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7 Top Keyword Tools for YouTube (2023)

YouTube is home to over 800 million videos, which means there’s a lot of content vying for views. No matter what you create, chances are there are already dozens—if not thousands—of videos on the same topic. 

Keyword tools make it easier to identify opportunities for new content in this crowded space. Learn how the right YouTube keyword tool can help you identify search terms and improve your video content strategy.

What are keywords on YouTube?

YouTube is known as a video platform, but it’s also a powerful video search engine. To find videos, users enter search queries and YouTube delivers everything from Russian dashcam footage to Barbie makeup tutorials. Like a web search engine, YouTube relies on user-inputted text, i.e., keywords, to understand the content and serve it to interested viewers. 

Maximize your chance of appearing in the top search results by following YouTube’s best practices for optimization and using accurate keywords. You can place keywords in video titles, video file names, descriptions, video tags, and transcripts.

What is a YouTube keyword tool?

A YouTube keyword tool is an online service designed to help you find relevant and popular keywords for your YouTube videos. These tools are essential for YouTube search engine optimization (SEO), enabling you to optimize your video titles, descriptions, and tags with keywords likely to be searched by users.

YouTube keyword tools are essential for analyzing competition and generating fresh keyword ideas. These tools provide a competition score based on the number of videos using your target keywords and the search volume for related terms. Optimizing each post with specific keywords is crucial for a successful video strategy, whether you’re a new content creator or a well-established brand.

How does a YouTube keyword tool work?

YouTube keyword tools use data from user searches to help you identify common queries associated with a given topic. 

To use a keyword tool, start by inputting a seed term—a simple word or phrase that describes the content of your videos, also known as a focus keyword. The keyword tool generates a report related to this term. Details include a list of related search terms and the search volume and clicks associated with each word. Reviewing this report can help you spot areas of opportunity—if a term has a high search volume and relatively low clicks, there might not be enough content to meet the demand. 

Keyword tools identify secondary terms you can target in addition to your focus keyword, also known as long tail keywords. If you upload a YouTube video describing how to make an ice cream sundae and your video also includes a recipe for homemade marshmallow sauce, you can target both of these terms by including the additional keywords in your video description. 

Example of YouTube keyword research

Analyzing YouTube keywords before publishing is an effective way to find a niche for your content. For example, reaching the top of the search results for the keyword “dog” would be extremely difficult, as there are already millions of videos with the word “dog” in their titles, descriptions, and tags. 

Reviewing related queries (other searches that include your primary keyword) and a deeper look at your video can help you develop a more focused angle. After research, you may concentrate on a smaller, but less competitive audience by titling your video Unlikely Animal Friends: Large Dog Playing with Cute Snail.

How to optimize your videos with YouTube keyword tools

You can perform YouTube keyword research before or after you’ve settled on your video topic. Researching before you’ve selected an idea allows you to tailor your content strategy based on the tool’s keyword suggestions. 

If your keyword has high competition, you may pivot the video topic to target a less competitive keyword. For example, “drink recipe” may have a higher competition score than “savory cocktail.” A video can rank higher for more specific terms by creating a descriptive title. After selecting the right keywords, organically incorporate them into the title and video description. 

Keyword tools can help improve your video’s performance. Many keyword tools provide statistics about where your video ranks in searches for various terms. If a video ranks for a word you didn’t intentionally target, you can edit your headline and description to incorporate new keywords. Further optimizing your content helps it rise the search ranks.

7 popular YouTube keyword tools for optimizing your videos

  1. VidIQ
  2. Keyword Tool Dominator
  4. TubeRanker
  5. TubeBuddy
  6. Google Trends
  7. Keyword Planner

The best YouTube keyword tool depends on your needs as a publisher. These products vary widely in price and complexity. When used correctly, even the most straightforward free tool can help your team develop a solid YouTube keyword strategy. 

Here are a few recommendations:

1. VidIQ

Search results for “how to get more YouTube views” on VidIQ

VidIQ generates a keyword score by combining competition scores and search volume analysis. You can use this tool to identify high-value terms by researching keywords with a high search volume and low competition score. VidIQ generates tag suggestions and related keywords and can translate your video title into different languages. 

VidIQ has a free version (limited to three daily searches) and three premium tiers ranging from a monthly fee of $7.50 to $79. 

2. Keyword Tool Dominator

Search results for “barbie makeup tutorial” in Keyword Tool Dominator

Keyword Tool Dominator is a user-friendly tool that resembles a basic search engine. You can find keywords connected to your topic by entering a video topic idea. It delivers simple results without too many features. This makes it a good place for beginners, while active YouTubers may want additional features. 

The free version allows for up to three searches per day. You can upgrade to a pro account for $40 for extra data.


Search results in for “how to”

Enter an essential term, and returns a list of related keyword ideas sorted by popularity. It uses data from YouTube’s autocomplete function to generate accurate reports that reflect viewer interest. You can export data as a CSV file to sort it and conduct additional analysis. offers a limited free version (delivers up to 750 results per search) and three pro versions ranging from an annual fee of $69 to $159. 

4. TubeRanker

Search results on TubeRanker for ’get ready with me’

TubeRanker can help you find new keyword ideas based on your initial keyword query. Each search returns related keywords and monthly search volume data. TubeRanker performs a channel health audit to ensure your YouTube channel is following best practices for optimization. It also includes a video description generator tool that offers advice on incorporating keywords. 

TubeRanker provides a 14-day free trial and two premium tiers priced monthly at $19 and $49. 

5. TubeBuddy

Tube Buddy keyword score of Excellent for “san diego”

TubeBuddy is a browser extension that works with YouTube to help you research keywords. For each search term, TubeBuddy generates an overall score and a breakdown of the factors affecting the score. It also suggests tags that may be relevant to your content. 

TubeBuddy offers a free version and several premium tiers, ranging from $6 to $26.39 monthly.

6. Google Trends

Google Trends showing comparative search interest over time for Taylor Swift versus Beyoncé

You can use Google Trends for general search engine optimization and YouTube keyword searches. Filter results to include YouTube only to search for video-specific data. This free tool generates a short list of related topics and queries and displays a chart showing search interest for terms over time. You can use Google Trends to easily compare the search interest between two keywords. 

7. Keyword Planner

Keyword Planner search results for “dry skin”

Keyword Planner is Google’s native keyword research tool for YouTube and Google ads. This free platform may be a good choice for digital marketing teams already active on Google ads. Because this tool focuses on identifying ad keywords, it tends to return broad keyword suggestions that may have high competition.

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YouTube keyword tool FAQ

Is the YouTube keyword tool free to use?

There are several free keyword research tool options, including Keyword Tool Dominator and TubeBuddy. YouTube offers Keyword Planner, a native tool that’s free for anyone with a Google ads account.

What is the difference between YouTube tags and keywords?

You add video tags in the back end of a YouTube video. These tags do not appear in YouTube search results, but they enable you to provide more information about your video’s content to YouTube. A keyword is a word or phrase that describes your video’s content. You can place keywords anywhere with a text input field in the title and description on YouTube.

Are YouTube keyword tools user-friendly for beginners?

Many YouTube keyword tools are intuitive and beginner-friendly. Several of these tools, including TubeBuddy and VidIQ, generate keyword scores that make it easy to identify the best keywords for your video.

Can the YouTube keyword tool help me track the performance of my chosen keywords?

YouTube’s native keyword tool does not have keyword tracking capabilities. To monitor the success of your video keywords, consider a premium TubeBuddy account or an additional tool like RankTracker.

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