YouTube SEO: How to Optimize YouTube Videos for SEO

What is YouTube SEO? How can you do YouTube SEO for your videos? How can you make your videos rank better in YouTube Search? If you’re wondering about these questions, then read on.

YouTube is an amazing source of traffic with millions of users spending so many hours everyday watching videos. However, with about 100 hours of videos being uploaded every minute on YouTube, it can be difficult to attract viewers for your own videos. So what can you do? You need to optimize your videos for SEO so that they’re easily found on YouTube. YouTube Video Optimization and SEO for YouTube Channels will drive more traffic to your videos & eventually your website. Here’s how you can do YouTube SEO to optimize your videos.


How to do YouTube SEO to optimize YouTube Videos

Before we begin, let’s look at the most important SEO Ranking factors for Videos on YouTube. Most of them are same as SEO ranking factors for websites, with a few additions.

  1. Title Tag (learn how to do SEO for Title Tag of your YouTube videos)
  2. Meta Description
  3. Video Tags
  4. Video Length
  5. Play duration (also called Audience Retention)
  6. Number of Subscribers
  7. Likes & Dislikes

Now that you know what to optimize about your YouTube videos, let’s look at 5 ways you can optimize YouTube videos for SEO


1. Write Long Video Descriptions

Google & YouTube can’t watch your videos and understand what it’s about. They rely on the text elements about a video (in title, description) to understand the topic of your videos.

So the trick is to write detailed long text description about your videos which YouTube can index for various keywords such as your target keyword, long-tail keywords and even LSI (latent semantic indexing) keywords about your video’s topic.

It’s just like optimizing a paragraph on your web page. Write a long, keyword rich text for video description and YouTube will rank your videos for a wide range of keywords. Here’s an example of how Brian Dean uses 291 word text description.

youtube seo videos long description


Although the video text description is targeted around “SEO strategy” it ranks well even for long-tail keywords such as “infographic SEO strategy”

youtube seo search results


So ensure that your video’s text description is at least 200 words long.

Check out our list of Best Long Tail Keyword Research Tools to find the suitable long-tail keywords for your videos.


2. Optimize for Video Results in Google Search

You must have noticed that while using Google search, some search keywords such as “Apple iPhone” or “Symptoms of Flu” yield only text based SERPs with links to relevant web pages. On the other hand, if you search for “Cute Cats” or “Beyonce” you’ll see a few video results too, at the top. And these videos will invariably be YouTube videos. These keywords are called video keywords as they cause Google to show video results on first page.

cute cats video results


So the trick is to optimize your YouTube videos such that they also appear in video results on Google Search. How do you do that?

While doing keyword research for your videos, check if any of these keywords give you video results in Google Search. You can do it by simply entering these keywords in Google search. If they do, then you should definitely include them in your Title & meta description. This will ensure that your videos rank well both on YouTube as well as Google.

You can read our list of Best Keyword Research Tools to find the right target keywords and search phrases


3. Drive Video Traffic from online communities and social media platforms

Online forums and communities like LinkedIn & Quora are great sources of traffic to your website. However, they don’t like people posting too many links to their blog posts & articles everywhere. It’s because way too many people already do it and it has become a spammy practice.

On the other hand, they love people posting links to helpful YouTube videos. Since the number & quality of video views are 2 of the most important SEO ranking factors for videos, driving visitors from well-known online communities and forums improves the search ranking for videos.

So just look for a question on reputed online communities like Moz or Inbound that can be answered by your video. Add value by answering the question first and finally provide a link to your YouTube video. Don’t simply post the video link without answering the question, it’s spam.

youtube videos in comments

Share your videos on various online forums and communities to drive high-quality, relevant traffic to your videos, and rank them better on YouTube.


4. Ask people to like, subscribe & comment

This one seems like a no-brainer but very few actually do it. Since YouTube doesn’t consider backlinks, some of the most important SEO Ranking factors for YouTube videos are the user experience signals that YouTube gets from your viewers. Did people enjoy watching your video? Liking your videos and subscribing to your YouTube channel sends really strong user experience signals to YouTube, suggesting that people actually enjoyed watching your video.

When people subscribe to your YouTube channel, it clearly indicates that you’re consistently producing high quality videos that people like.

You can increase your likes & subscriptions simply by asking people to do so, at the end of your video.

Here’s an example of how Marie Forleo, a YouTube marketer, asks viewers to subscribe, at the end of each video (skip to 6:55). You can also add overlays and call-to-actions asking for people to like your video or subscribe to your YouTube channel.


5. Incorporate keywords into playlists

One of the easiest ways to drive more traffic to your YouTube videos is to create a playlist out of them. Playlists tell YouTube that the videos are related by a topic, theme, or genre. When you create a keyword-rich playlist, it helps YouTube understand video topics and group them. This not only helps your videos rank for more keywords, it also helps them appear in suggested videos (up next) section.

keyword rich youtube playlists

Basically, the more text you provide to your YouTube videos, the easier it is to rank them better.


You can also checkout new tools like VideoShout that allow you to quickly create videos from text, which you can use in turn to search optimize your video.



Hopefully, the above YouTube SEO tips can help you understand how to rank YouTube videos on Google as well as YouTube. YouTube is an amazing platform that allows you to reach a wide audience that’s engaging and has high retention. However, since there are so many online videos on YouTube, SEO can help your videos stand out and drive more traffic. While doing YouTube SEO, it’s important to remember YouTube search relies heavily on accompanying text, and user behavior signals such as play duration, likes, subscriptions, and comments. So you need to optimize those SEO ranking factors for YouTube videos.


Do you have any YouTube SEO Tips to optimize videos for SEO?