“Hey guys, welcome back to my YouTube channel!” Isn’t that the dream of most of the creators out there? To get to say these words for a living? Have a healthy YouTube community going? With a GoPro in hand, we go out every day and just be ourselves. YouTube ads and brand deals start rolling in and all is well with the world.
Only if #thngs were that simple, right?
To achieve this dream, there are hoops you have to jump through first.
As a YouTube beginner, what you need is to be discovered, generate steady traffic and make content so good that those views convert to subscribers.
So, in the sea of so many YouTube fishes, how does one become a Moby Dick? Well, with YouTube keyword research!
How to do YouTube keyword research for more engagement?
Let’s get technical for a bit, okay?
To increase reach, engagement, yadda yadda yadda, you need to know which videos are relevant in your niche. You also need to know about the competition around those ideas and videos. In search engine lingo, we call them keywords.
Every keyword out there can be broadly categorised into two. One is a short-tail keyword and the second is a long-tail keyword. What do those mean?
Let us explain.
Short tail keywords will be super general and a quick Google search on them will yield millions of views. Take the word ‘travel’. It’s a short tail keyword and if you make a YouTube video around it, it will literally be like a needle in a haystack. Lost in nothingness.
But if you take a long tail keyword around the same theme, it’ll be something like ‘places to travel on a budget’. It’s a phrase; hence the name “long tail.” You’ll also notice that, while it’s in the same niche as travel, it’s more specific.
The competition around this will be significantly less. In the hundreds, maybe thousands. Now that is more doable and gives you a chance to rank your videos and get more views.
Now that you have an idea of what keywords are, let’s talk about how to do keyword research for YouTube?
It is, honestly, really simple.
1. Research on topics and keywords in your niche
Half the success of your YouTube video depends on the research you do. You need to know your niche inside and out.
Map out what keywords pertain to what you do as a creator. Then rank them from high to low based on priority, moving from short-tail to long-tail.
If you are a beauty influencer and want to do an unboxing of products, look at products you would want to talk about. Develop a strategy based on topics that go from broad all the way down to specific. This will help you cut down on a lot of clutter and narrow down the scope of videos you should be making.
For your reference, we have added a sample chart below. You can add more levels to it and refine your niche even further. (Psst, feel free to use it. We made this in paint. No biggie.)
You also need to find out what keywords people are searching for in your niche. The “key” is to be neither too specific nor too vague.
If you pick a general topic like “unboxing,” what are the chances there aren’t hundreds of videos made about it already? And trust us, hundreds is a very conservative estimate. So your video will end up being lost in the huge clutter.
Except for some very random views, it will be very difficult to generate organic traffic.
The same goes for your super-specific niche content. You don’t want to unbox an organic face wash that no one knows about. If no one is searching for it, there is going to be no traffic in the first place.
The idea is to find the sweet spot in the middle. Try and find topics in your niche that are somewhat popular but also a bit obscure. If you think you can give a better and different take on them, they have a shot at it. Try different strategies, so you know what works and what doesn’t.
2. Use YouTube search bar for keyword research
One of the best ways to generate YouTube keyword ideas is by actually searching for the main keyword you are looking to target.
Where do you search for it? On YouTube itself!
It is the second-largest search engine right after Google, so the suggestions it makes are actual searches that are popular around that keyword.
Say you are a beauty influencer and want to know what kinds of keywords are popular in the beauty niche. Start typing an idea on YouTube search. The autocomplete suggestions will give you a long list of keywords and phrases that people are actually searching for on YouTube.
You can then pick and choose the ones that suit you and further narrow down your research. This will also help you when doing competitor research. By checking out the keywords, you can see “who is making what type of content” around the niche.
3. Measure intentions during keyword search
Last but not least, you need to understand your audience. If you do a YouTube keyword search for, say, “product X unboxing,” and you notice that the first couple of videos are paid ads, then you know your audience might be looking for authentic and more honest reviews.
Make use of it
Or if the same search query returns many unboxing videos but no real-life usage of the product, that is where you come in.
Know that this is where your mental maths will be useful. Understand what keywords generate what results. Engagement is a psychological game, and you need to become a good player.
YouTube keywords research important but not crucial
Keyword research is important on YouTube since it helps you prioritise and map out the direction you want your channel to grow.
However, no matter how many optimisation hacks you use and how many fancy gadgets you have if your content sucks, you won’t get views and subscribers.
You also run the risk of losing the audience you already have, so don’t go nuts over YouTube keyword research. It’s a part of your strategy, not the only one.
And remember, we are only a click away. Use this link to find more tips, tricks and guides to creating content on YouTube and don’t forget to do your thng!