What is YouTube SEO?
People often think of YouTube as a social media platform because it often gets listed as such. And yes, while you might have a YouTube channel that’s like a profile, the world’s biggest video-sharing site is also the world’s second-biggest search engine. With over 2 billion active monthly users watching around 1 billion hours of video a day, that’s a lot of organic search potential.
YouTube SEO is all about optimizing your videos to help you appear higher in the search results. You can do it in much the same way as you’d do normal SEO for a search engine like Google, just with a few crucial differences.
How to Optimize YouTube Videos
As with most SEO, it starts with some great keyword research. We’ve included more detail on that in the third part of this post, but once you have your keywords, you need to do the following:
- Optimize your video title – the same as you would a blog post headline, using keywords in a natural setting.
- Use tags – 10 or 12 per video, as long as they’re all relevant. A mix of long-tail, short-tail, and LSI keywords is perfect here.
- Encourage subscribers – a key part of the YouTube algorithm. You can help boost subscriber numbers by adding end cards or CTAs to your video.
- Add closed captions – not only can this boost your click rate, but other search engines like Google can crawl these and find your carefully placed keywords.
- Rename your video file – this isn’t the title, but the file name itself. Use a target keyword here for bonus SEO points.
Other areas to keep an eye on include a custom thumbnail (not essential, but can help increase your click rate), optimizing your description with keywords, embedding your video in blog posts, and sharing on social media to get more backlinks.
The Best YouTube Keyword Research Tool
Keyword research is an essential element of SEO for YouTube, but while you’ll find loads of tools for search engines like Google, it’s harder when it comes to YouTube. Fortunately, the likes of Ahrefs and Ubersuggest can help you out, or you can try one of the following:
- TubeBuddy is a browser extension for Chrome that helps with keyword research and metrics (note you need to pay for optimal use).
- Keywordtool.io allows you to filter search results for YouTube.
- Google Trends can give you an idea of how popular a subject is on YouTube.
- YouTube Autosuggest is a classic, but for a reason – it provides great topic inspiration and a ton of keywords.
It might sound like a lot of work, but once you’ve mastered the technique and started using YouTube SEO tools like these, you’re well on your way to optimization and an even bigger audience watching your videos.