How to Use Keywords in Youtube Videos

 YouTube is not just a social networking platform, but also the 2nd largest search engine on the Internet, with over 3 billion searches every month. YouTube video footage was uploaded every minute in 2019 — and that number has likely grown since then.

YouTube has 2 billion active monthly users who watch over 1 billion hours of video content every day. With that volume of content, thinking of each video as if it were an individual grain of sand on a beach gives a better sense of scale. Granules of sand on the beach cannot be located individually, searched for, organized or catalogued, so this analogy is not perfect. A YouTube video is a video.

However, that doesn't mean using a "build it and they will come" mentality is beneficial to marketers. Some creators and marketers who upload videos to YouTube believe that the most interesting videos are naturally selected by the algorithm and pushed to the front page, to be rewarded with millions of views based on a combination of timing, luck, and merit. YouTube is indeed the world's largest video library archive, but considering the sheer volume of content, it's quite useful to consider it as such. Being unique or loud enough to get noticed amongst the masses isn't the key to getting more views on YouTube videos. It is more important to tag your video content with lots of identifying information, so that viewers looking for similar videos will be able to find it in the catalogue.

YouTube is a search engine

YouTube is a search engine

Is this similar to the principles of SEO that people use to rank their websites in Google? Because that's what it is. As a video search engine, YouTube helps videos perform better by making them more searchable.

In this post, you'll learn how YouTube tags, catalogues, and recommends videos to its users, and how you can use those features to help you set up your video for success. Obviously, you must ensure you are generating more views for your videos as part of your strategy. YouTube is a convenient spot to embed videos for many people, and attracting viewers on YouTube isn't their top priority. Using the platform in that way is perfectly legal. This session will focus on the steps you need to take to optimize video for new viewers in order to broaden your audience and attract new viewers.

Plan for the audience you want, then work backwards

Start by making it easy for those already interested to find you on YouTube if you want to increase the views on your videos. When you know who those people are, and why they would want to see what you post, you can do that effectively. You can work your way backward from there to tag your video as likely to be relevant to them.

You don't have to build an audience on YouTube or other mega-networks, so you can post to them. As a result, relying on viewers to find your stuff by chance might not get you many views and very little return on investment because there is so much video content available. You need to proactively plan your content and posts around the specific people you want to see it and the marketing outcomes you want to achieve if you want your video content to be worth the effort and cost of producing.

A refresher on YouTube analytics

A refresher on YouTube analytics

Defining the KPIs we use to measure the effectiveness of our videos is important before we explore YouTube keywords in greater depth. Simply put, these numbers tell you whether or not your plans for video marketing are working. The following are among them:

Watch time: 

The number of minutes spent watching your content is measured by this KPI. In the recommendations and search results, YouTube gives preference to content and channels with longer watch times. Your viewers may become bored if your video lasts too long, or your video might be too long to hold their attention.

Retention rate:

It shows how many people are willing to remain for the entire video in comparison to how many leave before it ends. Video retention rates are a metric YouTube uses to determine which videos are more likely to be relevant and recommend to viewers.


Engagement is defined as the actions viewers take beyond watching a video, such as commenting, liking, sharing, subscribing, or bookmarking. Marketing metrics that measure engagement are often the most important, because engagement shows how many people are interested enough to take further action. Viewers' comments provide an insightful look at how your content impacted them. The number of shares is a crucial indicator of the value viewers place on your video and your brand. As well as helping you evaluate what content worked and did not work, Likes and Dislikes are also indicators to YouTube of what content is likely to be high quality when recommending videos in users' feeds.

youtube analytics


Whenever you see a results page or a link, it will include a thumbnail of your video. A sneak peek gives the viewer an idea of what you're sharing, so they can decide if they want to watch it. You can make a thumbnail that is thoughtfully crafted to increase the likelihood of viewers choosing to click on your video and watch it.

Title keywords: 

YouTube understands what is in your video by the keywords in its title, and this helps people find your video when they search similarly-worded terms.


The number of times your viewers re-watch particular segments of your video is measured by this metric. You may have interested viewers if there is a high re-watch rate on your content. They might want to learn more about what you're covering. Strategic planning and content planning are possible with this information.


These statistics show which types of viewers are watching your content, segmented by gender, age, and geography.

Understanding what YouTube metrics are meant to measure is crucial. In order to keep these important statistics from going down the drain, as we'll discuss below, we recommend you implement some basic best practices. In any case, you should keep your eye on the big picture, rather than simply chasing numbers. The use of good metrics is to measure progress, not set them as goals in themselves.

How Google ranks YouTube videos

People who are not logged in to YouTube can still view YouTube videos. YouTube videos are also heavily influenced by Google. Your video's content must be understood by Google in order for it to appear in search results. The following are the ways in which Google ranks YouTube content:

  • Crawling the video and extracting a preview and thumbnail to show the user
  • Extracting meta tags and page texts from your video descriptions to tell the user more about the video’s content
  • Analyzing the video sitemap or structured data to determine relevance
  • Extracting audio to identify more keywords

You can also pull keywords from the audio portion of your video as well as the description and tags attached to your video. This is why using the right keywords in the script of your video will increase its ranking on Google.

Choosing keywords is about relevance, not volume

In this case, one might ask what are the "right" keywords? Would it be more appropriate to ask: what makes a keyword right? We'll return to the “YouTube is like an enormous library archive” analogy at the end of this paragraph. Getting noticed and making noise would be the main factors for finding the right keywords to attract the most viewers. YouTube, however, is a too saturated platform to rely on viral marketing. For ranking purposes, search engines do not assess videos according to their "best" and "worst" qualities. (Search engines don't really think at all; that's a discussion for another day.) Search engines are designed to identify "what video is appropriate for this particular viewer, in this particular situation?"That's not a question of popularity or volume. Relevance is the key.

A marketing goal that aims for the most viewers no matter who they are is rarely going to be an effective one. The majority of campaigns benefit more from a smaller group of highly engaged fans than millions of lukewarm passive viewers. Your content will likely be high volume and low engagement if you spend all your effort optimizing for Google's bots. In order to build a meaningful fan base, you need to create content for the people watching it, not just the search engines.

Defining your audience and their needs

To know what to say to your YouTube audience, you must know who you are trying to reach. You will be able to make your SEO optimization process more precise and goal-directed by first determining who your target audience is.

Defining your audience and their needs

You can identify and define your target audience by analyzing the reasons behind their video searches. Among the most common motivations are:

I want to know: 

The user is looking for more information on a specific topic they've selected. You may want to consider making tutorials, how-to videos, and explainer videos for them.

I want to do: 

It is likely that the viewer already has an action in mind, such as planning a trip or exploring a new hobby. Depending on their motivation, they may watch aspirational or proactive videos, such as travel guides for actionable tips or vlogs for inspiration.

I want to buy: 

A potential viewer is looking for information related to a product they want to purchase, including reviews and comparisons. Video reviews by influencers, product demos, or unboxing videos might attract them.

To determine which keywords can help guide viewers to your YouTube videos, you need to understand your audience, their pain points, and their purchase drivers. Our strategy often begins with the intent of the viewer and works from there. Keywords are the language viewers use to tell search engines what they are looking for. Describe for yourself what a viewer would like to see in your video with a few words or phrases. Think about both the featured topic (like “dogs” or “makeup” or “golf swing”) and format/genre (like “tutorial” or “vlog” or “Let’s Play” or “reacts”). List the relevant verbs, like “buy”, “play”, “learn”, “explain”, “explore”. By building out a word cloud like this, you’ll have a starting point for your keyword research.

Begin your keyword research with an autocomplete tool or competitor browsing

Using a keyword tool (such as Moz's free Keyword Explorer) or using Google and YouTube's search feature is the quickest way to start your keyword research. You can learn a lot about what your audience is searching for online, what they're interested in, and which words or phrases they use when discussing it online by clicking on some of the search terms they are likely to make.

In the search box, type one of your possible keywords. During typing, YouTube will suggest related popular searches - this is an autocomplete feature. You can also try this exercise by using the Ubersuggest tool, which will display the alphabetical answer to the next word in your search phrase.

Gauging YouTube keyword search volume

Furthermore, it is good to know what keywords your customers are searching for most frequently. You can compare potential keyword options in your list using the “YouTube search” function in Google Trends to see which terms rank higher and are more popular. If a particular word or phrase is searched for a lot, there often is greater competition for ranking.

You can also keep an eye on the keywords your competitors are using so you can compare them with the keywords on your list. Utilize "Most Popular" to sort through content on channels with a few thousand subscribers. Take note of the keywords used in the title, tags, and description of the video with the most views. By finding keywords with high competition, or suggesting gaps where content could provide value, you can see where your market is saturated.

Attaching keywords to your videos

You now need to start using your list of high-value keywords. When posting your first YouTube video, you can incorporate keywords in the following places:

youtube keywords moz

Video file name: 

Before you even upload the video, SEO optimization begins. Video file names should contain keywords prominently.

Video title: 

Titles should be concise and punchy. Consider what you would want to click on. You shouldn't use video titles more than 70 characters long, because they'll be trimmed off on search engine results pages. As much as you can, place the keyword near the beginning of the title.


The video description of many content creators only contains a few sentences. Your description should contain as many words as possible. Use the maximum of 5,000 characters in the description of your video on YouTube. Incorporate strategically placed keywords, information about the video, and appeal to the reader.


Additionally, videos can include keyword-rich transcripts, or captions, because the platform's ranking algorithm uses this additional text.


When tagging your video, you should be specific about the most relevant keywords, the brand/channel name, and the more specific keywords. All tags should be under 127 characters. If the topics covered are pertinent and concise, then the more the merrier. YouTube dislikes bait-and-switch videos, so irrelevant tags will indicate that your video doesn't fit any particular topic.

Try audio keywords to get more traction

By speaking the keywords throughout the video you can include more keywords. Using audio keywords allows Google and YouTube to understand what you are saying because they don't need a transcript to do so. Keep your viewer retention rate high by always including your keywords in the first two sentences you speak in the video.

know more: 7 Best New Movies to Watch on Peacock in July 2021

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