YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google. More than 1 billion unique users visit it every month. There are currently over 800 million videos and 37 million channels on YouTube. The platform uses algorithms that rank the best content so that users can find exactly what they need. If you want your videos to be recommended, it’s important to understand how YouTube’s algorithms work.

What is SEO for YouTube videos?

YouTube’s main goal is to show viewers the most relevant videos and encourage them to stay on the platform longer. And YouTube SEO is the process of optimizing videos and channels on the platform to achieve higher rankings in search results.

When ranking videos and channels, the platform’s algorithm analyzes various elements such as average viewing time, keywords, number of views and channel subscribers, comments under the video, etc.

Once you understand ranking factors, it will be clearer how to optimize your YouTube videos.

SEO for YouTube videos

What do you get with SEO for videos on YouTube?

  1. More views.
  2. Organic traffic.
  3. Advantages over competitors.

So, search engine optimization (YouTube SEO) for YouTube videos is critical to increasing visibility, attracting more viewers, and growing your channel.

Here are a few steps to help you effectively optimize your videos:


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1. Keyword research

Optimization starts with collecting a semantic core for it. This will be a list of keywords. Research relevant, high-traffic keywords in your niche. Try to choose those ones that can get you good search volume but are less competitive.

Explore the traffic sources report in YouTube Analytics. This will help you find out which keywords viewers use most often to find your channel.
Explore trending search interests using tools like Google Trends, Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, TubeBuddy, YouTube auto-suggest, and more.
When doing keyword research, be sure to analyze your competitors. Find out which ones are already ranking on the first page of Google results for your target keyword and why. And analyzing videos of successful competitors, borrow their keywords wisely.

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2. Optimizing video titles

Title is the first thing the viewers see. So make sure it grabs their attention and makes them want to watch. A good title should be short, descriptive and to the point. It should give people an idea of what your video is about and make them want to learn more.

The correct title will determine the click-through rate it will have. At the same time, it is an important SEO factor for YouTube. So be sure to include relevant keywords in it. Keep the title short (around 60 characters) so it displays correctly in search results and on mobile. Place your main keyword at the beginning of the title for better visibility.

Remember that the headline text should be written for a person, not for a search robot.

3. Engaging thumbnails

This is the main image that viewers see when scrolling through the results list of a YouTube video. Together with the title, it sends a signal to the viewer about the content of the video, so it can affect the number of clicks and views. YouTube can generate thumbnails automatically, but it’s better to do it yourself.

Create attractive and relevant thumbnails that will entice viewers to click on your video. Use clear images and text to convey the essence of your video.
Make sure your thumbnail resolution is 1280 x 720 (with a minimum width of 650 pixels) to ensure the best possible user experience for your thumbnails. Use JPG, GIF or PNG formats for them. Include text that is easy to read.

Make sure your thumbnails are legible and interesting on mobile devices.

4. Description of the video

Write detailed descriptions (at least 200-300 words) that naturally include your target keywords. Insert links to your website, social media, and related videos. Your description should give viewers a quick overview of what your video is about, and it should be written in a way that makes them want to watch it. Try to keep it to 1-2 paragraphs.

Be sure to include a call to action in your description stating what you want viewers to do after watching your video. Apply keywords in the description (2-4 times per clip). Place the most important of them at the beginning of the description.

5. Tags and metadata

Add relevant tags to your video that reflect its content and keywords. Use both general and specific tags to cover a variety of search queries. Install the VidIQ and Clever plugins to choose tags. These are good SEO tools for YouTube videos to boost your rankings. And fill out the video metadata with accurate information, including location, category, and language.

6. Hashtags are also considered to be keywords, but they are intended for direct user searches

YouTube has hashtag search, so relevant content with keywords can help users find your videos. Additionally, hashtags help YouTube better understand video content when scanning videos. Place hashtags in the main part of the description. But don’t go overboard with the number of them – 2-5 hashtags will be enough.

7. Closed Captions (CC)

Add accurate closed captions or subtitles to your videos to improve accessibility and provide more text for search engines to index. With subtitles, your content also can be viewed by people with hearing impairments. And CC are important for those viewers who watch videos with the sound turned off. Closed captions also are crawlable by search engines. So, enabling closed captioning will improve your channel’s SEO. The platform supports automatic subtitles, but they are usually less accurate and can’t help SEO optimization.

8. Video length and quality

Create high-quality, engaging videos that keep viewers watching longer.
Longer videos (10+ minutes) tend to perform better, but focus on value and engagement over length.

9. Audience retention

Analyze audience retention rates and strive to keep viewers engaged throughout your video. Hook viewers in the first few seconds and keep their interest. Audience retention is one of the important factors in the YouTube algorithm. If people don’t watch your video until the end or leave after the start, YouTube will deem your content irrelevant and lower your ranking.

10. End screens and cards

Use YouTube end screens and cards to promote other videos, playlists, or your channel.
Encourage viewers to subscribe, like, and interact with your content.

11. Promote on social networks

Share your videos on social media platforms to increase visibility and drive traffic to your channel.
Engage with your audience on social media to build a loyal community.

12. Maintain consistency

Post content regularly and on a consistent schedule to keep your audience engaged and coming back for more.
Your own statistics will tell you what time to choose for publishing a video.

13. Interact with your audience via comments

Reply to comments on your videos to create a sense of community and encourage more interaction. Always motivate viewers to leave comments on your videos. One way to get them is to ask people interesting questions about the topic discussed in the video.

14. Create Playlists

Organize your videos into playlists to encourage people to watch more of your content and to increase your rating in this way. To further optimize your videos, use relevant keywords in playlist titles and descriptions.

Video YouTube

15. Employ Analytics and A/B testing

Check YouTube Analytics regularly to determine what’s working and what needs improvement. A/B test different elements such as thumbnails, titles, and descriptions to see what works best.
Analytics are more useful for tracking your progress, but you can also actively use this data to improve your YouTube SEO.

16. Create a buzz around your videos

This is one of the best SEO strategies for getting higher rankings for YouTube videos.
You can do this using the following methods:

  1. Promote videos from your own blogs.
  2. Advertise them on discussion forums.
  3. Answer relevant questions on Quora.

These are just some SEO tips for YouTube videos; keep experimenting and discovering new ways to succeed.

So, optimizing YouTube videos is not an easy task. To get guaranteed results, turn to specialists for promoting your brand or organization’s videos, or achieving success in optimizing your own videos.

Digital marketing agency Klik Digital will do all this for you with ease. We offer expert help with marketing services for nonprofits and video production services.

Contact Klik Digital and give your videos a chance to be optimized.

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