘FFFF’ in the search results.
Hypersuggest is a nifty YouTube keyword research tool that extracts long-tail keywords for a given term with search volumes and a keyword clustering feature to club related keywords.
Premium users can download the generated keywords for future reference. The tool comes with a 7-day, no-credit-card-required trial.
To use this tool, create a Hypersuggest account, select YouTube in the keyword research tool, enter your primary keyword and search.
The tool will produce a list of long-tail keywords related to your primary search term, just as shown above.
9. SEO Power Suite
SEO PowerSuite is a downloadable software that offers an all-in-one SEO platform for blogs, videos, images, and other aspects of search engine optimization.
With the YouTube rank tracker tool, you can keep track of how your videos rank on YouTube. At the same time, it also helps you analyze your competitors from YouTube SERPs and find ranking opportunities.
BuzzSumo is a popular social listening tool that lets users find competitors and look at their content for keywords and topics.
From content ideas and keywords to finding influencers, BuzzSumo is a one-stop destination for all your YouTube marketing needs.
The above tools will help you find all the information you need to make successful YouTube videos, from how hard it is to rank for your keywords to where the best opportunities to rank are.
Best practices to follow while using keywords in your YouTube video
Youtube SEO is an ongoing process that requires a systematic optimization approach. Let’s take a look at some best practices to follow while using keywords in your YouTube video content:
- Pick your keywords wisely and create a mix of low-competition and high-competition keywords to get maximum reach.
- Create front-loaded video titles that target the main keyword.
- Ensure that your file name also mentions the main keyword.
- Optimize your video description so that it contains as many keywords as possible in the most natural way.
- Use hashtags to drive more traffic; you may want to do some hashtag research for that.
- Customize your thumbnail image to reflect what the video is about. Create a separate thumbnail image if needed.
- Always add subtitles and closed captions to your videos.
If you follow these simple tips, your videos will be set to make a mark on the YouTube SERPs. It is important that you optimize your videos so that the YouTube search algorithms understand the context of your videos and help you reach your target audience.
Wrapping it up
With the keywords you find using the above methods and the best practices we've already talked about, your videos are ready to go. Now the only thing remaining is for you to create some high-quality, engaging videos.
However, the learning does not have to end here. We have created an in-depth guide on how to do keyword research for SEO and PPC (step-by-step). Check out this comprehensive blog to learn more about keyword research and how to find the best ones for your website, landing pages, or blogs.
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