YouTube SEO – How to Rank YouTube Videos

Youtube Video SEO

YouTube videos are increasingly becoming an important feature of Google SERP. Therefore, focusing on YouTube SEO is required to get the maximum advantage of your video marketing efforts. YouTube video SEO (Search Engine Optimization) involves optimizing your YouTube videos to get more views, subscribers, and engagement.

YouTube SEO Ranking Factors

These 7 most critical ranking factors that determine how your videos would rank on YouTube-

  1. Subscribers – The number of subscribers to your YouTube Channel.
  2. Watch Duration – The average time duration users watch your videos.
  3. YouTube CTR – Click-through rate of videos. The number of clicks your video receives when it appears on the YouTube list.
  4. Comments – Number of comments on the YouTube video
  5. Retention – Number of repeat users who regularly visit your channel.
  6. Fresh Content Frequency – Schedule to post fresh content on YouTube.
  7. Backlinks/Social Signals – How often the video is shared on multiple websites and social channels.

Optimizing your YouTube videos for search engines can help improve their visibility and attract more viewers.

Here are some key steps to follow for YouTube video SEO:

1) Categorization and Local SEO

Organize your videos into relevant playlists to enhance user experience and encourage viewers to watch more of your content. Additionally, optimize your YouTube channel by adding an informative channel description, relevant keywords, and links to your website or social media accounts.

Go to YouTube Studio. Under Video Settings, you can categorize your videos and choose the video location.

Look at the videos similar to yours and choose the appropriate category for the video. There are various categories such as ‘science and technology’, ‘How to & Style’, ‘Entertainment’ etc. Choose categories appropriate for your video content.

Video Location- You can use this option to reach the target demographic audience. It would enhance local SEO. This feature highlights business location for people searching for related queries in nearby areas.

2) Social Signals and Sharing

Ensure that all videos, especially your popular videos and important videos about your products or services, are regularly shared on all social channels. Better the social signals higher your videos will rank on YouTube and search engine results.

3) #Hashtags

You can add either one hashtag in the Video Title or a maximum of three hashtags in the video description. Hashtags make your video title and description attractive, which increases the CTR.
You can find the Youtube Hashtag policy here.

4) Keywords and Meta tags

Search the main keyword on the YouTube search bar for keyword research and note all the keyword suggestions. It would help if you also googled the main keyword and listed all the keyword suggestions given by Google Autocomplete.

Identify relevant keywords and phrases related to your video content. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner or TubeBuddy to find popular keywords with a decent search volume and low competition.

If you want to rank on competitors’ keywords, you can go to their video and left-click the mouse to see the page source of videos. There you can see keywords used by competitors. You can use these keywords so that our video appears on the same search queries.

MozBar Chrome Extension and vidIQ Chrome Extension are good tools for YouTube keyword research. Ensure the targeted keyword is well distributed across Video Title, description, and Tags.

Tags are most important. Avoid single word tags, ie. “Health,” “Travelling,” “SEO,” etc. Include a few Long tail keyword tags, i.e., “benefits of traveling solo.”

YouTube Video Title-

Craft a compelling and keyword-rich title that accurately describes your video content. Include your main keyword or keyphrase at the beginning of the title for better optimization.

***YouTube SEO Tip- Make video Titles in questions format

Example- “How to” keyword titles and videos. This would increase the chances of videos appearing in voice search results and question-based queries in Google SERP.***

Video description should have keywords in titles, subtitles and should be at least 200 words long.

Use your keywords in the first few lines of your video description and provide a detailed, informative description of your video. Include relevant links and call-to-action (CTA) in the description.

Add a few helpful links to your products, services, and related articles. Product links are a must if it is a product video. Give a minimum of 2 links to your website product and services and 1 article link in each video description.

It is also good to list all your social media channels in a video description and request visitors to follow you on other social channels. Develop a social media strategy that includes cross-promotion among all social channels.

Timestamps – For longer videos, it lets viewers jump to sections of the video to find what they are looking for, which also improves engagement with the video.

For better YouTube Video ranking, aim for longer videos (at least 5 minutes) as they tend to perform better in search results. However, focus on maintaining viewer engagement throughout the duration.

Example of YouTube Video Time Stamp

Introduction 0:21

Product description 1:21

Size charts 2:21

How to use 3:30

6) Comment response rate

All the comments must be responded to. Videos with greater engagement via comments, likes, and shares rank higher.

 7) Language and captions

Set your preferred video language. Use and edit Captions to see if they are displaying properly. Adding closed captions to your videos can help with SEO as it makes it easier for YouTube to understand the content of your video. Upload an accurate transcript of your video or enable captions. This helps search engines understand your video’s content better, improving its chances of ranking higher.

8) YouTube Cards- Poll

YouTube poll cards can have a commercial question.

Ie. Would you like to buy headphones from

Would you like to try SEO services from

 9) End Screens

EndScreen reminds the viewers to subscribe to your YoutTube channel. Video Endscreen can be of your related product or services.

10) Thumbnails

The video Title and Thumbnail is the first piece of information users see when the video is listed on YouTube. Create compelling thumbnails of the video to increase the clicks. Add an element of urgency, surprise, excitement, or curiosity to the thumbnail. An appealing thumbnail has the potential to make your video stand out from other videos.

YouTube Analytics-

YouTube Analytics provides a gold mine of information about user engagement, demographics, and the reach of your videos. Use the data to optimize your videos, get ideas for your next video topics and make your videos more engaging to your target demographics.

Two Very Important Tips for YouTube SEO-

Video Promotion: Share your video on social media, embed it on your website, and include it in your email marketing campaigns. Sharing your videos on multiple channels can increase their exposure and attract more viewers.

Video Engagement: Ask viewers to like, comment, and subscribe to your channel. Respond to comments and engage with your audience. Increased engagement signals to search engines that your content is valuable and relevant, potentially boosting its YouTube ranking.

Remember that YouTube video SEO is an ongoing process. Continuously optimize your videos, experiment with different strategies, and adapt based on the performance and feedback you receive.