YouTube SEO is a term used to define the practice of optimizing your YouTube channel and videos to enhance its rankings. It includes optimizing your YouTube channel, videos, playlists, metadata, and description so that they can have the best possible ranking on YouTube’s search engine, Google, and other search engine platforms.
Because YouTube is a search engine on its own, you want to make sure your videos and channel rank high on search results. Engagement metrics like subscribers, views, likes, estimated watch time, and likes define how your video and channel rank on the platform, and thus by optimizing your YouTube, you can enhance these metrics.
1) How do you do SEO on YouTube?
How to Choose the Right Keywords
If you want to boost the chances of your channel, videos, and channel showing up in the search results, you need to do YouTube SEO. And the first step of YouTube SEO is finding the relevant keyword for your niche.
YouTube is the most popular search engine after Google. This means millions of people use the platform to search for videos about makeup, entrepreneurship, sports, business, entertainment, and more.
This also means that your target audience is using the platform to search for your videos as we speak. And if you can know the exact word your target audience is using to search on YouTube and optimize around that word or phrase, your channel, videos, and the playlist will show up at the top of the search results.
There are many ways you can choose the right keyword for your YouTube channel, including:
Have you ever tried to search for a video on YouTube and as you type, YouTube provides a list of related keywords?
This is called autocomplete and it only suggests trending and popular keywords. It provides you with the terms and phrases that a lot of people find in particular videos on the platform.
For anyone looking to optimize their videos, these suggestions are a great keyword source.
Another great way to find the right keyword to optimize your videos is by using the keywords that are already working for your competitor.
Just search for the channel of one of your competitors and click “Videos”. Consider ‘spying’ on a channel that has the same number of subscribers as your channel.
Once you have clicked the tab “Videos”, click the “Most popular”, to find your competitor’s most popular videos.
Next, look at the phrases and keywords used in the description and title of each video. In just a few minutes, you have a handful of tried and tested keywords that you too can use on your videos.
Those two above methods can get you very good keywords for your videos, but if you want to go deeper, you can also check a competitor’s tags.
Although YouTube doesn’t usually show these openly, you can access them via the HTML of the page.
To do this, right-click on the channel’s page and select, “View page source” to open the HTML code of the page.
Don’t worry, you don’t need any technical skill to use this method to find keywords. All you have to do is click “ctrl + f” on the windows keyboard and “⌘ + f” for Mac, and then search “keywords”.
Just like that and you will get your hands on the video’s tags.
Add Keywords in the Title of the Video
Once you have gathered your keywords, adding them to the title of the video is pretty simple. Find your profile on the right upper side.
Click on it to open a dropdown menu, and then select “Your Channel”.
On the top right corner, select “YouTube Studio”, and then “Settings” on the left side of the navigation panel.
You will see a pop-up window. From there, select “Channel” and click Basic info. A box will appear where you can add your keywords.
Discuss the Keywords in the Video when Recording
In addition to adding keywords in the title of your videos, try also to discuss the same phrases when shooting the videos.
Without discussion of your keyword(s) in your video, it will not show in your transcript or caption, two of the most important factors of an effective YouTube SEO.
Try to use your keyword naturally and thoughtfully in your YouTube video to avoid overstuffing your transcript.
To be on the safe side, incorporate keyword(s) at the start of your video so that they appear sooner in your transcript.
SEO Optimize your Description
When adding keywords to your YouTube description, consider putting the most important ones in the first few sentences of your description.
Speaking of description, your YouTube description should not be longer than 200 words. Make sure your description is useful to users.
Use Video Hashtags
Hashtags can greatly improve your channel and videos’ discoverability on the platform and they have the same effect as other social media hashtags like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
On YouTube, hashtags are usually displayed in two places – above the title of the video and inside the description box.
You want to use hashtags because they can help your videos get more views. They can lead viewers to your video from videos that use a similar hashtag.
Also, hashtags help YouTube understand the content of your video better.
Create Awesome Thumbnails
Your channel thumbnails should be able to grab the attention of the audience and make them click and watch your videos.
Video thumbnails are the first things your audience sees when they scroll down the search results, so you make sure they grab the attention and store the audience from scrolling past your video.
How do you create highly effective YouTube thumbnails? Here are some tips.
- Try to use the appropriate YouTube thumbnail size: YouTube requires all thumbnails images to be 1280 x 720 pixels and 640 pixels in width.
- You will need to use quality images for your thumbnail background
- Add a title in your thumbnails
- Using the right font for your thumbnails is key
- Brand your YouTube thumbnails
- You will want to use contrast
- Use the right thumbnail maker
Add Subtitles and Closed Captions
Subtitles and captions can help you share your videos with a wider audience, including hard-of-hearing or deaf viewers as well as viewers who use another language.
Creating subtitles and captions is very easy.
- Head to your YouTube Studio
- Select “Subtitles” from the left menu
- Click the clips you want to edit
- Select “ADD LANGUAGE” and choose your language
- Click “ADD” under subtitles
You can still add subtitles and captions as you upload your videos.
2) How do you Rank Keywords for YouTube
So what are the steps you need to take to rank keywords for YouTube? I have outlined steps you can follow below.
- Rename the video file using your keywords
- Add keywords naturally in the title of the video
- Include keywords in your video description
- Tag your YouTube videos with keywords
- Categorize the videos to group them with similar videos on YouTube
- Use custom thumbnail images
- Add keywords in your cards and end screens
3) How do I Rank Number 1 on YouTube?
Ranking number 1 on YouTube is one of the biggest and most effective drivers of traffic and views. The first step to ranking first on the platform is doing keyword research.
You can use the methods I have already shared in this article to find the right keywords for your videos.
Once you have a collection of good keywords, add them to the description, title, and thumbnails.
But these keywords will not amount to anything if you don’t publish videos that people want to watch and keep watching.
Audience Retention is one of the huge ranking factors on YouTube. As a matter of fact, you want to keep your audience retention as close to 100% as possible.
Luckily, you don’t need a fancy camera or expensive microphone to shoot a high-retention video. All you need to do is record a video that offers value and is interesting for viewers to watch.
Just do this and you will have a great chance of ranking number 1 on YouTube. If your video is not appealing to your viewers, it won’t rank no matter how you optimize it for SEO.
Unlike Google SEO which uses backlinks as well as other signals to examine the quality of content, YouTube relies on Audience Retention.
4) How do you Pick the Best Keywords to Target?
Picking the best keywords for your YouTube is more than just getting views and getting shared, it means finding the gaps and customers where your closest competition is not already outspending you.
But it is quite straightforward when it comes to picking the best keywords to target for your YouTube.
Even though YouTube SEO is considerably smaller compared to regular SEO, there are a number of tools that make it easy to do YouTube keyword research.
The most efficient way to pick the best keywords to target is by using YouTube Autocomplete. Just type a word in the platform’s search bar, and you will see a drop-down list of recommended keywords.
By providing these suggestions, YouTube essentially tells you what users in your niche are searching for.
Best SEO Tools
Here are some YouTube SEO keyword tools you can use to optimize your videos.
Known for helping users manage their channels like pros, VidIQ functions as a browser extension and displays all important stats for your videos as well as YouTube videos that you view, which means you can effortlessly do competitor research alongside advanced analytics.
Its ‘Most Viewed’ tool allows users to find and match best-performing YouTube videos against each other. And if you need further intelligence, just include specific channels and match them with your own channel. And with the 24/7 channel audit tool, you can examine which practices are suitable for your channel to enhance performance.
Furthermore, you can even set up email alerts to monitor trending topics in your niche or the competitor’s channel. For enhanced outreach, the Facebook Syndication tool will come in handy.
Its thumbnail generator lets you create a professional-looking thumbnail image that will enhance your channel’s traffic. If you are unable to build with traditional tools such as Photoshop and Canva, VidIQ and its features can help you create a thumbnail that will attract views.
Why use it:
- It is efficient in optimizing videos to rank number #1 on YouTube
- Design-oriented with the stat bar installed on your YouTube
- It generates thumbnail
TubeBuddy aims to make it easier to manage the YouTube channel with its collection of great tools. Just like the above YouTube SEO tools, TubeBuddy also functions as a browser extension that seamlessly integrates with whatever browser you are using, enhancing your publisher tools instantly.
This tool is both a content management and publishing platform that help users optimize and grow their channels. With this platform, you do not need to constantly optimize video titles, tags, and descriptions for views and ranking.
However, the best thing about TubeBuddy is its capability to manage cards and annotations, which as you may know are crucial to traffic and ranking. You don’t need to keep updating your 60-second cards to place in your videos.
Its features are grouped into four categories namely:
- Video SEO
- Bulk processing
- Data and Research
TubeBuddy brings together all the channel management tools so that you can have everything you need under one roof.
In its collection of useful bulk processing tools, you will find tools such as bulk delete cards, copy cards, copy end screen, and update cards just to name a few. Bulk processing tools are supposed to help you easily add, manage, and edit your descriptions, video cards, and titles on bulk clips.
But the most important tool is the YouTube SEO for keyword optimization, which helps attract large viewership as well as enhances your rankings.
Why use it
- Easy to use YouTube SEO tool
- Keyword rank tracking feature
- Bulk processing tools
- Auto translator for global outreach
3) Rank Tracker
Rank Tracker is known for being one of the most dependable keywords SERP trackers you can find on the market today.
While it has plenty of great features, I personally love its reporting tool, which is glossy and professional. You can research keywords, examine your competition, and track your SEO ranking all within this single platform.
It harnesses top-class data sources to enable you to get ahead in YouTube SEO, whether your channel is small or large.
Rank Tracker tracks keyword rankings from multiple websites as well as search engines. It offers YouTubers the precise data and intuitive tools required to improve their YouTube rankings, attract traffic, increase their earnings, and outrank the competition.
It is designed with the user in mind and it reduces workload and enhances your video rankings. Rank Tracker provides tools that give you accurate insights for each stage of optimization as well as monitors the channel as it moves up and down YouTube search engine results.
Why use it
- High-quality keyword rank tracking tool
- Mobile keywords for mobile optimization
- Competition analysis
4) YouTube Auto-Suggest
Autocomplete or auto-suggest keywords are recommendation queries that people in your targeted market are frequently searching on YouTube.
It is perhaps the easiest tool to find good keywords to optimize your videos around. Just open YouTube on your browser or mobile and then type a phrase or keyword in the search bar.
You will see a drop-down list of recommended keywords related to the word you typed. They are known as YouTube auto-suggest or autocomplete keywords.
Using autocomplete helps you learn how users on the platform search related to your industry, niche, offers, or products.
But this feature does not offer you important insights such as expected clicks, search volume, rank difficulty, and competition of those suggested keywords. These are crucial metrics to help you decide the kind of videos you should create as well as which keywords you should target to get high rankings and views on YouTube.
So if you want in-depth data, consider using tools such as VidIQ, Rank Tracker, or TubeBuddy.
Why use it
- It is completely free
- It is easy to use, just type on the search bar and you will receive a drop-down list of related keywords.
- Provides a long list of keywords to optimize
Best YouTube Training Course
If you want to learn about YouTube, a team of YouTube experts has compiled some of the best YouTube training courses you can tap into. Here are some of them, and you can read all of them if you wish.
1) YouTube SEO: How to Rank #1 on YouTube by Udemy
If you own a YouTube channel, you want to improve the channel through keyword optimization. With this course, you can learn everything you need to rank number #1 on YouTube as well as things you need to avoid in the process.
By not optimizing your YouTube channel, you might lose potential watchers, subscribers, and likes. An optimized video has the capabilities to reach a wide audience that right now might be searching for your product.
In this easy-to-understand course, you will get to learn tried and tested strategies that you can execute right now to rank your videos, channel, and playlist on the first page of YouTube.
Among the things, you will learn to include how to do keyword research as well as how to determine which keyword is ideal for your videos and which is not.
Moreover, you will also learn how to target certain keywords and phrases so that when someone searches on the platform, your video will come first on the search results.
Another thing you will learn from this course is how to create professional thumbnails that will attract viewership as well as some basic SEO for your YouTube thumbnails.
If you have a YouTube channel that is not performing well or you want to grow and optimize it.
2) Matt Par’s YouTube Mastery
Matt Par’s YouTube Mastery is meant for YouTubers looking to monetize their channels. It includes step-by-step video modules where the author reveals how to start a successful channel using his proven system.
It also comes with free access to a private mastermind group where you can get your hand to more than 100+ profitable niches, and numerous case studies among others.
Although many people have reservations about the cost of the course, the author offers a 60-day money-back guarantee so that you can get a refund in the event that you are not satisfied.
Arranged in a step-by-step format, the course teaches you how to can monetize your channel.
3) Justin Primal Video
Justin is known for working in the film industry for more than 20 years, during which he produced all sorts of videos including his Netflix documentary, extreme sports projects, and music videos. He also worked with a number of top-level entrepreneurs and marketers helping them make videos for their YouTube channels.
His Primal Video channel already has more than 1 million subscribers and over 96 million viewers in total for his 403 videos.
In this course, you will learn about tons of video marketing tactics, tips, and strategies as well as YouTube ranking strategies to help you get 10X results from your videos.
4) Sean Cannell Training
Sean Cannell Training is another helpful YouTube course you can learn to optimize your channel. Sean is a YouTuber practicing what he preaches.
His videos have received tens of millions of views and he has more than one YouTube channel, making more than $40,000 per month from affiliate programs as well as ads and promotions. However, his channels usually involve more than one person, so it might be tough for you to replicate this success.
But with his training, you can optimize your channel to increase your ranking and viewership. He teaches you how you can replicate his success.
His courses are categorized into 7 modules:
- Reverse Engineer Your YouTube Success
- Research (The Right Way)
- Record – The Ultimate Video Framework
- Release Your Video (The Right Way)
- Rank Your Video
- Rapid Revenue
- Repeat And Rocket To Success
His courses also come with a bunch of useful bonuses to help you get started and throughout your learning process.
Note that his training is not free, but since his channel is successful, you can bet the money is worth it.