Why The YouTube Keyword Tool Is So Amazing For Link Building

Debra Mastaler mentioned the YouTube keyword tool again recently, and I don’t think I’ve been this excited about keywords in, well… ever. I confess to only now realizing how much of a help it can be.

Never mind the awesome fact that you can get keywords and easily import them into Google AdWords for your PPC campaigns. What’s really fantastic for me is that you can generate the truly random and crazy search terms that help you find those hidden gems on the Internet — the sites that might not yet be inundated with link requests or spammed up with paid links. You can find a void and fill it.

At first, as I was discussing this tool with my link builders, I thought being shown a keyword with an associated “Not enough data” message would be one that we might want to avoid using, but then I realized that those were the opportunities. Whereas you might think since most people aren’t using YouTube to sell products, the data you get from this tool would be useless, I think that it’s actually a giant hot mess of opportunity.

Let’s say that you were working with a site that sold fishing equipment. The keyword [fishing] has over a million searches a month but the keyword [fishing accidents] doesn’t have enough data.

Let’s Look Those Keywords Up In Google

[Fishing] shows me around 375 million results. The idea of wading (sorry) through those SERPs in order to find a good site that we’d reach out to depresses me.

[Fishing accidents] shows me less than 25k results. To me, that says I’ll spend less time finding good sites (hopefully!), and maybe I won’t be contacting the same ones that have been contacted by every other person trying to build links for sites selling fishing equipment. Definitely opportunity here (maybe some content to be written about ways to avoid certain common fishing accidents, interviews with people who have survived truly horrific fishing accidents, etc.), but I want something that’s even less competitive.

Let’s Look At Another Relevant Keyword

[Antique fishing equipment] has not enough data. In Google, I see 5,760 results for that phrase — amazing opportunity, in other words. I’d see this as something to create content for: perhaps a Pinterest board, or a cool video series where each video went into detail on a piece of equipment that was once used but now has a much better replacement (and that replacement would obviously be something my client’s site sold).

On the landing page for that product, I’d write some content about the evolution of the product and include a link to the video. I’d try to find a piece of antique fishing equipment and use it as the prize in a contest for something like the 50,000th person to like the company’s page on Facebook, or the 5,000th Twitter follower.

Now, obviously you could find these ideas through any keyword tool, but what I like about the one from YouTube is that it’s specific to a medium that in itself has great marketing potential, as people love video. Therefore, information that comes out of video searches is definitely valuable, right?

A search on YouTube for ["antique fishing equipment"] gives me 30 results. One without the quotes gives me close to 25k as it brings in loads of other related results. Let’s look at the exact match results:

antique fishing videos

First, note the dates of the videos. The most recent one is 3 years old. To me, that says there is a void to fill, as there’s not a lot being produced about the topic currently. Of course, it also could say that there’s not much interest… but let’s look at the number of views on each video. The least popular one still has around 15k views, and the most popular one has over 121k views.

Here is the problem that I found with this, though: after watching the videos (well, skimming them) it seems that they aren’t truly about “antique” fishing equipment at all. No matter. If I’m using this information in order to find something that isn’t all over the place and create it, this doesn’t really bother me.

My concern is with finding something unique to create, and maybe I’ll decide videos about this narrow topic aren’t the best way to go but Pinterest is – or interviews with antique dealers who specialize in antique marine products is a good plan. Maybe through watching the videos that aren’t exactly about the topic, I’ll get some other ideas. Maybe I’ll think more about how annoying it is to be led to a result that doesn’t match what I’m actually searching for, and it will help me write better content that matches up with how it’s marketed. That’s never a bad thing.

I’ll admit this is a very random and vague way to get ideas for content to create, but I’ll also admit that running into the same thing being done everywhere is annoying as heck. If everyone’s trying to do the same thing — create great sites for users and engines — then we all need to find the thing that sets us apart, don’t we? Sometimes, random, vague, and/or roundabout methods are what get you to that point.

Quick Guide For Example Plan

  1. Type a general search into the YouTube keyword tool.
  2. Look for longer-tailed phrases with “not enough data” listed.
  3. Check those phrases in Google and look for the ones with the least amount of results returned.
  4. Check those phrases in YouTube. (Yes, you can just skip Step 3 and go straight here, but I like to do the Google bit. Call me crazy.)
  5. Look at the dates and views to help you determine whether there’s a need for new content surrounding the phrase.
  6. If you find that trifecta of “old + many views + low results,” try creating something with it.

Found Your Idea? Then Try:

  1. Create a video about the topic, posting it on YouTube and embedding it/linking to it from your site. If you send out an email newsletter, include a link to the video there. Post it on other video sites as well.
  2. Create a landing page for the content, even if it’s just a new blog post telling your readers what’s new on the site. If you did sell fishing equipment but not antique fishing equipment, you could still easily create a landing page about the antiques because it might interest your users. I would advise that you don’t do this for tons of micro-topics, of course, so don’t go crazy creating a gazillion pages where the content could be condensed into one or just a few pages. Otherwise, you’ll dilute your site with nonsense and probably start running into internal duplicate content issues.
  3. Socialize it and show it to people who might be interested. Check the people who’ve liked the related videos on YouTube and see if they list their social information, for example, and point out your new content to them. Use Followerwonk to find people with related interests in their Twitter bios and interact with them so they can see it.
  4. Keep an eye on the stats for whatever you produce. See where you’re doing well (is it from Twitter? Organic search? Referrals?) and use that information to help you with your next project so that you know what to focus on first.
  5. Thank anyone who helps you promote your content.

The basic idea of this weaving path to content ideas is this: everyone has the same dilemma of finding something that will generate interest but not be the same thing everyone else is doing. One key to that is finding something that isn’t being overdone and connecting it to whatever it is that you need to promote.  Happy fishing!

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: YouTube & Video | Link Building | Link Building: General | Link Building: Linkbait | Link Week Column | SEO - Search Engine Optimization | SEO: Keyword Research


About The Author: owns the link development firm Link Fish Media and is one of the founding members of the SEO Chicks blog.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • ShaneJones15

    Hey Julie, interesting article!

    I feel like there were a good number of assumptions in this though. I definitely agree, you want to fill a void in the SERPs and that’s an amazing way to get results for your client without competing against any mammoths of industry, but I feel like there was nothing in this example that indicated it would really provide any return for your client.

    Assuming that videos in this category are desired because the lowest has 15k views would be poor investigation, as it could result in a number of other related search queries, and from those examples, I don’t find there are relevant enough to “antique fishing equipment” to produce any likelihood that targeting them will bring results!

    Is there more to it that I’m just missing? Or do you think it’s worth it to take that leap of faith?

  • http://obpglobal.com/ Illa Hernandez

    Thanks for this tip. We have onboard a startup mixed martial arts for amateurs that will be providing us fight footages. We;ll try this for inbound traffic building.

  • Hillary Hansen

    Freaking genius. No offense but I hope NONE of my competiton reads this fab article. (Sorry guys. Who doesn’t like an easy road, right? Lol) Great post.

  • http://thejakejordan.com/ baldjake

    Julie- I always love it when I see your blogs come across the Twitter feed. You rock once again with another REALLY practical idea :)

    Hillary – I was thinking the SAME thing!

  • Kieron Hughes

    Nice post. Also worth adding that you can put popular YouTube video URLs into Open Site Explorer and see which sites are linking to the videos. If you can produce something better (or something just as relevant), then you have a bunch of outreach targets right there.

  • juliejoyce

    That’s a fantastic idea!

  • juliejoyce

    Thank you very much…it’s most appreciated.

  • juliejoyce

    haha thank you, and I’ve already been chastised by two good friends about this.

  • Kerry Jones

    What Jake said. :) I can always count on your posts to spark an idea. You’ve presented such a fresh but surprisingly easy approach. Definitely one of those “why didn’t I think of this?” moments.

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    Awesome, awesome, awesome idea! I think this is a great way to approach content marketing–look for the holes and then create something to fill them! Using YouTube as your starting point can give you a whole new way of looking for content topics.

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    “…the sites that might not yet be inundated with link requests or spammed up with paid links. You can find a void and fill it.”

    Maybe you should think about rewriting this.

  • juliejoyce

    Rewrite it to say what exactly? I do see your point but not sure how else to get my point across.

  • juliejoyce

    thanks Nick!

  • donstevens

    Great read Julie! However, did you mean to say “Google keyword tool” for number 1 in Quick Guide For Example Plan?

  • juliejoyce

    thank you very much!

  • juliejoyce

    Hi, and thank you. No sorry, I meant the YouTube keyword tool so you start the whole thing there.

  • Desolo SubHumus

    So…the generic ‘legal offices’ site waiting to get enough hits from SEO bots to appear to be popular to possible domain buyers SHOULD use under-used keywords suggested by YouTube, like ‘spiritual Squiggly Dog magic tricks’ to get to the top of the search page? Seems legit…

    Forgive me if I just build my ranking naturally.

  • juliejoyce

    Apologies if my earlier attempt at a comment gets published…not sure why but I suddenly lost it. Anyway, you’re not really missing anything. The example is definitely not one for a client I am working with and I chose it for that reason. I’ve found some great sites to target for partnering with using this method and it was nothing to do with videos, so I just used the YouTube keyword tool in a random way to find some interesting terms to search for.

  • juliejoyce

    I didn’t say anything about using this to get to the top of the search page. It’s simply a method that I’ve been using and it’s given me some good ideas on content to create as well as given me some new ideas for searching for potential link partners.

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    It just strikes me as being more funny than informative. I understand your point, but it kind of undercuts the value of the advice you go on to give. Outreach is a part of our daily Web life, but it has begun to parody itself as marketers become more desperate. Reading that opening point felt a bit like tripping over a speed bump in a parking lot.

    Maybe I’m just feeling extra cyncical and contrarian today.

  • http://www.seoconsultant.com.au/ Carl Bischoff

    Hey Thx this post opened up new ideas and has given me a direction this morning to take! Keyword research has taken a new twist now so we sure need to get more creative :)

  • juliejoyce

    Today? :) OK seriously, that makes sense. It’s a bit funny to me too honestly, but it’s a method that we’ve been trying and it’s been giving us some new ideas, so I thought I’d share it. When so many people are actively building links, finding an untapped niche is something that doesn’t happen very often.

  • ShaneJones15

    haha no worries! Technology sometimes…can you believe it! And I o doubt agree that its a great little practical idea, and one i’ve actually used without completely realizing it was a “tactic”, but I hadn’t ever read anything official about doing it! I guess I was just trying to poke the bear and see if there was more to the strategy! Thanks Julie!

  • Kelly Steinbach

    Excellent suggestions, Julie. Content marketing is all about digging up new opportunities for engaging with our audience in ways that make us most memorable. We’re essentially battling it out for buyers’ mindshare, and the more creative we are at identifying voids and bridging the gap between a buyer and their needs, the more likely we are to achieve our goals. Some great tips, well done!

  • Desolo SubHumus

    If you are not doing this for SEO purposes (ie, getting you a better spot in search engine listings), then why is this post listed as being relevant to SEO? Also, isn’t looking for potential link partners part of SEO? Doesn’t your bio at the end of your post say you are a founding member of ‘SEO Chicks’, making you out to be an SEO expert?

    Forgive me if I mistook you for someone who generally writes about…well, SEO. You should certainly be able to see where a person could confuse your post with advise on SEO, esp. when this same technique is employed by SEO spammers all the time. YouTube is merely providing a new tool that does the same thing as all the old spammer tools.

    This isn’t written by me, but it is relevant: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/seo/unmasking-an-seo-spammer-and-rewarding-their-competition-a-case-study/4574

  • juliejoyce

    Just as I did not say this was a way to get to the top of the search page, as you put it, I did not say this was not something to do for SEO purposes. I’m also not advocating using this idea for spamming or blackhat purposes, as you are implying. You seem to have a very set idea of what I am writing about and since most of the other feedback leads me to believe that my intent is fairly clear, we’ll just have to disagree on this.

  • juliejoyce

    thanks very much!

  • http://www.shannonhutcheson.ca/ Shannon

    Love this Julie! Great stuff here. I’m so going to check out all the related posts on this. Thanks so much :)

  • djalel djalel

    Thanks a lot, I just saved “Quick Guide For Example Plan” into txt file

  • Jon Hogg

    So have you done this and has it worked?


Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!



Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide