Long before I learned keyword research to explore online business opportunities, I was a budding seven-year-old entrepreneur who sold my mom’s mint iced tea on a prime street corner in Wyomissing, PA.
Nowadays, seven-year-olds might be more inclined to bottle that mint iced tea and make videos to promote the product online …
Which means they also need to perform YouTube keyword research in order to get their videos in front of the right customers.
In this post, I’m going to share five YouTube keyword generator tools and five strategic ways to get your videos to rank in search engine result pages (SERPs).
This guide will help your video content get the traffic it deserves, whether you’re an iced tea-preneur, SEO consultant, or agency owner.
YouTube Keywords vs. Other Keywords
Even though we often talk about Google as the main search engine we want to feature our content on, it obviously isn’t the only place people search online.
If someone wants to view a video to find an answer to their question or help them discover the best solution for their needs, they might directly search on YouTube. Google does own YouTube, so we’ll talk more about that connection later in this post.
For now, let’s focus specifically on how YouTube search keywords and YouTube tags are different from the standard keywords that we use to shape our SEO strategies and content pillars.
You don’t want to randomly make videos and hope they attract viewers. Instead, you want to deeply understand your target audience so that you create the exact content they want to click on.
During your YouTube keyword research, you’ll uncover the most relevant and popular search queries for your topic and then add them to your video content accordingly.
These search keywords will optimize elements such as your:
Ultimately, the goal is to get irresistible videos in front of the right people.
Why YouTube Search Keywords Are Important
YouTube keywords work because they help match viewers with the content you create for them. You want your videos to get views and comments (which leads to more subscribers), right?
Then think of search keywords as bridges a YouTube viewer crosses to discover your video.
For example, imagine that you film and upload mint iced tea recipes to promote your brand. If those videos you worked hard to produce aren’t labeled correctly, thirsty viewers searching for mint iced tea recipes will only find videos from your competitors.
Millions of people are searching for videos on YouTube right this second. You want your content to be as clear and easy to discover as possible — so don’t skip the proper research that will allow you to add the right YouTube search keywords to your uploads.
5 Tools for YouTube Keyword Research
Next, let’s look at five tools that help you find out what people are looking for on YouTube.
These tools will also get you thinking about how you can get your content appearing in top search results.
When you get in the habit of performing YouTube keyword research, you’ll likely narrow down your favorite methods from the list below. They’ll help you establish a go-to process you can repeat each time you create new content or optimize your existing videos.
1. Keyword Analytics for YouTube
If you love mining data, then there’s no substitute for Keyword Analytics for YouTube. It’s an app from Semrush that functions like their other keyword research tools — but it’s specifically for YouTube search keywords.
To give it a spin, sign up for a free trial.
Since it’s one of the best keyword research tools for YouTube, you can search terms related to your topic or brand, and the app will display a list of “Top Keywords.”
Even better, you have access to lists such as “Fast growing keywords” and “Most viewed videos” that give you even more options.
Each keyword will display a search volume and “competitive rate,” similar to keyword difficulty.
Data is available for the last day, week, or month. Try starting with low competition keywords for some easy wins.
2. YouTube Autocomplete
How do you research keywords on YouTube for free?
YouTube Autocomplete is a quick way to enter your video idea and see if there are searches related to it.
This functionality — designed to show popular searches — is built right into the YouTube search bar. You can even broaden your idea to see a variety of potential new topics.
Find anything interesting?
Write them down in your YouTube keyword research list for potential video topics, and prioritize the best ones. YouTube Autocomplete is a simple way to find the most searched keywords on YouTube for free.
3. Keyword Tool.io
If you’re looking for a YouTube keyword generator that’s a little more streamlined than Autocomplete, check out Keyword Tool.io.
With this tool, you don’t have to manually enter each idea you have, one by one. Instead, it gives you a long list of keyword variations.
Like Autocomplete suggestions, you’ll often see long-tail keyword ideas that you might not have thought of on your own.
4. YouTube Analytics Research
Although it’s limited, I like using YouTube Analytics within the platform’s Creator Studio.
You’re not going to be able to find the exact search volume of a term or how competitive it is (like you would in Semrush’s YouTube Keyword Analytics), but there’s a “content gap” feature that can come in handy.
If your Analytics dashboard suggests that there’s a content gap, it means viewers had trouble finding a relevant video on that topic …
Which means there’s an opportunity for you to create the exact video that searchers want.
5. VidIQ’s Keyword Tool
Want a free way to perform YouTube keyword research, with more data than YouTube Analytics provides?
Then vidIQ is a great solution.
The platform is also more than just a keyword generator. You’ll find a variety of tools designed to help you grow your YouTube channel.
How to Perform YouTube Competitor Research
Like standard competitor research, YouTube competitor research will give you insights about strategies that might be relevant for your video content.
Check out the competition’s:
- Keyword variations
- Video formats
For example, if a competitor thinks a certain keyword is valuable, there’s a good chance you should create content for that keyword as well. This is helpful because you can easily see what they’ve created and find a way to make your video more entertaining and useful for your audience.
You can also check out the keywords they use as tags, which optimize their videos as much as possible. To do this, right click under the YouTube search bar and select “View Page Source.”
When HTML source code appears in a new tab or window, search for “keywords” on the page and scan the results to the right of the text.
Keywords from the video in the screenshot above include:
- Iced Tea
- Orange Iced Tea
- Blackberry Iced Tea
- Strawberry Iced Tea
- Peach Iced Tea
- Pomegranate Iced Tea
- Hibiscus Iced Tea
- Rooibos Iced Tea
- Mint Iced Tea
- Homemade Iced Tea
These keywords might even give you new product ideas, in addition to new video topics.
5 Ways to Get Your Videos to Rank in SERPs
Once you’ve found relevant YouTube keywords, you’ll apply them to your video strategy.
Let’s look at five ways to get your videos to rank in SERPs.
1. Investigate Search Intent
As I mentioned earlier, Google owns YouTube.
You know that Google cares a lot about search intent, so matching your YouTube videos to user intent is also important.
After you’ve found keywords you want to create videos for, determine their search intent to make sure the topic is worth your time.
First, type the term into YouTube and review the search results. Does it look like your video would naturally fit among them?
Take note of the video descriptions and thumbnail images. If you think your version of this topic would attract the right customers to your brand, you might have just found your next video topic.
2. Rank for Google’s Video Result Keywords
Google complements YouTube like lemons complement iced tea. They’re better together.
And you’ll get more traffic to your YouTube videos if they also appear in Google search results.
When you’re considering a new topic, type it into a Google search to see if a video appears in the results. If it does, this is a “video result keyword.”
If a video doesn’t appear in the search results, Google has determined that people aren’t typically looking for video content on this topic.
You can also use Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool to find out whether or not Google will show videos for a certain topic.
Enter your keyword and then navigate to “Advanced Filters.” In the drop-down menu, you can choose from various SERP features.
Once you select the video options, such as “Video,” “Featured video,” and “Video carousel,” you’ll be able to see if your keyword (or any keyword variations) triggers those features.
3. Attract Viewers with YouTube Hashtags
YouTube hashtags essentially label your videos. Adding popular or relevant hashtags to your video descriptions often help more people find your content.
As always, keep your SEO best practices in mind, and don’t overuse these video markers.
4. Create Engaging Video Chapters
YouTube video chapters are like subheadings in written content. Labeling each part of your video with compelling text gives you a better chance of drawing someone in.
In your video description, you can add these timestamps with your keyword and keyword variations in mind. Try at least three chapters, and make sure they are more than 10 seconds apart.
5. Optimize Uploads with Keyword Tags
Finally, there are no drawbacks to optimizing your video uploads with keyword tags.
Even though these descriptions likely won’t affect your search rankings, adding tags to your videos doesn’t take much time. This way, you’ll know you did everything to make the topic of your video crystal clear.
Learn More About Strategic Keyword Research
The tips above have primed you to perform your own YouTube keyword research … but I think you’ve earned an iced-tea break before you get started.
If you want to go even deeper after you’ve grabbed a beverage, you’ve come to the right corner of the internet. Inside TTT Academy, you’ll find a huge library of SEO topics, including our course on keyword research.
Along with other great SEO instructors, I’ll show you what’s working in keyword research today. Sound good?