How to make money online with YouTube: a comprehensive guide

Summary:Are you interested in setting up a new residual income stream? While striking it rich with YouTube is very unlikely, it's extremely feasible to make an extra $50-$100 every month or two. Here's how I do just that!

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Ad performance: what's the deal?

On the previous page, I showed some stats from a few of my YouTube videos . The numbers were all over the place, proving that traffic numbers, in and of themselves, are not a good indicator of how much you can expect to earn. In other words, 1,000 visitors don't automatically equate to $1.00 in earnings (or some other figure, for that matter). The reason for that is due to the types of ads that are shown with your videos.

For example, let's assume you posted a video about how to bake cookies. Most likely, the title of your video will be something to the effect of "how to bake cookies." Then, in the description beneath your video, perhaps you list the recipe, including brand names for products you purchased to make the cookies with, etc. Lastly, you add tags to your video that are related to baking, cookies, brands, recipes, appliances, etc.

Now, when someone watches your video, they're most likely going to see ads related to exactly what you've specifed your video is about: cookies, baking, Maytag appliances (if you named that brand), etc. That essentially ensures that someone (hopefully many) will click on one of the ads that's shown to them. Now, I'm going to dive into a bit of my own personal theory here, so take the next paragraph in context.

The factors you can control for letting YouTube know what your video is about are video title, video description, tags, category, and the actual name of the video you upload; however, I think Google takes more factors into consideration with the ads they display in YouTube videos -- namely, voice transcriptions from videos (if a video has such data to extract), the location of the person viewing the video, and the cookies that exist on a viewer's computer. Now, Google may not use any of those, but their goal is to make money. And if they don't run the most relevant ads for every single person that watches a YouTube video, then they lessen their chances (and, thus, your chances) of making money.

So, all that to say that I think Google does more than just the factors under your control to run relevant ads, which ultimately works in your favor. But you should absolutely do your part to accurately explain the contents of your video. And with that, it's time to move on to the next section: keyword research. Though not a necessity, keyword research can greatly increase the odds of your video being discovered via YouTube searches.

Keyword research in YouTube

Before I delve into this section, let me preface keyword research as not being a guarantee of anything: traffic, earnings, exposure, or otherwise. Personally, I think of keyword research as being great for not only figuring out excellent terms to use in relation to videos I plan on posting, but also for researching video ideas to do in the first place. Accordingly, I'll take things one step farther for you and show you how to better validate some of the data you come up with during your research.

First, let's start with the YouTube keyword suggestion tool.

There are two primary ways for searching for keywords with this tool: by words that you're interested in, and by video. In the first method, you search for a term that you're interested in finding popular, related keywords for. Simple enough, let's say you type "baking cookies" into the search box, then the tool will return keywords related to "baking cookies," as well as how many searches that term draws in monthly (it's not an accurate number). The second method allows you to enter a URL for a YouTube video that you'd like to use to get keyword suggestions from. That's pretty awesome, and a great way to see what suggestions YouTube has for keywords related to videos you may be interested in doing.

Leveraging the first method, when I performed a keyword search for "baking cookies," the results showed "Not Enough Data," instead of showing an estimated number of monthly searches. Check it out:


Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that no one is searching for "baking cookies!" This is actually the perfect example to lead into the next keyword research section with, but before I do, I'd like to point out where it says "Match Type" in the upper right-hand corner of the image above. When you do your searches as per the intentions listed in this article, it's best to view your results either by "phrase" or "exact." If you view results by "broad," then you're looking at numbers that aren't truly representative of what you might realistically be able to expect in terms of traffic.

So, with that, I'm going to continue keyword research on the next page. Afterward, we'll get away from the technical stuff and I'll give you some ideas, best practices, and steps to hit the ground running with your new YouTube adventure!

Topics: E-Commerce, Google


Stephen is a freelance writer and blogger based in Charlotte, NC. His contributions to ZDNet cover topics related to security, gaming, Microsoft, Apple, and other topics of interest with a tech/SMB skew.

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