How to research keywords for your YouTube video

Identifying keywords that can draw in your target audience is an essential strategy for attracting more viewers to your work. Here’s how to effectively research keywords as an online video creator.

Are you a Youtube creator with a big following? Have you always wondered how so many people found your page? Or are you a creator who is just starting out with your channel and wondering how you can get more views. I, myself, have started a channel on another video platform called TikTok and just like Youtube, it relies heavily on viewership. Success is tied to how many views your videos generate. With both platforms, the key lies in a few concepts: creating unique videos, being consistent with those videos and using keywords that will attract audiences. Yes, keywords.

What is a keyword?

Keywords are the words or phrases used to search for content. Using keywords in your video or web content makes it easier for people to find you via search engines.

So how do you pull in viewers to watch your content when so many creators are out there doing the same thing? The answer: keywords.

Youtube is one of the biggest search engines available with hundreds of thousands of people racking up hours of searching, watching and creating. So how do you pull in viewers to watch your content when so many creators are out there doing the same thing? The answer: keywords.

Why use keywords?

Think of keywords as hashtags or topics that you see on social media platforms. Here’s an example. When you sign on to Twitter, the first thing you do is click on the search button to discover the trending topics for that day. The top-ranking trends let you know which topics people are using. Tapping into these trending topics helps your content — in this case, your tweets — to be seen.

The same is true for Youtube creators and anyone posting content online. You need to know which topics and keywords your audience will use to find you, then include those keywords in your video title, description and tags. With the proper use of keywords, your channel or video will rank higher on the platform’s search engine results page when viewers search for content like yours.

Choosing the right keyword targets

But how do you choose the right keywords? How do you know which ones to target in order to make your video channel more attractive to your audience? To answer this you’ll need to do a bit of research in your niche. Time to get cozy with search engine optimization.

According to Wikipedia, Search engine optimization (SEO) is “the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s unpaid results.” It’s predicted that by 2021, video will account for over 80 percent of all consumer internet traffic. That is a lot of traffic. As more and more content becomes available, SEO becomes even more important so your content will be seen in search engines.

So let’s get down to learning what to do and how to research these keywords in order to be successful as an online video creator.

Knowing which keywords to use all depends on what kind of channel or the kind of content you create. Ask yourself, who are you as a creator? The type of videos you post will tell you what keywords to focus on in your research. It will help you in discovering what keywords will be useful and more impactful in search engines. For each keyword that you use for future content, make sure they fit in the overall theme of your channel. Any keyword you target should make sense with who you are as a creator or brand. You want to make it easy for the right people to find you.

Striking a balance

Some creators will think that using topics that are trending will lead to high search volume. You will see a lot of videos scrolling through platforms such as TikTok that use broad hashtags for their content that have nothing to do with their niche. Using popular trends and tags does allow your content more chances to be viewed by a wider audience but that sometimes isn’t a good idea.

I’ve been guilty of this crime as well, but using broad topics such as what is trending will only attract an irrelevant audience. These viewers might not stick around in the long term. Then again, using super niche topics may not give you enough viewership. The game is to find that middle ground.

The basics of keyword research

Video creators know that having a niche for your channel is important. It is what sets you apart from others and makes your channel unique. When choosing keywords for your videos, make sure the terms you use correlate with your niche. If your channel is devoted to cooking tutorials, then your keywords should relate to cooking. If your channel is all about traveling, then make your keywords devoted to travel.

People will usually have an idea of what kind of video they are in the mood for when they type in their search query. If someone is about to go on a trip, they will input keywords relating to their travel destination. If you include the same or similar keywords in your video’s title, description and tags, then the search engine will display it.

However, if you put random keywords that are not related to your content, your video may show up in search, but viewers who click will not find your video relevant. If too many viewers click out of your video without watching, the search engine’s algorithm will deprioritize your video and rank it lower on the search results page.

Before posting your video online, make it a priority to spend time searching words on Youtube and see what kind of stuff pops up. Find channels that are similar to yours and see what keywords those creators use. Go on YouTube and visit some of your favorite creators and click on some of their most viewed videos; make a list of some of their keywords. Ask yourself, why are these particular videos doing so well? Why are there so many people viewing them? Make note.

Using the right tools

There are multiple paid SEO tools that can help you research keywords, but there are also free tools available at your fingertips.

First up, Google Trends is easy to use and helpful in discovering what keywords are trending in different parts of the world on any day of the week. You just type in a potential keyword relating to your video and it will show related topics and their popularity.

Another keyword research tool that you can use is found on a site called Semrush. Look for it under keyword analytics. This tool allows you to plug in keywords and see how often they are being used in search. It also shares related keywords, sites that are ranking high with that particular keyword. It’s not free, but you can start a free trial for seven days and cancel it afterward if you are on a budget.

Another SEO tool with a free trial is Ahrefs. The company also runs a great youtube channel devoted to helping you make your channel grow. The channel features countless videos detailing what keywords to use, how to find them, how to use them and so forth. 

Rank higher with the right keywords

You are a creator. You make videos and share them with the world. You want people to watch them, and keyword research is one way to extend your reach. Make a habit of finding the right keywords into your videos, your channel and your website. Good keyword research makes it easy for everyone to find, view and get inspired by your videos. 

Erin Vierra
Erin Vierra
Erin Vierra is a freelance writer and a music news editor for mxdwn.

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