YouTube Trends: Optimizing for the World's Second Biggest Search Engine

Apr 17, 2013


min read

Google Trends has been around for several years and has existed in different forms. On March 20th, YouTube's trend manager Kevin Allocca announced that Google Trends had been updated to include YouTube searches going as far back as 2008. By searching a keyword in Google Trends and selecting the "Limit to YouTube Searches" option, a whole new world of statistics is now available.

Since YouTube is frequently referred to as the world's second largest search engine, and its results often populate the top of search result pages for certain keywords, this tool can be a powerful one in the hands of an SEO expert or a marketing agency, as it can help them determine what themes they should pursue in their video-based content creation strategies.

Here are some ways that the new Trends for YouTube tool can be used to help optimize your SEO game:

Term and Time selection

People usually visit Google and YouTube with specific search intents, and the obvious goal is to show up in the results when they type them in. Google Trends for YouTube allows you to see the popularity of your targeted keywords, in addition to suggestions of similar keywords that also have substantial search volume. This data will help you optimize your videos for YouTube results and hit the keywords that are currently driving the most traffic.

YouTube trends - highest search volume in time

This information can also help you establish the ideal time to schedule the release of your video content. For example, if the subject of your video is “party ideas,” a quick look at Google Trends shows that historically, the highest search volume occurs annually in the month of October.

Long-lasting vs. In-and-out viral hits

Google Trends also offers the ability to compare the YouTube search volume of selected keywords between each other at a glance. By adding search terms into their sidebar, it’s possible to compare up to a total of 5 keywords and gain a visual perspective on their performance throughout the chosen time range.

YouTube trends - viral content

As the example on the YouTube Trends blog shows, this comparison can help identify trends that are long-lasting, versus in-and-out viral hits such as the screaming goat phenomenon.

Competitive analysis for YouTube

YouTube trends - competitive analysis

Not only do these metrics help identify the longevity of certain keywords, they can also be used to gain some insight into your performance versus your competitors’ if retrieved for your brand names.

Also, as it goes all the way back to 2008, this information can be used to identify any performance issues that have occurred in the past, and correct them in order to get a competitive edge in future YouTube results, just like Coca Cola seems to have done in 2010.

If you look at the example above, you will notice that between 2008 and 2010, search interest on YouTube for Pepsi was greater that for CocaCola, but things dramatically changed in the period after.

In addition to searching for your actual brand name as a keyword, searching for other terms related to the industry in which you operate can shed some light on your industry’s presence on YouTube.

Jump on the latest viral video trend

By learning what is trending on YouTube and when, it becomes much easier to determine whether certain types of videos are worth pursuing.

If you’re thinking of jumping on the latest viral video trend, it’s a huge advantage to have some insider information as to whether or not it’s still going to be relevant by the time you produce and release it.

Browse through the trends that Google currently lists as “Hot” and then copy those into the search term menu with the “Limit to YouTube Search” option to see what video themes are up-and-coming. Certain keywords also have a “Forecast” option enabled, which provides an educated guess as to how they’ll perform in the upcoming months.

Final thoughts

Google Trends for YouTube is a great new tool for SEO specialists and SEO content creators. However, it’s important to remember that this is just one weapon in an arsenal of SEO tools at your disposal. Focusing your entire YouTube SEO  and content strategy around Trends may make your work seem flat, as if it’s just trying to jump on hot topics and get some easy traffic.

Keep the core values of your web presence in mind, and keep your strategies well-balanced to attract a solid and dedicated viewer base, rather than a slew of traffic passing through to see something trendy.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of Caphyon, its staff, or its partners.

Article by

Ryan George

Ryan George is an SEO & Social Media Analyst at NVI Solutions in Montreal, Canada. He has a keen interest for video production, in addition to YouTube and web media best practices.

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