YouTube Keyword Research Tool: Free Search Volume (for SEO)
Doing effective YouTube keyword research can be confusing. You know how important it is to choose the right keywords for SEO (search engine optimization)—but how can you find reliable search volume data for your YouTube videos? My YouTube keyword research tool makes it quick to find keywords with popular search terms—meaning you can easily plan a video that’ll do well in YouTube search algorithms.
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Boost Your Video’s Visibility With the YouTube Keyword Research Tool
Before I go through exactly how to use this free search volume tool, let’s get clear about some key terms.
If you’ve already got a blog or website, you’ve probably come across the idea of keyword research.
For a blog or any kind of website, keyword research means finding a phrase that people in your target audience are typing into Google and then writing content based on that phrase. For instance, here on RyRob, I’ve written posts based on popular keywords in the blogging niche, like how to start a blog and how to make money blogging.
When it comes to YouTube, keyword research is a little different. While some of your viewers will come to your YouTube posts after searching for a topic on Google, many will be using YouTube itself as their search engine.
My YouTube keyword research tool shows you the YouTube (not Google) search volumes for different keywords. That means it’s showing you how many people, on average, are searching for those specific keywords on YouTube.
Here’s an example of the YouTube search results for the keyword “how to train for a marathon”:
What is a YouTube Keyword Research Tool?
As you can probably tell from the name, a YouTube Keyword Research Tool is designed to help you do YouTube keyword research. It lets you enter a starting (or seed) keyword and then gives you a range of different keywords related to that, along with their keyword volume and difficulty rating.
Again, it’s important to remember that YouTube keywords are not the same as Google keywords. Some search queries are much more popular on YouTube than on Google—and vice versa.
For instance, my regular keyword research tool shows that the keyword “tying friendship bracelets” gets 720 monthly searches on Google.
Using the YouTube keyword research tool, you’ll see that the very same keyword gets 1,600 monthly searches on YouTube. That’s over twice as many.
On the other hand, “freelance writing jobs” gets 27,000 monthly searches on Google … and just 1,400 monthly searches on YouTube.
This is why it’s so vital that you use a dedicated YouTube keyword research tool. The topics that people search for on YouTube are often very different from the ones they search for on Google.
Good YouTube keyword tools, like mine, will show you:
- Estimated Monthly Search Volume: You need to know this figure so you can tell how popular a keyword is … and whether it’s worth pursuing. If a keyword only gets 10 monthly searches on YouTube, it’s probably not worth bothering with.
- Keyword Difficulty: Good keyword research tools will help you judge whether or not you can successfully rank for a keyword. On YouTube, you really want your video to come in the top 3 for that keyword, otherwise searchers will need to scroll down to see your video.
How to Use the YouTube Keyword Research Tool to Come Up With Keywords for Your YouTube Videos
Ready to get started with the YouTube keyword research tool, so your videos can rank higher and get way more views, likes, and comments? Here’s how to use the tool, step by step.
Step 1. Get a List of the Best, Most Relevant Keywords to Create Videos About
Your starting point is to create a list of relevant keywords for your channel. That means choosing a fairly broad topic and entering that as your starting (seed) keyword. Then, you can get a list of keywords.
For instance, if your channel is all about saving money, you can use that as your starting keyword. Type it into the box, hit “Go”, and you’ll get a whole list of keywords:
Step 2. Find Medium Search Volume and Low Competition Keyword Opportunities
Ideally, you want to look for long-tail keywords that fall into the “sweet spot” of medium search volume (1,000—5,000 monthly searches) and low difficulty.
You may need to scroll down the list, or pick a keyword to use as a new seed keyword, to find several different keywords that fit those criteria.
Here are a few possibilities for the “saving money” topic:
- Living below your means: Volume 2.8k, difficulty low.
- Frugal lifestyle: Volume 2.6k, difficulty low.
- Old fashioned frugal living tips: Volume 2.5k, difficulty low.
- Habits of frugal people: volume 1.9k, difficulty low.
- Stop spending so much: Volume 1.8k, difficulty low.
- Mind tricks to spend less: volume 1.7k, difficulty low.
Keep in mind you’ll want to make sure to map out your keyword cluster and approach these topics strategically—but these are all really solid opportunities to crack YouTube’s search algorithm and rank high for meaningful topics.
Step 3. Evaluate the Keyword Opportunities You’ve Got
Just because you’ve found a medium volume, low difficulty keyword, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right one for you. You need to evaluate your list to see what topics will be a good fit for your brand and your audience.
For instance, if you write for a young, tech-savvy audience who love tips about saving money on gadgets and who are trying to cut their discretionary spending, then “old fashioned frugal living tips” may not be a good fit. Keyword ideas like “stop spending so much” might be a much better option.
Step 4. (Optional) Pick from Your List of Ideas and Run the Tool Again
If you started with a very broad keyword search, you may want to narrow down your results by picking one idea from your list and running the tool again.
Here’s an example. The keyword “full body workout” has a whopping 633,600 monthly YouTube searches:
You might want to pick one of the slightly less competitive ideas from further down the list, like “no equipment workout” (9,900 monthly searches) or “workout of the day” (1,800 monthly searches), and use that as your next seed keyword.
The YouTube keyword research tool is completely free. You can use it as many times as you want, with no usage limits, so feel free to try lots of different keywords.
Bonus: Use My Free YouTube SEO Checklist Alongside This Keyword Research Tool
Want to get the best possible results from your YouTube channel? Here’s my personal YouTube SEO checklist to help you with your video SEO.
- Always carry out keyword research before filming and finalizing your video
- Before uploading your video to YouTube, rename the video file so it includes your primary keyword
- Use your primary keyword in the video title
- Use your primary keyword, plus any secondary keywords, in the video description
- Don’t forget the video tags: use relevant keywords in these
- Use the Advanced option to select the most relevant category, when uploading your video
- Include a custom thumbnail for your video
- Add cards and an endscreen to your video (improves engagement)
- Add subtitles and closed captions to your video if possible (using an SRT file)
- Include hashtags in your description (stick to 2–3)
- Group your videos into playlists once you have a number of videos
- Add timestamps that also include keywords (helpful for both viewers and the YouTube algorithm)
Now, let’s talk about the features of my free YouTube keyword tool.
The Features of This Free YouTube Keyword Research Tool
Hopefully, you’ve already given the YouTube keyword tool a try and you’ve seen how easy it is to use. Maybe you’re curious about some of its key features, though. Here’s everything you need to know.
Starting Keyword or Phrase
The YouTube keyword research tool can’t give you a list of keywords out of thin air. It needs a starting point.
Your starting keyword or phrase can be anything at all related to your channel. It could be a very broad topic (like “blogging” or “fitness” or “parenting”) or something much more specific (like “best WordPress plugins” or “HIIT workouts” or “how to get your toddler to sleep”).
If you’re looking for big-picture inspiration to help you come up with great video ideas for your channel, use a broad topic as your starting keyword or phrase. You’ll get a wide variety of results.
If you’ve already created a video and you’re deciding what best to title it, use your working title or a few words to describe the video’s content as your starting keyword or phrase. You’ll get much more specific, on-target results.
YouTube Keyword Volume
One absolutely crucial piece of information the YouTube keyword research tool gives you is the keyword volume. By default, this shows the monthly volume of YouTube searches for that keyword (primarily in the US).
For volumes over 1,000, the tool shortens the figure. So 2,300 is shown as 2.3k, 67,900 is shown as 67.9k, and so on.
There’s no “good” or “bad” volume. Here’s how I define different volume levels:
- Low Search Volume: 0 to 1,000 monthly searches
- Medium Search Volume: 1,000 to 5,000 monthly searches
- High Search Volume: 5,000 to 10,000 monthly searches
- Very High Search Volume: 10,000+ monthly searches
For beginner YouTubers, I recommend aiming to rank for keywords with a medium volume — this should be achievable if you follow the YouTube SEO checklist above.
If you’re already ranking well for medium search volume keywords, then go for some high volume keywords too.
What about low search volume keywords? They could be worth tackling if they’re highly relevant to your niche and audience. In general, they’ll make better secondary than primary keywords (so you can use them in your description, tags, etc, and hopefully pick up some of that traffic too).
YouTube Keyword Difficulty
The YouTube keyword research tool gives every single keyword suggestion a difficulty rating: low, medium, or high. This difficulty is based on the amount of competition that already exists for that keyword. Essentially, it’s a measure of how hard it will be to rank for the keyword.
To start with, I recommend you tackle keywords with a low difficulty level. There’s nothing more disheartening than pouring a huge amount of time and effort into ranking for a keyword, only to find that the competition is so fierce, that you’ve got no chance of ranking for it.
If you find that you’re successfully ranking for low difficulty keywords, move on to the medium difficulty ones.
YouTube Keyword Research FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Got questions about YouTube keyword research? Even if you’re an experienced YouTuber, or you’ve done plenty of keyword optimization for your blog, it’s normal to have some questions. Hopefully, you’ll find the answer here.
Do keywords matter on YouTube?
Yes, keywords matter on YouTube. You might think that it’s more important to spend your time writing new video scripts or recording new tutorials instead of doing keyword research … but the truth is that spending just a few minutes on keyword research could make a massive difference to how many views your video gets.
You can’t “game” the system by stuffing irrelevant keywords into your description and tags: YouTube is wise to those tricks. But you absolutely can improve your video’s ranking by using relevant keywords in the right places, helping YouTube’s algorithm to understand what your video is all about.
How do I choose the right keywords for my YouTube video?
Choosing the right keywords for your YouTube video means:
- Using a good, accurate YouTube keyword research tool (not a regular keyword research tool, which will give you the volume for Google search).
- Picking keywords with medium volume where possible. Any higher, and you might struggle to rank; any lower, and there just aren’t many people searching for that keyword on YouTube.
- Selecting keywords that fit your channel’s brand and audience. Even if a keyword hits that “sweet spot” of volume and difficulty, it still may not be right for you. You’re not just looking to get traffic to a single video—you want to gain subscribers and repeat viewers, too.
Is this free YouTube keyword research tool suitable for beginners?
Yes, this tool is completely suitable for beginners. I’ve designed it to be as simple as possible to use: just put in a starting keyword and the tool will give you a whole list of related keyword ideas, with their search volumes and difficulty. It’s as easy as that!
Of course, the tool isn’t just for beginners. However long you’ve been a YouTuber, you can use this keyword research tool to come up with fresh video ideas and optimize all your past videos too.
Completely stuck on what keyword to start with? Use the YouTube search bar’s autocomplete feature to help. Just start typing in something related to your niche (or even begin with “how to” or “ways to”) and lots of ideas will pop up.
Should I use YouTube hashtags?
Yes! YouTube hashtags are an easy way for viewers to find related videos. There’s no reason not to use them. Just don’t go overboard. Add 2–3 highly relevant hashtags to your videos, rather than including every possible hashtag you can think of.
How does this free tool compare to the best YouTube keyword tools? (Comparisons)
There are a few different YouTube keyword tools out there, so let’s take a look at how this one stacks up against them.
Comparison with TubeBuddy
TubeBuddy is an AI tool that you can use as a free Chrome extension. It offers various additional features like a title generator, analysis, and more making it a more complex tool than my free option. The browser extension integrates with your YouTube account, so you may want to consider whether you’re happy to give a company that kind of access to your data. By contrast, my tool doesn’t even ask for your email address.
Comparison with vidIQ
The tool vidIQ is free at the basic level, but that only gives you access to 3 daily ideas and doesn’t include a keyword research tool. The Pro version, with the keyword research tool, starts from $7.50/month. If you’re looking for more options, for free, my free tool gives you unlimited keywords.
Comparison with Ahrefs YouTube Keyword Tool
The Ahrefs YouTube Keyword Tool is a web-based tool, like mine. At the free level, it’ll only show you the first 100 keywords for any given starting keyword, with volume but not difficulty ratings. If you want more keywords, keyword data, and SEO metrics, you need to sign up for a paid account. My tool gives you difficulty ratings for free.
Comparison with Keyword Planner
Keyword Planner is a Google ads tool aimed at companies advertising on Google. It’s useful for keyword research, but it can take some time to get to grips with if you’re a beginner. Plus, Keyword Planner is based on Google monthly searches … not on YouTube. My tool shows YouTube search volumes and it’s really easy to use.
Why did you make this a free tool?
Given that other popular YouTube keyword research tools charge money for anything other than an extremely limited version, you might be wondering why I’m giving you this powerful tool completely free of charge.
To explain that, I need to tell you a little bit about my own online business experience. When I got started as a content creator, I simply couldn’t afford the fancy tools that would’ve made it so much easier to grow my business. I had to make do with free versions—and believe me, I was so grateful to the people who made those free tools!
Today, I’m thrilled to be in a position to give something back. My online business has flourished … and I want to help yours do the same. That’s why the YouTube keyword research tool is completely free. I’ll never charge you for it. There are no limits on its usage: you can get as many keywords as you want, without ever needing to sign up or enter your email address. I’ve even got a bunch of other free AI tools to help your business grow, too.
There’s one small favor I’d love in return. Once you’re making some money from your YouTube channel, come take a look at my RightBlogger platform. It’s a vast toolkit of powerful tools for bloggers & creators that I’ve put together at a super affordable price for any small online business. There are all sorts of tools in there specifically for YouTubers, including tools that can turn videos into full blog posts… and blog posts into video scripts. These tools are designed to help you grow your business faster than ever before.
What other AI tools can I use to improve my SEO?
I’ve got a loooooot of other free blogging tools (mostly AI-powered) that can help you boost your SEO (search engine optimization), based on the same cutting-edge technology as well-known tools like ChatGPT. Those include my regular keyword research tool (for websites/blogs), my article writer, YouTube script generator, YouTube video idea generator, meta title generator and meta description generator, plus so many more AI SEO tools that you can try here.
Who is this YouTube keyword research tool designed for?
When we put together this YouTube keyword research tool, we obviously had YouTubers in mind! Even if YouTube content is only a small part of your online business, this tool is still for you. Perhaps you’re a blogger or small business with a YouTube channel, or you’re a content marketer or SEO professional working to help others build their business. Basically, if you publish any videos on YouTube as part of your digital marketing, this tool is for you!