How to Improve YouTube SEO

30 June 2023

If you want to position your videos on YouTube to reach the right audiences, focusing on SEO will help boost your content and make your brand more visible across social media. 

With YouTube being the second largest search engine behind Google, even making a few small changes can result in significant changes, such as increased video views, channel visits, and business growth. 

Marketers and business owners have capitalized on SEO and found ways to increase the ranking of their websites in search results. But, how can you do this? 

Keep reading to learn how to optimize SEO on YouTube! 

What is SEO on YouTube?

SEO, Search Engine Optimization, refers to the organic positioning of your website, account, etc, based on what users are searching for across the internet. 

Appearing in the first results of YouTube is massive for promoting your brand or business, and is worth the small investment. 

Just like any other search engine, Google, TikTok… YouTube’s algorithm works to curate personalized content for each user. It also works to deliver solution-based content to questions that users search for. 

YouTube also positions content that is engaging, meaning that viewers stay until the end of the video and interact with the content via liking, commenting, or subscribing to a channel.

By focusing on SEO, your videos are more likely to end up on users’ accounts that may be interested in your brand or business. Which pages on YouTube are we talking about? The homepage, search result page, suggested videos, trends page, and subscription feed, are all included in the algorithm backend. 

Not to mention that optimization can also lead to rankings on Google’s search results. 

Benefits of Optimizing YouTube Videos 

You may be wondering, is optimizing your YouTube profile and content worth it? No matter if you are one year, or 10, into your YouTube endeavors, adding simple optimization strategies can make a world of difference, and help you target the right audience. 

SEO also helps boost your inbound marketing efforts, to generate more leads, increase website visits, and increase conversions and sales. 

By understanding the foundations of YouTube SEO, and the tactics that go into optimizing your videos, you can build a comprehensive strategy and continue to evaluate your progress. 

Don’t have a YouTube strategy but want to create one? Follow this YouTube marketing guide to build your strategy from scratch! 

5 Essential YouTube SEO Tips 

Here comes the part you’ve been waiting for, the actual tips and strategies you can use to boost your YouTube SEO! Before we dive into it, what factors determine how YouTube ranks videos? The algorithm is based on a few different factors, including: 

  • Video Title.
  • Video Description. 
  • Average Watch Time.
  • Video views, likes, and comments. 
  • User search history

These are just a few of the factors that determine the relevance of videos and where they are positioned. Although there is a multitude of other determinants, focusing on these factors can significantly increase your SEO. 

So, want to know the tips now? 

Understanding your Target Audience 

First things first, you need to know who you are targeting. The goal of SEO is to position your videos, websites, etc. on the feed of users that are searching for topics related to your brand. 

By understanding which questions and issues your target audience has, you can provide solutions by presenting what your brand or business does. When building your target audience, ask yourself these questions: 

  • What industry does your target audience work in?
  • What is your target audience seeking? What issues are they experiencing? 
  • Where can you find your target audience? What platforms do they use? 
  • What inspires your audience? What motivates them to make a purchase? 
  • Where does your target audience live? 

After answering these questions, you can create content that fits these answers. 

Keyword Research and Implementation 

Keywords are SEO’s best friend. But how do you know which ones to use? And how many? Thankfully, there are many easy and free keyword tools that you can use to conduct research and understand what topics are trending. 

Sites like, Answer The Public, and Semrush, are all tools that allow you to view keyword volumes, trends, and competition. 

Volume refers to how many people are searching this term on a monthly basis, the trend shows how the monthly search volume has changed, and competition shows how many advertisers are betting on the keyword. 

By taking the problems and issues your audience is facing, you can use keywords that include the solution. Then, you can sprinkle these in your video title, description, thumbnail, and hashtags, so YouTube can detect your content and position it on user feeds that are searching for related content. 

Optimizing your Channel 

Another part of SEO on YouTube is to ensure your channel information is accurate and clearly describes your business or brand. 

First, the name of the channel should be the same as your brand or business name. Your account should also have a quality profile picture, either of your brand logo or professional headshot.

You can also categorize your videos, under “Advanced Settings”. With this, you can group similar content into different categories. This is just another way to organize and professionalize your channel. 

Cross-Promote Video Content 

If your business is active on YouTube, chances are you have followers across other social networks. Include links to other videos, add links to your blog, and in other social media posts, you get the point. 

This will help drive traffic to your videos, outside of YouTube. Think of these videos as resources, that you can share with your audience. If you host live webinars, leave links in the comments section. If you receive emails or messages from customers, direct them to a tutorial or explanatory video. 

As you can see, the options with this are endless and there is no harm in reusing this link. 

Create Engaging Thumbnails 

Creating a captivating thumbnail is essential since this is the first thing that users see. Make sure to include the most important keyword in the thumbnail, so your video can rank well. 

Although YouTube can generate a thumbnail for you, creating a custom thumbnail will help you stand out and let your brand resonate with your audience. 

When it comes to the technical part, the best rule of thumb is to upload an image that’s: 

  • 1280 x 720 pixels 
  • 16:9  ratio 
  • Less than 2 MB 
  • In formats: .jpeg, .png, .gif, or .bmp. 

Here’s an example of a custom thumbnail that clearly presents the topic, and has an enticing graphical element: 

Analyze your Content 

Of course, the most important step is to analyze your video metrics to understand what is working well, and what aspects need improvement. For example, here are some of the most important metrics to look at: 

  • Video views 
  • Watch time 
  • Average viewing time 
  • Likes/Dislikes
  • Comments
  • Shares 

Watch time and average watch time are huge indicators of how engaging your content is. The longer the average viewing time, the more engaging. You can view these analytics inside YouTube Studio, the network’s native analytics tool. 

You can also use Metricool to schedule YouTube videos and Shorts, as well as analyze your content performance without leaving the platform. Want to learn more about the capabilities of Metricool? Read this guide below, with all of Metricool’s features!

Anniston Ward Anniston Ward , 30 June 2023

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