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What Is YouTube SEO?

Introduction To YouTube SEO

The practice of optimizing your channel’s page, playlists, metadata, description, and videos are known as YouTube SEO. You can optimize your videos for the search engine on YouTube and other search engines. Users can find your videos using a variety of search engines including Google, Bing, and others.

YouTube SEO is the process of optimizing your YouTube videos and channel to improve their rankings on YouTube. Search engines like YouTube use a complex algorithm to determine how your videos appear in YouTube rankings. Optimizing YouTube can assist in increasing essential metrics such as follower count, brand awareness, website visits, and revenue.

YouTube optimization focuses on the number of viewers who have seen your video and how well it ranks in a specific category. Data shows that when brands optimize for YouTube search trends, they have seen a 50% increase in viewing time over the last three years.

Understanding the benefits of YouTube SEO

YouTube SEO generates new video content ideas.

Like any other SEO strategy, the first stage of YouTube SEO is to analyze keyword data. New web videos are released daily, and staying current is critical. YouTube can be configured as a search engine within Google Trends to identify terms that are becoming more popular on the video platform. On the other hand, Google Trends does not provide data on search volumes but rather an indicator of relative popularity.’ Use Ahrefs Keyword Explorer to collect YouTube search data, which includes metrics from YouTube searches.

YouTube SEO
YouTube SEO

Like how search data can inspire website content, it can also spark ideas for videos. Search Engine Optimization tools can provide YouTube search data that will assist SEOs and content creators in capturing consumer interests and providing an overview of what is being searched on YouTube around a specific brand or industry.  

YouTube SEO indirectly impacts video engagement metrics.

Engagement metrics such as Video Views, Channel Subscribers, Likes, Video Comments, and Estimated Watch Time determine a video’s rank on YouTube. A search engine evaluates user experience metrics to determine the quality of the content. A video with high engagement metrics will rank higher than one with low engagement metrics.

The indirect effects of YouTube SEO can be seen in these metrics. When deciding which video to display for a search, YouTube considers various video attributes such as title, description, transcript, and tags. These elements are optimized for YouTube SEO, which raises the video’s visibility for relevant and essential keywords. The higher a video ranks organically, its engagement metrics are likely to be higher.

For example, one Merkle client changed the titles and descriptions of its videos based on the most relevant queries. As a result, the client saw a 70% increase in overall subscriber volume and a 120% increase in Average Watch Time.

Embedding YouTube Videos within the website can generate YouTube rankings on Google.

According to Moz’s YouTube research, YouTube accounts for 94% of video search results on Google. When brands embed YouTube videos on their websites, users are likelier to stay on those pages for longer. An embedded video, as opposed to a link that takes the user to YouTube, allows the user to watch the entire YouTube video while remaining on the site.

Aligning YouTube content with website content is essential for a well-rounded SEO strategy. Not to mention that embedded videos will benefit both channels. The metrics for YouTube videos will improve (e.g. video views, average watch time, more). At the same time, website landing pages will boost engagement (e.g. increased CTR, average time spent, other).

Structured data use to mark up embedded videos in SERPs.

Structured data markup aids search engines in comprehending the content of a page. Certain types of schema markup can also encourage the appearance of ‘rich snippets’ in organic search results, which can increase click-through rates. Adding video schema to the HTML of pages containing videos, whether hosted on-site or embedded on the page, improves communication with search engines and allows them to display video-specific details in wealthy snippets in SERPs.

SEO activity on YouTube can elevate paid media metrics.

The distinction between organic and paid searches on Google has long been debated, but what about YouTube? Users interacting with a YouTube channel generate two paid audiences: Similar Audiences and Remarketing Audiences. Growing these audiences organically increases the quantity and quality of these target groups that paid media can use in various ad formats. These paid campaigns seek to achieve a specific marketing goal in a customer’s journey’s upper or lower funnel. YouTube SEO can impact the performance of paid media throughout the funnel. It not only raises brand awareness but also directly impacts the bottom line.

The engagement metrics of ad campaigns are directly impacted by expanding the pool of users that paid media can target, such as unique reach, video impressions, views, or clicks. The conversion metrics improve as the quality of these target groups improves. Users who have previously interacted with a brand are more likely to watch its video content. Typically, that interaction occurs naturally. Thus, YouTube SEO activity broadens the audience to include more likely-to-convert users, indirectly influencing view-through or click-through rates.

How does YouTube SEO work?

Like any other search engine, YouTube video rankings are determined by a complex algorithm. However, we advise you not to become too preoccupied with comprehending every detail.

Any search engine’s goal is to provide users with high-quality content that matches their search criteria.

The YouTube search algorithm is specifically dependent on two ‘groups’ of things:

  1. An algorithm can learn what your content is about based on ‘technical’ SEO signposts such as video transcript, title, description, and tags.
  1. Watch time, click rate, retention, and user engagement are ‘human’ SEO signals that tell the algorithm whether the people who watch your YouTube content think it’s good.

YouTube SEO is relatively simple than other search engines in many ways.

YouTube Search Ranking Factors

When ranking videos in search results, YouTube’s search algorithm prioritizes the following four factors:

Relevance: Include elements such as the title, hashtags, description, and video content.

Engagement: Likes, subscribers, comments, turning on notifications, and watch time are all examples of engagement.

Quality: Quality signals can help determine which channels demonstrate expertise, authority, and trustworthiness on a given topic.

Personalization: YouTube attempts to find the most relevant results for each user based on their search and viewing history.

For news, politics, and medical or scientific information searches, YouTube’s algorithm prioritizes content from trusted authorities.

Other categories, such as music or entertainment, are more likely to be influenced by relevant, freshness, or popularity signals.

Keep in mind that YouTube SEO is not the same as Google SEO because user interaction signals are not taken into account by Google’s algorithm.

The fact that people click on the results that Google surfaces are unimportant to its algorithm. It seeks to serve the most relevant results, regardless of the number of people who visit those pages.

It is not the case with YouTube.

The YouTube algorithm strives to provide the most satisfying results.

YouTube considers how other users interact with videos when they appear in search results to determine which are the most satisfying.

  • Did they watch the entire thing?
  • How did they react to the video?
  • Did they say anything?
  • Did they subscribe to the channel?
  • Did they enable notifications?
  • Did they watch any more videos from the channel?

All of these are powerful ranking signals for YouTube’s search algorithm.

YouTube SEO: Methods for Improving Your Videos’ Rankings on YouTube

Put a keyword in the name of your video file.

You’ll use an SEO tool to identify keywords for your video when optimizing the written content (you can browse popular YouTube SEO tools below these tips or click that link earlier in this sentence).

When you’ve identified a keyword, the first place you should put it in your video file is before you upload it to YouTube. Why? YouTube cannot “watch” your video to determine its relevance to your target keyword. There are only so many places you can safely insert this keyword on your video’s viewing page once it’s published, as you’ll see in the tips below. However, when you upload your video to YouTube, YouTube can read the file name and all of the code that comes with it.

Replace “business ad 003FINAL.mov” with a keyword. Let’s say your keyword is “house painting tips.” In that case, the file name of your video should be “house-painting-tips,” followed by your preferred video file type (MOV, MP4, and WMV are some of the most commonly compatible with YouTube).

Include your keyword in a way that sounds natural in the title of the video.

When we search for videos, one of the first things that catch our attention is the title. Because the title determines whether or not the viewer clicks to watch your video, it should be compelling, clear, and concise.

Although your keyword is essential for your video title, it also helps if your title matches the search terms of your target audience. Compared to videos without an exact keyword match, Backlinko research shows that videos with an exact keyword match have only a marginal edge.

According to report author Brian Dean, “using your target keyword in your title may help you rank for that term,” but “the relationship between keyword-rich video titles and rankings” isn’t always strong. However, optimizing your title for this keyword is a good idea if it fits naturally into a title that tells viewers exactly what they’re about to see.

Keep the title short.

Optimize your video description.

To begin, the official character limit for YouTube video descriptions is 1,000 characters, according to Google. While it is acceptable to use all of that space, remember that your viewer came here to watch a video, not read an essay.

If you write a longer description, keep in mind that YouTube only displays the first two or three lines of text (roughly 100 characters). After that, viewers must click the “show more” button to see the complete description. We recommend starting the description with important information, such as CTAs or links.

Regarding video optimization, it doesn’t hurt to include a video transcript, especially for those who have to watch it without sound. Backlinko’s research found no correlation between optimized descriptions for a specific keyword and rankings for that term.

Dean is careful not to encourage abandoning an optimized description entirely. “Optimized descriptions help you appear in the suggested videos sidebar,” he writes.

Tag your video with relevant keywords.

YouTube’s Creator Academy recommends using tags to describe your video. However, you are not only informing your viewers but also on YouTube. Dean says tags help the platform “understand your video’s context.”

It allows YouTube to figure out how to associate your video with similar videos, potentially broadening the reach of your content. However, choose your tags wisely. Please do not use an irrelevant tag because you believe it will increase your views; in fact, Google may penalize you for doing so. And, as with your description, begin with the most important keywords, including a good mix of familiar and more long-tail (as in, those that answer a question like “how do I?”) terms.

Categorize your video.

Once a video has been uploaded, it can be classified under “Advanced settings.” Another way to group your video with similar content on YouTube is to select a category. As a result, it ends up in various playlists and gains exposure to more viewers who identify with your target audience.

It is possible that it will not be as easy as it seems. According to YouTube’s Creator Academy, marketers should categorize each video using a comprehensive process. According to the guide, it’s beneficial to “consider what is working well for each category” by answering questions like Who are the top creators within the category? Their strengths and weaknesses?

Are there any similarities in the audiences of similar channels within a given category?

Do the videos in a similar category have similar qualities, such as production value, length, or format?

Customize your video’s result link thumbnail Image.

Viewers first see your video thumbnail when they scroll through a list of video results. That thumbnail, along with the video’s title, informs the viewer about the video’s content, which can influence the number of clicks and views your video receives.

While you can always use one of YouTube’s pre-generated thumbnails, we strongly advise you to upload your own. According to the Creator Academy, “90% of the best performing videos on YouTube have custom thumbnails.” They recommend using images that are 1280×720 pixels (representing a 16:9 ratio) and saved as 2MB or smaller.jpg,.gif,.bmp, or.png files. If you adhere to those guidelines, you can help to ensure that your thumbnail appears in the same high quality across multiple viewing platforms.

Your YouTube account verifies to upload a custom thumbnail image.

Add subtitles & captions with an SRT file.

Like much of the other text discussed here, subtitles and closed captions can improve YouTube search optimization by emphasizing essential keywords.

You must first upload a supported text transcript or timed subtitles file to add subtitles or closed captions to your video. You can also directly enter transcript text for a video so that it auto-syncs with the video for the former.

Subtitles are added similarly. You can, however, limit the amount of text that appears. Go to your video manager and choose “Videos” from the drop-down menu under “Video Manager” to access either. Discover the video to which you would like to add closed captioning or subtitles. Then click the arrow with the drop-down menu next to the edit button. Then select “Subtitles/CC.” You can choose whether to add subtitles or closed captioning.

Cards and End Screens boost YouTube views.


Have you ever seen a small white, circular icon with an I in the centre appear in the corner of a video or a translucent bar of text asking you to subscribe? According to Creator Academy, cards are “preformatted notifications that appear on desktop and mobile that you can set up to promote your brand and other videos on your channel.” Cards are used to promote your brand and other videos hosted on your channel.

Six types of cards can be used in one video:

  • Cards that direct viewers to a different channel are known as channel cards.
  • Donation cards to encourage fundraising for nonprofit organizations in the United States.
  • Use fan funding to ask your viewers to contribute to your video content creation.
  • Viewers are directed to an external site, an approved crowdfunding platform, or an approved merchandise selling platform via link cards.
  • Poll cards ask viewers questions and allow them to vote on a response.
  • Video or playlist cards provide links to related YouTube content.

End Screens

End screens display similar information to cards, but as you might expect, they don’t appear until the video has finished and are more visually detailed. There are detailed instructions for adding end screens depending on the platform you want to design them for, and the various types of content YouTube allow.

It’s important to note that YouTube is constantly testing end screens to improve the viewer experience, so “your end screen, as designated by you, may not appear” at times. Consider these factors when deciding whether to use cards or end screens.

Create playlists

Because they play automatically, playlists are an excellent way to increase the overall watch time of your channel. As a result, rather than watching just one of your videos, a viewer may watch five or six!

Watch time is critical for YouTube SEO. Why? Because as previously stated, ‘human’ signals play an essential role in the algorithm that determines a video’s ranking.

Create backlinks

Link building is an important ranking factor for any content, including video. Assume you are familiar with optimizing written content for Google, such as your blog or website. In that case, you’ll know that they use the number of backlinks to determine the value of your content. Given that Google owns YouTube, it should be no surprise that it operates in this manner.

Post your video in as many places as possible, such as your website and blog, to increase your backlinks. You could also ask other websites in your niche to share your video or write guest posts for them that include your video. The greater your number of backlinks, the better your YouTube SEO and Google SEO will be.

Ranking high on Google may also result in your video being featured on the first page of search results for your target keyword, which is invaluable exposure for your YouTube channel.

Closing thoughts

Because so many people visit YouTube daily, sharing your content is a competitive place. While the competition can be intimidating, keep in mind that there are still many ways to rank higher and improve your YouTube SEO to make your channel and videos more profitable for your business. Mahira Digital the best SEO Company in Delhi, consult today for the best SEO Services in Delhi.

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