How to do Keyword Research on YouTube Step by Step

Just about anyone who makes YouTube videos wants them to get as many views as possible because simply put: More views = more money that they can make. But a key factor in how and if this happens correctly is keyword research and in YouTube’s case, it works a little bit differently than it does if you were doing it for say, search engines.

In this post, I’d like to show you a step by step approach to doing keyword research on YouTube so that you maximize it’s reach, get as many views as possible, and then monetize that video through numerous ways. I’ll also talk about certain keyword tools that can help you with this process as well.

Here is a summary of the step by step formula I use to do keyword research on YouTube:

how to find profitable keywords on youtube step by step 01

  1. Find a popular niche or trending subject.
  2. Research keywords from existing YouTube videos on the subject.
  3. Find 5-10 keywords on YouTube using the alphabet soup technique.
  4. Create the YouTube video, a good thumbnail (Include the keyword) and add a good title (Use the keyword).
  5. Publish the video, and move onto the next repeating the same above steps.

In a moment I’ll show you how this step by step system works in detail so you can apply it as well, but for the most part, my whole approach to keyword research on Google comes down to this:

Find popular subjects, make videos on them and keep reapplying the same methods.

3 reasons why this approach to keyword research on YouTube works:

1) Finding popular subjects almost ensures that I will get a lot of views to my YouTube videos. Popular subjects are LOADED with profitable and popular keywords I can use.

2) Researching if other videos are being made and if they get views gives me a preview on IF the keyword is profitable.

3) And then from there, it’s all about making a good thumbnail, targeting the keyword but making a good title for the video so people see it, click, view it and get me the profits from it.

The only thing is, when you first start applying these techniques, you probably won’t see the results very quickly and it will be important to keep making videos and improving your skills, because keyword research is only 1 part of making good, viewable YouTube videos.

The confidence you get from repetition in making videos, as well as creating good YouTube thumbnails is just as important for your videos as is the keyword research.

If you’re going to do keyword research on YouTube (don’t make this mistake):

For starters, just because you find a good, profitable keyword, doesn’t mean you’ll use it correctly and that can screw up your whole success. I made this mistake when I began, and so do 99% of people.

Here’s the most common mistake people make with keyword research on YouTube:

If you find a popular keyword like “how to do affiliate marketing”, make a YouTube video on it which literally says that in the title and even the thumbnail, good luck even getting 100 views on that video (it won’t).

“But wait Vitaliy, you handsome man (you might say), isn’t the fact that I have a good keyword enough to get the success?” Not at all!

This is because keyword research and keyword application are 2 different things meaning that finding a good keyword isn’t enough. You also need to make a:

  • Good video.
  • A good title (with the keyword in it, and not just the keyword itself).
  • And a great thumbnail if you have ANY hopes of that video getting a good amount of views.

So in short, what I’m showing you in this step by step guide goes beyond just regular old keyword research. That kind of old school stuff is something you can still get away with if you do things like pay per click marketing, but not YouTube and certainly not other stuff like blogging these days.

Keyword research is only 1 step of the process, but it’s not the end all, and that applies to ANY area of online marketing, including YouTube.

Let’s get into the details of every step I follow when I do keyword research for my YouTube videos. We’ll begin with the first one:

1) Find a popular niche or trending subject:

If you’re reading this right now, you’re in one of two circumstances:

1) You have not yet created a YouTube video or even started a channel because you don’t know what to make it on.

2) You have a channel and you make videos but they get hardly any views.

If you’re in position one, then here’s how to apply the first step:

Make a list of niches you’re passionate about, and then see which of the niches on that list correlate with popular subjects that people look for online. For example, I love affiliate marketing, nature traveling and drones. I know that these 3 subjects are popular to make videos on by simply browsing YouTube, so that’s how I determine where to start.

In my case, I’ll use affiliate marketing because that’s my niche that I know and love (about me). I also make good money with it so I can show that to my YouTube viewers and get attention, subscribers and sales (see my affiliate income reports).

The point is, I chose this niche because I know about it and have results with it. Choose yours based on the same criteria.

If you’re in position two, then here’s how to apply the first step:

Adjust your YouTube channel and determine it’s niche using the same exact idea, and from there move forward with making videos on the popular niche subject.

By choosing this correctly, you are setting up your channel, your future videos and your YouTube channel for success and making the keyword selection part far easier, because no matter which keywords you find, they will always be based off a popular niche topic, and that always gets views and searches.

2) Research keywords from existing YouTube videos on the subject:

This stage of keyword research is a form of reinforcing if you made the right choice. What you’re going to do is literally type in your own keywords on whatever niche you chose into YouTube’s search and see what comes up. With the way it’s algorithm works, you’ll see the most popular videos on the subject immediately.

Look at the videos and see if they get over 10,000 views and how long ago they were made. Any video with 10,000+ views which is under a year old has incredible potential and if you see multiple videos like these, you’ve got yourself a potentially profitable niche with tons of good keywords to use.

For example:

finding profitable keywords on youtube example

Take a look at 5-10 videos, see which keywords they are using in the titles and the kinds of thumbnails they have and record them.

You are going to be using these ideas for your own videos when the time comes. You’re not going to be copying anything, you’re only going to be selecting which videos get the most views, so you can make similar ones yourself, which would give you good odds of doing the same thing.

Again, in my case, I’m going to use affiliate marketing. The image on the above shows the videos I like, whose ideas I will use for my own.

3) Find more keywords on YouTube by using the alphabet soup technique (this is crazy effective):

keyword research on youtube example

This is such a simple, yet underutilized technique that it’s crazy. Basically what you’re going to do is type in the most obvious keyword related to your niche and see what YouTube’s search bar fills in for you.

For example, if I type in a popular niche keyword like “affiliate marketing”, this is what YouTube will show me:

Based on that search alone and using the suggestions, I found 7 keywords that I can make YouTube videos on!

Now, if I find some really good keywords from this, I’ll record it.

I’ll even look at the videos that come up for these suggestions, but specifically, for the alphabet soup technique, here’s what you’ll want to do:

Type in the keyword for your niche, but then follow the alphabet, from A-Z and see what results come up for each letter.

Start with just 1 letter, and then use 2 or more to get more specific results. So for example, here’s how you should start:

Type in your niche topic and then write the letter A next to it. Meaning:

If with my example, I type in “affiliate marketing a”, YouTube will show me this:

youtube keyword research alphabet soup 1

If I type in “affiliate marketing b”, YouTube will show me this:

So just now, I’ve found close to 20 keywords using this method and I just entered the letters A and B. Think of all the other keywords I could find if I keep going through the alphabet?

It really is crazy how easy it can be when you know what to look for and because I know this niche (as instructed in step 1), this makes it so much easier to make the videos when I’m ready!

And it’s based on these results, that I will select which keywords work best for me, based on how much I know about them and how quickly I can make videos on them.

With this step, YouTube keyword research is done for you! Here’s how:

Usually, the most popular keywords that people look up will pop up here and again, you can do follow up research by taking any one of the keywords you are suggested, doing a more thorough search and seeing which videos come up and the ones with the most views will be the ones you will want to chase yourself when the time comes to make your own videos.

And even the keywords that came up which I don’t know about, I can further research, learn more about them and have even more content ideas to create videos on in the future.

Note: You can and SHOULD research products in your niche too. That makes for TONS of extra keywords you can find. Using the alphabet soup technique and/or basic searches, I can find products in my niche and review them. A lot of my YouTube channel’s videos are actually product reviews I do and they get many views.

For example: I often do reviews on programs like Wealthy Affiliate on my YouTube channel and they get sales.

4) Create the YouTube video, and add the following:

  • A good title (with the keyword inside it).
  • A good thumbnail (preferable to use the keyword here too so people can see it).

Remember what I said about researching and applying keywords being different. This is where it really matters! When you take one of the keywords you found from previous steps and make your first video on it, don’t just make the title of the video (and thumbnail) say the keyword itself. Add MORE to it.

For example, this is what a boring, no click or view type YouTube video looks like, but has good keyword research behind it:

youtube thumbnail that uses keyword in it 05


Contrarily, here’s what a good YouTube video with proper keyword research, a good title and good thumbnail looks like:

youtube thumbnail with keyword example 02


Both videos target the same keyword, but one will do 1,000x better because it applies the keyword better and it’s the second video! Setting up the first one took me seconds, but investing a few extra minutes and doing the second made it look SO much better. And just in case you want to know how I did it, I simply used the website to set this up.

Which one do you think will get more views and looks? Other than this, aside from these necessary things, also include:

1) A good description in the video and a link to your product especially if you’re doing YouTube affiliate marketing.

2) When you have to add tags to your video, add one or more keywords related to the video content so it improves the chances of ranking and getting better views.

I cannot stress how important a NICE title and NICE thumbnail adds to the video’s success. If you include the keyword, that is totally fine, but make it look GOOD, whether in the title and thumbnail. It will make a HUGE difference in the number of views you get, trust me.

5) Publish the video, and move onto the next repeating the same above steps:

Remember, when you first start doing this stuff, you’ll likely have to go through your own learning curve, whether it be with:

Whatever the case is, don’t stop with just 1 video. Keep making more and improving your skills. My YouTube channel’s earlier videos were absolute garbage in production and if you go through my history, the more closer to the present you get, the more of an improvement you’ll see with everything and that has proportionally led to better results!

A note about keyword competition on YouTube (Don’t worry about it):

Keyword competition is something you may need to worry about when it comes to Google or other realms, but on YouTube, following this guide will really help propel your videos forward and possibly compete with even the most successful videos out there.

Just make sure to target keywords that have 3 or more words, because they have less competition overall. Don’t target some like “Affiliate marketing” only. Target keywords like “Affiliate marketing guide for beginners in 2022”.

It’s longer, but its more specific and specific keywords always have LESS competition to worry about.

What about keyword tools for YouTube? Do I recommend any?

There aren’t really any major tools I can recommend other than Tubebuddy which does a lot of things, including helping you find keywords.

However, aside from that, the good thing about this tutorial is that the research of seeing what kinds of views videos in the niche you chose get give you a preview of the type of views you can get as well.

As I said, if you see that videos in your niche are popular and get over 10,000 views, I don’t need a keyword tool to tell me that it’s popular, I already know and you will too when you use it, so just follow this guide, save yourself money on keyword tools and you’ll see results.

With the keyword research guide I’ve given you for YouTube, you will find TONS of keywords and that should inspire you to make as many videos as possible. The more you make, the more views and channel growth you’ll get, and subsequently, the more results and money you’ll earn from it as well.

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