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How Do I Optimize My YouTube Videos for Search Engines?

Marketers have realized that they can't just publish large volumes of content and expect it to boost their business! It also must be of high quality and optimized so that it could be easily found on search engines. 

Video is always on the boom. 54% of consumers want to watch more video content from a brand or business they support. 86% of the marketers use video as a powerful marketing tool. YouTube is the second largest and most popular search engine after Google, which validates the reason why we need to practice YouTube SEO to optimize our videos for better visibility. 

In the present digital era, a solid content strategy includes content like blogs, case studies, eBooks, videos, podcasts, and the like. 


And as other content formats are on the rise, it becomes more important to practice YouTube SEO to optimize YouTube videos for search engines. YouTube is the best platform to do this as its most widely used video hosting platform in the world. 

But, what is the roadmap to optimizing the content on your YouTube channel? What are the steps you must take to perform YouTube SEO?

Important Tips for YouTube SEO

1. Rename Your Video File with a Target Keyword

You’ll need to optimize your video content the way you optimize articles or blogs or any other written content. To do this, you’ll need an SEO tool to pick the relevant keywords to use with your video. 

Once you’ve picked an identified keyword, you need to place it in your video file name before uploading the video on YouTube. YouTube can’t watch whatever video you’re uploading to check its relevance, however, you can still insert this keyword on the page where the video is published. Though, YouTube can read the file name and its entire code. 

So, you can replace the file name with the target keyword. For example, if your video is about ‘bedroom styling tips’, then your video’s file name must be ‘bedroom styling tips’ followed by the preferred video file format like MP4, MOV, etc. 

2. Add Your Keyword in the Title of Your Video

While searching for videos, the first thing our eyes are drawn to is its title. The title of a video is something that determines whether or not the viewer will click on it or not. Therefore, it shouldn’t only be compelling, but short and clear too. 

Include a keyword in your title that closely matches your video’s topic or theme so that the viewer can easily search for it. As per Backlinko, videos that have an exact keyword match in its title have little advantage over the ones that don’t. 

So, if you use a target keyword in the video’s title it might help you rank for the term. However, it’s always favourable to add the keyword in the title if it fits naturally in a way that it tells viewers what they’re about to watch. 

Another important thing to remember is to keep your title short with a minimum character limit of 60 characters so that it doesn’t get ignored in search results. 

3. Optimize the Description of Your Video

Though the fixed character limit of YouTube video descriptions is 1000 characters, it’s not necessary to use all of it. Make sure you remember that ultimately your viewer visits your channel to watch a video. 

If you still decide to write a lengthy description, bear in mind that YouTube only showcases the first 2-3 lines of it, that is around 100 characters. After this, viewers will have to click on ‘Show More’ to see the entire description. This is why it’s important to include the most relevant information in the beginning of your description, such as CTAs. 

When it comes to optimizing the video, you can always add a transcript for people who wish to watch it muted.  

4. Include Relevant Keyword Tags with Your Video

YouTube suggests adding popular keyword tags to let your audience know what the video is about. By adding keyword tags, you not just inform your viewers but also YouTube. The platform uses tags to understand the theme and context of your video. 

This makes it easier for YouTube to line up your videos with similar content in order to broaden your reach. However, you must pick your tags carefully. Never use irrelevant tags just because you think it’ll get you more views. In fact, you might get penalized by Google for it. 

So, add the most relevant and important long-tail keywords to your video. 

5. Categorize Your Video

Picking a category for your YouTube video helps a great deal in grouping it with similar content so it displays in different playlists and receives exposure among various audiences. Once you’ve uploaded your video, it can be categorized under ‘Advanced Settings’. 

It’s not as simple as it appears. In fact, YouTube recommends marketers to take a comprehensive path to determine which category their video belongs to. It’s great to know what works well for each category. You can consider this by asking questions like: 

  • Who are the best creators for that category? What are they popular for, and what’re they good at?
  • What are the patterns of the audiences who follow similar YouTube channels in a particular category?

6. Add Subtitles & Closed Captions 

Adding subtitles and closed captions is one of the best YouTube SEO tips as it can boost your YouTube search engine optimization to a great extent. 

To add subtitles or closed captions to your video, you’ll need to upload a text transcript or timed subtitles file. While adding subtitles, you can also limit the amount of text you want to show in the video. For this, go to the ‘Video Manager’ and then click on ‘Videos’. Search the video you want to add subtitles to, and click on the drop-down arrow there. 

Now select ‘Subtitles/CC’, and choose how you want to add your subtitles to. 

7. Use a Custom Thumbnail Image 

Your video thumbnail is the image that is shown when viewers scroll through multiple video results. Besides the title of your Explainer video, it’s the thumbnail that tells viewers about the video’s content, therefore it can influence the number of views and clicks it receives. 

Though YouTube automatically generates a thumbnail for every video, we recommend that you upload your own custom thumbnail. The standard ratio of a YouTube thumbnail is 16:9, and the image formats can be .jpg, .bmp, .png, etc. This will make your thumbnail appear of higher quality across different platforms. 

You must know that you need to verify your YouTube account in order to upload a custom thumbnail. 

8. Use Cards & End Screens to Increase the Number of Viewers 

Cards are small icons that appear on the top right corner of a YouTube video. Cards serve the purpose of promoting other videos of the same channel. 

Similarly, End Screens direct the viewers to other videos of your channel. As the name suggests, End Screens are displayed at the end of a video and are a little more visually-detailed than Cards. 

It’s important to know that YouTube is constantly testing End Screens to optimize the viewer experience, so sometimes your End Screen may appear differently. So, consider all these factors while deciding between End Screens and Cards. 

Such factors may seem a bit complex and time-consuming, but you must remember that the time spent by viewers watching YouTube on television has doubled in a year. Once you optimize your YouTube videos, your chances of getting discovered increase. 

YouTube SEO Tools 

1. Canva 

Canva is essentially a design template used for creating different varieties of cards, logos, images, etc. However, you must be aware that Canva also comes with a Thumbnail creator for YouTube videos. 

2. Ahrefs Keywords Explorer 

Ahrefs is a popular SEO tool that helps in measuring a website’s ranking, organic traffic that a keyword may receive, and also for searching keywords to create new content. 

The best feature of this tool is the Keyword Explorer that allows you to find information about a keyword that interests you. It also provides you with the monthly search volume of a keyword, the number of clicks you received for it, related keywords, and the like. 

3. HubSpot Content Strategy 

HubSpot Content Strategy allows users to search popular keywords for creating content and then arranging those keywords into groups which are called ‘topic clusters’. This lets you sort your content into topic clusters and determine the content that’s related to one another, along with what types of content is planned, and whatever is already created. 

4. TubeBuddy

TubeBuddy is a video platform that allows you to control the optimization, production and marketing of your YouTube content. It offers a language translator, a keyword explorer, rank tracker for the uploaded videos as well as tag suggestions. 


We hope this blog will help you optimize your YouTube channel in the best possible way. Optimizing your YouTube channel is important to get the best outcome of the content you create. This leads to more sales and eventually a successful business venture. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. How Do I Add SEO to My Youtube Channel?

The above mentioned tips are the best solution to effectively add SEO to your YouTube channel. Optimizing the title and description of your whiteboard animation software video, adding relevant keyword tags, including the most relevant keyword in the title, creating a custom thumbnail, and using End Screens or Cards are some of the useful tactics to boost your YouTube SEO. 

2. How do I find my YouTube ranking?

There are two very popular YouTube rank checker available to find your YouTube ranking:

  • TubeBuddy - It is the best keyword tracking tool for YouTubers. All you have to do is download the chrome extension, and login to TubeBuddy dashboard and click on search rank tracking. Then, add the keywords you wish to track, and click on ‘Ranking Reports’ to find the rankings of your YouTube videos. 
  • AccuRanker YouTube Tracker - AccuRanker is a popular rank tracker for YouTube channels. You just need to create an account, and add your YouTube channel on it. Then, add the keywords you want to track.

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