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5 Expert Tips for Mastering SEO on YouTube

When you think of search engine optimization, what comes to […]

youtube seo

When you think of search engine optimization, what comes to mind? Chances are, you’re thinking about Google Search and the importance of SEO in businesses big and small. Marketers and website owners know that when you emphasize writing high-quality content with all the right best SEO practices, your website will see more engagement, increased traffic, and potentially, more sales. 

The explosion of video content helped build the second-biggest search engine of all time, which is also owned by Google. That’s right; we are talking about YouTube. Businesses and bloggers alike share their musings, offer tutorials, or create promotional content and upload their videos to YouTube. It turns out that your SEO ranking on YouTube can play a significant role in the success of your business, almost as much as your position in Google’s standard search engine. 

If you’re thinking, “How the heck can I increase my visibility on YouTube?” Or “What tactics can I use to grow my channel that differs from traditional SEO?” We have you covered. Today we are going to explore five ways you can master SEO on your YouTube account. 

Let’s dive in! 

Research and Decide on Effective Keywords 

The first step to mastering SEO on YouTube will sound familiar to you if you’ve ever performed keyword research for your website. But stick around, we have some new ways to find keywords that we think you’ll like. 

For a consumer to find you online, they have to type in a query. In an ideal world, their query should match up perfectly with the intent of your business. You want people to find your website or YouTube channel because they need your product, service, or advice. 

When you’re researching keywords, you have to make sure that you can make a full video on the topic you want to cover. Typically, a video should last at least 10 minutes. There are plenty of ways to research keyword ideas and topics for your YouTube channel. 

Youtube’s search bar can provide you with a wealth of information about popular keywords. For instance, if you go to YouTube right now and search “Pumpkin,” these are the results that come up: 

youtube seo

As you can see, the predictor can help you determine what keywords are popular on YouTube. In the above example, YouTube shows results for carving pumpkins, a slew of different recipes, and even references to a song. If your site wanted to rank for words centered around a specific word or phrase, this should be your first stop. 

Once you’ve decided on the keywords you want to use, you’ll have to come up with content that can use those words or phrases in a way that is natural and valuable to the consumer. We suggest using a free tool like Answer the Public to see a list of ideas around your chosen keyword. This tool lets you type in a word, then gives you a bunch of ideas centered around what you typed in. Let’s see what happens when we type in “pumpkin” on Answer the Public: 

youtube seo

The image above is a snippet of the graphs available in seconds. You’ll also see a comprehensive list of words that go with your keyword — in alphabetical order. The objective here is to find topic ideas that align with the top keywords on YouTube and create video content for your target audience. 

Additionally, you should check your chosen keyword on Google’s search engine to see if there are video results for that word or phrase. For instance: 

youtube seo

If you see that there are videos on Google under your chosen keywords, you’ll have a better chance at ranking on both platforms. Don’t forget to check Google’s Keyword Research Tool to see how often consumers are searching for your phrase. Ideally, you’ll want to target low-competition keywords, which usually get between 500 and 1000 searches per month. 

Optimize Tags and Captions 

Now that you’ve decided on keywords and started creating content, it’s time to optimize your tags and captions to ensure that YouTube’s algorithm makes the connection between the words that you’re saying and the intent of your video. 

YouTube will create subtitles for your videos when you upload them for the first time, but sometimes these subtitles are unreliable. You can go in and edit their captions, or write and upload your own. Both choices allow you to make sure that your keywords are used and represented correctly in the written and spoken transcript. 

When you’re uploading your video, you will see a section called tags. Essentially, tags are keywords that connect to the piece of content. The purpose is to give YouTube signals about what you want people to know about your original video and channel as a whole. For instance, if you’re creating a video where you make your famous pumpkin pie recipe, you’re going to want to use tags like pumpkin, pumpkin pie, and recipes. You can use more keywords based on the details of your videos, but tags will help your video end up in the search results and can improve your brand awareness and traffic. 

Encourage Engagement in the Comments Section

One of the most vital signals YouTube gets from a channel is when users interact with their video. The algorithm considers user engagement as a green flag that the content is worth showing in the search results. Thus, the more people interact with your content, the higher you appear in the search rankings. 

There are several easy ways you can improve your engagement. If you want to get people talking, end your video with a compelling question. Ask consumers to voice their opinions one way or another, the simple act of asking for someone’s opinion could result in them becoming more connected to your brand. 

It might seem simple, but don’t forget to ask your viewers to subscribe to your channel and like the video. YouTube sees likes and dislikes as virtually identical; they both mean that the video is getting attention. If you can improve your likes, you’ll see an increase in your YouTube SEO ranking, but when someone subscribes to your channel, this sends a powerful positive message to YouTube’s algorithm. 

Maximize Your Marketing Efforts  

The way people interact with your brand across all platforms can help you grow your YouTube SEO ranking. As we mentioned, YouTube values consumer engagement above all else. If consumers are landing on your content from your emails, or sharing your content on social media, you better believe that these factors determine the position of your video. 

There are several reasons for this connection. First of all, consider that over 80 percent of internet users worldwide have at least one social media account. Additionally, users, on average, spend 2 hours and 22 minutes per day on these platforms. These statistics show that a considerable percentage of the global population access social media regularly. If your content goes viral on a platform like Facebook, there’s a good chance that you’ll see an influx of visitors on your YouTube channel and website due to the massive number of people who use the internet every day. 

Do you remember the viral video by musician Psy called Gangnam Style? That video blew up and now has a staggering 3.4 billion views and 16 million likes.

youtube seo

 If you’re properly marketing your videos and create a hit that reaches those numbers, do you think that you’ll see a boost in your SEO ranking? Absolutely. 

Utilize your social media profiles and start scheduling your videos in between your posts and blog content. 

Your email lead lists can help you improve your ranking by checking out your videos through the emails you send out. Consider that 82 percent of businesses use email marketing, and it’s clear that this is a great way to increase the already impressive ROI of your email campaign. 

Consider creating a drip campaign where you educate users new to your industry or product through video tutorials. Let’s say you have a website where you help users cook affordable, but big meals. You can share a link to your latest content, or embed the recipe videos through your drip campaign as you continue to build rapport with each consumer. 

As your following grows, you’ll have exciting opportunities to segment your lead list and send out personalized emails to users where you recommend videos that focus on their interests. Once you segment your audience and send out different kinds of video content, you’ll start to see a higher engagement rate, which leads to a better ranking in YouTube’s algorithm. 

Create a Compelling Thumbnail 

Finally, let’s talk a little bit about thumbnails. There’s controversy around the topic of thumbnails and whether or not “clickbait” images should be punished. Generally, consumers do not like this kind of content and have revolted against brands in the past for posting pictures that were too good to be true, or images meant to inspire a heated discussion with no real substance within the content. 

We suggest that you create thumbnails that accurately summarize the kind of content you’re going to deliver. Set clear expectations and goals in your title and text on your thumbnail image. For instance, if you’re creating a video showing business owners how to run social media, you might put “business social media 101” on the thumbnail. This text will set expectations, uses your keywords, and gives the algorithm one more good reason to boost your video. 


YouTube SEO has it’s own rules, but there are plenty of parallels between their system and traditional Google Search. The keys to mastering YouTube are understanding what consumers want from your brand, what YouTube expects from your videos, and how to explain your intent properly. 

As your business grows, you’ll make changes to your brand that reflect consumer interests or new products, but don’t forget to take the time to optimize your YouTube videos to reflect your changes. In this age of information, consumers expect brands to post relevant and useful content consistently. You can grow your following, visibility, engagement, and sales if you’re willing to master the second largest search engine in the world, YouTube.