How Can I Get My YouTube Videos to Rank Higher? YouTube SEO Optimization!

Don’t leave your newly published videos visibility to chance, use these 8 YouTube SEO Optimization Tips That Will Help Your Video Rank Higher.

YouTube SEO Optimization

One of the best ways to get better rankings in search it to get your YouTube videos ranking — this is some of the best SEO advice any expert could give, check it out.

Thinking of expanding your marketing strategy into the world of video? Here are 8 essential tips for optimizing your content to the unique landscape of YouTube.

Savvy marketers use YouTube because it is the third most-visited site on the internet, and the second biggest search engine on the web, with over 40m brand-related videos uploaded daily. It only makes sense to understand the essentials of YouTube SEO Optimization.

When most marketers hear the words “search engine optimization,” they immediately associate it with website optimization. While you can certainly optimize a website to rank higher in the search results, you can also do it for YouTube videos. Achieving a top rank for your YouTube video can attract boatloads of visitors, some of whom may be interested in purchasing your product or service.

Do you even think about ranking your YouTube Videos when publishing?

When it comes to trying to go viral on Youtube, SEO can be something of a forgotten asset. While we put a lot into refining the SEO on our websites we think of content first with Youtube. This isn’t a bad strategy, but intelligent SEO is a hidden driving force behind the continued popularity of a Youtube video.

With Google owning Youtube, search data between the two is shared. The major benefit of this to budding viral stars is that Youtube videos are immediately indexed by Google. So with all this opportunity in mind, we’re going to show you exactly how to rank videos with YouTube SEO Optimization.

So, how do you optimize a YouTube video for higher search rankings?

This post is going to break YouTube SEO Optimization down in a few simple steps.

1. Optimize both the file name and video name

YouTube SEO Optimization starts before you ever upload. You have to make sure that the video file you’re submitting is appropriately named. The platform’s algorithm gets to work categorizing your content as soon as you upload it, so you have to ensure that it will be served to the users you want to target.

So, once you have created your video, check the filename. Your computer may have generated some unsightly string of characters. Replace them with something that will clearly reflect the content.

After you’ve fixed the filename, fix the title of the video itself. Again, you want something that will accurately reflect the content of the video, and which includes the right keywords. From your list of relevant terms, select one primary keyword and try to plug it near the beginning of the title.

Also, pay attention to the title length. Technically, you have 100 characters at your disposal, but you’d be smart to keep it below 70. This is due to the way video titles get shortened in the search results. If you plan to run a vlog, you may even want to pare it down to 45-50 characters for maximum impact.


The title is the single most influential element in determining where and how a YouTube video ranks in the search results. If you use a generic, non-descriptive title, you’ll experience greater difficulty getting your video to rank. So, choose a title that’s unique, meaningful and under 100 characters (max length). It should also contain the keyword for which you are trying to rank, assuming it’s used naturally and not forced.

James Wedmore has a nice little formula for creating great YouTube video titles, here it is:

Step #1. Find a RELEVANT, highly-searched and highly-targeted keyword phrase
Step #2: Add this keyword phrase to the beginning of your YouTube Video Title
Step #3: End the Title with a Benefit-Driven, or Curiosity-Provoking Statement

2. Don’t neglect the tags

Equally important to the Title are the tags you choose for your video. YouTube uses meta information like tags to rank your video. Until they are able to collect enough information on their own and make their own assessment. (i.e. Watch Time) Tags in your YouTube Videos are really important. What better way to learn how to properly tag your videos than watching this YouTube Tutorial? (It Rocks B.T.W.)

The algorithm relies on tags and categories to decide what the topic of the video is and how to index it. Tags are also the link between your video and similar content, which is a great way to grow your reach and expand your audience.

Don’t just pick whatever you think is catchy. While grabbing a new view is important, retaining the viewers is essential. Tailor your tags to be as relevant as possible. Try to use a mix of longer search phrases, broad keywords, common terms, and narrower ones.

Tags are an opportunity to include keywords. They’re an often under-appreciated way of ranking and feel like too easy an option to yield any proper results. You should always make sure your first tag is the exact keyword you want to rank. This is the equivalent of having a keyword in your title. From there use a mix of broad and focused keywords for your tags, without going overboard and using too many tags. This is a common mistake for YouTubers and can give search engines a hard time defining what your video is actually about.

If you’re struggling with coming up with good tags on your own, you can use dedicated YouTube SEO tools. Unlike general keyword tools, these specialize in the YouTube context, so you can use them for tags, descriptions, titles, tracking your channel’s rank, and more.

Also, be smart with your categories. When you upload new content, go to Advanced Settings and assign a category to it. Like we said, YouTube will use this info to group your video with similar ones. Take advantage of that to expand beyond your central niche into related ones and increase your reach.

3. Pay attention to your keywords

Keyword research is an essential step in all SEO strategies, so don’t skip it in your video marketing either. There are a number of handy tools that you can use to figure out best-performing search terms. However, before you get mired in third-party software, try using YouTube’s own search bar.

It’s a simple and effective tip but many content creators overlook it. Sure , it’s pretty basic, but it has one unbeatable advantage: you get direct insight into what users search for on YouTube itself. To begin with, pick one keyword related to your content and type it in the search bar. Pay attention to the autocomplete suggestions and to the titles of the videos you find. This will give you excellent insight into what keywords are in high demand in that niche.

Treat the text on your video and channel pages the same way you would treat a webpage on your website. If you’re working towards ranking properly you’ll be doing some keyword research and basing your videos on that. As YouTuber Sean Cannel explains on the Stellar Life podcast, many budding content creators will shoot a video first and try to optimize later. This is the video equivalent of keyword stuffing.

The title and description of your video should be sensibly optimized with the keywords you’re looking to rank for. These additions should be natural, and used in the way YouTube users like to think. Attempt to use keywords that have less competition so you can separate yourself from your competition.

Additionally, try to narrow down the search terms you’ll be using. Keywords should be not only relevant to your content, but also specific enough to make it stand out from a sea of loosely related videos. For example, “family law” is a clear topic but it’s fairly broad. Narrow it down by adding location or context, e.g. “Ohio family law” or “family law basics explained”. If you can get a clearer path to your target audience, you will face less competition from videos that only have a general topic in common with your content.

4. Make the most of descriptions

Video descriptions are kind of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you have a lot of space to write them – almost enough for a short blog post. This gives you plenty of opportunities to state what your content is about and to naturally plug in quite a number of keywords. A well-written description is a marvelous tool for promoting your channel. It’s your chance to give the algorithm lots of fodder for categorizing your video and suggesting it to users.

On the other hand, the users themselves likely won’t care a jot. You can have the most original, witty, engaging video description with each upload, and it will go largely unnoticed. People usually only read the automatically displayed text and rarely, if ever, click on the “Show More” button. In other words, the description you can have for your living audience is cropped to two or three lines of text. You need to cram a blog post into the space of a tweet.

The most practical way to deal with this is to tailor it half-and-half. Make the initial lines appealing to users. Include the information relevant to humans. Leave the rest of your keywords for the latter part of the description box where the algorithm is the only audience.

5. Caption and Transcribe your Videos

Captions are something of a mixed bag in terms of YouTube SEO Optimization. You can be forgiven for forgetting to include them while you’re caught up in the excitement of uploading a video, but they do play a valuable role in your ranking. As a search engine can’t watch your video, it needs to find a way to read it. What is said in your video coming through as captions will contribute to the ranking.

Adding captions has become a less vital concern for the content creators themselves since YouTube introduced auto-captions on all videos. Using this service can save you time, but on average it gets the captions wrong roughly 70% of the time, meaning 1 in every 3 words is incorrect. If you’ve produced a well-made video it should be full of keywords you’re looking to rank for, and you don’t want to miss out on a third of them. It’s worth investing some time or money into making sure your transcriptions are correct and the keywords obvious.

When looking at transcription options, remember that Youtube has a strong non-English viewership. Consider the audience you’re aiming to reach and rank for, if they speak another language it’s worth captioning specifically for them.

6. User Engagement

Once you move past the structure of your YouTube video, you need to double check the meat of your video. Videos that rank all have one thing in common — they engage!

YouTube is all about increasing viewer engagement, and it likes to reward those that do it well with high rankings. Engagement on YouTube means more views and more clicks through to other videos. Like dwell time for SEO on a website, watch time is a huge factor in how your video will rank. The longer a viewer spends watching your video it will rank, which is why hooking your video in early on a longer video is more worthwhile than producing lots of short easily consumable videos they will click out of.

You should work to encourage a higher level of user engagement with your YouTube videos. For instance, allowing viewers to rate and comment on your videos will almost certainly have a positive impact on their search rankings. Each new comment a viewer makes is additional content – and search engines LOVE fresh content.

Your video may not go viral, but by implementing these tips, you can definitely increase the rankings and visibility of your videos.

7. Promote It

Just like all other content, you need to promote it. Yes YouTube has a massive audience and videos can gain popularity all on their own. That being said, if you want to give your videos the best chance of ranking on YouTube and in search — share them!

How? Here are couple great ways.


There’s some belief among SEO experts that embedding YouTube videos on other websites can encourage higher search rankings, which makes sense considering that the number of embeds a video has is indicative to its popularity (e.g. more embeds = higher popularity). To embed your video, access it on YouTube, click the “Share” button followed by “Embed.” Here, you can grab the embed code and paste it into your own website’s HTML.


Build Links

Of course, building backlinks to your videos may also encourage higher search rankings. Search engines have long used backlinks as a means to determine the popularity of a website or webpage. But this ranking signals isn’t limited strictly to traditional websites; it may also affect the rankings of YouTube videos. So, try publishing links to your YouTube video(s) on social media networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. In addition to SEO juice, it may also drive direct traffic to your video.

Pro Tip: The quality of your backlinks doesn’t matter as much with YouTube as it does for Google.


8. Encourage Comments

As mentioned earlier, search engines need text to read on your YouTube video page just like any other webpage. Comments are another method of getting text onto the page. It’s a great way to introduce two elements YouTube love, engagement and keywords. YouTube gives popular content a boost, and views, likes and comments are the three pillars of popular content.

Gaining comments has become a part of the YouTube strategy for content creators now. The best way of getting comments is to do so within the video. Either at the start, for immediate engagement, or at the end, as a summary and reaction to the content. Give your viewers a question to answer in the comments or a suggestion to give. To get more keywords on the page ask for a reply that includes what you want to rank for.

Wrapping up

YouTube is a powerful platform and when you have a YouTube SEO Optimization strategy in place — higher views are coming. If you can hack its SEO specifics, it’ll definitely bring your business to new heights. Achieving a high ranking YouTube video is down to persistence and intelligent coverage of keywords. Quality content that knows it’s audience will always win out on the platform, and as you build your base and discover your niche follow simple best practice and draw in a bigger and better audience.