How to do SEO for YouTube – tips and strategies

How to do SEO for YouTube – tips and strategies

In 2023, the video format has not lost any of its power and is still one of the best types of content to implement in your marketing strategy.

At the moment, YouTube is the second most visited website in the world, second only to Google, which also owns the platform. And because YouTube is a search engine, videos require the same optimization as regular web pages.

In addition, optimizing your videos not only brings a higher position in the ranking on YouTube, but also significantly increases the chances of appearing in Google search results.

Let’s see together the essential steps for SEO optimization of videos, as well as of the YouTube channel.

Step 1: Search for keywords on YouTube

Work smarter, not harder is the approach you must have when it comes to marketing.

  1. Find related keywords

As with many other things in  SEO , video optimization begins with  thorough keyword research . In this step, you need to find the most relevant keywords for your niche and the keywords that people tend to use when searching for a product or service similar to yours.

One of the most reliable tools for this task is  Google Keyword Planner . This tool gives you many variations of keywords, along with a score for the level of competition.

  1. Analyze search trends

Another way to enrich your keyword list with strong target phrases and get an idea of ​​the search trends in your industry is to use YouTube’s autocomplete feature. This method is extremely useful because it allows you to collect keywords that people actually type into YouTube.

You can also jump to popular videos that are similar to yours and copy the keywords they were optimized for. Also, with the help of YouTube’s autocomplete feature, you can collect dozens of ideas for future videos.

Google Trends  is also an excellent tool for analyzing search trends and comparing keywords according to their popularity. In order for the tool to provide you with specific YouTube data, you just need to switch from the Web Search option to the YouTube Search option.

Besides the fact that it gives you an idea of ​​what is happening in your industry at the moment, the tool will show you how the number of searches changes monthly over time and estimates the popularity of keywords in a certain geographical area. Google Trends is very useful when you have found a list of keywords and want to compare them with each other in terms of popularity.

  1. Keywords from Google Search

I’m sure you often notice YouTube videos appearing on the Google results pages for certain keywords. In fact, approximately 20-40% of YouTube traffic comes from organic search. Therefore, collecting and optimizing videos for such keywords can significantly increase your chances of fighting for a place in Google’s organic search results.

The best way to collect such terms is to enter your target keywords into  Rank Tracker  and see if the result pages include videos – this way you can identify the keywords that are more likely to place a video in the organic search results.

Step 2: Optimize video metadata

Like it or not, because Google and YouTube have implemented machine learning for object recognition, YouTube can now identify objects in your videos and estimate their relevance to a particular search. In this way, video metadata has lost some of its value, but that does not mean that it should not be optimized.

These are very important because they are exactly what users consider when deciding whether or not to click on your video. It is also advisable to upload a video with already optimized metadata instead of optimizing it 48 hours after publication, because otherwise the algorithm will mark it as a bit suspicious.

Here’s how you can optimize your video metadata to please both viewers and YouTube:

  1. Create a keyword rich title

I think it is not surprising that the title of a video is the first and sometimes the only thing that users look for when evaluating the relevance of the video. For this reason, a perfect title should include the keywords you want to rank for and summarize the topic of the video. Try to make it interesting, but don’t make false promises or excessive text (don’t intentionally click-buster).

As a rule, videos that contain exact matching keywords in the title rank much better. The explanation is quite simple – users see exactly what they entered in the search bar, so those videos seem more relevant.

Additionally, your titles must not exceed the 60 character limit or they will be truncated.

  1. Optimize the description

While video descriptions can be up to 1,000 characters long, the first 100 characters (2-3 lines of text) are the most important, as this is the text viewers see before they have to click “Show more” “. That’s why it’s important to place keywords, CTA and links to social media accounts at the beginning.

Another way to go is to include a transcript in the description. However, I wouldn’t recommend relying entirely on YouTube’s automatic transcripts. Be sure to proofread them as needed.

  1. Create a personalized thumbnail image

The thumbnail is the first thing that comes to mind when searching, because visual information is perceived much faster than text. And it often happens that people judge a book by its cover and decide whether to watch or overlook your videos based on the quality, value of information and aesthetic appeal of the preview. That’s why I wouldn’t recommend choosing from the selection of thumbnails that YouTube automatically generates.

First, to ensure that your thumbnails look equally good on all devices, make sure they meet the technical requirements listed below:

  • 1280×720 pixels
  • 16:9 aspect ratio
  • < 2MB
  • format.jpg,.gif,.bmp or.png.

Of course, your thumbnail should be attractive to convince users to click on your video. It’s also a good idea to add text to the thumbnail to make it more informative.

  1. Add video tags – meta tags

Optimizing video tags helps users discover your videos – they also appear as “keywords” in the source code. The best way to get an idea of ​​which tags to add to your videos is to see what your competitors are using: install TubeBuddy and the tool will show you the exact tags used to optimize your video.

When it comes to optimization, it’s best to start with longer, more specific tags (like “how to seo an article”) and then narrow them down to more generic sentences (like “seo article”) .

  1. Add hashtags

Using hashtags is another way to increase the chances of your videos being found. All you have to do is add them to the video description and they will appear above the video title. Since hashtags were recently added to the platform, some of your older videos may not be optimized for hashtags, so don’t forget to add them.

It is also important that the hashtags you add reflect what users expect to see after typing or clicking on a hashtag. It’s also important to remember that YouTube limits the number of hashtags for a single video to 15, so don’t overdo it.

Step 3: Improve user retention and engagement

Since viewing time and audience retention have become ranking factors, YouTube rewards videos that retain users for a longer period of time, because they better meet the quality criteria of the content. In addition, some engagement indicators, such as comments, have a strong correlation with YouTube rankings. Here’s how you can increase viewing time, user retention and engagement.

  1. Optimized for viewing time

The best place to start optimizing your watch time is by analyzing watch time reports, which can provide invaluable information about average watch time, average watch percentage and audience retention. This data will help you understand how involved your viewers are and identify the weak points of the strategy.

If you see that the viewers do not get past the introduction, it could mean that it is too long. If so, try to eliminate all unnecessary context and go straight to the point.

  1. Encourage Engagement

Just like viewing time, likes, subscriptions and comments have a very strong correlation with rankings. The first step to encouraging viewers to interact with your videos is to identify areas for improvement. And there’s no better way to do that than with YouTube Analytics – it lets you see exactly which videos are generating subscribers and unsubscribes, as well as where video content is most popular.

To encourage your viewers to comment, consider asking them a direct question at the end of the video. And, of course, make sure you respond to generate further discussion and let your audience feel heard.

Another strategy that is gaining popularity, especially among bloggers, are contests that require viewers to like, subscribe and comment. Of course, many will unsubscribe immediately after the giveaway ends, but in any case, a large number of new subscribers can give your video a significant boost in rankings.

  1. Improve your channel

One of the best ways to improve your channel and add interactivity to your videos is to implement  Cards . These can be of 6 different types, depending on what you are willing to promote: channel cards, links, surveys, videos or playlists and donations.

End screens can also be very helpful if you want to draw viewers to your other videos and gain additional viewing time. Add end screens in the last 5-20 seconds and promote a video, playlist or other channel, encourage viewers to subscribe or take any valuable action for your business.

Considering that 85% of videos on Facebook are watched with the volume turned off, adding subtitles has become a necessity. In addition, they are an excellent opportunity to make your videos easy to understand for viewers with hearing impairments or those who speak another language;

And the last thing I want to draw your attention to is the quality of your videos. The fact is that videos in HD format are much more popular both for viewers and for YouTube – 68.2% of videos on the first page of YouTube are in HD. So make sure you switch to HD video format if you haven’t already.

Step 5. Arm yourself with powerful YouTube SEO tools

Of course, with powerful YouTube SEO tools on your side, many otherwise time-consuming tasks can be completed in no time. So here’s a selection of great YouTube SEO tools to try.

  1. YouTube Analytics

YouTube Analytics – Best for overall YouTube channel performance analysis.

The tool is irreplaceable when it comes to understanding your audience and how they interact with your videos. It should also be mentioned that YouTube has recently moved from “Creator Studio” to a simpler and more intuitive “YouTube Studio Beta”.

Basically, the tool shows the overall performance of the channel and data about specific videos. YouTube Analytics allows you to discover the viewing habits of viewers, analyze demographic data and find out where your traffic is coming from.

There are some new metrics in the updated version of the tool, such as impressions, impressions click-through rate, and unique viewers. In addition to all this, the new YouTube Analytics compares the performance of the most recent videos with the previous ones, to allow you to track your progress.

  1. RNA tracker

Rank Tracker  – Great for checking YouTube rankings, keyword research and analysis.

With Rank Tracker, you can set YouTube as your preferred search engine, track your rankings, and monitor the results of your videos in SERPs. The tool also allows you to collect keywords with 23 keyword research methods, including YouTube Autocomplete, and then compare them with the most important SEO indicators.

  1. Canva

Canva  : great for creating YouTube channel graphics and thumbnails.

Canva is a freemium graphics app that offers a huge selection of templates for all types of images, including custom video thumbnails. The application has a free version, which is slightly limited in the number of templates and members.

However, if you decide to invest in a paid subscription, you will have access to a huge image database (300,000 images), as well as the possibility to upload your own fonts and color palettes.

  1. TubeBuddy

TubeBuddy  – Great for YouTube channel management and video optimization.

TubeBuddy is a free extension that will make the work ten times easier for everything related to YouTube channel management. Because it is an extension, you can operate YouTube without switching to an external application. With TubeBuddy, you can monitor live video statistics, track social shares and get suggestions for video optimization.

The best thing about the tool is that it displays the above mentioned data for all YouTube videos. In this way, you can see how your competitors are optimizing their content and you can analyze how your videos perform against the competition.


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