In this post, I show you how to use some of the best YouTube keyword research tools to find the right keywords for your videos.
Finding right keywords is critical to your success on YouTube. Since Google does not share YouTube keywords and search volumes like it does for Google search. So you must use one of the third party YouTube keyword research tools.
YouTube is world’s second largest search engine. People are doing billions of searches on YouTube every month using keywords to find videos to watch. YouTube also suggests videos to watch based largely on keywords and user behavior. So if you want your videos to get views on YouTube, you have to find the right keywords and optimize the video for those keywords.
In this post, you will learn how to do YouTube Keyword research using a structured approach and free tools.
Once you know what your audience is looking for, you can create a video that answers that query and also optimize the video for the keyword so people can find it.
Finding Keywords – What Viewers Are Searching For
Finding what your viewers want is The Most Important part of YouTube marketing.
More important than even your video!
Unfortunately, most people jump into making cool videos without finding out what viewers want. That’s the worst thing you can do. But finding the right YouTube keyword for your video is more complex than finding keywords for your blog because:
- Google does not have a tool like Google Keyword Planner for YouTube so it’s very difficult to get keyword ideas and search volume estimates for YouTube
- There are far fewer tools and even less information available about them. This is partly because the universe of people who create videos is far smaller than those who write blogs.
Fewer people = smaller market size for YouTube keyword research tools.
This explains the relative lack of tools and information about these tools.
That’s why I created this guide. Hope you find it useful. Let’s dig in.
Check YouTube Auto Complete Data
YouTube Auto complete is a powerful source of information about keywords people use to search YouTube. It should be your first stop for doing YouTube keyword research.
Just like Google, YouTube keeps track of what people type in the search box. As you start typing, it suggests the most popular keywords on YouTube related to what you are typing.
The YouTube auto complete is a great place to start looking for keywords people are using to search. You start by typing the first few characters or words related to your product, service or topic.
For example, as I type “YouTube m”, it suggests a list of related keywords. You can see YouTube Marketing at number 4:
The list tells me that people are searching for YouTube Marketing keyword on YouTube but it’s probably less popular than YouTube movies, music and money.
I normally check auto complete for 3-5 keywords related to the topic to make sure people are indeed looking for videos related to the topic.
You can also use some free keyword research tools that make use of YouTube auto complete data. Most of them use auto complete to collect keyword data from YouTube but use different mechanisms to order and display the keywords.
Once you validate interest in your topic, it’s time to move to finding more specific keywords on the topic. You can use a number of different research tools to find popular YouTube keywords.
Using Soovle to find Auto complete Keywords:
Soovle is a free keywords research tool that gives auto complete keyword information about a bunch of different sites including YouTube, Google and Amazon.
If you enter your main keyword or topic, Soovle will display related keywords using the auto complete data from YouTube and other sites.
This is a free keywords research tool that gives keyword information about a bunch of different sites including Google, YouTube and Amazon.
If you enter your main keyword or topic, Soovle will display related keywords using the auto suggest data from YouTube and other sites.
Using Soovle, you can get a list of keywords people are actually using to search YouTube.
Soovle uses a voting mechanism to order the keywords. It collects data from popular sites every night. If a keyword appears in the list of keywords returned by a site, it receives a vote. So if a keyword appears in both Google and YouTube lists, it will receive two votes.
Soovle then tallies the score and orders keywords based on number of votes received. The ordering is within a letter-set so it can display related keywords when you type one in the search box.
Since Soovle does not know exact search volume for keywords, it uses popularity of keywords across sites to create relative grading. If a keyword appears in YouTube auto complete and also in the list from other sites, it will appear higher in the list displayed by Soovle.
It is great for finding auto complete keywords from YouTube. But that keyword may not be the most popular on YouTube.
Another limitation is that you cannot find long tail YouTube keywords using Soovle. If you are interested in finding long tail keywords, you should use Keywordtool.io.
Using Keywordtool.io to find Auto complete Keywords:
Keywordtool.io is an auto complete based keyword research tool that includes data from YouTube, Google, Bing, Amazon, eBay and App Store.
Select the YouTube tab at the top, enter you keyword in the search box, select country & language and click the search button. You will see a list of keywords.
Keyword Tool uses data from YouTube auto complete to find long-tail keywords about the topic you enter in the search box. It adds different letters and numbers before and after the keyword you enter in the search box. In this way, the tool is able to generate a long list of keywords that would take you hours to find if you used the YouTube search suggestion manually.
The Keyword Tool can generate over 750 long-tail keywords related to your main keyword. It also generates questions related to your keyword. This is a really helpful feature as many of the questions are long tail keywords. These questions help you decide what information you should include in the video.
You can get localized keyword suggestions by selecting your country and language in tool’s search bar.
KeyWordTool.io has a paid version that shows estimated search volume, competition and CPC data for each keyword in the list. There is a catch though – the search volume numbers are not specific to YouTube. Rather, the tool estimates it based on search volume data for Google.
The CPC and competition data is useful if you want to monetize your video by allowing YouTube to show ads to your viewers. Higher competition and CPC indicate higher revenue potential for the keyword.
Using Kparser to find Auto complete Keywords:
Yet another tool that uses YouTube keyword suggest feature is Kparser. It’s very similar to KeywordTool but has some added features I find very useful.
Enter the keyword, select YouTube from dropdown list, your country, language and click Start button. Kparser will display a list of keywords it finds matching the seed keyword you entered. The paid version also shows search volume and CPC data.
In addition, it also shows a list of individual words that occur in the keywords or phrases and their frequency (the left table). For example, in the image below, YouTube is the most frequently occurring word. It appears in 58 keyword phrases in the main table. This information helps you find the most popular words related to your keyword.
Kparser also assigns a rank to each keyword. The rank is determined based on the popularity of words included in the phrase. If a keyword or phrase includes popular words from the table on the left, its Kparser rank will be higher. This ranking is not absolute – it’s a relative ranking of keywords or phrases the tool found for your given seed keyword.
All three keyword research tools I have covered so far have robust free versions. However, if you want more keyword suggestions than you see in the free version, you should upgrade to paid version.
Finding YouTube Keywords using Tag Research Tools
One of the most powerful ways to improve ranking of your video in YouTube search is to add relevant tags to your video. Tags are specific to YouTube videos. YouTube uses tags to rank your video in search and to show it in the suggested videos section. Think of tags as signal to YouTube about your video’s content.
So how do tags help with keyword research?
Remember – tags are nothing but keywords used to tell YouTube about the topic of your video.
Luckily, almost every topic has a bunch of videos on YouTube. All you have to do is find the tags used by successful videos on your topic. You can include them in video title and description to optimize your video.
How to find tags used by any YouTube video
YouTube stopped publicly displaying tags on video watch pages in 2012. But the tags are still included in the source code of the page since YouTube uses them for search and suggested videos section.
Finding Tags Manually
The first thing you need to do is find high ranking videos on your topic. Search YouTube with your keyword and click one of the top ranking video on the search page. You will go to the video watch page.
If you are using Chrome, right click on the video watch page and select View Page Source from the list. Chrome will open a new tab and show the course code of the page.
Press CTRL+F to open the Chrome search box. Type keywords in the search box and press Enter. You should now see the keyword meta tag for the page that includes the keywords or tags.
Following is the keyword meta tag list for one of the top ranking videos for the keyword YouTube Marketing.
keywords":"youtube marketing,youtube tricks,youtube tips,utube marketing,utube tricks,promote on youtube,youtube tutorial,Marketing (Industry),video tutorials,how to make a youtube video,How-to (Media Genre),Tutorial (Industry),utube tips,use youtube for marketing,Marketing Strategy (Organization Sector),Marketing Communications (Organization Sector),Marketing (Interest),How-to (Website Category)"
You need to copy the tags in a document or Excel for further analysis.
Manually finding and analyzing tags is not difficult. But it’s messy and take a lot of time. I use a tool called TubeBuddy to find and use tags quickly without the need to look at the code.
Using TubeBuddy to find YouTube Video Tags
TubeBuddy is a YouTube Marketing software. It has many features that help you promote and monetize your videos on YouTube. But it’s also a very powerful YouTube keyword research tool.
The premium version has many features you will find useful for YouTube marketing. But in this post, I only discuss how to use the free keywords research feature.
After you create a free account, install the free TubeBuddy Chrome extension. Once installed, go to YouTube, search with your keyword and click the top ranking video.
You will see the TubeBuddy extension on the top right hand side of the page. Wait for a few second for the tool to load. Once it loads, you can see statistics about the video on the right hand side of the page.
Scroll down to see tags used by the video. You can see all tags the video is using.
Click the blue Show Search Rankings button. You can now see where this video ranks for each of these tags or keywords in YouTube search. This is extremely important: a high search rank usually correlates with large number of views.
Next, click any keyword (tag) for which the video ranks in at least top 10. TubeBuddy will show additional research information for the keyword in Tag Explorer box.
You can see related tags, tags suggested by TubeBuddy, Historical search trends, countries where this search is most popular and YouTube search result for the tag. You can also see relative search volume and competition level for the keyword or tag.
Using this information, you can decide whether it’s a good keyword to target in your video or not. Look for a keyword with the following characteristics:
- Stable or rising search volume trend
- Popular in your target country
- Videos ranking for it should have large number of views
The last point is a surrogate for keyword search volume. YouTube does not publish search volume information for keywords. So we need to find surrogate or indirect measures to estimate search volume. I explain how to do that in the next section.
For now, add tags you find using TubeBuddy to list of keywords you found using tools I described earlier. At the end of this exercise, you should have a list of solid keywords that are relevant for your video topic.
Next, you need to prioritize these keywords based on their relative search volumes.
Rank keywords based on relative popularity on YouTube
To estimate the relative search volume of keywords on your list, search YouTube with keywords in your list. You will see a page full of videos in search result like this one:
Look at the number of views for top videos in the search result. The number you should be looking at is the average number of views / month. You can get this by dividing the number of views by the number of months the video has been on YouTube.
For example, if a video was published 12 months ago and has 24,000 views, then it has 2,000 average monthly views.
If a lot of people are searching YouTube with a keyword then the videos that rank for it should have lots of views. A low monthly view count indicates low interest and search volume.
But high monthly views do not necessarily mean that the keyword is popular. The video may be ranking for other keywords and getting views from those searches. Since a YouTube video gets more than half of its views when it shows up as a suggested video, it is important to find out where the views are coming from.
The first place to look at is the Video Title.
A video should rank for keyword used in the title. If you see a different keyword in the title than your keyword, it means the video may be getting views from another keyword.
The second thing you should look at is the Video Description.
YouTube is more likely to promote the video as a suggested video for keywords used in the first sentence of the description. If keyword you searched with is in the first line of description, then the video may be getting many of its views from the same keyword.
For each keyword in your list, note down the average monthly views for top ranking videos. Once you have all the data, sort the list in decreasing order of average monthly views.
For example, when I did this exercise with the keyword list I built for the topic YouTube Marketing, most videos appeared to be getting their views from people interested in “YouTube Marketing” keyword. So that’s a keyword you would want to target first.
Finding the right keyword for YouTube video requires more effort than keyword research for SEO. Unlike regular keyword research, there is far less information available from Google / YouTube. But by applying a structured approach and using the right tools, you can find the right keywords for your YouTube videos.