SEO isn’t just for blog posts or Google. Did you know that you can also optimize your videos on YouTube? According to statistics, videos make up over 80% of online traffic, and YouTube remains the preferred video-sharing platform for marketers.
But how do you get your videos to rank? Understanding the platform’s algorithm is key to finding out which SEO tools will work for your brand.
In this guide, we’ve laid out the best YouTube SEO tips to help you optimize your content for YouTube. That means more views and subscribers for you!
Let’s take a closer look…
Understanding How YouTube SEO
Search on YouTube works differently than search on Google, but it all comes down to one goal: ranking higher and getting seen. YouTube’s search algorithm combs through 500 hours of uploaded videos per minute to give users content relevant to what their search.
To make sure the right people are seeing your videos, YouTube takes several elements into account when ranking search results and delivering content:
YouTube’s algorithm ranks search results the same way content creators use engagement as a key metric to track their analytics. This includes total watch time and user interaction with a particular video for a query.
YouTube wants to ensure you’re always watching the best, most engaging videos! To do this, they look at things like the video title, tags, and description, as well as the actual content, to figure out what’s most relevant to you.
YouTube uses EAT (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness) to determine whether a video contains quality content. They also personalize videos to ensure they’re relevant to users based on their search and watch history.
If users want a clean slate, YouTube will start fresh with new search results. In cases where credibility is the top priority, like news, politics, and medical or scientific videos, YouTube will only recommend those that meet those standards. For entertainment videos, YouTube looks at factors like relevance, freshness, or popularity.
12 YouTube SEO Tips to Boost Your Rankings in YouTube Search
You might think you need to be an influencer or content creator to get views and engagement on your videos. But trust us, it’s possible to get views and engagement on your videos and target the right audience with SEO! Videos are a huge chunk of every effective marketing strategy, so optimizing them is key. Here are some tips and tricks you can do to boost your video rankings on YouTube search:
Go all out with your video production.
A high-value production for your content should be at the top of your list to set you up for SEO success. YouTube is all about quality content, starting with ensuring everything is polished before hitting that upload button.
You don’t need to spend money on expensive equipment to make your videos look great and get better search results. A tripod for video stability, a nice backdrop or well-lit background, a ring light, and a microphone for clear audio are all you need. Get your camera rolling, and you’re ready to create amazing content!
Rename video file with your preferred keywords.
Make sure your YouTube video file name is keyword-driven for maximum results! As you know, YouTube is big on metrics and having your target keywords in your file name is a great place to start when you want to come to terms with the platform’s algorithm. Save your video with preferred and compatible file types such as MOV, MP4, and WMV.
Optimize your video title.
Your title can make or break your video’s success. If it’s not interesting, users will scroll right past it, but you also have to be careful not to write a title that’s too clickbaity. Make sure your title convinces users to give your video a chance. You can do this by addressing their concerns or by including your keyword naturally.
Create YouTube tags to boost search rank.
Tagging is the way to go if you want to optimize your YouTube ranking. The more relevant keywords you use, the more views your content will get. But don’t go overboard! Stick to 10 to 12 tags to avoid any algorithm issues.
Write a meaningful YouTube description.
Regarding your YouTube description, ensure the first two to three lines are worth your viewer’s time! Besides, they came on YouTube to watch a video, not read a long-form piece. When creating a post, put the most important details first, including any calls to action (CTAs) and links. That way, your readers won’t have to click “Show More” to see the full description.
Include keywords on your video transcripts.
Did you know you can also optimize your videos by transcribing them? You can add keywords to your transcripts when YouTube plays videos on mute while users scroll through their feeds. You can also transcribe the text and let it sync with the video.
Make a playlist to arrange your videos.
The more you grow your channel, the more amazing content you’ll be able to create! Make sure your efforts are paying off by sorting your videos into playlists. You can arrange your videos by content type or according to keywords to boost your rankings and make it easier for users to watch your previous videos.
Categorize your videos for maximum visibility.
If you want your YouTube videos to be seen by more people, try to categorize them under “Advanced settings.” This will help group similar content together and make it more visible across other playlists. When categorizing your videos, it’s important to consider factors, such as::
- Recognizing user behavior or patterns from relevant channels with the same category
- Analyzing production value, content format, video duration, and other aspects from similar categories
- Identifying top creators and their niche in the same category
Create a custom thumbnail image.
Your video thumbnail is the first thing users see when they scroll through a sea of content on YouTube. A custom thumbnail can increase your chances of getting clicks and views for your videos. While YouTube automatically generates thumbnail options for uploaded videos, take the time to create a custom thumbnail that represents your video’s content.
Before you can upload a custom thumbnail, you need to get verified. YouTube recommends using a 16:9 ratio of 1280 x 720 pixels, with JPG, GIF, BMP, or PNG file types around 2MB or smaller. By following these guidelines, you can elevate the quality of your content.
Insert Cards and End Screens to get more views.
YouTube Cards are like little presents that you can give your viewers. They’re preformatted notifications that appear on desktop and mobile, and you can use them to promote your brand and other videos on your channel.
But what are cards? These are the information symbols that come up on your screen and invite your viewers to subscribe to your channel. Before you ‘play your cards,’ so to speak, you need to consider the best posting times so they don’t come across as disruptive.
YouTube allows up to five cards per video. You can use them as:
- Donation cards to raise funds for nonprofit or charity organizations
- Link cards which will lead users to an external website once they click on it
- Channel cards which allow users to go to another channel
- Fan funding to pool funds from your supporters to keep growing your channel
- Video or playlist cards directing related YouTube content
- Poll cards that encourage users to take a vote on a specific topic
End screens are like cards but only appear when the video is over. Google has specific instructions to help you optimize your YouTube end screens and increase viewership.
Use hashtags to boost searchability and reach.
Hashtags help your videos get more exposure and rank for more related keywords. You can add hashtags to your video title, description, and comments section. Just be sure not to go overboard – too many hashtags can make you look spammy and even get you banned from YouTube.
When choosing hashtags, try to choose ones that accurately describe your video content. This will help ensure that people who click on your hashtag are interested in watching your video. Content creators take advantage of this strategy when uploading their Youtube shorts to boost their reach.
Pin your comment on your video to encourage viewers to leave a comment.
Pinning a comment on your video is a great way to encourage viewers to leave a comment. Asking a question or expressing an opinion in the comments can also stir a discussion and help you interact directly with your viewers. The more comments you get, the more popular your videos will become, which will help YouTube’s algorithm to rank your videos higher in search results.
Creating great content is key if you’re looking to improve your YouTube ranking. But don’t forget about using the right keywords and tags — that’s how you’ll really start to see your channel take off. Just make sure your keywords fit your content and style, and you’ll be on your way to YouTube success!
Optimizing your videos on YouTube search can help you:
- Increase viewership and user engagement
- Expand reach beyond your target audience
- Grow your channel with loyal subscribers
- Get discovered by creators for possible collaborations
- Boost your search results with minimal to no ad spend
Want to learn more about how to improve your YouTube ranking? Check out our blog: YouTube SEO Explained: Video Ranking Tips & Tricks for everything you need to know!