YouTube Keyword Research is DEAD

YouTube Keyword Research is DEAD play video
Written by: Dexxter Clark
Let me show you something interesting about keywords which will completely change the way you will think about YouTube keyword research:
When I type in: “how to get more views on YouTube”, which is probably the most competitive search term in my niche, I get some videos about views, but also a lot of videos that are not.
Notice that a lot of videos are NOT exact keyword matches, despite what all the keyword tools would like you to believe.
And you can also clearly see this in your YouTube Analytics when you look at search terms you rank for.
You rank for keywords that are not even IN the video.

When YouTube started in 2005 it had no idea what was IN the video.
YouTube trusted the creator to put in keywords in the title, description and tags (remember those) to match the search intent of the viewer with the video of a creator.

YouTube SEO consisted of keyword research to find exact keyword matches the most used search queries on YouTube to get more views.

In 2015 YouTube started using Googles Artificial Intelligence algorithm: Google Brain.
We moved from a widely abused “keywords” approach to a much more honest “topics” approach.

[broll google cloud vision + text in video on watch page]
Google developed image recognition algorithms which analyze your thumbnail and each video frame for objects.
Google also developed speech recognition algorithms which analyze the speech in a video.

These algorithms were much better to “sniff” the topic of a video than keywords ever could.

I’m aware that a lot of big YouTube gurus guilt you into buying a keyword research tool that claims that one keyword is better than the other when it comes to the same topic.
But next time when you see this happening, remember that they get a 50% recurring affiliate commission when you buy the tool.

1) Most likely to watch:
YouTube serves the videos that viewers are most likely to watch next.
These can be videos that are unrelated to the search term.

The algorithm is programmed to serve videos that lead to the most viewer satisfaction, because more viewer satisfaction equals more ads.
Viewer satisfaction which is measured by Click Through Rate and Audience Retention on a video.

So it is in YouTube’s best interest NOT to serve you the videos that have exact keyword matches with the search query.
Think about that for a second.
[wait, sound crickets]
Okay, that’s long enough

2) Search intent:
Keywords do not necessarily have to match the search intent of the viewer.
When viewers search for “tiger” and constantly click on a thumbnail of a “lion”, they obviously mean “lion” when searching for “tiger”.
The keyword approach would still serve tiger, but with the use AI that learns from viewer behavior you can match Search Intent instead of Search keywords.

The AI looks at how long viewers watch a video after they clicked on a video when they searched it.
If a lot of viewers watch a specific video longer than the competition, it was a good video, so it will rank higher in YouTube Search next time.

By doing it this way: viewers are much more likely to stick around longer on the platform, because they get what they are looking for.
[hoest: ads]

When I go back to the search phrase at the beginning of the video:
• The keywords were: “how to get more views on YouTube”
• The search intent however is: “how do I grow my YouTube channel”

If we reverse this thought, this way, we can actually gain insight in what viewers watch when they search for something.
This helps with understanding search intent, which helps us to make videos better that viewers will watch longer than the competition so we can rank higher
But can also give interesting video ideas.

And all of a sudden that mindless keyword score that that keyword research tool gives you, looks all of a sudden not-so-convenient anymore.

Ambiguous search terms
[broll: screenrec: searchterms]
Ambiguous search terms like “YouTube background music” are less of a problem with this new approach.
What is the search intent?
Do you want to listen to calm music in the background OR are you looking for background music to put under your YouTube videos?

What YouTube does in this case: it gives a healthy balance between Topic A and B to serve the most common use cases.
It can ONLY determine this balance with knowledge of video topic, but not with a knowledge of keywords.

Again, more people find what they are looking for
[hoest: ads]
I think I’m getting down with something [=joke hoest]

Low search volume
Previously I talked about high search volumes, because the AI has enough data to learn from, when I say enough data, I mean thousands of views.
But when it has not, it still uses the old school keyword approach, because … what is the alternative when you have not enough data?

So keywords can still help you with low search volumes.
Most low search volume keywords are less competitive, which is handy to know for a small channel, because only a couple of views is enough to get a small channel growing …. hint, hint hint hint.
[wink wink wink]

But that is not the amount of traffic we are aiming for as a medium or large channel, right?

In traditional keyword research, long tail keywords are generally considered less competitive.
In YouTube’s topical approach this still holds up, but is not the long-tail that makes them less competitive, it is about a specific-ness that make them less competitive.

Determine topic based on keywords
And don’t forget, giving the algorithm more information about the video, helps the YouTube Algorithm understand what the topic of your video is.
And better able consider your video for ranking when a viewer searches for a topic.

So, Throw in a couple of keywords that you can find via the YouTube search bar auto suggest.
Put them in your title, description, thumbnail and speech.
But don’t sweat it too much, the algorithm has become smart enough over the years.

[screenrec computer music 2021 video]
Let me show you something interesting about related topics.
When I add a unique piece of text in the description of a video, which says nothing about the topic of the video.
When I search for this I get the video, but also other videos that are topically related, not only on my own channel, but also other channels.

In other words: be clear about the topic of your video, because then YouTube can make connections.
Being clear about your topic also helps you to get into YouTube Suggested, because a lot of suggested videos are topically related.
The traditional Keyword Research for YouTube SEO is dead!
It is not longer about: who can find the best keyword to rank for.
It has become more about making the best video on a topic.
YouTube’s mantra is: make good videos, we will take care of the rest.

Since YouTube measures “good videos” by click though rate and audience retention.
Double down on studying your audience retention graphs to keep viewers watching longer.
Double down on making clickable titles and thumbnails.
I will link 3 videos in the description for you to learn more about titles, thumbnails and audience retention.

[broll: graph video: browse features explained]
To be clear: either one (ctr or audience retention) will not work, it has to be both.
This video has a ridiculous good audience retention, but when your thumbnail sucks, people won’t click. This video has only 100 views.

Share this article

If you took value from this article, please share it on social media.

Website url:


photo author dexxter clark
Dexxter Clark
Music Producer / YouTuber

Read more about the author

Read also ...

YouTube book: What Big YouTubers don`t tell you

[VIDEO] What big YouTubers don’t tell you: the window is closing, get in now! Youtube has incredible opportunities also for business, and more and more people start to realise it. More and ...

Continue reading >>

Don`t use download gates for free online music promotion

[VIDEO] How to promote your music online free effectively? The first step is not to use a download gate, because they hurt your social media growth in the long run. A download gate is a webpage ...

Continue reading >>
The best YouTube video topic ideas for music producers and DJs

The best YouTube video topic ideas for music producers and DJs

[VIDEO] Always wanted to start a YouTube channel as music producer or DJ? But wondered: What should I make a YouTube video about as DJ Music producer? In this video the best YouTube video topic ...

Continue reading >>
5 steps to get AWESOME YouTube channel name ideas for beginners

5 steps to get AWESOME YouTube channel name ideas for beginners

[VIDEO] Coming up with compelling YouTube channel names can be quite a challenge. In this video I`m going to help you with the creative process in 5 easy and actionable steps. • 1:08 Channel ...

Continue reading >>
YouTube Studio explained

YouTube Studio explained

[VIDEO] How to use YouTube Studio? In this 40 minute YouTube Studio video tutorial I`ll walk you through the most used functions of YouTube Studio. Step by step I`ll explain YouTube Analytics: ...

Continue reading >>