One tool YouTube gives creators is the Keyword Suggestion Tool. This "keyword research" tool allows you to enter a basic phrase as to what your video is about, and then it gives you a list of possible keywords and phrases that you can attribute to the video. Once it lists the results, it also shows you a "Monthly Search Volume" for each entry, giving you an idea of how often certain words and phrases are entered into search. Then you can choose to add any of the suggestions to a list. But, the Keyword Suggestion Tool is not what it could be. It offers laughable keywords and doesn't give you an idea of how you can ultimately stand out.
YouTube Keyword Suggestion Tool Needs Fine Tuning
In an effort to be comprehensive, the Keyword Suggestion Tool often spits out a ton of unrelated keywords and phrases. In the middle of all that are a bunch of terms that might actually describe your video better, but when you type in "movie reviews" and get Taylor Swift as a result, and you see that Taylor Swift gets searched over 6 million times, that can be confusing. Is it saying that you should put Taylor Swift as a keyword in your movie review video?
Here's an example. I put in "Transformers movie reviews" and got this result:
This is just a few of them. Note at the top, it says these terms are "sorted by relevance." Somehow, "annoying orange" and "pokemon the abridged," and my personal favorite, "jenna jameson" are very high in relevance when it comes to Transformers movie reviews.
Here's another amusing example from their suggestions for "How to bake a cake."
My only guess is that with so much video, with so many different people putting in keywords, YouTube gets a bit confused. For the first example, does that mean that somewhere there's a video involving Justin Bieber and Transformers somewhere? Well, I did some searching, and yes, I found a video involving Transformers and Justin Bieber. I'm not embedding that video anytime soon, but it's easy to see where YouTube makes a connection, because that video is keyword-stuffed with a number of relevant, but mostly irrelevant, search terms.
You can write a ton of descriptive keywords in the box and the results start becoming more relevant, but I thought the whole point of a keyword suggestion tool is to eliminate some of the work involved in coming up with keywords on your own.
YouTube Needs To Fix This
Of course, just add it to the list, right?
It seems to me like you should be able to type in a video description exactly like the actual description for the video, and then YouTube derives search terms from that description, and doesn't make any weird connections from whatever it's drawing its connections from. It picks keywords from your description and then gives you a list of phrases and keywords that are highly searched.
It could also give a number of fields that help separate the specific terms with the broad terms. Like it could have a "hosts" field or an "actors in the video" field. Brands could have a field for their own, with product names and product descriptions.
Then it could take all these specific and broad terms and order all the keywords by relevance, suggesting how a video, using your description, can be found easier through search. Much like how password strength evaluators decide whether your password is too easy or too hard to guess, a keyword suggestion tool should be able to find the best possible combination of keywords that make your video easier to find. The suggestion tool as is gives way too many strange, unrelated results, so it should just go by what you enter.
With YouTube stressing relevant metadata, this is not practicing what they preach. It's way too easy for people to think that an unrelated, but highly-searched term is OK to associate with their videos when using this tool.
Keyword Research Suggestions That do Help
While YouTube's Keyword Research Tool kinda stinks, YouTube itself is still a great place to do keyword research for video. Being that YouTube searches are entirely for video content, using YouTube's own search can help to get an idea of what folks are searching for when specifically looking for video content, whether it's intended for YouTube or not.
If you go to youtube's search box, it’s easy to unearth related search queries being used to find video content.
When you then filter your search, you see even more suggestions under "Explore"
Google’s keyword suggestions within the search box and at the bottom of SERPS can also be useful when trying to get a more broad idea of what people are looking for within Google (regardless of whether looking specifically for a video). You can also do this within Google Videos Search and you'll get slightly different suggestions.
There are also plenty of third-party, free and paid keyword research tools available:
- SEObook.com's Keyword Tool. This is a free tool, and works very well, though you'll need to register a free account first.
- Raven SEO Tools. This one is on a paid subscription model, but they do have a 30-day trial.
- Wordtracker. Wordtracker is one of the oldest keyword tools out there, and a lot of SEO.
- And many others
Lastly - here's a couple articles from us regarding some ideas for keyword research that may help.
- Video Keyword Research - SEO Basics for Video and Beyond – Part I
- Keyword Optimization for Video: 4 Great Tips to Maximize SEO Benefit
- How To Build A YouTube Audience With Keyword Tools - Reel Video Producer Tips #13
Question: What strategies, tactics, and tools do you use for Keyword Research for Video?