How to Find YouTube Search Trends

Brian Dean

Nov 18, 20216 min read
Man climbing a building reaching for the YouTube icon

Maintaining a YouTube prescense is a great way to bring attention to your brand and get leads. However, growing a YouTube channel isn’t a walk in the park.

When you run a small channel, you’re competing against established brands and creators with large communities. So, how do you claim your share of the leads and sales that 84% of video marketers say video generates? 

Hop on YouTube search trends.

Video creators use trending topics on YouTube to inform their video content strategy, produce engaging videos that go viral, and republish failed videos. 

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • Why you should use YouTube search trends to generate video ideas
  • How to find YouTube trends 
  • The difference between Google Trends for YouTube and YouTube trending videos
  • How to choose the right YouTube search trends to target

According to a 2021 Wyzowl survey, people spend 18 hours a week on average watching videos online. Since YouTube is the second most visited website globally (next only to Google), it’s safe to assume that the bulk of that time is spent on YouTube.

This is why it's beneficial to know what topics are trending.

YouTube search trends provide two kinds of topic ideas:

  1. Proven topic ideas people are interested in
  2. Breakout topics with less competition but solid interest

Videos based around these ideas are more likely to take off in YouTube discovery channels like “Browse features” and “Suggested videos” while you wait for them to rank. 

Also, trending videos have better chances of performing well. I caught up with YouTuber Kelechi Mgbemena who went viral in March 2020 when she created a video based on a trend she noticed in her feed. 

I watched the original video a while ago. So, when I saw that the 'recreation' trend was gaining views, I decided to give it a try.

Kelechi Mgbemena

YouTube analytics from trending video

Another benefit of creating trending videos is that other videos on your channel gain traction when YouTube suggests them to people who watched your trend-based video. For example, look at the number of views for some of Kelechi’s videos in 2020.

results after hopping on a youtube trend

Kelechi may have lucked out with her chance discovery of the power of YouTube trends, but creators shouldn’t always bet on luck. If you’re ready to leverage YouTube trends to grow your channel, these YouTube tools will help you get the best results.

YouTube curates a list of viral videos on a page called "Trending.” These videos typically cover topics that appeal to different demographics.

Topics range from videos about music and movies to celebrities and world events and more. YouTube updates this list every 15 minutes to reflect the latest trends. 

Youtube trending videos feed

Unlike the home feed that features videos based on a user’s preference, the Trending page displays the same videos to everyone in the same country except India. Indian viewers get to see trends based on nine popular local languages. 

Trending videos are based on signals. According to Google, these signals include:

  • High view count
  • How fast views come in
  • Where views come from
  • Video age
  • Video performance compared to recent videos from the same channel

To find Trending videos on YouTube, click on the Explore tab in the sidebar, then select Trending.

how to find trending videos on youtube

You can also access the page directly from your browser. If you need to view trending videos for another country, change your location by clicking on your profile icon in the top right corner. You’ll notice your video recommendations will change as well.

Using Google Trends for YouTube shows you how popular a topic is relative to other topics on the web. Google Trends displays YouTube search popularity analysis for keywords and topics. However, the results are tailored to YouTube search queries instead of web search.

screenshot of Google Trends YouTube

In Google Trends, trend data is typically available within hours and even minutes. That’s because Google uses samples of searches instead of the entire search data to process and make Trends data available quickly. 

Here’s how Google Trends works:

  • Google divides each data point by the total searches in a geography and time range to benchmark popularity
  • Next, Google scales the numbers in a 0 to 100 range based on the topic’s relative popularity compared to other topics
  • For a search term that grew more than 5000% recently (a breakout search term), you’ll see the “Breakout” label assigned instead of a figure

The numbers you see on the Trends chart aren't actual search volume data. Instead, they represent the popularity of the hot topic. Hence, you need to validate Trend data with a keyword research tool like Semrush to ensure that the keyword has a viable search volume.

For example, low numbers like 10 imply low popularity, whereas 70-100 means the topic is popular.

To use Google Trends for YouTube, go directly to the YouTube trends page or filter search results by "YouTube Search" on the Google Trends dashboard.

Google Search Trends for YouTube

3. Rank Tracker for YouTube

Rank Tracker for YouTube is an app used to monitor the performance of your YouTube channel. You can also monitor competitor channels and gain insights to improve your YouTube SEO strategy. The tool displays the average ranking for each keyword you track as well as your overall keyword distribution.


The Rank Tracker for YouTube app, developed by Tubics, works a little differently than the tools in the Semrush toolkit. You’ll need to add a competitor to your tracking list for it to work. While other methods focus on general trending videos on YouTube, you get customized results for competitor insights.

Follow the prompts to complete the step. Next, add keywords manually from YouTube or Semrush.

importing youtube keywords to video rank tracker

The Rank Tracker for YouTube populates data from your channels, including the publish date and views. From here, you can see what videos perform well for your competitors in a short time and recreate similar videos for your channel.

4. Keyword Analytics For YouTube

YouTube does not publicly provide keyword data, which can make it difficult to optimize your video titles and descriptions.

However, with the Keyword Analytics for YouTube app, created by Iteora, you can uncover the most searched keywords on YouTube, enabling you to:

  • Find new keyword ideas
  • Focus your videos around specific phrases
  • Identify low-competition, high-value search terms
  • Research and understand relevant trends

As well as accessing the search volume (and competitive rates) of YouTube keywords, you can filter keywords by country, daily, weekly, or monthly data, see top videos related to keywords and identify the fastest-growing keywords.


5. Semrush Social Media Tracker

You can also keep tabs on how your channel — or your competitors’ channels — are faring with YouTube trends via the Social Media Tracker tool.

track youtube competitors

Add your competitors and navigate to the “YouTube” tab, where you can get insights on their videos, subscribers, engagement, and audience.

YouTube competitor analysis

From there, you can identify trends based on the performance of your or your competitors’ videos.

1. Consider Your Business Goals

Any traffic that does not support your business goal is vanity traffic. For example, you run a growth academy for entrepreneurs, and your goal is to generate leads through YouTube. While a video based on the current trending search "TikTok mashup 2021" will likely drive traffic, it won't generate qualified leads for you.

Google Trends data

If you focused on a video around American entrepreneur “Dhar Mann,” the topic could be "5 business lessons to learn from successful entrepreneur Dhar Mann". You could tie one of the lessons to your value proposition and direct users to visit your website or watch a relevant video. They continue their journey with your brand, and you’re one step closer to turning traffic into leads.

2. Verify the Trend’s Popularity and Growth Potential

Some trends are temporary with limited potential. You don't want to spend time creating a video with a short lifespan. Before creating video content, use Semrush to verify the search volume and growth potential of popular search terms from Google Trends or YouTube’s Trending page.

Head over to the Keyword Magic Tool and enter your trend keyword in the search box. You’ll see the search volume, the search trend trajectory, and search intent for the keyword. You can even tell if Google ranks videos on the web SERPs for the term.

YouTube trend popularity with Semrush

3. Prioritize by Channel Alignment

What works best for your brand? Pay attention to topic types and video formats you’re already ranking for and look out for trends that follow a similar format. You can quickly get this data with the Video Rank Tracker app. 

top ranking youtube keywords from video rank tracker

Concluding Thoughts

The return on investment for video marketing is huge. Besides sponsorships, course sales, and affiliate commissions, Kelechi earned over $20,000 from YouTube ads on the back of her trending video.

You can leverage YouTube trends to produce video content that’s not only successful in views but also successful in revenue. 

Set up a Google Trends alert to keep your eye on trends and make sure you filter results for YouTube-specific trends. And before you start filming, analyze your video idea with Semrush to ensure it’s viable.

Author Photo
Brian Dean is an internationally recognized SEO expert and entrepreneur. The Website he launched, is the foremost source for all things SEO and marketing news and advice. Feel free to get in touch with him on Twitter at @backlinko!