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!

Keyword research in YouTube, continued

On the previous page, I showed how "baking cookies" yielded no usable data in relation to traffic numbers (that is, roughly the average number of people who search YouTube for that term in a month); however, that doesn't mean you want to count out doing a video showing how to bake your grandmother's famous "carn sarn hot diggity dang" cookies just yet!

From here, what you want to do is see what kind of suggestions YouTube gives as you type "baking cookies" into the search box, as well as what types of videos pop up when searching for "baking cookies." So, first, you head to YouTube. Then, slowly start typing in your term, so that you can see the suggestions YouTube provides after each additional letter you add to your search. Personally, I wanted to see how far after typing "baking" YouTube would suggest "baking cookies," as well as how far down the list of suggestions that term appeared. Here's how far I got before it suggested "baking cookies:"


The third result down is actually quite decent! What that suggests is that enough people have searched for "baking cookies" that YouTube found it likely that when typing "baking c," I was probably more interested in searching for "baking cookies" than "baking chicken" or "baking cakes for beginners." So, when I completed the search, here is what I saw.

As you can see, there are ads all over that search results page, which is a good sign, because it means there are lots of advertisers who are paying to have their ads shown for the keywords I searched for. And for those of you who don't know how the ad world works, basically, the more ads you see, the more competition there is. That means that companies with ads above other ads are paying more to have their ad show first. So, if you have a video on YouTube and an ad from one of those high-paying companies is displayed to someone watching and they click on it, you'll get a bigger slice of pie than you would for a lower-costing ad.

Taking all of that into consideration, now look just under the search box to see the total number of videos YouTube has returned for your search. You can loosely think of that as your competition, basically. Then, look at all the videos that show up on the first page of results. How many views do they have? How long have they been live (1 month, 6 months, 1 year, or more)? Does your exact keyword appear in the titles or descriptions? These are all things to take into consideration... although, all of those things could be almost irrelevant to you, depending on the keyword you shoot for, how well you optimize your video for your primary keyword, and, more importantly, if you can bring traffic to the video via means outside of people searching for it in YouTube (which I'll address on the next page). Just think of all of this as helping you to paint a broad picture of what you're up against, if there are any relevant ads for your keyword, etc.

Now, the last step to really honing in on YouTube data related to your exact keyword is to search for it in quotes. Here is a screen shot showing the very different results I received when searching for "baking cookies" in quotes. As you can see, the overall number of videos reduced drastically, and the videos in the results are quite different, too; however, the ads mostly stayed the same! This is good, and it means that "baking cookies" is an exact term that advertisers are interested in paying for ads for.

So, would "baking cookies" be worth it for you to target? That's up for you to decide! Maybe through that research, you learned that "baking cookies" is the wrong term to use altogether! Perhaps you want to travel down the path of "how to bake cookies" or suchlike. It may seem like a lot of work to do, but in actuality, you can do this kind of research EXTREMELY fast -- especially once you get the hang of it.

The important thing to keep mind of is that this stuff isn't going to be the make-or-break of your video. It just helps you to get some ideas, flesh out some keywords you might want to specifically target, and to generally paint an overall picture. One lesson to note is that if you find that no one is searching for a term, or if you just post a video and leave it to its own devices, your views may well never roll in.

Next up, I'll cover some dos and don'ts, best practices, and ideas/pointers based on my personal experience. Then, I'll wrap everything up with the exact steps you need to take to get started making some actual money with YouTube!

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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