YouTube SEO 101

Video content is becoming increasingly popular but many people still treat it like a social media platform, when in fact it is a search engine and should be treated as so. This means optimizing your video content, just like you would any content that goes onto your website. Going back and optimizing your older videos is easy and taking those steps and applying them to all of your new content is easy. Here’s what you need to know about optimizing your videos in order to see your rankings increase.


Before you start optimzing each individual video, you need to know and understand the basics.
Keyword Research

Knowing what keywords to optimize your content with is crucial. If you’re not quite sure what keywords to optimize for or need additional suggestions, conducting keyword research will help you figure out what exactly users are searching for.
Similar to when you make a search on Google, if you start to type a query into the search bar on YouTube, popular searches will appear below the search box. This is an autocomplete feature built into the search engine that will give you various ideas of popular keywords. If you are brainstorming keywords on your own and you are strictly optimizing for those, keep in mind that still performing keyword research will help you rule out the keywords that aren’t as popular.
Track Your YouTube Search Rankings

Keeping an eye on and tracking your YouTube search rankings like you do for Google search rankings will help you  see how your SEO efforts are working out and where changes need to be made. You can do this manually and keep track of the results in a spread sheet or look into various paid options to do this for you.

How to Optimize Your Videos

Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to get into the good stuff. Here’s how to optimize your videos for YouTube:
The Title

Optimizing your the title of your video corretly can have a huge effect on how well your video ranks on YouTube. Remember the keyword research you did earlier? Before titling your video, circle back to that list to ensure you have popular keywords as part of your title. You’ll also want to keep the title witty to help grab the user’s attention and around five words so it’s easy to read.
The Thumbnail

The thumbnail image that appears on a search result page on YouTube is even more important than your title. A majority of the time, this is what the user will be referencing when determining whether or not to watch a video. We all say not to judge a book by it’s cover but we’re all guilty of doing just that. If possible, create a custom thumbnail image and include graphics and text to really pull in the user.

The description area of your video is where you’ll have the most space to include keywords, links, calls-to-action, and a longer description about what the video is about. Utilize this space as best as possible and include any information the user might need.
If you decide to include a link back to your website or a specialized call-to-action, keep this at the top of the description so it sits above the “Show More” expander.

The transcript of your video is another ranking factor and YouTube has an automated transcription process, but it shouldn’t always be relied on. There tends to be errors in the automated transcriptions and when possible, proofread and edit the trascripton provided to help eliminate errors. Don’t forget the transcriptions need to be timestamped to match the content in the video!
YouTube Analytics

Just like Google Analytics for your website, YouTube offers a similar analytics service that will allow you to learn more about your audience. This includes being able to monitor traffic sources, demographics, and see how engaged your audience is.
You can also combine your YouTube Analytics and Google Analytics to see even more information.


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