Most people think that just uploading a video to YouTube is good enough. But if you want your videos to rank high and get more views, you need to do more than that.
Without proper optimization, your videos will be drowned out by all of the other videos on YouTube. You could be putting all the effort into making great videos, but if they’re not optimized for SEO, no one will ever see them.
That’s where these YouTube SEO tips come in. By following these simple tips, you’ll be able to optimize every aspect of your video so it gets a higher ranking on search results.
And with a higher rank, comes more views and exposure for your videos and brand.
What is YouTube SEO?
According to Forbes, YouTube is not just a video website—it is a search engine. And among all the options for search engines, YouTube is the number one choice for video-centered platforms.
Because video truly is king in the digital age, how content creators get their videos on the front line has become a whole industry. Other search engines help users get what they need with content—and YouTube is one of those.
Of course, with search engines comes SEO.
YouTube search engine optimization (SEO) is actually a surprisingly straightforward concept. For SEO optimization YouTube involves optimizing YouTube videos and channel pages in order to rank higher in YouTube’s algorithm.
This differs from regular SEO as YouTube has its own algorithm with its own ranking factors to consider when ranking videos on YouTube search results. It has similarities with regular SEO but it’s still considered a separate practice.
YouTube SEO takes into consideration YouTube-specific best practices instead of generic ones. Examples include adding keywords to video titles, video descriptions, tags, and thumbnails for SEO value.
In short, YouTube SEO makes sure your YouTube videos are discoverable, helping you reach more potential viewers while increasing your search ranking as well!
The Benefits of Conducting YouTube SEO
Optimizing your content for search is one way to ensure that you’re equipped for the competition. Since Google, Yahoo, and Bing aren’t the only search engines, YouTube SEO helps you leverage the millions of search queries about videos on YouTube!
In this section, we will brief you on the key benefits of leveraging YouTube SEO and how it can improve your video marketing efforts.
Here are five benefits of implementing SEO for YouTube videos:
- Improved visibility and discoverability
- Increased engagement and watch time
- Higher click-through rate
- More interaction with your video
- Higher revenue potential
1. Improved visibility and discoverability
SEO can help your video show up higher in search rankings, meaning more potential viewers for your content.
By using the right keywords, your YouTube video’s chance of matching queries increases, thus also increasing the number of views that your video may get.
2. Increased engagement and watch time
Optimized titles, descriptions, and tags allow viewers to easily find what they’re looking for on YouTube.
By optimizing your YouTube video with these details, your target audience can better identify which videos they should be invested in and which ones they shouldn’t.
3. Higher click-through rate
Optimizing your videos for search will give them a better chance of being discovered by the right viewers, resulting in higher click-through rates from search results.
If your YouTube videos aren’t optimized with the necessary details, people won’t know if they should even click on them.
4. More interaction with your video
Adding keywords to the titles and descriptions of your videos will draw more users in and encourage them to leave comments or share the video with others. Videos that aren’t well-optimized often look wrong and empty.
If this is the case with your videos, would you expect people to interact?
5. Higher revenue potential
Optimizing your videos with the right keywords will increase the chances that they will be found by those who are actively searching for related content, which could result in increased ad revenue or other monetization opportunities.
First – Understand Your Audience
YouTube SEO brings nothing but good to your journey on YouTube. But before you begin implementing YouTube SEO, it’s vital that we acknowledge one step must first go before anything in order to properly start your optimization for YouTube rankings.
It doesn’t matter which SEO consultant you ask, they’ll all probably agree. This step is so crucial that it may also mean the crumbling of your entire YouTube SEO strategy once done poorly.
Research and Analyze Your Target Market
YouTube SEO can help bring your YouTube channel content to the top of YouTube search, making it more visible and attractive to viewers.
However, every YouTube channel has its own unique audience, so simply having good YouTube SEO is not enough.
It is imperative to research and analyze your target market in order to understand what they need and want from your channel.
Once you understand their wants, you can apply YouTube SEO tactics that target these specific desires and increase engagement with your videos in the long run.
Being aware of how YouTube users interact with YouTube search will give you an advantage over the competition that isn’t analyzing their target market!
To better understand your target market on YouTube, here are some measures you can take:
1. Take advantage of YouTube analytics – YouTube offers a comprehensive suite of tools and reports that can help you gain insight into who is watching your videos and what types of content they’re engaging with in every YouTube search.
2. Monitor trends in the industry – pay attention to changes in the YouTube landscape and what types of content are popular right now. Paying attention to trends will give you a better understanding of the types of content viewers are looking for.
3. Ask questions directly – engage with your viewers through video comments or post polls on social media to find out who they are and what type of content they’d like to see from you. You could also reach out to influencers in your niche for advice or collaborate with them on projects.
Rank Your YouTube Videos Higher with these 6 YouTube SEO Tips
Ranking high in a YouTube search query is a key factor in helping your videos reach the widest possible audience—especially if you’re up against millions and millions of brand-new YouTube videos being uploaded every day. Posting a new video every day or every week just isn’t enough.
With that kind of competition, what can you do? Don’t worry, with the right tips and tricks, you can maximize your visibility and boost your video to the top of your target user’s search.
Here are six tips on how you can set your videos up to get higher rankings, and consequently, more views.
- Use Tools When Choosing the Right Keywords for Your Audience
- Use Descriptive Titles, Tags, and Categories
- Create an Eye-catching Thumbnail Image for your Video
- Transcribe Your Videos To Include Closed Captions & Subtitles
- Add Links to Your Videos
- Optimize Your Channel’s Profile Page
1. Use Tools When Choosing the Right Keywords for Your Audience
Keyword research is a non-negotiable SEO basic that also applies to an effective YouTube SEO strategy. After all, if you choose the wrong target keyword in a video post, how will anyone be able to find it?
That’s why relying on keyword research tools can help you identify target keywords that people are actually searching for, target phrases that have high search volume, and even discover new terms you hadn’t thought of.
With a combination of keyword research and online tools fresh ideas for topics and titles will come more naturally, leading to more discovery on YouTube!
But what if you have no idea about what tools to use? Try these three options:
2. Use Descriptive Titles, Tags, and Categories
Writing titles, hashtags, descriptions, and other forms of identification for videos on YouTube is an essential part of making sure your videos are well-optimized. But, “I often ignore these parts of the video myself,” you say?
Don’t fall for the mistake that these video features aren’t important. If anything, for the right audiences, these features are your biggest chance of ranking high and garnering views.
Now, how can you make the best use of your video’s title, description, and tags? Follow these simple tips:
- First and foremost, include your target keyword everywhere as much as you can without sacrificing the seamlessness of how you develop your copy
- For your video title, stick to 60-70 characters (if your video title exceeds this limit it may get cropped on other devices)
- Use three (3) of your most important keywords as your video hashtag
- When writing your YouTube video description, make sure your first set of sentences contains your main keyword
- The YouTube video description limit is 5000 characters, but you don’t have to use it all up as long as your description is useful and keyword-optimized
3. Create an Eye-catching Thumbnail Image for your Video
Video thumbnails are often the very first thing viewers see when they search for a video on YouTube, so it’s no surprise that creating a custom thumbnail for your video is key to gaining more clicks and views.
However, it’s important to note that the type of thumbnail that you use does not directly affect how YouTube ranks your video.
What it does, if done with a great deal of attention and skill, is grab the searcher’s attention and influence them to click on your video.
To come up with a high-quality YouTube thumbnail, make sure to practice the following:
- Only use 2-3 colors in all your thumbnails to create consistency and better recall for viewers
- For starters, identify the supplementary color pair that resonates with your brand or image using a color wheel
- Choose no more than 1-2 fonts for your texts
- When it comes to texts, always make use of headings and subheadings to create contrast
- Ensure that your thumbnail text encapsulates the content of the video
Now, let’s take a look at two of our own thumbnails as examples. The one below is a video thumbnail for a video about digital content strategy.
Notice how in the video thumbnail (1) only one type of font was used, (2) the entire thumbnail is dominated by two colors only, and (3) the texts were organized in headings and subheadings.
In this second example of a thumbnail for a digital marketing agency video content, the same set of observations from thumbnail #1 can also be seen—from the consistency of the fonts and colors to the use of headings and subheadings.
4. Transcribe Your Videos To Include Closed Captions & Subtitles
YouTube transcriptions can be an invaluable asset for content creators.
Not only do they make it easier for your viewers to understand what you’re saying, but having your YouTube script transcribed helps YouTube’s algorithm to understand your content for ranking purposes better.
Your transcription doesn’t just go into your videos though.
You can also paste your script inside your description box in case people want to quote you word for word. And if it contains any keyword, this can also help YouTube crawl your description box.
For tools that can help you transcribe your video script fast, try these top-of-the-market brands:
5. Add Links to Your Videos
YouTube’s algorithm is a tricky thing, but by understanding the basics of YouTube ranking and utilizing the power of linking in descriptions and end screens, your videos can be seen as an authority in their subject.
Linking your videos about other topics can help YouTube recognize that you have exclusive content related to a certain topic.
By keeping up with YouTube’s best practices and linking from video to video, YouTube will reward your channel by ranking higher and increasing visibility amongst your target audience.
To make use of your links for SEO, make sure to:
- link your channel in your video and especially on your end screens
- link your other video content about a related topic in your end screen
- link your channel under your video description
Look at how Ahref’s official YouTube channel uses its video description box for links directing to their other top videos.
6. Optimize Your Channel’s Profile Page
It’s important to optimize your videos on YouTube, but let’s not forget that your YouTube channels are also a great way to make your voice heard, whether you’re a musician, blogger, or just an enthusiastic YouTube user.
To get the most out of your YouTube channel’s profile page and draw in more viewers and followers, it’s important to optimize the page as much as possible.
Some of the best ways to do this are by using the right keywords throughout your profile text and having a custom YouTube thumbnailing strategy where you use professional-looking thumbnails to give each video its own identity.
Also, linking your YouTube profile on all other social media accounts and website mentions, and working with influencers or other YouTube channels to workshare and boost visibility.
Measuring the Success of Your Strategies
Measuring your YouTube SEO performance is a crucial part of doing SEO on YouTube, as it provides insights into how effective your optimization efforts are.
By analyzing data related to viewership and engagement, you can identify strengths and weaknesses in your keyword strategy, understand the type of content that resonates with viewers, and determine which steps you need to take to further improve the discoverability of your channel’s content.
Monitor Video Views and Likes
Monitoring the number of views and likes your videos get is a great way to track their performance over time. To do this, simply navigate to your YouTube Analytics page and select “Views” under the Audience tab.
This will provide you with an overview of how many times your videos have been watched and also show you the number of total likes and dislikes each video has received.
Additionally, you can look at individual insights for each video to understand how engagement levels are changing from one day to the next.
With this data, you can identify trends in what content performs best and make improvements where needed.
Track Conversions and Increase Website Traffic with Video Embeds
Using video embeds to track conversions and increase web traffic is a great way to optimize your marketing efforts.
By embedding videos on high-traffic websites and in email campaigns, you can effectively measure the number of people who watch your videos as well as how many leads or sales you’re able to generate from them.
Additionally, having video content embedded on other websites helps drive organic search traffic to your own website.
With the right combination of SEO techniques and video embeds, you can use video marketing to achieve significant growth for your business.
Everyone has probably already heard of SEO. But not everyone knows that YouTube is also a search engine and that it also has its own parameters for ranking high.
In this section, we’ll answer five of the most frequently asked questions regarding YouTube SEO.
If you want to ensure that your videos are seen by your target audience, then you need to make sure you’re incorporating effective YouTube SEO techniques.
The six essential tips that we outlined will help improve your ranking and get your videos in front of more people.
By understanding your audience and using the right keywords, tags, and titles, you can give yourself a fighting chance to rank high on YouTube and reach the top of the search results.
Meet Brian, the go-to guy in digital marketing with a solid 15 years of breaking new ground. He’s got his hands in everything from AI-driven marketing and SEO to making sure customers have smooth journeys. Businesses big and small—from fresh faces like Globerunner (SEO & marketing agency) to heavy hitters like PowerSchool (SaaS), PFSweb (e-commerce), Southwest Airlines (travel), and Mary Kay (beauty & skincare)—have all felt his impact.
But there’s more to him than just strategy. As an entrepreneurial coach, Brian helps business leaders shake off their doubts and step into their true power. He’s brilliant at turning delay and stress into clarity and action. Under his guidance, entrepreneurs find themselves on paths that lead not only to profits but also purposeful growth. With Brian around, it’s about lighting up the path for visionaries ready to leave their stamp on the world.