Weekly Wisdom with Itamar Blauer: YouTube Keyword Research

Itamar Blauer

Sep 17, 20196 min read
YouTube Keyword Research

Modified Transcript:

Hello, everyone. My name is Itamar Blauer. Welcome to SEMrush's Weekly Wisdom. Today, I am going to cover how to effectively conduct keyword research on YouTube. In this session, I will go through some misconceptions about keyword research on YouTube specifically, and also review some tools and tricks for you to do keyword research yourself very, very effectively, and efficiently. Remember that all of these tools and tricks that I am going to teach you today are free, so anyone can do this. You don't need to spend any money.

Some Truth

First of all, we want to begin by looking at the truth behind keyword research on YouTube. The first thing to understand is that Google does not provide monthly search volume data for YouTube. Google does not actually tell you the exact figures about how many people type in a certain phrase into YouTube search. 

There are some third-party tools that use something called "clickstream data", which is the analysis and processing of users' activity and clicks on their systems. Usually, clickstream data is supposed to be more accurate, but based on my testing, this hasn't really been proven. It is also worth noting that clickstream data does vary depending on the ISPs and user behavior and things of that nature. So clickstream data isn't a guaranteed way of you knowing exactly how people are behaving, even though it is slightly more accurate.

The question is: if Google does not provide us with this data, then what do they provide us that might be able to help us? Well, there are two different tools. There is the YouTube auto-suggest feature on the YouTube search box, and there is also Google Trends, which is a very, very good feature.


Let's start with YouTube auto-suggest; this can be done by going onto YouTube and typing a keyword in the search bar. It will then show you suggestions of all other keywords that are related to this keyword that you have put in based on what YouTube deems to be relevant. Most of the time, this is a great way for you to get ideas about what kind of keywords to target. What shows up in the YouTube auto-suggest wouldn't appear if YouTube didn't think there was any demand for this keyword phrase.

YouTube auto-suggest

Moving on to Google Trends, it is a fantastic tool because you can filter specifically to see trends within YouTube searches. For this example, PewDiePie recently got married. Good for him. I put in PewDiePie on this Google Trends and then filtering it from YouTube's search, you can see that there is an increasing trend of PewDiePie searches based on around the time that he got married. So Google Trends is a great free tool that you can use.

Google Trends

Apart from YouTube auto-suggest and Google Trends, there are other third-party tools that you can use. These two are Chrome extensions. The first one is TubeBuddy and the second one is vidIQ.

TubeBuddy tells you how many searches per month a particular keyword has. But keep in mind that, as we mentioned before, this may not be 100% accurate. TubeBuddy will analyze the keyword you have put in, and it will determine the competitiveness of that keyword and whether or not it is a good keyword for you to target. TubeBuddy does require access to your YouTube account, AKA your Google account that your YouTube account is based off; just keep that in mind if you want to sign up.


vidIQ is the other Chrome extension that I want to talk about. It is also free and only requires signup. It does not need access to your YouTube account. The interesting thing about vidIQ is that when you type in a phrase into YouTube search, it is going to give you a bunch of metrics related to that search, such as the average amount of views for the videos ranking for the term you have put in.


Another thing that is really interesting, it will tell you the exact number of times that exact keyword match was used in the title of the video in the exact order of the keywords that you have put in. This is really important because you want to be able to see and test, how many videos with titles that contain these keywords in this order actually do rank. It is really interesting to get your own experiments done about this kind of thing.

It will also give you some cool metrics, like the best-performing video, the video with the highest amount of views — it will tell you that number. It will also tell you the best-performing channel that is uploading these videos. In this case, it is Carwow. And similarly to TubeBuddy, it does give you a keyword score telling you about the competitiveness of the keyword that you are using. Note that vidIQ does not tell you the monthly search volume for the keyword that you have put in.

What You Should Know About YouTube Keyword Research

Now that I have gone through the tools, I just want to quickly touch upon why you should be careful if you are conducting YouTube keyword research using Google's search volumes. The first thing is that the search intent will always be different. Putting a query on Google can be different from how that person will put the same type of query onto YouTube.

A lot of times, YouTube queries contain things such as "how-to" and "tutorial", because these are trigger words that will usually indicate that somebody is searching for a video, as opposed to reading a blog post. This can also be a blog post, but often you will see, even if you type on Google for tutorials and how-to searches, you will find video carousels on the SERPs. You always need to keep in mind, when you are creating YouTube videos and when you are doing keyword research, what would users type onto YouTube if they want to find this video, not what they would type in on Google.

You also need to keep in mind that the data will be skewed just because of the previous point; there will be different people typing different things on YouTube and Google. Let's take the example I had before of the Audi TT review, somebody who is looking to buy a car may want to look at videos of people actually driving the car and reviewing them, hence there may be more searches for this on YouTube as opposed to Google. This is quite evident because we can see that there are under 1,000 searches of Audi TT review, whereas I am pretty sure there is a lot more of that on YouTube.

The Wrong Keywords

The last thing to note is that, as well as the other points we have mentioned, the wrong keywords could be used. This is all based on the intent, and it is also based on how people structure the language on both Google and YouTube because it can differ. So you need to be really, really careful if you are conducting keyword research using Google metrics and you are trying to use those keywords on YouTube.

As a recap, the first thing is, don't rely on metrics alone. Metrics alone won't do the job. We have covered this quite clearly in this video, where you can see that metric data will always be different because Google doesn't provide the actual number of monthly searches for YouTube. Take advantage of the things that Google does provide us because auto-suggest and Google Trends are very accurate. 

And, it is also good to know that other tools can help you with keyword research, but this will never guarantee you more views. This is the underlying concept of creating video content on YouTube, is that the videos have to be great, and you have to make sure you are creating great content that people will want to watch and will want to click through on. This obviously varies in terms of other things that keyword research can't really do for you, such as the funnels you use in your videos and how they can influence the click-through rate.

I hope you enjoyed this video. My name is Itamar Blauer. Feel free to follow me on platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn. We will see you in the next one.

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Itamar BlauerItamar Blauer is an SEO and video marketing consultant based in London. He has a proven track-record of increasing rankings with SEO that is UX focused, data-backed and creative.
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