What are YouTube Channel Keywords?


YouTube channel keywords are terms that provide YouTube with information and context about your channel. In particular, they help YouTube understand the type of content you produce and who your target audience is. Optimised channel keywords can also increase the visibility of your channel on YouTube.

Why are channel keywords important?

YouTube uses channel keywords, your channel description and the type of videos you produce to determine the general topic and category of your channel.

If you optimise your channel keywords properly, you can improve the rankings of all the individual rankings of your channel. A study on YouTube ranking factors found that channel keywords have a small but significant correlation with higher YouTube search rankings:

Because channel keywords help YouTube understand what your channel is about, they can also help your channel rank for keywords that your audience is searching for on YouTube:

Last but not least, YouTube uses channel keywords to decide which videos to show in the Suggested Videos column. You may have noticed that YouTube tends to recommend videos from related channels in this column: this is no coincidence.

YouTube not only recommends related content to the video you are watching here, but also content from similar channels. This is why you will sometimes find that YouTube suggests a video from a related channel… even if that video is not that closely related to the video you are watching: Best Practises, List Out Potential Channel Keywords 

Your first step is to identify words and phrases that describe your channel. This should be a mix of terms that you are confident describe your channel. And also a few popular keywords that you have found in your keyword research for videos.

For example, let us say you have a new channel about Italian cuisine:

Off the top of your head, you would probably think of keywords for your channel like:

Then you should add some popular keywords that people use to find the kind of content you create, for example:

  • Unfortunately, the channel keywords field on YouTube is not easy to use:
  • To make editing easier, it’s best to list your potential keywords in a Google Doc:
  • Use about 7-10 keywords: You want to cover the breadth of topics you cover without going too far. If you use too many keywords, you will dilute the meaning of each keyword (just like with video tags).

Here is an example:

You would struggle to understand the topic and category of this channel based on these tags alone. They are not very meaningful to begin with. And there are simply too many of them.

So you should limit yourself to about 5-7 keywords (which equates to about 50-75 characters in most cases).

The study I mentioned earlier found that 50 characters is the sweet spot for channel keywords.

As soon as you go beyond 50 characters, the benefit decreases:

Copy your competitors’ channel keywords

If you are stuck or just need some ideas for keywords, take a look at the channel keywords your competitors are using.

  • To find them, simply go to the “About” tab of a channel.
  • Right-click and then select “View Page Source”:
  • Finally, search the page for “Keywords”. This list of keywords are their channel keywords: You can also use the Chrome extensions TubeBuddy or VidIQ. These extensions are helpful because you can see the channel keywords without having to dig through a bunch of code:
  • Add your channel keywords
  • Finally, add your channel keywords.
  • To do this, click on the “Advanced” button in the Channel section of your YouTube Studio: Then copy and paste the keywords from your Google Doc into the field:

Please note that unlike tags, you cannot separate channel keywords with commas. So if you have keywords with more than one word, you have to put them in inverted commas.


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