SEO for YouTube: 8 Tips to Grow Your Channel

How do you rank higher in YouTube with your videos? It’s still a mystery to many people, especially when you’re just starting out. When you think of SEO, you may immediately think of Google, but you can also organically bring your videos to the attention of YouTube with search engine optimization. But how do you do that?

What is YouTube SEO?

With YouTube SEO (search engine optimization) you ensure that your videos are found better and organically within the well-known video platform YouTube . The optimization of the videos depends on a number of components such as the structure of the videos, title, keywords, tags, thumbnails and much more. All factors that can ensure that your videos are at the top of the page.

If you want people to find and see your videos, you can do that by optimizing. This is especially important for the new YouTuber who wants to make a difference, but is not yet known. Don’t be put off by the big boys! It is possible to get higher organically in YouTube.

The optimization of your videos also ensures a higher ranking in Google. Optimizing increases the chance that your videos will end up in the search results. You just need to know how, and of course I’m going to show you! Here are 8 tips to rank higher in YouTube.

Tip #1. Use the right keywords

Keywords makes the dream work . Keywords for YouTube are just a bit different from the keywords that appear in search engines like Google or Bing. Why? A keyword that generates 50,000 searches per month (such as ‘leasing a car’) may only get 50 searches on YouTube.

On the other hand, it can also be the opposite. A search; ‘cute cubs’ can have millions of views in YouTube, but much less in Google. That’s why it’s important in this step to find the most relevant keywords that match your video. To arrive at these keywords, I have the following tips for you.

YouTube suggestions

Make use of YouTube suggestions. Type a keyword into YouTube’s search bar. You will now be presented with a whole list of suggestions (image 1). Don’t underestimate this! YouTube literally provides exactly the keywords that people search for. You can also add a * to the beginning of a keyword. You can then see which suggestions do not exactly match, but it gives you a broad insight into inspiration and you see what is more often searched for in YouTube (image 1.1 with *).Google search results

Figure 1. YouTube Suggestions

Image 1.1 Finding the right keywords with *

YouTube Tools

I can recommend Google Trends as a tool. It allows you to analyze and compare search trends and keywords based on their popularity. To make the tool search YouTube specifically, you can change this from ‘Google Search’ to ‘Search on YouTube’.YouTube Tool Google Trends

Figure 1.2 YouTube Tool Google Trends

Search Google for featured videos

YouTube videos may appear on a normal Google search. Perhaps you have come across this and you want this with your videos as well. Google tries to add a video section for many keywords to show the most relevant result. That’s why collecting and optimizing your videos is essential and increases your chances of getting a high chance in Google’s organic search results.

(Free) keyword tools

You can also choose to use popular tools for your keyword research, for example: Ahrefs , Keywords Everywhere , Semrush , Keyword Tool , Tube Buddy and VidIQ . The tools all work in a similar way, but VidIQ is the most effective because the focus is mainly on YouTube. It’s also free. It gives suggestions for keywords, tags and gives you insights into what your competitors are doing to rank high in YouTube.

Tip #2. Optimize the title of the video

The perfect title does exist! Once you’ve done keyword research, you can use it to optimize your videos. It is important that the search matches the title of your video, it ensures that you are extremely relevant.

You should include one of the highest scoring keywords in the title. This is not yet a guarantee. 500 hours of videos are uploaded every minute, and a keyword isn’t enough to boost your video. Try to make sure the title grabs attention. It is good to check the titles of your competitors beforehand to gain inspiration. There may be opportunities to do just that little bit better

The highest ranking videos promise their viewers something. Let viewers know exactly how many tips you’re going to teach them, or make a promise when they finish the video. For example: that you give away a discount code in the video.

Bonus tip: make sure the title is no longer than 60 characters. This ensures that the title is not truncated.

Tip #3. Optimize the description

The video description is an important factor in addition to optimizing the title. There is space for a maximum of 1,000 characters, with the first 125 characters being the most important. YouTube displays the first 125 characters, which is the amount of text that users see. YouTube recommends putting the most important keywords and CTAs at the beginning of the description.

Do not forget:

  1. Include keywords in the description.
  2. Add a URL of your website and of your social media platforms.

With a well-filled description, YouTube can understand what the video is about and show it to the right people.

Tip #4. Add the correct #tags

Did you know that just like on Instagram and Facebook on YouTube you can use hashtags to increase your visibility? You can add hashtags in the video description and they will appear in the title of the video. You can use quite a few keywords here and perhaps also a number of hashtags from your competitors. This ensures that your videos are shown faster in the ‘next’ section.

Pay attention! It is important that the hashtags match the expectations of the viewers and that there are not too many hashtags. There is a maximum of 15 hashtags per video.

Tip #5. Add video tags

Also add the appropriate tags. After you’ve optimized the title and description, you can place “tags” that help searchers find your videos. Tags are not visible to viewers, they are for YouTube reference. Feel free to add as many variations of keywords and terms that are relevant to your videos as you can.

A handy tool to use for this is VidIQ. This tool allows you to see competitors’ tags and use them for your own videos. If you do this, chances are your video will be recommended as “next” video. Or you discover tags that your competitors may not yet use to rank higher in YouTube.

Bonus tip: use longer, specific keyword tags to increase your visibility.

Tip #6. Add a script

A much forgotten optimization for YouTube SEO is adding a transcript. You know, the well-known YouTube video captioning . They are often full of errors because of blind reliance on YouTube’s automated translations.

Fortunately, you can also adjust this yourself. It is worth adding a script yourself or adjusting YouTube’s automated caption yourself. You can do this in YouTube Studio. The modified scripts ensure that YouTube understands your video better and includes this in the ranking.

Tip #7. Create an attractive thumbnail

A thumbnail says more than 1000 words. The thumbnail is the first thing a searcher’s brain scans because visual utterances are absorbed faster than textual utterances. So create a thumbnail that stands out!

Within YouTube you can choose to use an excerpt from your video as a thumbnail or to add a thumbnail of your own. I recommend doing the latter, because an automated thumbnail is just a random shot from the video. To stand out, you need to use a unique, eye-catching thumbnail that encourages people to click.

Dylan Haegens, for example, uses striking thumbnails. Don’t have the skills to make a thumbnail yourself? Then you can use professional templates in Canva .

Tip #8. Backlinks with YouTube

If you are familiar with backlinking, then you know how important backlinks are to your blog or website. Also with YouTube this is essential and can be an SEO boost for your video. Build links to your YouTube channel and then not only to your videos, but also to your channel home page. To increase the number of backlinks you can take the following steps:

  • place the video on your website as much as possible
  • adding a video to your blog
  • or on other websites that fit your video

You don’t need to be an experienced SEO consultant as these tips can go a long way in getting the most out of your videos. It is important that you continue to optimize. Try to find your own YouTube SEO structure in it. Good luck!