YouTube Channel Keywords

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Channel Keywords

What Are YouTube Channel Keywords?

YouTube channel keywords are terms that give YouTube information and context about your channel. Specifically, they help YouTube understand the type of content you produce and who your target audience is. Optimized 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 types of videos you produce to figure out your channel’s overall topic and category.

Channel topic and category

When you optimize your channel keywords the right way, you can boost the rankings of all the individual rankings on your channel.

In fact, a YouTube SEO ranking factors study discovered that channel keywords had a small-yet-significant correlation with higher YouTube search rankings:

Correlate with rankings

Also, because channel keywords help YouTube understand what your channel is all about, they can help your channel rank for keywords that your audience searches for on YouTube:

Channel ranking for keyword

Last but not least, YouTube uses channel keywords to decide which videos they should promote in the Suggested Video column. You may have noticed that YouTube tends to recommend videos from related channels in this column:


This is no coincidence.

In addition to promoting related content to the video you’re watching, YouTube also suggests content from similar channels here.

That’s why you’ll sometimes notice YouTube suggesting a video from a related channel… even though that video isn’t that closely related to the one you’re watching:

Related channel

Best Practices

List Out Potential Channel Keywords

You first step is to identify words and phrases that describe your channel. These should be a mix of terms that you’re confident that describe your channel. And also a few popular keywords that you found from your video keyword research.

For example, let’s say you have a new channel about Italian cooking:

Off the top of your head you’d likely come up with channel keywords like:

Channel keywords

Then, you’d want to add a few popular keywords that people use to find the type of content you create, like:

Then add popular keywords

Unfortunately, YouTube’s channel keyword field isn’t easy to use:

Editing channel keywords is difficult

For easy editing, it’s best to list out your potential keywords in a Google Doc:

Channel keywords in a Google Doc

Use Approximately 7-10 Keywords

You want to cover the breadth of the topics you cover without going overboard.

If you use too many keywords, you dilute the importance of each one (just like with video tags).

Here’s an example:

Too many channel keywords

You’d be hard pressed to understand that channel’s overall topic and category using those tags alone. They’re not very descriptive to begin with. And there are simple too many of them.

That’s why you want to stick to around 5-7 keywords (which in most cases is approximately 50-75 characters).

The study I mentioned earlier discovered that 50 characters is the “sweet spot” for Channel Keywords.

Once you go above 50 characters, you start to have diminishing returns:

Diminishing returns

Copy Competitor Channel Keywords

If you’re stuck or just want a few keyword ideas, check out the Channel Keywords that your competitors use.

To find these, just head over to a channel’s “About” tab.

About tab

Right click and “View Page Source”:

View Page Source

Finally, search the page for “keywords”. This list of keywords are their Channel Keywords:

Channel keywords

You can also use the TubeBuddy or VidIQ Chrome extensions. These extensions are helpful because you can see channel keywords without having to dig through a bunch of code:

Channel keywords via tools

Add Your Channel Keywords

Finally, add your Channel Keywords.

To do this, hit the “Advanced” button in the Channel section of your YouTube Studio:

Advanced section

Then, copy and paste the keywords from your Google Doc into the field:

Keywords field

One thing to point out is that, unlike tags, you can’t separate Channel Keywords with commas. So if you have keywords with multiple words in them, make sure to put those keywords in quotes:

Keywords in quotes

If you don’t, YouTube will see a tag like lasagna recipes as two tags: “lasagna” and “recipes”.

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