Skip To Main Content
June 9, 2021 - By Barron Rosborough

YouTube SEO: 8 Things You Should Do and 2 Things to Avoid to Boost Your Search Ranking

Having a great video does not guarantee you a high number of views on YouTube. 

You can have all the skills and expertise in creating content, and your video could be the most helpful and relevant to the user’s needs.  

Still, no one would be able to watch it if they could not find it. And given the vast number of videos on the platform, it is very easy to disappear into obscurity if you don’t pay attention.

Making a great video is only half the battle. You need an additional strategy to make your content searchable, and this is where YouTube SEO comes in.   

An Introduction to YouTube SEO Strategy

YouTube is perhaps the biggest video platform in the world. However, much like its parent company Google, it is ultimately a search engine. 

In fact, it serves around three billion searches every month, putting it right behind Google as the largest search engine globally. 

As a search engine, YouTube has its own set of SEO practices that might take some getting used to. Still, its optimization process may look a bit different, but make no mistake, it is still SEO, and you need it to help YouTube users find your videos more easily.      

How Can Ranking Your YouTube Video Help?

Optimizing for YouTube, in and of itself, will not earn you money or make you successful. It makes your videos easier to find and puts you in a better position to achieve all these things. 

Whether you are a business owner looking to boost sales or an individual vying for ad revenue, there is no doubt that you can benefit from a high number of views. 

As more and more people watch your videos, your brand will grow. They will share your creations through social media channels like Facebook and Instagram, allowing you to reach a broader audience. 

What’s more, companies will be more interested in posting ads on your YouTube page, creating an additional source of income. 

How to Implement an Effective YouTube SEO Strategy

Your search ranking is the users’ gateway to your content, whether in or out of Youtube. It is essential to optimize for you to reach as many viewers as possible. 

However, as mentioned before, YouTube is a little bit different from Google when it comes to SEO. Here’s how you optimize your content on the video platform. 

Research the Most Relevant Keywords

Keyword research is the starting point of YouTube optimization, just like it is with Google. It involves the same basic principles: your keywords must describe your content accurately and match the terms that users enter in the search field. 

What makes it different is the search terms themselves. Since the content is in video format, you can expect to find phrases like “how-to” or “what to.”

There are many ways to do keyword research. The fastest and simplest is by using the Search Suggest feature. Type the search terms relevant to your video, then look at the keyword suggestions given by YouTube.    

Another way is to use the YouTube search report, which shows you the search terms that the viewers entered when they found your video.

If you end up with a long list of potential keywords, there are online tools that can help you whittle it down, like AdWords Keyword Planner and UberSuggest.   

Optimize the Title of Your Video

Once you have identified the right keywords to use, make sure that you add them to the title of your video. If possible, make it more specific by using long-tail keywords. 

Your title is one of the first things that potential viewers will see, and it will give them a better idea of what your content is about. It will also let YouTube know what your topic is. 

Aside from the title, change the video file name to include the keywords you are competing for.

Optimize Your Tags 

One of the most useful features when it comes to optimization is tagging. YouTube uses these tags when considering which videos to serve to its users, and strategic tagging will boost your search ranking and allow you to reach more viewers.    

To optimize your tags, use semantically related keywords that are linked to your main keywords. However, use around ten to 12 tags only to avoid overdoing it. 

Optimize Your Video Description

Similar to the title, the video description is extremely effective in helping YouTube, and its users understand what your content is all about. 

Make it count by adding your main keywords early in the text. This will make it easier for YouTube’s bots to see your keywords and crawl your page. 

Additionally, potential viewers will see your keywords right away without having to click “Show More,” giving them a good idea about the topic of your content. 

However, make sure that it does not look forced, so the viewer does not have a hard time understanding it.     

Make Your Thumbnail Stand Out

Your thumbnail offers a quick snapshot of your video offerings as viewers browse YouTube, and it is essential to your SEO journey. 

While it is not technically included in the ranking factors, it plays an important role in helping viewers decide which videos to watch. Creating a compelling thumbnail leads to more views, and more views mean higher search rankings. 

Ask for Viewer Comments

As a search engine, YouTube is designed to help its users by offering the most relevant videos based on their needs. A big part of its decision-making process is considering which content is popular. One of the best ways for YouTube to decide this is with viewer comments.

To make the most of this opportunity, encourage your viewers to leave comments after watching your video.   

Ask Your Viewers to Subscribe

Your number of subscribers is an important ranking factor in YouTube optimization. Compared to likes and comments, which are one-time actions, subscribing requires an ongoing commitment that only loyal viewers would do. YouTube’s search algorithm sees it as a vote of confidence in terms of the value that your video can offer to its viewers.  

Invest Time in Your Closed Captions

YouTube offers automatic captioning, which uses speech recognition technology to create captions. However, the machine learning algorithm being used sometimes has difficulty transcribing spoken content due to accents, mispronunciations, background noise, and other factors. 

Make sure that your closed captions are accurate by taking time to edit the mistakes. This will allow you to serve viewers who could not hear very well or at all. It can also boost your ranking as closed captions are being crawled by YouTube’s bots.  

SEO Mistakes to Avoid

There are many things that you can and should do to boost your search ranking, but there are also mistakes that you must avoid. 

Not Mentioning Your Keywords in Your Videos 

YouTube’s algorithm could not watch videos, but it could access your closed captions. If it does not see your keywords anywhere in the transcription, it might have a harder time knowing what your video is about. 

Ignoring Off-Page Metrics 

Some of the most critical factors in YouTube optimization have to do with the action of your viewers and not with what you do, specifically, how long they watch your video. It is important to keep track of key performance metrics like this so you can make better decisions about your content.

To sum up, YouTube offers a level playing field. It does not matter if you have a limited budget or few resources. All you need is a camera and a free video editor, and you are good to go. With the right SEO strategy, you can create viral videos that engage viewers and help you achieve your business goals.