In most cases, the most visible part of the video search listing is the video thumbnail. But it's not the only element that can make your video more prominent in the search results. When I search YouTube, I usually pay more attention to the title, for relevance, and also to the description. The title and description play an important part in both the YouTube search and "related videos" algorithms, and the more relevant and optimized they are, the more chances your videos have of being visible to your target audience.
YouTube videos rank well in Google's Universal Search results as well - especially for "how-to" queries where users are likely to be interested in video instructions. Clear, relevant, optimized video titles and descriptions will stand out to the user, enticing them to click through and watch your content. Take the example below, the key term searched for was 'how to play piano', and the results returned highlighted that phrase in bold, allowing me to quickly skim through results to pick the one with a more eye-catching and relevant description:
Therefore, performing some basic keyword, and also competitor research, may boost your video views and channel visibility. Here are 5 Keyword, Trend Research, and SEO tools and techniques that will come in very handy for video SEO, YouTube marketing, and beyond:
#1 YouTube Search Filters: Understand What's Already Working
Whenever you are creating anything, searching to see what others have done before you should become part of your routine. I search YouTube several times in the video creation process. For example, when I am brainstorming topics, when I want to see how creators design their video thumbnails, when I want to see how competitors name their videos, etc.
There are lots of YouTube search filters to play with. I usually check "Sort by upload date" to see most recent videos. Sorting by rating is another very useful option because it gives me more insight into what people seem to react to more positively. I may also play with searching for channels and playlists to find more competitors. There's also a way to search for longer videos which I try when I am into how-to content:
#2 YouTube Search Auto-Suggest: Long Tail Key Phrases
Using more specific key phrases is a good way to get ranked for less competitive phrases and thus drive natural highly-targeted traffic to your video. That's where looking at YouTube Auto-complete (Auto-Suggest) results can help a lot. Start typing your search term in the search field at YouTube and you'll see most popular search terms people typed for that word. It's an awesome resource of keyword information because it shows you what people tend to search for.
The keyword suggest tool from SEOChat will also give you even more insight: It queries YouTube for your base term and then adds each letter of the alphabet after it to retrieve more results. It also supports Google, Bing and Amazon for you to get even more keyword suggestions:
3. SerpStats: Discover Questions You Can Answer
SerpStats is a keyword tool that is also based on Google Suggest but it works a bit differently. Letting it research a phrase is not as effective as giving it one base word and let it generate more loose suggestions. My favorite tab to go through the multiple key phrases is "Only questions". The tool uses a separate algorithm that let's it find and filter out interrogative questions people tend to type into the search box. This is a very useful insight into how people tend to phrase the question that may be answered in your video. That's also a great inspiration source for your future videos.
#4 Google Plus /Explore: Research Related Concepts and Trends
/Explore is one of my favorite Google Plus features, along with Google Hangouts on Air. It's the most up-to-date source of keyword inspiration giving you a better understanding of:
- Your base term related concepts: This allows you to expand your keyword research and make your video information richer
- Slang and user-generated hashtags that usually neighbor your base term.
- Relevant hot trends: Time-sensitive phrases that tend to currently come in close proximity with your base term
The third point is priceless! If there's a way to target time-sensitive terms in your video title and/or description, you'll have much more chances to be searched for and found.
In many cases, a very specific trending hashtag used in the video title will help it get more exposure in social media, especially Twitter, because YouTube video title makes it to most tweets.
I did a more detailed piece on how to use /Explore section and Google Plus hashtags to become a more efficient content marketer in this post.
#5 Cyfe: Create a Content Monitoring & Archiving Dashboard
Cyfe is my ultimate productivity and content marketing dashboard. I am using it to monitor and archive multiple search results from multiple sources on one page. My YouTube keyword research dashboard contains:
- Twitter search results referencing YouTube videos with my key term included
- Google Plus search results referencing Youtube videos with my key term included
- Different variations of the above using most relevant hashtags
I check the Cyfe dashboard every time I am thinking of future videos to create, as well as before publishing a video on YouTube to get some related context inspiration.
SEO Basics: How to Optimize Your YouTube Video
Here are some resources to better understand how to implement keyword data from the above tools:
- Listen to the podcast: How to Optimize YouTube Tags and Descriptions as well as this guide on optimizing video titles
- First Site Guide provides some basic, yet solid info on understanding and using keywords
- Apart from optimizing videos, don't forget that you can optimize your channel and playlist
Which tools are you using for YouTube keyword research? Please share them in the comments!