YouTube SEO: THE ULTIMATE Guide

yt feature img final

In this step-by-step guide, I will teach you how to rank YouTube videos.

In this guide, we’ll cover:

– Keyword Research for YouTube

– Optimizing Video Content

– Video Titles and Descriptions

– Engagement Signals

– YouTube Channel Optimization

– Analytics and Performance Tracking

– Advanced YouTube SEO Strategie


Let’s get into it.

Table of Contents

Introduction to YouTube SEO

Have you ever wondered why some YouTube videos seem to get a lot more views than others?

Or how big YouTubers can grow their channels so quickly?

The answer is YouTube SEO.

It’s important because it helps your videos appear higher in search results.

It also helps get recommended on the YouTube home page.

In this section, I’ll show you the basics of YouTube SEO and how to optimize your videos to get more views.

Understanding the Importance of YouTube SEO

YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world after Google.



People search for things on YouTube just like they do on Google.

The only difference, people are searching for videos instead of web pages.

This means if you optimize your videos for search, more people will be able to find them when looking for content related to your topic.

YouTube SEO is important because around 70% of traffic on YouTube comes from searches and recommendations.

People usually only click on the top few results they see.

So it’s important to rank higher and get your video recommended.



The higher your video ranks, the more views it will get from search traffic.

YouTube SEO is also important for building an audience over time.

As more people find and watch your videos, YouTube will recommend your channel and videos to new viewers with similar interests.

Difference between YouTube SEO and Traditional SEO

YouTube and Google are both owned by the same company.


However, there are some differences in how SEO works between these two platforms.

Unlike websites, YouTube favors video metadata like titles, descriptions, and tags instead of on-page elements.

It’s also important to optimize both audio and visual content for search since YouTube understands speech.

Here are some of the key factors that affect YouTube SEO
:


Titles

The most important ranking factor.

A title should be attractive, accurate and include important keywords.

Descriptions

The description provides an overview of the video and is important for SEO and accessibility.

Include important keywords, hashtags, and a call to action to get higher rankings.

Tags

Tags help YouTube algo to understand what the video is all about.

Use relevant and long-tail keywords and try to rank for competitive terms over time by using medium-tail keywords as well.

Captions

Adding captions allows YouTube to understand the full audio content for search.

They also help the video get more accessible.

Thumbnails

This one if done well can be crucial.

An attractive, recognizable thumbnail makes more clicks.

Don’t forget, to keep text minimal so it’s recognizable in small sizes
.

Playlists & End Screens

Organize playlists and use clickable end screens to help viewers find more content like yours.

Likes, Comments & Shares

User engagement signals to YouTube that the video is popular and deserves more exposure through recommendations.

Actionable YouTube SEO Tips

 

Now that you understand the basics of YouTube SEO, here are some practical tips you can use to optimize your videos for more views and engagement:

  • Do keyword research to find topics people search for regularly using the Keyword Planner tool.

  • Write catchy, optimized titles and descriptions focused around your keyword.

  • Include your target keyword naturally in the first 15 seconds of audio/visual content.

  • Use relevant hashtags at the end of the description for additional exposure.

  • Add multiple, long-tail related keywords as tags to expand your reach.

  • Upload transcripts/captions and check them for accuracy after uploading.

  • Add Link-related videos at the end to keep viewers watching more content.

  • Regularly engage with comments and develop a community around your channel.

  • Analyze the performance of different videos in YouTube Studio to improve future uploads.

With some SEO understanding and strategy, you can start optimizing your YouTube videos to rank higher and get found by more interested viewers.

Remember consistency is key!

Don’t be discouraged if your video doesn’t start getting views immediately.

That’s normal.

Sometimes it takes a couple of months until you see the first results.

Be diligent about metadata and work on developing your audience over time.


YouTube’s Hidden Rules: Crack the Code to More Views

Do you know how YouTube picks what videos to show to people?

There’s a secret code!

And it’s called an algorithm.

YouTube’s algorithm sorts through all the videos to find the best ones to show to people searching on YouTube.

There are a few important things YouTube looks at when deciding which videos to show first.

Ranking factors help YouTube figure out what videos people will like best.



If your video does well in these areas, it has a better chance of being found!


Let’s break down YouTube’s top-ranking factors:

Popularity

Videos that are already getting a lot of views will be ranked higher.

So make good videos that people want to keep watching! 

Things like hooks that keep viewers watching longer help a video catch on.

Watch Time

YouTube wants people to use YouTube for a long time.

So videos that keep people watching until the end will rank better.

Cut unnecessary parts that make viewers click away.

Engagement

Videos with high shares, likes, comments do better.

People engaging with a video tell YouTube others may find it interesting too.

Ask for likes and shares to boost engagement!

Relevance

A video should be about what people searched for.

Keywords in the title, description, and tags help YouTube understand what your video is about to pick it for the right searches.

Video Quality

High-quality audio/video, smooth playback, works on all devices.

Test your video to fix issues before uploading for the best results.

Uploads

Fresh uploads rank higher temporarily as YouTube spots trend.

Drip-feed uploads for steady viewer growth instead of all at once.

So, focus videos on popularity, engagement and relevance factors through quality, watch-friendly content and interaction calls!

YouTube’s tests found these things are the best indicators most people will find a video interesting.

But how does the algorithm impact search results?

It analyzes viewer behavior data like what % of searchers clicked each result.

Videos most likely to satisfy searchers rise to the top over time as more data comes in, while poorer results slide down.

It aims to order videos from best to least likely.


Some key ways YouTube’s algorithm affects searches
:

Popular topics rank higher videos are more likely to interest many people.



So focus videos on trending, familiar topics you can rank for with search volume.

Recency impacts new uploads as YouTube hasn’t gathered as much data on how searchers respond to them yet, giving them a temporary boost that fades.

Plan drip-feed uploads rather than bulk to take advantage.

Click-through is very important.

Videos viewers are more likely to click after searching for something rise in results.

Make intriguing, helpful thumbnails and titles that gain clicks.

Misleading metadata like titles/thumbnails not reflecting the video content gets filtered down.

Be relevant and accurate in descriptors for viewers to find you!

Channels with more overall views, subscribers, and engagement perform better as that data shows their content matches what people look for.

Grow your audience over many quality videos.

So in summary

– Aim videos to interest big audiences.
– Refresh uploads regularly
– Craft perfect metadata for clicks
– And become an established, engaging channel over many videos for best discovery on YouTube’s most searched-for topics!

Understanding the algorithm is key to using YouTube and its search popularity effectively for your content goals.

YouTube's Secret Ranking System

You may have noticed that sometimes a newer video shows up above an older, more popular one.

This is because YouTube’s algorithm is constantly adjusting video rankings based on new data.


Here are a few ways it can impact search results
:

Trending Topics

Videos about very current events may get a boost for a short period thanks to people searching about it a lot right now.

User Location

A video’s rank can differ based on the searcher’s location due to localized interest and viewing behavior.

Related Videos

Clicking through related videos trains the algorithm that those videos are a good match, potentially boosting their rank over similar but less related videos.

Watches vs. Searches

Raw watch numbers help, but if no one finds it by searching related keywords, it may still rank lower than a less-watched but more discoverable video.

Making sure your videos are engaging, relevant, and findable will help them stay competitive over time as YouTube’s algorithms continually adapt search rankings based on new user data and behavior.

Understanding the key factors is half the battle for top rankings in YouTube searches!


Keyword Research for YouTube Success

How do YouTube creators come up with video ideas that attract tons of views?

In this section, we will go through in-depth details.

But in short, the secret is in the keywords.

The words and phrases people search to find videos.

Doing research to find the best keywords is essential if you want your videos to be discovered.

Keep reading to learn some easy tips and tricks for finding keywords that can help more people find.

And enjoy!

Your videos.


Why Keywords Are Key

YouTube is like a big library.

Full of videos.

But with one big difference.

People have to be able to find what they’re looking for!

When someone searches on YouTube, the search engine looks for videos tagged with keywords related to what was typed in.

If your video uses the right keywords, it has a better chance of showing up in searches and getting more views.

Leaving out important keywords means missed opportunities.

Your video may be great, but fewer people will see it.

Some keywords are more popular than others.

Popular keywords mean more searches, so videos with those words get found more.

But very generic keywords like “funny videos” are also very competitive.

Lots of videos try to target those words.

Finding keywords that get good search traffic but not too many competing videos is the goal.

That’s where keyword research comes in!


Tools to Try

YouTube’s free keyword research tools can help you find good keyword ideas to target in your video’s title, description, and tags.


Here are a few to check out:

YouTube Creator Studio

The Explore tab lets you search keywords and see search volume and competition.

You can narrow results by location, too.

TubeBuddy and VidIQ

Free browser extensions that make keyword research on YouTube easy.

Show search stats right on YouTube pages.

Google Keyword Planner

Part of Google Ads, it has search volume data for YouTube too.

Only need a Google account, no Ads spendingis required.

SEO Powersuite Keyword Explorer


Browser-based tool that finds related keywords with search volume, monthly searches and competition.

Using these tools, focus on long-tail keywords – phrases of 3+ words.

These tend to have lower competition than single-word keywords.

See which ones are searched 500+ times per month globally.


Competition is Key

Once you find keywords people search, you also want to check how many existing videos already target that keyword.

View counts, likes/dislikes, and upload dates of top videos indicate competition level.

If the top videos have thousands or millions of views, it will be hard to rank for that term.

Good targets are keywords with top videos only having hundreds or thousands of views.

There’s more opportunity to rank higher when competition isn’t as steep.

You may have to target several long-tail keywords instead of one very popular keyword.


Try Analyzing Competirors

Looking at your competitor’s videos is a smart tactic.

Look at the top videos for keywords you’re considering.

Pay attention to their:

Titles – What exact keywords do they use? Any you missed?

Descriptions – Which extra keywords do they target that could help you too?

Tags – What else are they optimizing for that relates to the topic?

Duplicating competitors exactly isn’t wise, but learning the keywords they successfully rank for gives you more options for your optimization.

Make sure to also bring your unique spin!

Creating Your Core Message

To tie everything together cohesively in your video, develop a core message or theme that incorporates your keyword research.

For example, if you want to rank for keywords like “easy piano songs for beginners”, your video could be titled “3 Easy Songs to Learn on Piano for Beginners.”

Weave the most important keywords naturally into your script and throughout your video description, focusing first on the highest volume, and lowest competition terms.

Proper keyword optimization takes some prep work but pays off with more eyes on your creations!

Creating Videos That captivate and Inspire

You probably watched a video that was so interesting you didn’t notice the time passing by?

Those are the kinds of videos people want to create.

Ones that engage and inspire their audience.

In this chapter, we’ll look at some tips for optimizing your video content so viewers want to stick around until the very end.

Video Length and Attention Spans

One important factor is deciding how long your video should be.

Most people’s attention spans these days are fairly short, usually only a few minutes.

But you don’t need to limit your videos to just a couple of minutes either.

Studies show the sweet spot is between 5-10 minutes.

Videos in this length range keep people engaged but not bored.

It’s ok to go longer too if your content warrants it.

Documentaries and tutorial-style videos can be 30 minutes or more.

The key is keeping things dynamic by changing up the pace, visuals, and adding in things like quizzes or call-to-actions to break it up.

Transitions are also important to move smoothly between topics.

Viewer Retention Matters

You’ll want to keep your viewers watching as long as possible.

Analytics tools can show you the viewer retention rate – how long on average people are watching your video.

Aim for at least 50% retention – meaning half your viewers watch at least half the video.

Anything over 60% is great.

Some tips to boost retention

– Starting with an attention-grabbing introduction
– Speaking clearly at a good pace
– Sprinkling in highlights and key takeaways throughout
– Ending strongly with a conclusion and next steps

Keep the content relevant and avoid filler.

Tell stories to engage emotions.

Ask questions and call viewers to action.

Script it Out

Developing a script before you start recording is very important.

It ensures you stay on message and cover all the important points.

Writing it like you’d speak makes it feel more natural on camera too.

Be sure to include helpful headers, transition phrases, and timing estimates to keep things flowing nicely during filming and editing.

Consider your keywords and topics as you write.

Weaving those naturally into your narrative and repeats throughout boosts SEO and discoverability.

Just be authentic and don’t try to cram too much in unnaturally.

Viewers will notice and it turns them off.

Importance of Visuals

People process visual information 60,000 times faster than text.

So you want your videos to look polished and professional.


Good lighting, clear audio, and a neat background go a long way
.

Use b-roll footage, graphics, diagrams, and other visual elements to complement your words and break up blocks of just talking head.

Adding closed captions makes your video more accessible too.

People can watch videos silently or turn on captions for clarity.

It also improves SEO as search engines can now understand more of your content.

Just be sure grammar and timing are spot on.

Sharing is Caring

Once your video is ready, promote it widely to build your audience.

Share on social media, your blog, or your website.

Encourage others to share too by making it easy with link buttons and notifications.

People also like to see other viewers’ reactions, so consider turning on ratings and comments if appropriate.

With the right optimization and promotion, your videos can engage and inspire many people!

I hope these tips give you a helpful starting point for creating videos that captivate viewers and increase engagement.

Remember to focus on quality over quantity and constantly improve based on your analytics.

With practice, you’ll develop a knack for video storytelling that keeps people tuning in.


Video Titles and Descriptions: Tips for Making Yours the Best

“That title didn’t tell me what it was about”?

Did you face this question as well?

Or do you click on a video but you were confused because the description doesn’t explain it well?

Let’s see why this is so important.

Good video titles and descriptions are so important for helping people find and understand what your video is all about.

In this chapter, I’ll share some tips for making your titles and descriptions the best they can be so more people click and watch!


Crafting Compelling Video Titles with Keywords

A title is often the first thing someone sees about your video.

It needs to quickly catch their attention and let them know what your video is about.


Here are some tips
:

Include 2-3 relevant keywords.

Keywords are important words people might search to find videos like yours.

Look at related popular videos – their titles have keywords you can also use.

Make it understandable with just the title.

Your title should give a basic idea of what the video is about without needing to read the description.

Keep it short.

Long titles aren’t as eye-catching.

Most popular titles are under 50 characters.

Add numbers/lists when possible.

“5 Ways To…” or “Top 10…” titles tend to perform well because they create curiosity.

Ask questions that your video answers.

Questions in titles get clicks because viewers want to know the answer.

Use titles as headlines.

Write your title like an exciting news headline to grab attention fast.


Writing Descriptive and Keyword-Rich Descriptions

Your description should give viewers all the info they need to know if they want to watch.

Here are some tips:

Include 2-3 of your most important keywords, along with alternatives so more searchers can find you.

Briefly explain what the video is about in 2-3 sentences so people get the main idea fast.

Note any specifics that make your video special:

– Expert tips
– How-tos
– Behind-the-scenes extras, etc.

List what someone will learn so they know if it will help them.

Nobody wants to watch if they won’t get value.

Mention related keywords or topics to help search algorithms connect your video to similar topics.

For how-to videos, list the steps covered so people can choose fast if it applies to them.

Use concise, simple language a 5th grader could understand.

Big words won’t get your point across as well.

Stay under 150 words so it doesn’t look like too much text.

Busy viewers want short, helpful info fast.

Best Practices for Title and Description Lengths


When it comes to length, keep these recommended guidelines in mind
:

Title

Under 50 characters is best.

Up to 60 characters can still work.

No need for longer titles.

Description

125-150 words is the sweet spot.

Anything under 100 or over 200 words risks not being read or looking like too much text.

Bullet points

Break up longer descriptions into a bulleted list for easier reading on mobile.

Keywords first

Make sure keywords are within the first third of the description for search algorithms.

Test changes

A/B test title and description changes to see which versions get better performance.

Stick with what works!

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to crafting compelling titles and descriptions that attract more viewers to your videos.

Take time to optimize them based on your content, and don’t forget to keep testing new versions.

With practice, you’ll get better and better at promoting your videos.

Tags and Categories – How Can Boost Your YouTube Views

Tags and categories play a huge role in whether or not people can find your YouTube videos.

They’re like the file folders that help viewers search for and discover videos they want to see.

The tags and categories can attract more eyes to your video or leave it lost in the masses.

Learning how to use them properly will help boost your views.

Let’s start with tags

These are the words and short phrases you add below your video title when uploading.

Think of them as keywords that tell YouTube what your video is about.

You get 500 characters for tags, so choose them wisely!


Here are some tips
:

Include the main topic

For example, if your video is about how to draw cartoon animals, your first tag could be “how to draw cartoon animals.”

List specific animals/subjects

If you show how to draw a dog, cat, and rabbit, add those as individual tags too.

Mention any materials used

Things like “colored pencils” or “graphite pencils” are good tags.

Note techniques

Tags like “drawing tutorial” or “step by step” help people search for how-to videos.

Add personalities/brands

Your name and channel name can boost you in searches.

Use synonyms

Don’t just tag “drawing tutorial,” try “draw tutorial” or “art lesson” too for variety.

Choosing the right categories is also important

YouTube has many general and specific categories to help people find videos.

For a drawing lessons video, I’d select “Art & Design” as the main category and “Drawing” as the subcategory.

Knowing your topic and what searchers are looking for will help you pick categories wisely.

Once your tags and categories are set, YouTube’s search and recommendation algorithms get to work.

Anytime someone searches keywords you’ve tagged or browses a category you’ve been placed in, your video has a chance of appearing in search results or on related video lists.

The more people discover and watch your video this way, the more views it can earn over time.

Your tags are like virtual real estate for your video.

Use them well to attract an audience!

Want to take it a step further?

You can enhance your tags and categories even more by researching popular search terms and trending topics related to your content.

Google Keyword Planner and Tubular Insights are free tools creators use to find high-demand keywords and categories.

Get insight into what viewers are actively searching for, and optimize your metadata accordingly.

This extra step can supercharge your video’s discoverability on YouTube.

With some experimentation, you’ll get better at tagging and categorizing videos in a way that reflects your content and also taps into crowds of potential viewers.

Remember, it’s all about helping people easily find the videos you’ve worked hard to create.

Master these metadata skills, and you’ll be well on your way to boosting your YouTube views!

Now get out there and start tagging.

I can’t wait to see you blow up!

Let me know in the comment section below if any part of this was unclear or if you have any questions!

Proper use of tags and categories is a real game-changer for getting eyes on your videos.

Eye-Catching Visuals

By scrolling many posts fly by your eyes, or they all become a blur?

Too many words to read to many images to see.

But studies shown that pictures catch our attention where words often fail.

That’s why thumbnails, the small preview images that represent videos, articles, and other content, are so important



Now, we’ll look at how thumbnails can boost your click-through rates and engagement.

We’ll also discuss designing thumbnails that stop scrollers in their tracks.


The Impact of Thumbnails

Thumbnails act like a spotlight, guiding people’s eyes to your content.

Research shows thumbnails make a big difference in whether someone decides to click.

One study found click-through rates were 10-12% higher on posts with images versus text alone.

That’s a lot of potential missed views if you don’t have the right visual presentation.

It makes sense when you think about it.

We are very visual creatures.

Our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text.

Pictures activate more of our brain and create a stronger emotional response.

A good thumbnail primes viewers’ curiosity and tells a snippet of your content’s visual story before they even click play.

It helps people intuitively understand at a glance what value your video or article provides.

Designing Eye-Catching Thumbnails

So how do you create thumbnails that get noticed?

Here are some tips for crafting stand-out visuals:

Use bright, high-contrast colors like red and yellow

Studies show these “happy” colors command attention faster.

Feature people’s faces when possible

Human faces are powerful attention-grabbers because we are social creatures.

Keep it simple with one main focus or subject.

Too much going on can confuse the eye.

Consider close-up shots rather than wide landscape images

Getting up-close creates intimacy and impact.

Emotions like surprise and curiosity spark interest.



Include reactions shots that raise questions.

Use impactful text sparingly, usually across the bottom

Tell people what to expect in a few short words.

Make sure logos and watermarks don’t distract from the main image.

Keep them small and out of the way.

Follow design best practices like:

– Keeping a light-colored background, at least 300×300 pixels
– High resolution.

With some trial and error, you’ll start to get a feel for the types of thumbnails that work best for your particular content and audience.

Pay attention to which ones get the most clicks.

Those are doing something right visually.

Using Graphics and Text in Thumbnails

There are a few different approaches you can take to combining graphics and text in thumbnails.

Image only

For highly visual content like photos, videos, or tutorials, the main subject may be clear enough on its own without words.

Image with overlay text

Placing short descriptive text over the image helps convey the video topic or article angle at a glance.

Make sure the text doesn’t cover up too much of the visual.

Graphic element with text

Use iconic shapes, illustrations or minimal photos paired with 1-2 word headlines or questions.

Simplicity and readability are key here.

Split screen

Divide the thumbnail space and include the main subject/scene on one side with brief text on the other.

This keeps all info clearly visible together.

Experiments show people click text-only thumbnails 8% less.

So while captions can help, always lead with the visual hook first to really capture attention scrolling by.

Test different graphic-text combinations to see what performs best for your specific channels.

Iterate based on real click data until you’ve got a winning formula down.

Thumbnails may seem like a small detail, but they have a big impact on whether audiences choose to further engage with your content. 

Done right, thumbnails become a powerful marketing tool to drive traffic to valuable resources and grow your brand.

Promote Your YouTube Videos

Worked hard so far creating your YouTube videos?

But haven’t seen much traffic?

Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.

Promoting your videos takes creativity and effort, but it doesn’t have to be difficult.

Here are some sneaky strategies anyone can use to get more eyes on their YouTube channel.

Quora is Your Friend

You can share your videos on Quora.

This popular question-and-answer site gets over 100 million users each month.

Find questions related to your topic and share your video as an answer.

Give a brief summary then include a short description of your video and a link.

Be sure to format it as a YouTube link so it shows the thumbnail.



People on Quora love helpful answers with extra resources, so this is a great way for others to discover your channel.

Just keep answers focused on the question and don’t self-promote too much.

Link in Your Email Signature

Add a link to your latest video in your email signature.



Whenever you send an email for work or personal use, your video link will be shared.

Friends and colleagues may check it out when they see it.

Make sure to cycle through different videos over time so people keep coming back to see what’s new.

You can also include a short blurb about your channel to pique their interest.

Embed Videos in Blog Posts

If you have a blog related to your YouTube topics, embed your videos directly into posts.

This way, people reading won’t have to leave your site to watch.

Make the video large and prominently placed.


Introduce it with a few lines then add a full description, keywords and call to action underneath.

This cross-promotes your channels and keeps readers engaged on your site longer.

Optimize Your Channel Page

Spend time filling out your About section, add relevant tags and organize playlists to make your channel page attractive and easy to browse.

A polished channel reflects well on your brand and tells viewers you create quality content worth subscribing to.

Don’t forget a professional looking banner image too.

These small touches can result in more first impressions turning into subscribers.

Remind Viewers on Social Media

Share new videos across all your social profiles, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and any others your target audience uses.



Post at different times of day for maximum visibility.

Give a short teaser then link to YouTube.

You can also clip short portions of the video to share as native content on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

Encourage viewers to subscribe so they won’t miss future videos.

Be sure to consistently engage with your followers across all channels.

Hope this gives you some fresh ideas to get more eyes on your YouTube channel.

Creativity and persistence are key to growing an audience.

Have fun experimenting with new promotion tactics tailored for your specific niche and audience.

 

Your Turn

Ok guys, I hope you enjoyed.

Below in the comments, let me know if you used any of the mentioned strategies to improve your Youtube channel?

If yes, what exactly?

What worked for you?

Until next time. 

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x