Skip to main content ↓
videographer with camera

YouTube SEO: 11 Tips to Improve Your YouTube Video SEO

The second largest search engine on the Internet is YouTube. When you try to rank on search engines like Google, you use SEO. You want to do the same thing when you are trying to rank on YouTube.

So, how you can improve your YouTube SEO ranking?

Let’s start with the basics of SEO for YouTube.

What is YouTube SEO? 

YouTube SEO (or YouTube search engine optimization) is the process of optimizing your videos so that they show up in the YouTube results when people search for the topics that your videos cover.

We made a video about getting your videos in the YouTube search results if you’d like to check it out.

Keywords make up a large part of YouTube SEO. Just as you would add keywords to your website pages to help it rank in Google, you should add keywords to your YouTube videos.

Keywords for YouTube or video SEO can appear in your video’s:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Tags
  • Captions

Other YouTube video elements you should optimize include:

Keep reading to learn some very valuable YouTube SEO tips for your business. If you need help optimizing your videos, call us today at 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist!

WebFX is a Partner in Driving Results

Hear from HydroWorx, who saw a 131% increase in organic forms by partnering with WebFX

play icon2 Watch the Video Testimonial

1. Conduct keyword research

Google and YouTube rank their videos differently. You may think a top video result on Google is a top YouTube result, but the numbers often don’t match.

Google bases their algorithm on ranking sites that will answer a person’s query best. They want to provide answers for users quickly and efficiently.

With YouTube, the focus is on watching videos. When someone searches for a video on their platform, they know the user wants to watch the whole video. They know users will sit back and watch the video, so they rank it on videos that will provide the best explanation.

YouTube also focuses on relevant videos. If you watch one video, you’ll see a side panel of videos that are related to the one you watched. It’s meant to keep users engaged and moving from one video to the next.

Knowing this, you can see how important it is to rank for the right keywords. You want to appear in search results that will get users to find your video

Keyword research is an important part of SEO. It helps you figure out the right keywords for your campaign. When you optimize your videos for SEO, you want to conduct keyword research to find the right keywords.

You can use any number of keyword research tools to generate a list of keyword ideas. You’ll want to focus on long tail keywords, which contain three or more words in them. These keywords are better than short tail keywords, which only contain one or two words.

Short tail keywords will have a great deal of competition on YouTube, just like they do on Google. Let’s say you want to learn how to make banana nut bread. So, using a short tail keyword, you type in bread.

short tail keyword example youtube

This generates results with over 9 million videos. If you tried to rank for that keyword, your video would get lost in the sea of 9 million other videos about bread! Not to mention, “bread” is a generic term that doesn’t specify what a user wants.

Now, if you used a long tail keyword, you’d see better results. When you type in “How to make banana nut bread,” the results drop to 200,000 videos.

long tail keyword example youtube

It’s much easier to try to boost your ranking when there are 200,000 videos, as opposed to 9 million videos. Long tail keywords deliver better results and drive more interested leads to your YouTube video.

If you are struggling to figure out the right long tail keywords for your campaign, try using YouTube search suggestion feature. If you typed in “Banana nut bread” into the search bar, you’d see a list of search topics.

suggestions search feature youtube

These are all topics that people are already searching, so you know they have the possibility of generating leads for your business. You can use this search suggestion feature to help you figure the right long tail keywords for your campaign.

By focusing on long tail keywords, you will generate better results for your YouTube SEO ranking.

2. Optimize your videos for keywords

When you want to rank for certain keywords on Google, you integrate them into your site. The same practice is used for YouTube and video SEO. If you want to see the best results with your campaign, you need to integrate keywords when you upload videos to YouTube.

There are various places you can use the keyword to help your video rank. The first place is the title of your video. If you want to rank for a certain topic, you need to use the keyword in the title of your video.

Another place is the video description. This is where users find information about the context of the video. You want to integrate the keyword into your description text to help your video rank better.

If you want to avoid keyword stuffing, you should only integrate the keyword a handful of time. YouTube descriptions tend to be short, so using the keyword too often will result in keyword stuffing. You can avoid this by only using the keyword 1-4 times in your description.

When you integrate keywords, you’ll also want to make sure that you have video tags related to the keyword. You’ll want to have a tag for the original keyword, as well as any variations of your keyword. This ensures that your video appears in related searches, too.

Lastly, you want to say the keyword in your video. YouTube transcribes your video when you post it. They look out for keywords that explain the context of your video.

If they hear you using a certain keyword, they will understand your video is about a certain topic. This will help your video rank better in the search results. You can help your video perform better by optimizing it for your keywords.

3. Get your video to rank in Google

Have you ever conducted a search on Google and gotten YouTube videos in the results? YouTube videos are starting to become a viable answer to Google search queries. It is important that you try to get your videos to rank in Google.

If your videos don’t appear in Google, you are only driving in organic traffic from YouTube. By optimizing your videos for Google, you can obtain valuable traffic through both platforms. You will obtain more traffic for your videos, which can help you gain more viewers and subscribers.

So, how do you get your video to rank in Google?

Google is very particular about the types of videos that appear in their search results. You won’t see videos in every Google search query. Google namely includes videos in the search results that are how-tos, reviews, or tutorials.

You can see if your keywords generate videos by typing it into Google. If other videos appear, you have a good chance of trying to rank in the Google search results.

P.S. Getting more traffic to your video can also make YouTube monetization a reality!

4. Make your videos interesting

Audience retention is the most important part of videos and video SEO as well. You need to keep your audience engaged in your videos and watching them for as long as possible. YouTube bases a good chunk of their rankings on the audience retention length.

Like Google, YouTube wants to promote videos that are interesting to users. If people are spending a long time watching your videos, they will assume it is helpful to your audience. They will rank your videos higher, so more people can find them.

You need to create interesting videos, so you can keep your audience engaged. The goal is to get your audience to watch your videos as long as possible (if not to the end). This will help you build up your retention rate.

If your videos are interesting, you will evoke conversation. You’ll entice people to comment on your videos and leave feedback about it. Commenting boosts your ranking, too, so you’ll want to create engaging videos that get your audience involved.

5. Customize your thumbnails

Your video’s thumbnail is like the cover of a book. People will judge your video by the thumbnail. You need to create a thumbnail that entices your audience to click on your video.

If you want to see the best results, you should create a custom thumbnail. Many businesses make their thumbnail from a portion of their YouTube video. This doesn’t help you garner interest in your videos.

youtube video thumbnails

By creating a custom thumbnail, you have control over capturing your audience’s attention. You can create a thumbnail that will get them interested in your video and entice them to watch it. It will help your video perform better and earn more views, which will improve your YouTube SEO ranking.

6. Use strong calls to action (CTAs)

When you create your videos, you need to provide a call to action (CTA) in them. A CTA is important because it tells viewers what you want them to do next.

After viewers watch your video, you want them to subscribe to your channel. They may not know how to subscribe or may not be thinking about it. That is why it is important to integrate a CTA into the end of your video.

When you earn subscribers after people watch your video, it boosts your videos ranking. It’s a great way to improve your YouTube SEO.

7. Promote your videos

If you want your videos to be successful, you need to promote them. People will come across your videos on YouTube and through certain Google searches, but you need to generate traffic other ways.

You can promote your videos in different ways. One way to promote your videos is by searching on Q&A sites. People often use these sites to ask questions about topics or ideas that don’t understand.

This is an opportunity for you to answer their questions and promote your videos. You can share your knowledge and encourage these people to check out your videos for further understanding. It’s a great way to generate more traffic on your videos.

youtube video share on facebook

You can also add videos to your emails. You don’t need to make them the star of your email, but you can add a link to your video somewhere in your email. If people read your emails thoroughly, they’ll check out the link to your videos.

A great place to share videos is social media. These platforms are great for posting and sharing videos. You can garner more views and followers by sharing these videos with your social media followers.

It’s also best practice to embed videos into your site and your blog. This helps you drive traffic from your site to your YouTube page. So, if you want to help your videos perform better, you’ll want to promote them.

8. Be consistent

If you want to improve your YouTube SEO, you need to be consistent with posting your videos. You want to keep your subscribers interested and engaged with your videos.

Consistency is important because it builds loyalty with your audience. You will keep them interested and coming back to watch your videos. You need to be consistent, so your audience knows when you will publish new videos.

You’ll want to stick to posting the same time each day, week, or month. If you decide to post videos every Wednesday at 9 a.m., you need to stick to that schedule. It will help build a routine for your audience and they will know when to expect videos.

You can use analytics tools, like YouTube Studio, to monitor your engagement metrics to help determine the best time to post on YouTube.

By being consistent, you will improve your YouTube SEO and keep your audience engaged. It’s a great way to build up your list of subscribers and keep your subscribers coming back to watch your videos.

9. Update your channel

Believe it or not, YouTube SEO goes further than your YouTube videos. An important part of your SEO is making sure your YouTube channel accurately reflects your business.

To optimize your channel, start by setting your channel keywords. These tell YouTube what type of content you create.

You can update these channel-level keywords in your settings under the “Channel” tab.

channel keywords

The organization of your channel also helps direct people to new videos.

Spend some time creating playlists of related videos if you don’t already have some. Then, click the “Customize Channel” button to add your playlists to your page.

You might want to feature your most popular videos or the videos that generate the most subscribers.

Make sure your channel art represents your business, too. It should match your brand and communicate what people can expect from your channel.

We can’t stress enough how important your overall channel is when it comes to SEO for YouTube.

10. Use YouTube’s interactive elements

YouTube offers its End Screen and Card features to help keep people watching your channel. Take advantage of them!

At the end of your videos, use the End Screen feature to direct people to other related videos. You can also add a subscribe button to create loyal fans.

end screen elements

Use Cards strategically throughout your videos to keep people on your channel, too.

youtube cards

If you have a video that has a lot of people watching until the end and you want to drive traffic to a related video that isn’t getting as much traffic as you’d like, use the less popular video in an End Screen element for the popular video.

11. Engage with YouTube comments

YouTube wants people to engage with your content. It is a social media platform, after all.

That means when people comment on your videos, you should take time to respond.

sephora engagement

Try to start conversations with your audience. If it makes sense, respond to a comment with a question or pin a comment asking for related responses.

Don’t let good comments go unanswered. A simple, “Thank you,” can go a long way for your YouTube video SEO.

WebFX is a top YouTube SEO company

If you’re going to put in the time and effort to create videos for your audience, you want to make sure they are optimized to reach as many people as possible. You need to take the necessary steps to improve your YouTube SEO ranking for your videos. At WebFX, we know how to improve your video’s ranking to help you reach more viewers.

We’re a full-service digital marketing company that specializes in YouTube SEO marketing and SEO. We have a team of 500+ experts that are dedicated to your campaign. Our award-winning team will help you create and optimize videos that perform better for your business.

If you’re looking for results, we know how to drive them. To date, we’ve driven over $6 billion in sales and over 24 million leads for our clients. We focus on putting our clients’ success first before anything else.

Our clients love the work we do, too. In fact, we have over 1,100 client testimonials from a variety of industries. Check them out to see what it’s like to partner with a top YouTube SEO company like WebFX!

Partner with a team of ecommerce masters!

WebFX campaigns have delivered more than 14,936,451 ecommerce transactions in the last 5 years

Read the Case Studies arrow right
cta2 img

Get started today

If you’re ready to start earning more viewers, subscribers, and conversions through YouTube SEO and video SEO, contact us online or call us today at 888-601-5359 to speak with a strategist. We can help you with the ins and outs of YouTube StudioYouTube ads, and so much more. We can also help you undertand the many benefits you can experience with YouTube advertising!

We look forward to helping your business grow!