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YouTube Video Keyword Research and Characteristics of Popular YouTube Queries

YouTube Query Suggest Screenshot

Currently the first result in Google for "youtube keywords" is a video claiming to do video keyword research using WordTracker. The problem with doing keyword research for videos this way is that the most popular queries in WordTracker, which takes its data from meta search engines, are not necessarily the most popular queries in YouTube. In fact, in most cases they're probably entirely dissimilar. Fortunately for video SEOs, last week brought a better video keyword tool for YouTube queries: YouTube itself. Using the new YouTube Suggest tool I discovered some of the most popular YouTube queries and categories. The results aren't entirely surprising, but can be used to justify Arts and Entertainment spend in YouTube, or to find alternative subjects that still bring in a lot of search volume.YouTube Suggest, like Google Suggest, is a user interface improvement that uses popular search queries to predict what the searcher will type next. Predictive text is good for the user because it means less typing to get to the result, and it's good for the marketers who want to connect their content to queries because it gives them a glimpse into the typical user's search behavior. These queries can then be added to relevant fields in the video to put the video in front of the largest possible relevant audience when the user is looking for it.To opt into YouTube Suggest, follow the "advanced" link to the right of the search box.

Next, select the box that reads Display Query Suggestions as I Type.

That's it. From now on, the predictive text system will show you popular queries with every character you input. When researching a particular topic, this tool will show you popular queries, most likely in order of relative search volume. Incorporating these keywords into your relevant video can help increase visibility of that video.

Characteristics of Popular YouTube Queries

Unlike Yahoo Suggest, which won't predict the next query without 3 characters inputted, Google Suggest (and this YouTube version) starts predicting when a single character is entered. It is therefore possible to get a good sense of the most popular queries on YouTube by entering the alphabet one character at a time and transcribing what comes up. When I did this, I discovered some of the most popular YouTube queries and categories.


By far the most popular category on YouTube was Arts and Entertainment, of which music searches made up the bulk. No real surprises here. Nonetheless, there are popular categories outside this category that brands looking to get into video SEO should consider. This is also a study of head queries, so the long tail of video SEO could vary. Category breakdown is below.

Top 100 YouTube Suggest Queries by MSN April Search Volume

For the same reason that it doesn't make sense to use WordTracker for YouTube keyword research, it doesn't make much sense to give MSN search volume for YouTube queries. It's unlikely, for example, that YouTube would be the most popular query since the users are already within YouTube. The fact that YouTube even shows up in the suggest tool is kind of astonishing for that fact. Nonetheless, to give my readers a sense of the most popular queries in YouTube as reported by this predictive text tool, this is a list of the top 100, sorted by MSN search volume for April. Find the full list, along with categorization data here.

1 youtube
2 mariah carey
3 miley cyrus
4 american idol
5 wwe
6 lil wayne
7 runescape
8 chris brown
9 naruto
10 alicia keys
11 my
12 love
13 beyonce
14 nba
15 funny
16 pokemon
17 video
18 leona lewis
19 hannah montana
20 funny cats
21 obama
22 juno
23 christina aguilera
24 family guy
25 shakira
26 taylor swift
27 michael jackson
28 jonas brothers
29 ufc
30 janet jackson
31 rihanna
32 soulja boy
33 emo
34 hilary duff
35 avril lavigne
36 vanessa hudgens
37 you
38 kiss
39 eminem
40 ashley tisdale
41 titanic
42 zac efron
43 usher
44 harry potter
45 panda
46 akon
47 kelly clarkson
48 high school musical
49 fergie
50 wow
51 cristiano ronaldo
52 iron man
53 halo
54 lost
55 mario
56 alvin and the chipmunks
57 south park
58 ufo
59 bob marley
60 iphone
61 ghost
62 pitbull
63 plies
64 ciara
65 world of warcraft
66 ronaldinho
67 rbd
68 whitney houston
69 snoop dogg
70 celine dion
71 david archuleta
72 nelly
73 wisin y yandel
74 lollipop
75 undertaker
76 xbox
77 ronaldo
78 david cook
79 ashanti
80 xxl
81 slipknot
82 metallica
83 linkin park
84 halo 3
85 dance
86 kobe bryant
87 elvis
88 daddy yankee
89 bon jovi
90 one tree hill
91 aventura
92 kanye west
93 xbox 360
94 jesse mccartney
95 guitar
96 jeff dunham
97 ironman
98 jojo
99 enrique iglesias
100 don omar

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