Top YouTube Searches (as of 2018)

Joshua Hardwick
Head of Content @ Ahrefs (or, in plain English, I'm the guy responsible for ensuring that every blog post we publish is EPIC). Founder @ The SEO Project.

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  • Organic traffic 1201
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    Have you ever wondered what people search for most on YouTube?

    Today, I’m excited to share with you some brand new data:

    • Top100 YouTube searches (US)—a list of the most popular YouTube searches in the US.
    • Top100 YouTube searches (Worldwide)—the same data but filtered to show searches outside of the United States too. And with global search volumes.

    But first things first—some news:

    Not only will we soon add Bing keyword data to Keywords Explorer (as announced on our list of the top Bing searches), but also YouTube and Amazon search volumes and metrics.

    Here’s a preview of how it will look for YouTube:

    Preview of the YouTube data in Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer—coming soon

    So basically, you’ll soon be able to use Keywords Explorer to see keyword metrics for all the major search engines—Google, Bing, Amazon, and YouTube.

    Sidenote.
    Do you want to know what people search for the most on Google? Here are the top Google searches.

    Now, without further ado, let’s find out just how popular cat videos really are!

    Top 100 YouTube search queries in the US

    It’s clear right away that searches for songs and musicians dominate this list.

    #KeywordSearch Volume
    1jake paul7,900,000
    2asmr7,500,000
    3markiplier7,480,000
    4logan paul7,040,000
    5pewdiepie5,580,000
    6despacito5,480,000
    7jacksepticeye5,420,000
    8music5,060,000
    9dantdm4,540,000
    10bts4,500,000
    11ricegum3,680,000
    12game grumps3,490,000
    13fortnite3,040,000
    14wwe3,030,000
    15eminem2,920,000
    16popularmmos2,870,000
    17buzzfeed2,860,000
    18snl2,830,000
    19minecraft2,760,000
    20john oliver2,660,000
    21stephen colbert2,590,000
    22taylor swift2,530,000
    23cnn live2,490,000
    24drake2,460,000
    25try not to laugh2,430,000
    26ssundee2,420,000
    27vanossgaming2,410,000
    28rick and morty2,390,000
    29shane2,330,000
    30h3h32,290,000
    31joe rogan2,250,000
    32fox news live2,230,000
    33shane dawson2,100,000
    34xxxtentacion2,080,000
    35david dobrik2,070,000
    36cardi b2,070,000
    37post malone2,050,000
    38last week tonight2,040,000
    39cnn2,010,000
    40alex jones1,990,000
    41kendrick lamar1,960,000
    42trump1,950,000
    43ed sheeran1,910,000
    44bruno mars1,870,000
    45nightcore1,870,000
    46tyt1,820,000
    47dragon ball super1,790,000
    48msnbc1,760,000
    49slime1,750,000
    50fox news1,710,000
    51roblox1,710,000
    52game theory1,710,000
    53idubbbz1,680,000
    54dude perfect1,660,000
    55ninja1,650,000
    56ariana grande1,630,000
    57rachel maddow1,620,000
    58fgteev1,620,000
    59guava juice1,610,000
    60songs1,610,000
    612018 fifa world cup1,600,000
    62nicki minaj1,600,000
    63liza koshy1,590,000
    64seth meyers1,590,000
    65justin bieber1,580,000
    66documentary1,570,000
    67fox news live stream1,570,000
    68linkin park1,540,000
    69lil pump1,540,000
    70overwatch1,540,000
    71logic1,520,000
    72aphmau1,480,000
    73romanatwood1,480,000
    74youtube1,470,000
    75peppa pig1,460,000
    76lil uzi vert1,460,000
    77ben shapiro1,460,000
    78live1,450,000
    79chris brown1,440,000
    80havana1,430,000
    81philip defranco1,430,000
    82study music1,410,000
    83amv1,410,000
    84migos1,400,000
    85movies1,400,000
    86colbert1,390,000
    87michael jackson1,390,000
    88trevor noah1,390,000
    89jimmy fallon1,380,000
    90telugu movies1,380,000
    91bill maher1,380,000
    92gorillaz1,370,000
    93dunkey1,370,000
    94jimmy kimmel1,370,000
    95ksi1,360,000
    96react1,350,000
    97jontron1,330,000
    98ice poseidon1,330,000
    99vines1,320,000
    100funny videos1,320,000

    In fact, almost ⅓ of the top 100 searches are music related.

    If you’ve ever been in any doubt as to just how popular Justin Bieber is, doubt no more. There are a staggering 5.48M monthly searches for Despacito (a song that—while not originally a Bieber song—saw a huge boost in popularity after the release of Justin’s remix) and a further ~1.57M monthly searches for Justin Bieber.

    So it probably comes as no surprise that the official video for Despacito (note: this is not actually the Justin Bieber version) is the most viewed video of all‐time on YouTube with 5.74 BILLION views.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJQP7kiw5Fk

    Sidenote.
    The remixed (Bieber) version of this song has far fewer views (roughly 675M). 

    To put that in perspective, Gangnam Style—the first video to reach a billion views on YouTube—currently has just 3.24B views.

    But it’s not all about music…

    You’ll notice that 6 of the top 10 searches are “branded” searches—i.e., folks searching for channel names or YouTube personalities. This is a trend that continues beyond the top 10, with 40% of the top 100 searches being for specific YouTube personalities and channels.

    Here are the top 10 most popular YouTube channels and “celebrities” according to our data:

    #KeywordSearch Volume
    1jake paul7,900,000
    2markiplier7,480,000
    3logan paul7,040,000
    4pewdiepie5,580,000
    5jacksepticeye5,420,000
    6dantdm4,540,000
    7ricegum3,680,000
    8game grumps3,490,000
    9popularmmos2,870,000
    10buzzfeed2,860,000

    These searches get a combined 50.86 MILLION searches per month in the US.

    Interestingly, quite a few of these folks are gaming vloggers (or gaming vloggers turned YouTube personalities, like PewDiePie), which brings us neatly onto what appears to be the next most popular genre of videos on YouTube: gaming videos.

    Here are all the searches that somehow relate to gaming (and their respective search volumes):

    #KeywordSearch Volume
    1markiplier7,480,000
    2pewdiepie5,580,000
    3jacksepticeye5,420,000
    4dantdm4,540,000
    5game grumps3,490,000
    6fortnite3,040,000
    7popularmmos2,870,000
    8minecraft2,760,000
    9ssundee2,420,000
    10vanossgaming2,410,000
    11game theory1,710,000
    12ninja1,650,000
    13fgteev1,620,000
    14overwatch1,540,000
    15dunkey1,370,000

    Having looked through some of those channels myself, live gaming videos—aka, “let’s plays”—seem very popular. Not familiar with such videos? Here’s one of the most popular let’s plays from one of the most popular YouTubers on our list—jacksepticeye:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJmsCDWKCnc

    Speaking of live videos, it looks like millions of people are watching live TV on YouTube. “CNN Live,” “Fox News Live,” and simply “live” each have millions of searches per month.

    Live videos are so popular, in fact, that YouTube now has a dedicated channel for live streams.

    youtube live

    It’s not just live TV that people like watching on YouTube either: John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, and many other US TV personalities also get millions of searches per month.

    So, to summarise, people flock to YouTube in search of entertainment.

    Hardly surprising, right? But what is surprising is this:

    None of the top 100 YouTube searches in the US have anything to do with cats. That’s a shame because I love cats. 😉

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sP4NMoJcFd4

    Now let’s see how these US stats compare to the Worldwide stats.

    Top 100 YouTube search queries in the World

    It looks like it’s not just the US that has an unhealthy obsession with the song Despacito, with monthly searches topping 79M worldwide!

    #KeywordSearch Volume
    1despacito79,250,000
    2bts31,940,000
    3bad bunny27,280,000
    4shape of you25,120,000
    5ed sheeran24,860,000
    6pewdiepie23,350,000
    7asmr22,820,000
    8ozuna22,770,000
    9justin bieber21,320,000
    10eminem20,680,000
    11logan paul19,000,000
    12wwe18,550,000
    13minecraft18,000,000
    14music17,730,000
    15jake paul17,700,000
    16bruno mars16,940,000
    17maluma16,840,000
    18peliculas completas en español16,540,000
    19ariana grande15,620,000
    20shakira14,930,000
    21peppa pig14,780,000
    22xxx14,690,000
    23linkin park14,140,000
    24havana14,120,000
    25taylor swift13,900,000
    26dragon ball super13,840,000
    27youtube13,280,000
    28twice12,800,000
    29rihanna12,730,000
    30coldplay12,490,000
    31katy perry12,260,000
    32alan walker12,190,000
    33markiplier12,110,000
    34fernanfloo12,100,000
    35sia11,920,000
    36michael jackson11,890,000
    372018 fifa world cup11,770,000
    38selena gomez11,620,000
    39fortnite11,390,000
    40drake11,380,000
    41mi gente10,940,000
    42blackpink10,630,000
    43nicki minaj10,570,000
    44dua lipa10,510,000
    45jacksepticeye10,320,000
    46la rosa de guadalupe10,230,000
    47enes batur9,960,000
    48musica9,760,000
    49imagine dragons9,670,000
    50songs9,590,000
    51dantdm9,360,000
    52karaoke9,110,000
    53despacito justin bieber9,070,000
    54j balvin9,040,000
    55maroon 59,000,000
    56vegetta7778,760,000
    57funny videos8,750,000
    58exo8,740,000
    59baby shark8,690,000
    60live8,670,000
    61xxxtentacion8,570,000
    62movies8,440,000
    63telugu movies8,250,000
    64chris brown8,190,000
    65faded8,180,000
    66adele8,160,000
    67peliculas completas8,040,000
    68juegagerman8,020,000
    69shawn mendes7,990,000
    70nightcore7,810,000
    71lil pump7,770,000
    72beyonce7,710,000
    73romeo santos7,700,000
    74me rehuso7,700,000
    75barbie7,620,000
    76filmes7,600,000
    77enrique iglesias7,560,000
    78martin garrix7,540,000
    79post malone7,540,000
    80gta 57,470,000
    81rockabye7,470,000
    82the weeknd7,400,000
    83felipe neto7,390,000
    84dross7,370,000
    85los polinesios7,330,000
    86twenty one pilots7,300,000
    87nicky jam7,200,000
    88ncs7,120,000
    89cnco7,120,000
    90ricegum7,110,000
    91perfect ed sheeran7,090,000
    92squeezie7,010,000
    93rap6,990,000
    94skrillex6,960,000
    95doraemon6,890,000
    96mc kevinho6,700,000
    97mr bean6,640,000
    98felices los 46,640,000
    99cardi b6,600,000
    100gorillaz6,590,000

    That’s over 30 searches per SECOND on average.

    And this isn’t the only song racking up the YouTube views. Searches for artists, bands and songs dominate our list of the top 100 worldwide YouTube searches with a staggering 65/100 searches (almost ⅔) being music‐related.

    So compared to the US, it seems that the rest of the World uses YouTube far more for music.

    What else are they listening to? Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, Coldplay, and of course, South Korean boy band BTS.

    Not heard of BTS? Get listening. 😉

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBdVXkSdhwU

    There are also far fewer “branded” searches (i.e., for YouTube personalities) Worldwide. Only one of the top 10 searches is branded, which is quite a contrast to the US where over half the top 10 searches are.

    ASMR videos appear to be popular around the globe.

    Not familiar with ASMR videos? You’re in for a treat#DontJudge

    And how about this:

    There are 13.2M monthly searches on YouTube for… um, Youtube. #GoFigure

    Sidenote.
    We see a similar thing with Google searches. There are millions of searches every month for “Google” on Google. Very strange.

    Full YouTube Keywords Explorer is coming soon!

    Some of you may know that we have a tool called Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer.

    With this, you can enter any seed keyword (e.g., “Xbox”) and see exactly how many times people are searching for it on Google each month.

    xbox keywords explorer

    You can also discover a ton of related keyword ideas using the various reports.

    keywords explorer phrase match

    Unfortunately, we don’t know of any tool that does the same thing for YouTube, which is a big blow for video marketers.

    So we decided to make one.

    Here’s a sneak peek:

    Preview of the YouTube data in Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer—coming soon

    It will show estimated YouTube search volumes (in the US and other countries), clicks, and search trends over time. You can also generate YouTube keyword ideas using the various reports on the left‐hand menu.

    We’re hoping to launch this tool in early 2019.

    Stay tuned! 🙂

    Joshua Hardwick
    Head of Content @ Ahrefs (or, in plain English, I'm the guy responsible for ensuring that every blog post we publish is EPIC). Founder @ The SEO Project.

    Article stats

    • Referring domains 29
    • Organic traffic 1201
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    Shows how many different websites are linking to this piece of content. As a general rule, the more websites link to you, the higher you rank in Google.

    Shows estimated monthly search traffic to this article according to Ahrefs data. The actual search traffic (as reported in Google Analytics) is usually 3-5 times bigger.

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