Have you ever wondered what people search for most on YouTube?

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

  • Top 100 YouTube searches (US)—a list of the most popular YouTube searches in the US.
  • Top 100 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:

We recently launched the new version of our Keywords Explorer tool, and we’ve added search data for YouTube. It’s currently in beta, and looks like this:

pewdiepie volume youtube

YouTube data in Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer—now live!

So basically, you can now use Keywords Explorer to do keyword research across 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.

In fact, ¼ 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 2.14M 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).

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 6.35 BILLION views.

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

Sidenote.

The remixed (Bieber) version of this song has far fewer views (roughly 647M).

To put that in perspective, Gangnam Style—the first video to reach a billion views on YouTube—currently has just 3.39B 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 49% 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:

These searches get a combined 24.42 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):

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 “Fox News Live Stream” get millions of searches per month combined.

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 28.52M worldwide!

Sidenote.

This number has dropped significantly over the past few months. It seems this song has passed its prime! Maybe something new will overtake it soon!

That’s over 11 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 66/100 searches (⅔) being music‐related.

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

What are they listening to besides Bieber? Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars, Coldplay, Billie Eilish 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 of the top 10 searches are.

ASMR videos appear to be popular everywhere.

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

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

And how about this:

There are 5.54M 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.

See more YouTube search data in Ahrefs Keywords Explorer!

Do you want to know how many searches a particular query gets on YouTube every month?

Head over to Ahrefs Keywords Explorer, enter a query and select YouTube from the dropdown.

Let’s see how many people search for “Ahrefs” each month in the US.

ahrefs searches youtube

YouTube search volume for “Ahrefs” in the US

800 searches. Looks like Sam Oh is doing an excellent job growing our channel!

Lots of folks outside the US also seem to be looking for our channel, as the global volume for this query is 2,900. We’re especially popular in India.

But the fun doesn’t stop there…

We can use the reports on the left-hand side of the screen to delve deeper and see the specific things people are searching for in relation to the topic.

ahrefs phrase match youtube

Looks like a fair few people are looking for an Ahrefs tutorial.

And they’re in luck because we have an entire playlist of Ahrefs tutorials!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZE7FbMBuJY&list=PLvJ_dXFSpd2vX2RVxjEjBmYoeX6LmJFGP

Fancy playing around with the new Keywords Explorer yourself?

Take a 7‑day trial for $7. 😉