What is YouTube Keyword Research? Do I Need it?

What is YouTube Keyword Research? Do I Need it? In this post, I’m going to show you how to maximize your video marketing potential by performing effective YouTube keyword research.

If you’re wondering what YouTube keywords are, why they’re important, and how you can use them to optimize your videos, you’ve come to the right place!

Let’s get started.

What We’ll Cover:

YouTube Statistics Every Marketer Should Know

Launched in 2005, it didn’t take long for YouTube to become the most popular video-sharing platform in the world.

Its simplicity allows creators to easily upload content and share it with a large online audience

And since video converts better than any other type of content right now and is cheaper to produce than ever before, YouTube could be a game-changer for your business.

But don’t just take my word for it. Let the numbers speak for themselves:

What Are YouTube Keywords?

Video marketing is becoming increasingly competitive and expensive on YouTube. A well-defined keyword strategy should be in place to ensure your advertising dollars are well spent.

That’s where YouTube keywords come in.

These keywords are a bit different from the ones that appear on other search engines like Google or Bing. YouTube keywords are key phrases and terms that define and represent your channel. They help classify what niche you’re in and what type of content you produce.

As a general rule of thumb, your selected video keywords should receive several hundred monthly searches. 

Why Should I Use YouTube Keywords?

YouTube performs as a search engine, utilizing what you post on your channel to interpret what it is about.

Similar to your website, by strategically incorporating keywords into your channel you can clue YouTube into the type of content you produce and who your target audience is. 

What Keywords Should I Use for YouTube?

When considering which keywords to include, consider the intent of your YouTube channel. What value are you trying to provide to your target audience? What keywords will drive traffic to your video?

Long-tail keywords typically include 3-5 words and receive less search traffic. They’re also cheaper to rank for and target more qualified leads than short tail—or one-word—keywords.

How to Use YouTube Keywords Successfully

YouTube is essentially a video-specific search engine. Like Google, it uses a sophisticated algorithm to serve content to viewers.

To help make it easy for you, I’ve created a list of optimization strategies you can implement to boost your visibility on YouTube searches:

Consider Placement of Keywords

Luckily, there are plenty of places on YouTube where you can incorporate keywords, such as:

  • You can add 1-3 to video titles as long as you don’t exceed 60 characters. 
  • You’re allotted 800 words for your video description, with no limit on the number of tags and keywords you can add. 
  • The ‘About’ section can include keywords.
  • Channel tags can’t go over 75 characters.

Optimize Your YouTube Video Titles

Your video title is one of the first things that viewers notice about your video and could be the deciding factor between clicking on it or giving it a pass.

With that being said, you can optimize the title of your videos by organically incorporating a keyword or two near the beginning of the title. It should be compelling, clear, and concise, and speak to your audience in a way they may be searching for content. 

Remember—you’re allowed 100 characters for video titles, but I recommend limiting to 60 so it doesn’t get cut off in the search results.

Add Keywords to Your Channel Description

The channel description will appear in your “About” section, YouTube’s search results, and Google’s results pages. Since both search engines rely on you to provide information about your channel, a short summary can help boost your ranking and visibility.

YouTube’s search results will only display the first 100-150 characters of your description, so be sure to take advantage of it.

Assign Channel Tags

Channel keywords make it easier for viewers to find you.

They also inform YouTube’s algorithm on how to categorize your channel, which helps it determine which videos to use to recommend your content in the “Suggested Videos” queue.

For keywords, I recommend you use broad terms and phrases from your keyword research that represent your channel’s core message. You should stick to the 5-15 keyword (or 100-150 character) range as going over doesn’t have any additional benefits.

Effective Ways to Use YouTube Keywords
Effective Ways to Use YouTube Keywords

YouTube Keyword Research Tools

If you want to know which keywords and search terms you need to target for video SEO, check out the following YouTube keyword tools:

YouTube Autocomplete

YouTube Autocomplete is similar to the Google Search bar and Google Autocomplete. To utilize this feature, sign out of YouTube, or open up a private browser, and type in a keyword into the search bar. YouTube will then suggest search phrases based on YouTube’s data on popular searches.

Ahrefs’s Keyword Explorer

Powered by clickstream data, Ahrefs is an extremely popular YouTube keyword tool used to obtain highly relevant keywords. All you have to do is select YouTube as the search engine, then type in the keyword you’d like to rank for. The tool will provide you with a list of search volumes, the estimated number of clicks for your keywords, and more.

SEMRush’s Keyword Magic Tool

This YouTube keyword tool is part of an all-in-one SEO toolset. Offering one of the biggest keyword databases on the market, which includes more than 20 billion keywords, SEMRush offers data on search volume, keyword difficulty, and SERP features.

YouTube Keyword Plugins


TubeBuddy is a free browser extension and mobile app that integrates directly into YouTube. Once downloaded, all you have to do is go to the keyword explorer and type in your keyword. TubeBuddy will then provide you with an overall score comparing how often that keyword gets searched and how competitive the keyword is. 


VidIQ ‘s browser plugin comes with a range of features, including optimization scores, channel audits, video velocity, average watch times, and social media likes/comments/shares. You also have the option to compare and select the best keywords for YouTube.

Wrapping Up

As a marketer, you can’t afford to overlook YouTube keyword research when creating an SEO strategy for your business.

Without it, you might be choosing the wrong keywords, resulting in wasted effort and little to no traffic to your pages.

If your ultimate goal is to build your YouTube channel and get more views, then you need to make keyword research a priority.

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