YouTube SEO: Tips and Tactics To Create High-Ranking Videos

For a clear path to YouTube stardom, a deep understanding of the YouTube SEO algorithm and its implementation is essential. Discover the easy ways to get started with YouTube SEO in this article.

Temitayo Michael


Have you ever wondered what could skyrocket your YouTube videos from being just seen to being seen by the masses? 

The answer lies in SEO

With studies estimating that optimized YouTube videos receive 2-5 times more views than videos on YouTube without proper SEO, it's obvious that your ability to earn more revenue is tied to following standard SEO practices. 

Some studies also estimate that improper SEO can lead to YouTube revenue losses of 50% to 70% compared to SEO-optimized videos which emphasizes the importance of ticking off all the YouTube SEO boxes.

In this article, we'll spill the SEO secrets that will transform your YouTube channel, and increase your video views.

We'll unravel the mysteries of YouTube SEO to ensure your videos utilize the YouTube search engine algorithm, – we’ll share the hows, the whys, and the YouTube SEO tools that can kick your channel up a notch. 

Ready for the ride? Let's dive in!

What is YouTube SEO?

YouTube SEO, or Search Engine Optimization for YouTube, is the art and science of making your videos more discoverable and appealing to viewers and YouTube’s search engine. 

Since YouTube is the second largest search engine, following Google- the owner of YouTube,

Imagine it as a library with millions of books, with each book representing a YouTube video. 

YouTube SEO is the system that helps librarians to categorize and organize those books. 

It's a way to make sure that your videos are easily found by viewers when they are searching for specific topics or keywords.

YouTube SEO involves using strategic techniques to enhance your video's visibility, increase its chances of appearing in search results, and ultimately attract more viewers. 

Just like optimizing a website or blog for Google Search, YouTube SEO involves following best practices to make your videos stand out and reach the right audience in the vast sea of online content, and these best practices will be discussed below.

YouTube SEO: Quick Overview

The Power Of SEO- How It Boosted A Nigerian Artist’s Growth In The Foreign Market

How burna boy took advantage of SEO

Before Kanye West's album release, Nigerian artist Burna Boy was already capturing global attention. 

However, his strategic move to release the song "Ye" from his album "Outside" coincided perfectly with Kanye's album titled "Ye", providing him with an international boost.

The song's quality, characterized by a catchy melody and positive message, quickly gained widespread acclaim on the international stage. 

Consequently, "Ye" by Burna Boy experienced a substantial surge in streams, both from his existing fanbase and new listeners driven by the heightened search activity surrounding Kanye's album.

This added exposure played a crucial role in elevating Burna Boy's standing on the global stage, giving him more performance opportunities beyond Nigeria. 

Seizing this momentum, Burna Boy's team adeptly capitalized on the situation, effectively leveraging it to promote the song and tap into the heightened interest generated by Kanye West's album release.

This success story highlights the importance of leveraging proper SEO strategies, showcasing how they can enhance already exceptional content and significantly increase organic views on platforms like YouTube.

Introduction: How to Optimize Your YouTube Videos for “Search”

To truly grasp the best practices for optimizing your videos on YouTube, it's essential to first comprehend the inner workings of the YouTube algorithm.

Understanding the specific markers that YouTube employs to elevate certain videos over others is crucial. 

Let's discuss some of these markers below as insights from these will form the foundation for establishing standard practices aimed at boosting your video's ranking on YouTube through effective SEO strategies.

Understanding YouTube’s Search Engine Algorithm: What Factors Are Considered?

While the exact details of the YouTube SEO algorithms are kept secret, here are some key factors it considers for deciding the best videos to rank

1. Relevance In Video Titles & Descriptions 

2. Video Engagement metrics and Watch Time.

3. Video content quality

Factor 1: Relevance- In Video Title & Description:

results of youtube videos with exact keyword matches

The YouTube algorithm scrutinizes your video titles and descriptions with the intent to align keywords, topics, and user intent.

1. Aligning Keywords: 

The algorithm analyzes the video title, description, tags, and even the spoken words in the video to identify relevant keywords. 

The aim is to match the keywords to the search terms that viewers are using.

2. Topic Matching: 

The algorithm tries to understand the topic of the video and match it with the viewers' interests- based on their watch history and search queries.

3. User Intent: 

The algorithm analyzes user behavior and tries to understand the intent behind their search- which can be informational, entertainment purpose, social, finding Inspiration or simply to pass time.

This helps it recommend videos that are likely to satisfy their needs.

Factor 2: Video Engagement & Watch Time:

how to write youtube video titles

The algorithm follows the simple principle that the longer viewers watch and engage with your video, the higher the likelihood that it will fly with a broader audience.

To measure engagement, The algorithm watches for

1. Click-Through Rate (CTR)

2. Watch Time 

3. Likes, Dislikes, Comments and Shares

1. Click-Through Rate (CTR): 

The CTR is the percentage of viewers who click on a video thumbnail after seeing it in search results or recommendations. 

A higher CTR indicates that the thumbnail is effective in capturing attention, thus getting the video extra promotion in related searches.

2. Watch Time: 

The Watch Time is the amount of time viewers spend watching a video.

Videos with longer watch times are seen as more engaging and valuable and are further promoted in YouTube search results.

3. Likes, Dislikes, Comments, & Shares: 

These metrics indicate how viewers are reacting to the content. 

Positive engagement signals to the algorithm that the video holds significant value and is worth promoting in search results.

Factor 3: Video Content Quality:

While this may pose a challenge for new creators operating on a tight budget without access to expensive gear, such as those filming with smartphones, 

the other two factors mentioned earlier, coupled with the utilization of AI tools like Adobe Enhance, can contribute to elevating the overall quality of videos.

1. Audio & Video Quality: 

The algorithm takes into account the technical aspects of the video, including factors such as audio clarity, video resolution, and the quality of editing.

2. Overall Production Value: 

Videos with high production value, with compelling visuals, engaging storytelling, and clear audio, stand a better chance of ranking higher.

YouTube SEO: Search & Discovery FAQ and Answers

YouTube SEO Guide: 10 Tips & Tactics to Optimize Your YouTube Videos for “Search”

Every relevant keyword in a Youtube video description affects CTR by 2%

Tip 1: Conduct Comprehensive Keyword Research:

Try to identify relevant keywords for your YouTube videos then use these targeted keywords in your video titles, descriptions, tags, and throughout your video script.

There are three methods through which you can do this:

Method 1: Using The YouTube Autocomplete Feature

As YouTube is owned by Google, the search phrase autocomplete feature works similarly, and a deep understanding of how it works can help you find relevant keywords for your videos 

Imagine you're a content creator specializing in Baking and healthy desserts niche, specifically focusing on creating a video on "Making Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies, without refined sugar"

Your Keywords can be: healthy chocolate chip cookies, easy dessert recipe, no refined sugar cookies, gluten-free chocolate cookies, vegan chocolate chip cookies, healthy baking

You start your keyword research process by researching all of these relevant and high-performing keywords in your niche by using tools like Google Keyword Planner or YouTube's Search Suggest/Autocomplete feature to identify popular search terms around the topic

Using and optimizing your videos to carry the auto-suggested keywords are awesome as these auto-suggested phrases are key phrases that a large number of YouTube users are actively typing into the search bar on your target topic

So if YouTube suggests them to you, they are popular keyphrases.

Method 2: Keyword Research By Competitor Analysis

Using and optimizing your videos to carry the auto-suggested keywords are awesome as these auto-suggested phrases are key phrases that a large number of YouTube users are actively typing into the search bar on your target topic

So if YouTube suggests them to you, they are popular keyphrases.

Method 2: Keyword Research By Competitor Analysis

You can try using competitor analysis, where you search for your target topic on Google and YouTube to see which websites or videos rank high in the search results for them.

Then you look at the keywords used in these websites or videos' titles and meta descriptions. 

You can input links to these sites on tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush, or you can check for top-ranking videos for the keyword and use tools like VidIQ to check for popular keywords and tags within the highest-ranking videos for the topic.

These keywords can then give you further insights into what people are searching for on Google around your intended topic.

The majority of these tools might be expensive to a creator, but joining an MCN like Yoola gives you access to all the resources needed to upscale your YouTube endeavors!

Method 3: Using YouTube Analytics Search Insights. 

You can also find keywords by using YouTube Analytics Search Insights. 

Tip 2: Optimize and Input SEO Keywords Into Your Video Titles and Descriptions:

Your next aim will be to create a clear, concise, and keyword-rich title that accurately reflects the content of your video.

Write detailed descriptions that summarize your video content and include relevant keywords naturally.

For example: for the video example above; you may have a video description draft that goes:

"This video features a simple and delicious recipe for healthy chocolate chip cookies made with no refined sugar! 

These cookies are perfect for anyone wanting to enjoy a sweet treat without compromising health. They are also gluten-free and vegan-friendly!"

Also, try to rename the video file itself to be more appropriate for SEO and aligned with the video content

According to Hubspot, uploading a video file with the name is better than

Also make sure to add SEO keywords in the video tags such as: 

chocolate chip cookies, healthy dessert, no refined sugar, gluten-free, vegan, cookies, baking, easy recipe, delicious

Using Tags informs your users and the YouTube algorithm about the exact keyword focus of your video content

Tip 3:  Design eye-catching thumbnails

In 2018, BrightEdge's research revealed that a thumbnail accurately reflecting the video's content can boost a video's view by 20%.

To optimize your video thumbnails for YouTube SEO

You must make sure that they are visually appealing, informative, and represent your video content.

It is also best to use clear images, bold text, and bright colors to grab your viewers' attention.

According to the YouTube algorithm as stated earlier, a high Click-Through Rate (CTR), which is the percentage of viewers who click on a video thumbnail after seeing it in search results or recommendations, indicates that the thumbnail is effective in capturing attention

This means such videos should get extra promotion in related searches.

Related: YouTube Thumbnail Tips For Increasing Video Views in 2024

Tip 4:  Utilize Playlists For Grouping Your Videos

Playlists specifically keep viewers engaged by automatically playing one video after another so organizing your videos into playlists can significantly increase your watch time, which is a key ranking factor for YouTube videos. 

utilize youtube playlist feature

By keeping viewers on your channel longer, you're showing YouTube your content is engaging and relevant.

You can also optimize your playlist titles, descriptions, and tags with relevant keywords to target specific YouTube search queries. 

This helps your playlist appear in search results for those keywords, potentially attracting new viewers.

Playlists help you group related videos together, which makes it easier for viewers to navigate your content and discover new videos, giving a clear signal to both your viewers and the YouTube algorithm about the overall theme and content of your channel

Playlists also showcase your expertise in specific topics- which fosters a loyal following and often attracts new subscribers to your channel

Tip 5:  Use The “Cards and End Screen” Features

youtube cards and end-screen features

Cards and end screens allow you to encourage viewers to watch other relevant videos on your channel, which extends their viewing session and overall watch time. 

They provide viewers with interactive elements and guide them toward content they might be interested in, improving their viewing experience.

Cards and end screens also prevent viewers from leaving your channel to explore other content on YouTube. 

This will result in a significant decrease in your channel bounce rates

Your bounce rate is the percentage of visitors to your videos who navigate away from the video after viewing only one of it

And a reduced bounce rate is a positive indicator for YouTube's ranking algorithms- suggesting that your video should be showcased to a larger audience.

Tip 6: Promote Your Videos On Socials & Utilize Collaborations

When you share your YouTube videos on other platforms, you're essentially creating backlinks to your channel. 

Backlinks, also known as inbound links or incoming links, are hyperlinks that point from one website to another. They play a crucial role in search engine optimization (SEO) and are considered as a key factor in determining a website's authority, credibility, and visibility in search engine results.

These backlinks actively improve your channel authority in the eyes of search engines, which can indirectly influence your YouTube video ranking.

Also, promoting your videos on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Reddit will drive significant traffic to your channel which when done right leads to increased views, which is also one of the crucial ranking factor for the YouTube SEO algorithm.

Furthermore, collaborating with other YouTubers allows you to leverage each other's audiences, which helps your videos and channel reach a wider audience than you could alone. 

Tip 7: Use YouTube Analytics for Data-Driven Optimization:

Information from your YouTube analytics is crucial for understanding how your videos are performing and for identifying areas for improvement, as they are often instrumental in making data-driven decisions and optimizing your videos and YouTube channel for better SEO and overall success.

With YouTube analytics, you can analyze SEO data such as views, watch time, and average view duration

Additionally, you can review engagement metrics like likes, comments, shares, and click-through rates on cards and end screens.

This information will help you identify your strengths and weaknesses, enabling you to focus on creating content that resonates with your audience.

YouTube analytics also provide valuable insights into your audience demographics, including age, gender, location, and interests.

Having access to this information can further help you to tailor your content to their specific needs and preferences, making it more engaging and relevant.

Tip 8: Take Advantage of YouTube Shorts

YouTube Shorts are prominently displayed on the YouTube homepage and browse pages, providing your short-form video content with the potential to be discovered by a much wider audience than your regular videos.

Their brevity and snackable format cater to the modern attention span, encouraging viewers to watch more than one Short video in a row. 

This consequently increases your channel's overall watch time.

Shorts can also enhance your channel's visibility and increase the chances of viewers finding your long-form content after watching a Short, as long-form videos can be linked to each Short.

Moreover, the YouTube SEO algorithm suggests your long-form content to viewers who have interacted with your short-form videos, even if they've never interacted with your channel.

Also, since Shorts allow you to showcase your content in a more accessible format, they can be used to entice viewers to subscribe to your channel for the chance to see more of your content.

Tip 9: Optimize Your YouTube Videos For Mobile 

Over 70% of YouTube watch time comes from mobile devices. 

This underscores the importance of optimizing for mobile viewing to reach the majority of your audience. 

Additionally, YouTube prioritizes videos that provide a good mobile experience, potentially giving a slight ranking boost to vertical videos.

This preference for vertical video formats is due to their ability to fill the mobile screen effectively, offering a more immersive viewing experience, reducing scrolling, and increasing engagement. 

All of these factors contribute to a longer watch time, which sends positive signals to YouTube's SEO algorithms, resulting in a boosted ranking.

Tip 10: Stay up-to-date with YouTube trends

Viewer attention spans and preferred method for consuming content is always changing and the YouTube SEO algorithm is constantly evolving to deliver the most relevant and engaging content to their users. 

Understanding these changes enables you to quickly adapt your SEO factors, including video title, description, tags, thumbnails, and overall content, to align with the algorithm's preferences. 

This adaptation can result in better rankings for your videos and channel in search results, leading to increased visibility.

Some resources you may utilize to stay ahead include:

1. YouTube Official Blog: This announces new features, updates, and trends directly from YouTube.

2. YouTube Creator Academy:  This is the main YouTube channel that offers free courses and resources on various aspects of YouTube success, including SEO and trends, and finally

3. YouTube Trends: an aggregate that displays trending videos based on your location and search history.

You may also follow all of these accounts on socials like Twitter and Reddit to make sure you get notified as soon as these updates are made public.

Conclusion: Your success on YouTube is intricately tied to mastering SEO. 

The goal for all creators is not merely to be seen but to be seen by the right audience – and that is the true power of SEO on YouTube.

The undeniable impact of optimized videos on your views and revenue highlights the importance of focusing your content on YouTube's search engine algorithm. 

This is evident in the case of Burna Boy, who strategically rode the wave of SEO during Kanye West's "Ye" album release. 

This serves as proof that creators can transform their channels simply by optimizing for all the factors of YouTube SEO.

With a deep understanding of the algorithm's markers and the implementation of its machinery, such as keyword research and optimizing video elements, the path to YouTube stardom is clear as long as you enjoy your strategic dance with SEO.

For help optimizing your content and YouTube channel for SEO, simply join Yoola MCN to access a team of YouTube SEO experts.