Content Marketing
3 min

YouTube Marketing: 5 Free Keyword Research Tools You Should Be Using


YouTube is a powerful platform for digital marketers. It allows companies to amplify their brand image and industry expertise in creative ways to a worldwide audience. In 2016, the video-sharing giant boasted more than one billion monthly active users consuming 46,000 years worth of content.

Great YouTube channels don’t become great by chance. They become great through meticulous strategy, planning, and development of content – video after video. The best YouTube marketers understand that people watch videos to learn something or be entertained, and that identifying target audiences must be done before picking up the camera.

Quick Tip: Answering these questions can set you on the right track for YouTube content strategy:

  • Who am I trying to target? (This should be same type of person you want buying your products.)
  • What do they want to do/what do they care about?
  • Would they want to consume this information here? (YouTube works well for tutorials, education on a specific topic, and product reviews.)

YouTube marketers also understand that YouTube searches – and therefore keyword research – looks different than on other search engines. For instance, Google’s top results for the term “cats” are predominantly informational articles about cats. Compare this to YouTube, which highlights funny cat video compilations. Different platforms cater to different user intents.

There are many free keyword research tools specially tailored for YouTube. Check out my list of my top 5 favorites, below!

YouTube Analytics

All YouTube account holders have access to YouTube Analytics, a tool within the site that shows what keywords a channel’s videos are already ranking for. It is great for identifying opportunities to further optimize video content! To see this list of keywords, visit YouTube Analytics > Traffic Sources > YouTube Search.

YouTube analytics traffic sources screenshot

YouTube Suggest

YouTube Suggest is a tool within the website that offers a list of autocomplete suggestions based on what’s currently trending. Phrasing targeted keywords to match popular searches is one of many great tactics to get your video found more easily.

Quick Tip: Put “_” before your keyword and YouTube will show you suggestions that include terms before your keyword.

YouTube keyword search

Google Suggest

Google SERPs have a bar at the top that allows you to filter results based on the type of content you’re looking for. Click the “Videos” results option to have Google Suggest only look at trending video terms.

Google SERPS keyword video search screenshot

Google Trends

Google Trends tracks and compares searchers’ interest in keywords over time. It can be filtered by location, time frame, and type of search – with YouTube as an available option.

google trends keyword screenshot

Emulate Successful Competitors

If your competitors are already active on YouTube, it’s worth checking out some of their video titles, tags, descriptions, and even content strategy to see what types of keywords perform well (or which ones don’t!) This can be done by viewing the page source on one of their videos.

Quick Tip: There are also numerous free browser extensions that allow you to spy on competitors’ YouTube tags with ease. My favorite is Social Blade on Chrome!

competitor metadata keyword screenshot

Bonus: Google Display Planner (Free for Adwords Users)

In September of 2014, YouTube eliminated its on-site keyword research tool in favor of Google’s Display Planner. Make sure to filter formats to only video!

google adwords display planner screenshot

How does your company optimize for YouTube? Let us know in the comments section! Want more tips on optimizing your YouTube channel? Browse similar Wpromote posts here.

Analytics Content Marketing SEO Tools YouTube


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