YouTube SEO - Optimize and Rank your Videos Faster Ever
With over a billion users and rising, YouTube is probably the second largest source after Google for online visitors to your content. 

It is a platform where 500 hours of video is uploaded every minute!

And how do users find videos to watch? By searching them with keywords they like to be relevant. Being so important you can't simply ignore its potential to help your site grow.

So again, its competition for keywords and content. No matter how good your content is unless you optimize your videos, it becomes a little bit more difficult to get noticed. 

If your content gets enough views, you can make good money from your YouTube videos.

In this guide, we will help you summarize quick steps which are necessary for the optimization of your videos. Also if you have not started creating videos to your business, here you will learn how to start with them.

YouTube SEO Guide: Rank high on YouTube

Getting Started

YouTube SEO Guide: How to rank high on YouTube

Before we look at the way to optimize your YouTube videos for search engines, you'll need to know how it works. 

Optimizing YouTube videos means helping users search your videos through keywords they know easily. It includes metadata (keys which define content), the title of the video, the video description, tags used while uploading the video and so on. 

Using correct metadata will help search engines understand what your video is all about, and so increasing the chances of your video being noticed by maximum visitors while they run a search.

1. Youtube video filename

Once you are ready to upload your video, make sure to give it a good name which includes your channel brand name and product mentioned in the video. This will certainly increase its visibility.

2. Video title

When the user sees the video title, he decides whether it's relevant to him or not. It happens at lightspeed. So more perfect or attractive your video title is, more chances that the visitor will likely to click the video.

Also, it is important to add your Channel or Brand in its title, so the people quickly know who is the master behind it. 

However, space is at a premium here so whenever possible keep the titles short and maximum to 60 characters including spaces. If that is not possible, make sure to include important keywords in those 60 characters. 

3. Choosing a thumbnail

Remember, YouTube is all about what people see at first glance, they will not open your videos if they do not see the relevance or an attractive image on the video frame, or in an easy way next similar video is ready to be served in the list.

The thumbnail is a static image displayed before the video starts to play. The ideal thumbnail is eye-catching and gives people a taste of what they expect from the video. 

If you don't set it at first, youtube will generate random three thumbnails for you to choose from. However, they aren't always great, so uploading a custom thumbnail is a sure shot way to make your content look special. 

Tip: The recommended size of the image is 1280×720 pixels (a 16:9 ratio). Maximum file size is up to 2MB and file type allowed is .jpg, .gif, .bmp or .png. That's it!

4. Video description

This section is all about a short description of your video. Make sure it is unique and easily readable. Include main keywords or phrase along with other relevant keywords and that it accurately summarises what the video is all about. 

Make sure your description is at least 200 words long and to be unique. Again, that is not copied from the web as it is. Google tracks it. Also link your other videos on your channel here, which will boost your internal linking. 

Don't forget to link back to your site at the top of the video description so that visitor will quickly notice your website and most of the visitors will visit it.

5. Video tags

Tags offer another chance to add keywords. Add tags that are relevant to your videos. Don't forget to include your brand. There is a limit to add tags, so make sure to add important from them. 

Tip: Want to see what tags your competitors are using? Try the TubeBuddy plugin for Chrome. This is available as a chrome extension and also available as a mobile app (iPhone and Android)

You can also take help of some keywords research the way you do for your websites. If you haven't done this before, check out this guide by Brian Dean - Backlinko.

You can also use YouTube's own autosuggest search feature. Just go to the search bar, type in a short keyword relevant to your video and see what suggestions appear in the search box. That's pretty easy to go with.

6. Transcriptions

YouTube smartly transcribes speech in the uploaded videos and uses that information to help identify which keywords a video should rank for. 

While it is done using a speech recognition software, it is not 100% accurate and there are occasions when YouTube isn't able to create a transcript at all. So you can check and correct Youtube's automatic transcription, or create your own and upload it to YouTube as a .txt file. 

Sound's cool? take a look at about editing the automatic transcription in this guide on Hongkiat.

7. Optimizing published videos using search data

YouTube Studio is the best source to optimize your existing videos. 

Click on Analytics > Top Videos. 

This will bring up the page shown below and you can start analyzing videos. Click on traffic source and select the YouTube search. It will display all the queries that users are using to see the video results. 

This is the key. You need to optimize your video titles, description and tags based on these queries. Treat these queries as a keyword to optimize your videos. And the keywords which you don't see relevant to your video, treat them as a gem for your next videos.

Include misspelling of your tags: e.g. If you have a keyword as "youtube seo", also include "youtube seos" etc and check with youtube analytics to see how people searching for you.

Include Singular and plural of your tags: If your keyword is "painting art" also put "painting arts" and separate your keywords into different tags like "painting" & "art".

Include phrases into tags such as your longtail keywords.

8. Using The Closed Caption (CC) Feature In Video On YouTube.

This is the captioned text shown on your videos. You must have seen them often on music songs and food recipe videos. This helps viewers understand your video narration better. It can also be translated into different languages so that the video reaches more communities. 

Uploading transcript is also a great idea. Transcripts contain the text of what was said in the video. YouTube's new algorithm automatically converts our voice into a transcript which makes it easier to relate. 

If your video doesn't contain voice, a 'Closed Caption' text is a great idea as it also helps indexing keywords in search engines. You can also use services like captions for YouTube, to create an easy caption for your uploaded videos.

9. Keyword Research For YouTube Videos

Getting the right keywords is important for SEO. But you cannot think of all possible keywords on your own to include in your videos. 

Google has two free tools for keyword analysis. Google Keyword Planner and Google Display Planner. We recommend using Display planner for videos.

Google Display planner will give your huge number of keywords and also an insight into the searched keywords.

Download these ad group ideas into an excel file and include these keywords and phrases into your tags, titles, and descriptions.

This will certainly boost your rankings.

Some more healthy YouTube SEO tips include embedding your own videos within the blog posts. It helps you get links to your own YouTube videos and views.


Tubebuddy shows your ranking for the particular keyword and used by many pro YouTubers. The best part of this tool that shows how tough or easy for you to rank on a keyword, based on the existing content on your Youtube channel.


Again a great keyword suggestion tool for YouTube. VidIQ has some more smart features to consider for optimizing your videos faster.

Ahrefs YouTube Keyword Research:

Ahrefs is a popular search engine marketing tool and recently they have integrated YouTube Keyword research tool. You might like to opt for a trial which is worth considering.

10. Be aware of Black Hat Methods

Don't be too greedy. Take a note that YouTube has its own algorithm to rank videos. And even if you buy inorganic YouTube traffic, it will not ensure that you will rank higher organically.

One of the well-known factor of Youtube video ranking is view-time. Just similar to Google's bounce rate where user distracts from your site quickly after visiting, the video also gets a lower rank rating if the user quickly goes away from your video just after few seconds when visited.

Wrap up,

We highly recommend following all the above tips if you are on YouTube Channel. If you are following other tricks, feel free to share with us via comments. Don't forget to share this useful resource with other YouTubers on your Facebook, Twitter and online social Profiles.

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