YouTube Search Engine Optimization Guide

YouTube Search Engine Optimization – KILLER WAYS to Get Your Videos Ranking High

So you’ve just begun a YouTube channel, shared it everywhere and even ideally integrated it into your magnificent website. Go you! Still not receiving the views you expected for? That’s because you haven’t tapped into YouTube Search Engine Optimization. Even with a handful of videos beneath your belt, you might not have looked into one of the most essential aspects of the procedure as you must have.

Obtaining high rankings on YouTube is a consequence of two things. To begin with, you will need to appeal to the platform, but you’ll also need to appeal to your audience so you really get higher subscribers and view counts. Up to the task? Great, as we have got some fantastic SEO (Search Engine Optimization) hints to assist you using YouTube and a few of engagement approaches to reel in your viewers.

Keyword research

After you’ve uploaded a video on YouTube, you’ll be asked to fill out the title, description, and tags for it. Sounds easy enough, but this is one of the most significant parts of the process and it’s not something you want to do haphazardly. However, you have some homework to do first.

Before you even start filling out your title or description, you’ll want to know what your focus keywords or key phrases will be. Your first stop will be to see the competition surrounding the keywords you’re looking to utilize and use. Whether it’s in the form of Google’s own AdWords Keyword Planner or the many other free choices it’s up to you, but this will allow you to see popularity and the competition you’ll be faced with.

AdWords keywords

Short tail vs. long-tail keywords

Had your heart set on “DIY Birthday Cards” for your keyword, only to find out that it’s incredibly famous and popular already? Shorter key phrases are referred to as short-tail, and you’ll find this is where the greatest competition lies. In case you think your fledgling YouTube channel can’t compete with short tail keywords, don’t worry, you have options…

Long-tail keywords allow you to get a little more specific, while still using the initial key phrase you wanted to. So instead of “DIY Birthday Cards,” you could make it “DIY Birthday Cards for Girls” or “DIY Birthday Cards for Valentine’s Day.” While it may be searched less-often, it also offers less competition, better aiming and in the event you’re looking into advertising, it’ll cost much less than short-tail keywords.

Are your keywords video-friendly?

Think you’ve nailed it on your keywords for your video? Though this might be accurate for YouTube itself, it might not be the situation for search engines. The best way to find out is to actually search for your desired keywords in Google. Basically, you’re looking to see if videos appear on the first page when searching your keyword. If they do, you’ll have a better chance at ranking well on both YouTube and Google.

Terms like “how-to,” “review,” “hands-on” and “unboxing” all have great potential to show videos on the first page of Google, so you’re pretty safe if you’re using one of them. Still, it’s best to try it yourself with multiple keyword options before you settle on one.

Appeal to YouTube

Now that you’ve researched your keywords, it is time to apply all you’ve discovered by placing your best foot forward.



The content of your video will determine how your title is structured, but it’s significant to have your keywords in the first portion of the title. If your video is about how to make doughnut ice cream cones, “How to” or “Do it yourself” would naturally fall in the beginning of the title, but that may not always be the case, depending on your keywords.

It is ideal to maintain your title short and concise. Anything aside from the vital words for the title can be set in the description section below. As long as the title showcases your keywords prominently and the point gets across, you’re good to go.



Much like Google bots don’t actually see your photos when indexing websites, YouTube doesn’t know exactly what your video is about when you first upload it. For websites, photos need to contain alt-text in order for search engines to understand what they’re about. For YouTube, the description plays this role, acting as the translator.

It’s significant to note that long-tail keywords do well in your description, especially if long tail is the primary route you’re going in. Remember, the detailed approach may be less popular, but it’s more efficient (at least in the beginning). Why? Because writing a long description is very valuable to get your video, as it provides more information to both YouTube as well as the viewer, and this may positively impact your ranking.

In addition, the description section is also a great place to add links to your social networks and your website. Feel free to over-share here.



While there’s a debate on whether tags are still significant or not, it’s another location to describe your video that YouTube offers, so use it! A mix of specific and general tags is suggested, allowing your video to span multiple avenues. You can use both your short and long-tail keywords here as well.

An older tactic for tags was that you should always put 20 tags per video, but this practice isn’t as popular as it used to be. While it likely won’t hurt your ranking if you opt to do this, it could also do nothing for you. The best practice is to add as many tags to properly describe your video as needed. If you feel that your clip needs 20 tags, no one’s stopping you.


Appeal to viewers

Now that you have your bases covered for your video to entice YouTube, it’s time to put your effort on the viewers out there that will actually bring you the success you’re looking for. Here are a few tips you can do that may not dramatically change your ranking for YouTube Search Engine Optimization but will catch the eye of viewers.

A stand-out thumbnail

In the event, you have your key phrases for your video already, visit YouTube, and search for this to see your contest. Now, look at the thumbnails of each similar video. Do you see a common style or theme between them that you could pinpoint? Good, now do the opposite.

YouTube viewers will naturally gravitate to videos that catch their eye, so having a video thumbnail that stands out from the sea of other offerings is significant. If you see a common color theme between your competitions, make your thumbnail contrast so it’s prominent. That said no need to use every single color possible.

Keep your intro short and punchy. Tell the viewer exactly what they are about to see and get it to it. You can tell your “super interesting and only semi-related story” later. People usually come to YouTube to either learn something or be entertained, and if you’re not doing either of these in the first few seconds of your video, you’re doing it wrong.

Youtube optimization

Give them a reason to wait (viewer retention)

Even in case you’re capable to the attention of a viewer quickly, it sadly does not mean they will stay for the entire video. Viewer retention weighs heavily on your video’s YouTube ranking, therefore you want people to watch as much of the video as possible.

A tactic you’ve likely seen, quite a few times, on YouTube is the presenter giving a quick intro and then mentioning something interesting that they’ll show or tell you at the end of the video.

There’s a good chance that if you mention that you’ll reveal something interesting at the end of the video that viewers will want to stick around for it. This tactic carries with it potential intrigue and allure, and could become indispensable in your YouTube toolkit.

Engage Your Audience!!!

If YouTube sees a large volume of interaction on your video, its ranking will go up. Of course, you’ll need people actually watching your video to achieve this, but you can help get the ball rolling. This is where engagement is the key!!!

One thing you can do is ask your viewers to ‘like’, subscribe, and comment on your video! It might sound easy, however, this can definitely make a huge difference. To Begin a few conversations, ask questions for viewers to reply in the comments. It is your video, so don’t be afraid to ask away!

Once you start getting comments on your video, be sure that you reply! Keep the conversations going by asking and answering questions!!!

Create an Attractive Call to action

Need to point something out to the viewer when they are watching your video? Annotations, cards, and end screens can make it effortless for you!

Annotations allow you to add a pop-up speech bubble virtually anywhere on your screen, which can be helpful if you need to add a footnote to a part of your video. They’re also useful if you’d like to put a focus on a particular part of your video. Other annotations include note, title, and label. Sound good? Well, you don’t have long to take advantage of annotations, as they will be discontinued on May 2nd, 2017.

Cards are less intrusive than annotations, which provide a better experience for the viewer. They’re also more limited on customization options. Like annotations, you can set the type of card and the time it appears on the screen, but you can’t place it anywhere you want. Card types include video or playlist, channel, donation, poll, and link.

Rounding out the helpful back-end features for your video is end screens. As the name suggests, end screens appear at the end of your video. You can add a call to action for viewers to subscribe to your channel and promote your website.

End screens are another terrific spot to market your other clips. Insert a ‘suggested videos’ to your End screen to keep them viewing content, even if it’s not yours. You just might be thanked by YouTube by simply acquiring a bump in your ranking.

YouTube Search Engine Optimization may appear a little tricky, but with the mentioned tips at your disposal, you’re equipped to climb the ranks!

If You Still Are Unsure Where To Turn

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