4 Tools for Conducting Keyword Research on YouTube

  |  October 17, 2011   |  Comments

For those engaging in video marketing, researching YouTube with keyword research will provide you with innovative ways to direct and manage your campaigns.

Using videos is increasingly one of the fastest and most popular ways to connect with your audience online, with about 71 percent of online adults using online video-sharing sites. There is no surprise that YouTube is the largest. According to comScore, it now draws about 40 percent of all online video visits. It's even challenging Google as the second largest search engine in the U.S.

For marketers, the goal of researching keywords for YouTube and online video marketing is to determine three things:

  • How users are searching
  • Which search queries are more popular and relevant
  • The best ways to get your content found

For those of you engaging in video marketing, researching YouTube with keyword research will also provide you with innovative ways to direct and manage your campaigns as well as learn more about user intent and behavior. Here are four specific tools you can use.

Tool No. 1: YouTube Suggest

YouTube Suggest is a keyword suggestion tool similar to the Google suggest tool. It has an enhanced search function that uses a predictive model to display popular search queries in the YouTube search box as you type each letter of your keyword. In the example below, my target keyword is "mountain biking." By the time I get the first four letters typed, it has already predicted what I am looking for.


This also works well for multiple word phrases. As you type in each word of your phrase, you start to see popular words or complete phrases. This can be a great tool for gaining insight into searcher intent and behavior, especially for video marketing.


Tool No. 2: YouTube Keyword Tool

YouTube also has a rather robust keyword tool that can be used to research keyword use on its site. It's closely related to the Google Keyword Tool in appearance and functionality, as you can see below.

You have the option of beginning your search by using descriptive words or phrases, a YouTube video IDID or URLRL, or demographic information. If you use the first choice, you should enter a seed keyword phrase. Remember, when using video and images, people tend to use longer, more-descriptive phrases rather than shorter ones. Instead of "sea kayaking," they may use "sea kayaking with orcas in the San Juan Islands."


Keyword results are sorted by relevance and offer monthly search volume. The demographic choice is actually quite interesting. You check off the demographic modifiers like male, female, age range, region, and even topical interests. Then you get results for that segment. This can be a great tool for grouping keywords around specific categories or segments.

The keyword suggestions can also be integrated into your video optimization efforts. Remember that to do this properly, you should place these keywords into the title of the video, the tags, the video description, and any associated relevant links.

Tool No. 3: Comment Search

This is a handy tool to use as you search through comments from individual users within YouTube. The tool searches through the most recent comments made by users for a given video. Reading through comments for targeted search terms can help you gain insights and provide a better context to keywords.


Tool No. 4: YouTube Insights for Audience

Just as media buyers search out television programs their target audience is viewing, YouTube Insights for Audience can provide you a similar experience with video.

You first select the modifiers that best represent your target audience, then "add" an audience segment based on their interests. In my example below, you can see I selected male and female, the Americas, and the hobbies and leisure segment.


Once you apply the settings, you will see a couple of charts that represent the demographic and interests of your target audience.


Additionally, you will also see a sampling of videos to choose from that your audience enjoys watching. Next to the videos you can get a tag cloud of search terms that your audience is using. Also, if you click on the tiny words under the graph, you can drill down into more specific segments. As you do this, the videos and search terms will change to fit the segment.

By using these four tools, you will gain insight into keyword popularity and frequency on YouTube as well as more context and insight into your target audience, their intent, and behavior.


Ron Jones

Ron was president/CEO of Symetri Internet Marketing, which provides strategic SEM consulting and training. Ron was actively involved in the SEM community and spoke and trained at conferences and seminars. Ron also served on the Board of Directors for SEMPO and was one of the authors for the SEMPO Institute Fundamentals and Advanced courses.

Ron also published a book called Keyword Intelligence: Keyword Research for Search Social and Beyond. This book outlines various methods and tips for conducting keyword research but more importantly outlines many ways to use keyword research for social media, site design, content development and marketing, and even traditional marketing and branding.

Ron passed away on June 30, 2012.

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