How to do SEO for YouTube Videos

Guy doing seo for YouTube videos

YouTube is one of the most used ever-growing platforms. The number of video hours uploaded to YouTube every minute has increased by around 40% from 2014 to 2019. It is expected to increase more in the coming years.

YouTube has now become a very competitive platform. With everyone fighting for the top position in YouTube’s search results, how can you make your video stand out and prevent it from getting lost in the huge sea of videos?

The answer is by doing search engine optimization (SEO) on every one of your YouTube videos.

You can beat your competitors and boost your YouTube SEO for your videos by following the right optimization practices. Here is the list of the best methods you can use to optimize your videos on YouTube. 

Choose your Keywords Carefully

Keywords make the foundation of a successful video optimization strategy. YouTube rewards videos that use keywords properly by improving their search engine position. Therefore, pick the right keywords carefully. It is best to use less competitive keywords if you are a beginner or starting a new YouTube channel.

Use tools like:

  • YouTube autocomplete
  • VidIQ
  • Moz
  • Ahrefs
  • TubeBuddy
  • Google Keyword Planner

These are the tools to find suitable keywords for your niche. Once your channel gains good authority, start using more competitive keywords.

Include Keywords in the Title and in the Video

YouTube gives great value to a video title and its content.

We give you a bunch of key YouTube SEO tips that you should be using with your YouTube videos and your channel page.

Inserting your main keyword in the title as well as video script is the best way of telling YouTube what is in your video. When YouTube understands what is in the video, it will know when to present it in front of people searching for your keyword.

Try to use one main keyword plus a few targeted keywords in the title and video if possible.   

Use Keywords in the Description

The description is another important part that you should write carefully. Your video description will inform YouTube, viewers, and other search engines like Google about the context of the YouTube video.

Put the main keyword in the first 3 lines and add more keywords that are relevant in the next lines without making it look like you have forcefully stuffed keywords.

Create Eye-Catching Video Thumbnails

Thumbnails are usually the first thing people see in search engine results. The more compelling and attractive your thumbnail is, the higher the click-through rate (CTR) your video will have. You can use tools like Canva that offer amazing free and paid YouTube thumbnail templates.

Insert your main target keyword and important logos like the YouTube logo on the thumbnail. You need to do this because Google search results filter certain elements on a video thumbnail by using the image recognition feature.

Your video SEO is a key to getting your channel videos ranked. Each item we discuss below you must do to get the best YouTube search rankings.

Things to do to Boost YouTube SEO

Add Title Tag

YouTube allows you to use tags to tell its algorithm and viewers what your YouTube video has. You can insert several tags, but the first tag holds the most value. Use your main keyword or your title containing the main keyword in the title. Avoid using irrelevant tags as they can confuse YouTube. 

Add Video-Specific Tags

Use tags that describe your video. For instance, if your video is about “why SEO is important,” you can use video-specific tags like “benefits of SEO,” “SEO definition,” or “SEO meaning.” Video-specific tags tell YouTube the details about the topic your video is covering.

Add Category-Specific Tags

Another way of using tags is using terms that define the broad category of your video. Let’s say your video is about “how to apply powder nails at home.” For this video, you can use category-specific tags like “beauty and fashion,” “nail trends,” or “nail styles,” etc.

Add Primary Channel Keyword Tags

Use keywords that you initially used for your YouTube channel’s SEO and ranking. Channel keywords tell YouTube about your audience and the type of video content your channel is producing. There is no restriction to using them only once for the channel. You can use them again and again for each video to boost ranking.

Find 3 Relevant Popular Video Titles

Type your main keyword in the YouTube search bar, write down the titles of the first 3 videos. Since these videos are already ranking on your keywords, their titles are tested and proven. Now create a video title that is a mix of these 3 titles without making it look like their copy.

Make sure the Title is Clickable and Easy to Understand

Your video title actually defines the video. It should be easy to understand, clear, and clickable. You should use catchy or action words along with your main keywords to make the title look attractive.

Let’s say your main keyword is “memory tricks.” You can write its title like “X memory tricks that can help you learn anything fast!”

Add Relevant Keywords if Possible

Besides using your main keyword in the title, description, video, and tags, look for the relevant keywords as well. Since people can search about your main term by writing different related terms, you should try to incorporate all those terms as well to target a wider audience.

Add a Paragraph Explaining the Video

Your video description is where you describe the details about your video. YouTube gives video descriptions a ton of value. That is why it is important to write them carefully.  

Here are the best ways of writing the best video description. 

In the Description Area:

Include Relevant and Targeted Keywords

Include your main as well as your targeted keywords in the description. The main keyword must be used at least once in the first 3 lines as these lines hold great value in the YouTube search algorithm.

Use relevant and targeted keywords in the next lines naturally. Make the description as long as you can. YouTube prefers lengthy and descriptive paragraphs.

Add Affiliate Links

The description also allows you to promote affiliate links and earn even without AdSense. You can insert affiliate links related to the video content into the video description. The recommended products in the description will solve the queries of people, which may allow you to earn a few more likes.

Get your affiliate link and shorten it through a URL shortening tool. Open the video description and paste that URL into it and press the “save” button. Make sure the URL has HTTPS:// and not the www. before it. Otherwise, it will not be clickable.

Link to at Least 3 Related Videos or Playlists

You can also add links to 3 of your videos that are related to this video. It will help you to drive traffic from one video to the other. You can write something like “go to the previous video from here,” then add a clickable link.

You can get a clickable link to your video by going to its “share” option. Insert that link into the description and press “save.”

Add Channel Link

Besides taking your traffic from one video to the other, you can also take it to your YouTube channel page and ask viewers to subscribe to your channel or watch the other relevant video. You can add a channel link to the description through the method described above.

Copy the channel URL by opening your channel page. Paste the link into your description box and save it. 

Add Subscribe Link

Write “?sub_confirmation=1” after your YouTube channel URL and copy the whole URL from the search bar. Now paste it into the description. This link will automatically take people to a subscription page where they will be asked to confirm their subscription.

Include about Paragraph with Channel Keywords

Use the keywords of your channel in your descriptive paragraph. It is simply to target more audiences and boost your overall YouTube SEO.

Add in Social Media and Website Links

The description provides you a great opportunity to take your YouTube traffic to other platforms and your website. Copy the address of any social media account or your website, paste it into the description (make sure it starts with HTTP:// or HTTPS://). Press the “save” button. 

Make Sure to Add Cards Towards the End of the Video

YouTube cards are the notifications that appear on the video screen while it’s running. These appear on the top right corner of a video and are used to encourage people to take a certain action.

You can use YouTube cards to direct traffic from one video to the other, which will eventually help you improve your YouTube rankings. 

Add one end screen element to the video or playlist

An end screen element can improve the watch time of your videos and boost their ranking. They appear at the end of a video (between the last 5 to 20 seconds) and guide viewers on what they should do next. You can take viewers to your channel, other videos, and even website by using end screen elements.


YouTube SEO is one of the most crucial factors that determine the success of your YouTube channel. YouTube SEO starts with finding the right keywords. Then you use these keywords in the right places like video title, description, and tags.

You can insert links to your channel, subscription page, website, social media accounts, and products into the description to take your traffic from one place to the other. Use the right YouTube SEO practices to rank you

Rachel Garner

Rachel Garner is the head of marketing and will help write on any marketing topics. She is a wealth of knowledge about how to market our company to other YouTubers, podcasters, and bloggers.

Recent Posts