YouTube SEO Best Practices

What is YouTube SEO?

YouTube SEO, or search engine optimization, is essential for increasing visibility and organic traffic to your YouTube videos. Optimizing your video titles, descriptions, and tags with relevant keywords helps search engines understand and rank your content. Additionally, incorporating engaging thumbnails, compelling video descriptions, and accurate closed captions can improve user engagement and overall search rankings on YouTube. Remember to provide valuable and relevant content to your target audience to maximize the impact of your YouTube SEO efforts.


How to optimize a YouTube video for search optimization:

1. Add Smart Title, Description, Tags

Incorporate keywords in the title and description, and add them as tags for the video. The title has a maximum of 100 characters. It should include one main target keyword, as with most content, and should be representative of what the video is about.


“YouTube SEO Best Practices for your Video Content”

It is okay to use hashtags in the title to emphasize elements of the video—it can help users find your video.

There are two ways to find videos using hashtags, according to Google:

  • Search for a hashtag
  • Click on a hashtag in the title or description of a video

You’ll see a results page that shows the top trending videos for the hashtag and the most recently uploaded content.

The platform also recommends not using too many hashtags—at 15, they will ignore the hashtags on that video.

Descriptions have a maximum of 5,000 characters and should take up as much of that capacity as possible.

When adding tags to your videos, it’s important to think of these as keywords and use tags that are relevant to the video, your channel, and will help you show up in search results.

2. Add Cards

Cards are subtle calls to action, represented by an “i” icon in the top right corner. Clicking on the “i” extends with a thumbnail for a recommended next video.

Adding cards is simple: within the editing navigation, you’ll see “cards”—from there, you can “add card”.

3. Add an End Screen

End Screens are thumbnails you can place in your video that click through either to another video, to your channel, or give the viewer the ability to subscribe to your channel. They are a great way to keep users engaged in the YouTube realm. If you’re more interested in linking to your website, you can do that as well if your site is verified with your branded account.


Like the card section, you can go to the “end screen” portion of the navigation and “add element”.

4. Add it to a Playlist

Adding your video to a playlist creates a better user experience, allowing the users to easily access your videos without having to click around and search for them. Adding a video to a playlist is easy. Located on the main info/setting section of the editor—the option to add a playlist is right under the “add a message to your video” box on the right hand side. 

5. Create Closed Captions

When Google crawls videos, it’s not listening to the video to learn about the content—it relies on the description and captions. Adding manual closed captions to your video helps boost your SEO and YouTube rank. 

You can transcribe your videos through:

    • Google Voice
    • YouTube itself (note: the automatic captions YouTube provides will need to be edited)


Video Marketing Is An Instrumental Component To Your Content Plan

All of these SEO best practices are important factors in creating a positive user experience for viewers that reach your channel and videos. YouTube is meant to keep people on YouTube—so consistency in posting will further the likelihood of gaining new subscribers and more viewers. If you let your channel lay stagnant, viewers won’t check in for new content.

YouTube can be used as an effective lead generation tool when used properly, but it requires planning a content strategy and regularly posting.

A final note: YouTube is just one of many ways you can promote video content on the web. Video as a whole is an instrumental component to any content plan, especially for improving SEO rankings. 


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