What is YouTube SEO & Why it Matters

Man working on his YouTube SEO

YouTube is a huge platform that can help you target your audience to promote your business, offer different services, and just do vlogging to earn through ads!

YouTube has now become quite competitive, and it is not easy to just upload a video and make it reach your audience. You must do proper search engine optimization (SEO) in order to push your videos above in the search engine results.

But what really is YouTube SEO, and why is it important? What are the best methods of increasing the ranking of your videos? Read this article to find the correct answers to these questions!

What is YouTube SEO?

YouTube SEO is a process in which you optimize your video’s content, title, description, tags, and hashtags to help Google understand what is in your video and what your channel is about. To optimize the video, you use relevant keywords that your target audience is entering in the search bar to find information, entertainment, etc., on YouTube.

Let’s say that you have a makeup tutorial channel. You want to publish a video about natural makeup look; then your target keyword might be “how to do natural makeup.” You will then use this video in descriptions, tags, etc., of your video to optimize it.

Why do YouTube SEO for your Videos?

The answer is simple: to rank higher on the YouTube search results.

YouTube has become quite a competitive platform. Thousands of YouTube videos are being uploaded on it every minute. Yes, every minute. So, you cannot just upload a video and expect it to beat thousands and millions of other videos and go to the higher level in rankings without SEO.

You will have to put some effort into creating a proper YouTube SEO strategy to rank your channel as well as your videos. Doing YouTube SEO will help you get your YouTube videos in front of your target audience, which will result in more views, likes, comments, subscribers, shares, and ultimately revenue.

Does YouTube Descriptions Help with YouTube SEO?

Your video’s description informs the YouTube algorithm about what your video is about. When you distribute relevant keywords naturally within the description, it makes it understandable for the YouTube algorithm that the video is about these specific phrases or keywords.

The first 120 characters of your video description are quite significant. YouTube does not show the whole description to viewers; instead, they are shown the first 120 characters (until they click “read more”). That is why YouTube also gives these characters the most value.

People who insert their keywords within the first 2 to 3 lines make it easier for YouTube as well as viewers to understand what is in the video. This makes the video rank higher in the search engine results.

Since a lengthy description will give more detail about your YouTube videos. YouTubes algorithm likes longer descriptions better than a shorter description.

There is a 1,000 character limit for your YouTube SEO video descriptions. Try to write the description as long as you can and insert as many relevant keywords naturally as you can.

How do I Increase my YouTube SEO Ranking?

You must create an effective YouTube SEO strategy to improve your ranking on YouTube. Below are the steps to make your videos and channel rank higher on YouTube.

1. Start with Keyword Research

The first and foremost thing to do is find keywords related to your niche. People use different ways to find keywords. Some of the methods are manual, and others use paid or free tools.

Come up with a list of keyword ideas. Then take each keyword and look them up in VidIQ to see the competition and traffic.

If you are planning to do manual keyword research, the best place to start is YouTube’s autosuggestions. Type a broad term related to your niche in the search bar. YouTube will show you a bunch of the related terms that people are searching for. Note them down to use for optimization.

You can also extract keywords that your competitors have used to rank. To find these target keywords, open the “popular videos” section of your competitor’s channel. Check their titles and descriptions. You will be able to easily find the relevant terms. Copy them to use for your video optimization.

If you want to use keyword tools, we recommend:

These are the best options to consider for your keyword planning

Power YouTube SEO tips: If you are creating a new YouTube channel, start with low-competition, easy to rank keywords. You can use VidIQ to check out how competitive a keyword is on YouTube,

2. Use Keywords in the YouTube Video Description

Now that you have made a list of the best keywords, it is time to use them in the right places.

Start with using keywords in the description as we have described above. Make sure you include your main keyword in the first 20 to 25 words. Repeat it 3 to 5 times in a description. Use more than one keyword and avoid keyword stuffing to get the best SEO results.

3. You Should Use Keywords in the Video Title

The title is, most of the time, the first thing people read while going through the search engines results. It must be eye-catching, precise, and clear to help the viewers better understand what your video will describe.

Make the title of a video at least 5 words long and include your main keyword in it to tell YouTube what it is really about. It is better to use it at the beginning of the title as it gives a noticeable SEO boost.

Let’s say your target keyword is “party makeup.” You can use it in the title as “Party makeup tutorials: Step-by-step guide for beginners.”

4. Another Great Way is to Use Keywords in the Video Tags

Tags tell YouTube as well as your viewers about the context and the content of your video. They are not as important as titles and descriptions are, but they can still make a difference. They also tell YouTube how your video is related to other videos. That is why tags can also help you show up in the sidebar area of related videos.

Make your main keyword your first tag. Include related keywords and phrases in the next tags. Do not use irrelevant keywords, thinking that they might help you rank higher. In fact, your YouTube channel may get penalized for doing that.  

5. Say your Main Keywords in the Video

Since technology has advanced a lot, YouTube can now easily transcribe all your videos. These transcriptions are quite accurate as well. So, think carefully before you speak in a video because YouTube can really “hear” you in the video.   

So, speaking just about anything will not help you reach more people. You will have to include your main keyword along with relevant keywords in the video script to tell YouTube that your video is covering this particular subject. Try to include your main keyword at the beginning of your video script.

6. Increase the Watch Time by Creating Engaging Video Content

How long people watch your video has now become a great ranking factor. It is called Audience Retention. You should always aim for 100% Audience Retention.

For this, you will have to create engaging and interesting video content to grab and hold the attention of your audience till they reach the end of the video. If people watch your videos until the end, YouTube will automatically consider them high-quality videos and boost their rankings.

7. Optimize the video after publishing it

Do not think that now you have published a video, your work related to YouTube SEO is done. Nope, you still have to put in a little bit more effort to make your video reach your target audience.

The first 24 hours after you have published your video are very important for the ranking. If more people view, share, and comment on your video within the first 24 hours, YouTube will consider it a helpful and authoritative video and push it up in the search engines results.

So, you should look for the best ways of driving traffic to your video after publishing it. Here are some of the popular ways that can help you achieve this goal.

  • Use Quora and similar forums to answer questions and link your video’s URL
  • Link your video in the emails
  • Post it on different social media platforms
  • Embed it in blog posts of your blog

A Simple Approach to Piece It Together?

To create a catching and engaging video, start with the summary of your video and tell people what you will be describing in the video.

After this, directly jump into the video’s main content.

Make sure you provide authentic and beneficial information. Then end the video with open loops that increase the curiosity of the viewers; for instance, inform them what you will be telling in the next video.


YouTube is a huge platform containing millions of videos. Competition has increased on this platform, and you have to use the right SEO techniques and strategies to reach your target audience and beat your competitors.

Keywords are the key to any YouTube SEO strategy. Therefore, search them properly and make a list of easy to rank keywords along with their relevant keywords. Use them in the title, description, tags, and video script. Publish a video and do its post-optimization by using the methods described above. Then watch your videos skyrocket in views!

We hope this step-by-step guide to improving your SEO on YouTube helps you reach the next level!

Samantha Tuttle

Samantha Tuttle helps us with writing. She is skilled at writing about how to use YouTube, how to set up YouTube, podcast set up, podcasting, blog set up, blogging general, SEO, and product reviews. She does bring years of expertise to the company and we are very glad to have her.

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