Do you know that YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world – right after Google? The platform is constantly growing, with over 500 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute.

Today, many people would rather watch a video than read a long blog post. According to surveys, 59% of executives say they prefer a video over text. That’s not a small number. Marketers MUST give attention to video platforms—especially Youtube.

Let’s say you’re already on YouTube and don’t know how to compete with others. The good news is that YouTube is kind of a search engine for videos.

You can see the search bar in the middle of the page. It works similarly to Google’s video search results. You should see YouTube as a search engine with its own SEO practices.

So, just like you want your site to rank high on the SERPs, you want your videos to rank high on the YouTube results. So, why not use SEO practices for Youtube too?

If you don’t want to get lost in the sea of videos, you should optimize your videos for YouTube algorithms. With some SEO tips, you can win this ranking competition.

1. Conduct Keyword Research First

The first step of every SEO is to conduct keyword research. You should know what keywords your audience use to reach videos. Therefore, find keywords that potential viewers search for on YouTube and Google.

There are a few different ways you can go about this:

  • First, you can use Google’s Keyword Planner Tool. It connects to Google Ads and gives you insights into how many people search for specific terms.
  • Use a Third-Party Keyword Research Tool. If you want to get more detailed information, consider using a third-party keyword research tool like Ahrefs, Semrush, Moz, or Ubersuggest.
  • You can check what your competitors use as keywords.

Steal Keyword Ideas to Improve YouTube SEO

You don’t have to be an SEO expert to start optimizing your videos for YouTube. Especially if you don’t have any idea about which keywords you should use, check your competitors’ videos.

You might find that other businesses in your niche use specific keywords. Make a list of popular keywords relevant to your topic. Even if you don’t use a keyword tool, this method helps you a lot.

Try using those keywords in your videos and track the performance. If you have an interesting video and use the right keywords, your videos might get many more shares using this simple technique.

Once you have a list of potential keywords, it’s time to optimize your videos.

2. Use Keywords in Your Video Title

Your title is one of the first things potential viewers will see, so it’s important to make sure it’s SEO-friendly.

Include your target keyword in the title, but don’t stuff it full of keywords. A good rule of thumb is to keep your title under 60 characters. You want to make sure it’s catchy and descriptive so people will click on it when they see it in the search results.

3. Use Keywords in Your Video Description

Your video description is another great opportunity to include your target keyword. Just like your title, you want to keep your description under 60 characters and ensure it’s SEO-friendly and descriptive.

You should also include a link to your website in the description so people can learn more about your company or product.

4. Use Keywords in Your Tags

Tags are one of the most important SEO ranking factors for YouTube videos. They help YouTube understand what your video is about and match it with the right searches.

Make sure to include your target keyword in the tags, as well as any related keywords. You want to use a mix of broad and long-tail keywords to make sure you’re covering all your bases.

5. Select a Video Category

Once you upload a video, it is time to categorize it.

Categorizing is another way to group your video with similar content on YouTube, and it helps new people discover your video.

To make video categorization easier, YouTube’s Creator Academy suggests thinking about what features are successful in different categories. You might want to consider who your top creators are within a particular space and what is working well for each category. Let’s ask some questions about the category you think:

  • Who are the top creators? What do they do?
  • Are there any similarities between the audiences of similar channels?
  • Do the videos share qualities like production value, length, or format?

6. Add YouTube Cards and End Screens

YouTube cards are clickable call-to-action overlays that appear on top of a video.

They can be used to promote other videos, playlists, websites, or products. Since YouTube aims to keep people on YouTube, cards are a great way to boost your ranking. You can add a maximum of five cards.

YouTube end screens are similar to cards but appear at the end of a video. They promote the same content as YouTube cards, but they’re also a great way to encourage viewers to subscribe to your channel or follow you on social media.

Including YouTube cards and end screens in your videos effectively increases YouTube SEO and gets more views and subscribers.

7. Ask People to Leave Comments

Comments are a great way to engage with your audience and make your videos more SEO-friendly. When people leave comments on your videos, it signals to YouTube that your content is popular and relevant. This can help improve your SEO ranking and get your video in front of more viewers.

To encourage people to leave comments, you can ask questions at the end of your videos or in the description box. You can also respond to comments yourself to start a conversation. Just ensure you’re genuine and not spamming people with generic comments.

8. Encourage People to Subscribe

Subscribers are people who have chosen to follow your channel and see your new videos in their YouTube feed. The more subscribers you have, the more likely people are to see your videos.

Subscriptions are a big deal on YouTube.

It’s one of the most important factors YouTube’s algorithms use to rank videos.

To encourage people to subscribe, you can include a Subscribe CTA at the end of your videos or in the description box. You can also include a link to your channel on your website and social media profiles. You can ask them to subscribe if they want to see more videos like that.

Just make sure you’re not spamming people.

9. Edit Your Filename to Improve YouTube SEO

Your filename is one of the first things YouTube will look at when determining your SEO ranking. So it’s important to make sure your filename is SEO-friendly.

Include your target keyword in the filename, but don’t stuff it full of keywords. A good rule of thumb is to keep your filename under 60 characters. You want to make sure it’s catchy and descriptive so people will click on it when they see it in the search results.

This is an SEO best practice for all types of content, not just video. Including your target keyword in the filename helps YouTube understand what your video is about and match it with relevant searches.

10. Customize Your Thumbnail Image

Your thumbnail image should be high resolution and represent your video’s content. Choose an image that is clear and eye-catching, as this will help to attract viewers to your video. In addition, consider adding text to your thumbnail image, as this can help to optimize your video for YouTube search.

Remember, your thumbnail image is one of the first things potential viewers will see, so make sure it’s representative of your video content. You can easily customize your thumbnail image for YouTube SEO with little effort.

11. Offer Subtitles in Multiple Languages

If you want to reach a global audience, it’s important to offer subtitles in multiple languages. You can do this by transcribing your videos and adding subtitles in the language of your choice.

This will help YouTube match your videos with viewers who speak different languages and improve your SEO ranking. It’s also a good idea to add transcripts of your videos on your website so people can read them if they prefer.

12. Track Your Analytics

YouTube Analytics is a great way to track your SEO progress and see which videos perform well. You can use YouTube Analytics to see how many people are watching your videos, what time they watch them, and where they’re coming from.

You can also use YouTube Analytics to track your goals. For example, if you want to get 100 views on a video, you can track that goal and see your progress over time. Tracking your goals will help you determine what’s working and not so you can adjust your strategy accordingly.

To access YouTube Analytics, log into YouTube and click on the three lines in the top left corner. Then, select “Creator Studio.” In the left sidebar, select “Analytics.” From there, you can track your overall channel performance or dive into specific videos.

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