YouTube SEO - How to Rank YouTube Videos

Kunal Kapoor

We all are familiar with the Google and other search engines but only those are not search engines.


In today's blog, we shall discuss another search engine which is YouTube.


Yes, you read right.


YouTube is a search engine for videos. It's driven by the search bar. YouTube is a giant video platform on the internet.


YouTube, as a search engine has its own SEO practices.


Just like you want to rank your webpage on top of the Google or any other SERP, you want your videos also to rank on YouTube SERPs.


YouTube SEO is quite varied from general SEO and it might take a while to get a result.


In this blog, we will go through the techniques that will help to get high up your videos on YouTube SERPs


Let's dive right on how to rank YouTube Videos.

youtube seo


#1. Find Video Keywords

The very first step to begin the YouTube SEO is Keyword Research. At first, make a list of probable keywords.


One of the well known and easiest way for keyword research is YouTube's search suggest or autocomplete feature. Head over to the YouTube search bar and Start typing the keyword and YouTube will help you to complete the phrase by handing the bunch of keywords related to your typed keyword.


Another method of Keyword Research is using a tool. Keyword Planner is an ideal and free tool provided by Google Adwords.


Enter your selected video keywords (you can add multiple keywords)in Keyword Planner search bar and it will show the monthly search volume along with its competition (Low/Medium/High) for that keyword.


Also, it will show the related search queries with its search volume and competition as well.


Generally, Google tends to show video results for certain types of keywords:


     How-to keywords (“how to prepare cake”)

     Reviews (“movie review”)

     Tutorials (“setting up YouTube channel”)


#3. Upload the Video with Keywords as File Name


Since keyword plays a vital role in ranking on top, it's advisable to use a video file name with its primary keyword.


#4. Publish a high retention Video


You always want to create videos which people keep watching.


First thing first.


What is retention?


Viewer retention or Audience retention is the average percentage of the length of your video which viewer watched.

Example, if you upload a video of 4 minutes and viewer watch it for 2 minutes then your viewer retention is 50%.


Aim to keep viewer retention close to 100%


Viewer retention is an important metric which gives YouTube a signal to measure your videos for better visibility.


If your video content is engaging, it will definitely increase your viewer watch time which will help YouTube to recommend your videos to the audience.


Check out audience retention report by the following navigation.


Go to the Channel icon and click on Creator Studio.


On the left sidebar, click on Analytics > Audience Retention



#5. Write A Descriptive, Keyword-Rich Title


The ideal title is to write within 50-60 character limit which includes your focus keyword and attractive headline.

Using keyword at the beginning of the title is highly recommended to boost your video SEO.


Example: If your targeted keyword is "Online Instructor", you want to write a title like "Online Instructor: Teaching Online Courses"




#6. Write a Long Description with Keywords & Links

youtube seo keywords


Video description is as important as the title.


Include focus keyword in the first 10 words and secondary keywords within first 25 words. The ideal length of the description is 300 words. Use the keywords 3-4 times within the description.


The SEO Optimized description helps Google and YouTube understand the context for what your video is about. The better search engine understands the context, the higher chances to rank on top. It can also benefit in showing your video in the sidebar of video suggestions.


Links - If you are owning a website, add your website link in the description. Also, add a link of your other related videos.


#7. Add Tags


Tags also help YouTube and Google to learn what your video is about. Add your keywords along with its variation as a tag. Here, you can use LSI keywords too.


Do not add too many tags. 12-14 tags are enough.


#8. Design Catchy Thumbnail

Thumbnail is concise to your comprehensive video. Create a custom thumbnail having a text in big letters and upload it in video manager under info and settings.

Though thumbnail doesn't have any direct ranking factor, still it helps to make an impact on SEO. It helps viewers to know what the video is about and encourages them to open and watch it.


#9. Add Closed Caption


Closed Caption is one of the greatest features of YouTube. It is good for those people who have difficulties in hearing. Search engines crawl Closed Caption which indicates that it helps to boost SEO. Create your own caption by editing it.


#10. Build Links to your Channels, not just Videos


Building links for your channel or videos are meant to make your videos more popular. Usually, YouTubers follow the strategy of building links for their videos. But getting inbound links for your channel will increase the authority and popularity of your brand too.

For the best YouTube SEO, building links for the channel is as important as for videos.


#11. Respond to Comments

Always be interactive with your viewers. If someone leaves a comment on your video that means they probably liked your video or at least they have taken interest by engaging themselves. Respond to those comment and always encourage people to leave comments for your videos.


Comment is one of the factors to rank your video.


Also, encourage them to subscribe your channel to get the update of your latest videos. If someone subscribes to your channel after watching your video, then it gives a strong signal to YouTube for providing an amazing useful video.


To boost your number of subscribers, it is recommended to ask to subscribe at the end of the video. It will really help to increase the number of subscribers monthly.


#12. Promote Your Videos


Promotion is the way to get people to know about your videos. It's obvious to market your videos.


Share your videos with an eye catchy and engaging title & description on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.


Facebook is an ideal platform to promote your videos. It will help to drive tons of traffic to your channel and videos. If you are owning a website, then embed the video into it.


Quora is also one of the best platforms to make your video popular. On Quora, people are looking for in-depth information that helps them out and to answer the question with including video is the best way to deliver the information.


#13. Review your Report


YouTube provides an analytical report for your videos to analyze how your video is performing.

To see the report, head over to the Channel icon.

Click on Creator Studio -> Analytics.


Here, you can see the bunch of reports such as watch time report, audience retention, traffic sources, devices, etc.


What things are required to create a video?


     HD camera

     Video Editing program

     Basic graphic design skills (for a custom thumbnail). You can use Canva

     A verified YouTube channel with a logo, attractive banner and about description.



youtube-seo 1


Always aim to rank higher on both YouTube and Google. If you create a video which actually helps your audience, it's not difficult to get more viewers and subscribers to your channel.

YouTube is the platform which doesn't require a huge budget to start the channel. You can always use a free tool to edit your videos and create a custom thumbnail.

If you follow the steps provided here and work hard, getting popularity to your videos will be a cakewalk!

Have a look at some of the popular tutorials created by our website users