A Guide to YouTube SEO: Optimizing Videos for Better Ranking and Increased Engagement

optimize YouTube vides for SEO.

One of the biggest mistakes that Youtubers make is to create beautiful videos and expect them to rank naturally. However, with the massive competition on YouTube, having your video ranked without SEO efforts can be challenging.  

YouTube SEO aims to optimize videos for the algorithm. When someone searches for a video on the platform, YouTube produces your videos, increasing your views. This article will guide you on how to optimize YouTube videos for SEO.

Importance of YouTube SEO

There are several reasons why YouTube SEO is important. 

Better Ranking On Search Engines

YouTube is also a search engine like Google. The main reason why people should optimize their YouTube videos is for better ranking on search engines. 

Increased Visibility

About 3.7 million videos are posted on YouTube every day. This means the competition can get stiff. When you optimize your video for SEO, YouTube will recommend your videos when people search for your target keyword.

Improved Engagement

You need to post to the right people to see engagement in your videos. If your video actively solves people’s problems,  you will see increased engagement, such as watch time, likes, and comments. Additionally, impressions increase when your videos appear on top search results. The higher the impressions your videos get, the more engagement.

A Guide on Optimizing Videos for YouTube Seo

Here are the steps to follow in YouTube SEO.

Perform Keyword Research

As in website optimization, keyword research is essential to YouTube SEO. This is because it helps you find the terms and phrases people use to find videos in your niche. When doing keyword research, pay special attention to the search volume, as it will show you the potential traffic you will get on your videos.

 Also, check the keyword difficulty, as it shows the competition level in your niche. You can read our guide on how to do keyword research for content marketing. While there are no specific YouTube research tools,  other keyword research tools will show you the general search volume for the keywords. You can also use the YouTube autocomplete feature to find more keywords.

Include Keywords in Your Videos

After getting your target keywords, you must know where to add them. The rule of thumb is to place the keyword close to the start of your video title, tags, and descriptions. Other areas to add the keyword are:

  • File name
  • Video script
  • Title cards and overlays
  • Video chapters

Use semantic words and synonyms while including the keywords. You must manually add captions by uploading a timed subtitle file or text transcript.  Avoid keyword stuffing, as it can affect your YouTube SEO.

Create well-optimized YouTube videos.

Add Video Tags

YouTube no longer uses YouTube tags as a ranking factor. However, the search engine still uses tags to identify what videos are about. Your suggestions for the video tag are also crucial for your YouTube SEO. You can add about 6 to 8 terms in the tags as long as you do not exceed the YouTube maximum number of 120 characters.

Add Video Transcripts

Since YouTube doesn’t read videos and images, the best way to help it understand what your videos are about is by including a transcript to interpret the video in text. You can also add timestamps to your transcript to turn it into a caption. Adding timestamps or captions will also make it easier for your viewers to navigate around your content.

Use Custom Thumbnails

How your videos look in the search results will determine whether people will click on them. The thumbnail is the first thing they notice(probably before the title). Therefore, this will directly impact how often your videos are clicked and viewed. This will, in turn, increase your SEO ranking. 

Include Hashtags

Hashtags can make it easier for people to discover your videos. People can click on them by adding them to your videos and descriptions.

Encourage Engagement

How people engage with your videos is also a ranking factor. It goes without saying that the more the number of subscribers you have, the more the views you will receive. Also, when more people like, comment, and share your videos, YouTube will consider the video to meet the search query and rank it higher. Therefore, encourage your viewers to like, subscribe, and turn on the notification button.

Encourage viewers to engage with your videos.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are a content creator wanting to create YouTube content or even a brand marketing its products, getting more views is your ultimate goal. One of the ways that you can position your YouTube videos to get views is through SEO.

If you are a beginner, YouTube SEO can seem like hard work. But using the above steps makes creating videos that people will click and view easily.

Benjamin is a writer with over ten years of experience in the content writing field. He holds a Bachelor's degree in  Journalism from Strathmore University. He writes on various niches such as product reviews, self-improvement, and making mone online. You can find him curled on his couch with a self-improvement book when he is not blogging.