YouTube SEO: How to Make Your Videos Rank Higher on YouTube

You have heard of Google SEO and maybe even Bing SEO. But have you heard about YouTube SEO?

YouTube has come a very long way since being “that place with the cat videos”. There are tons of opportunities on the platform for businesses to build awareness, connect with the target audience and tell stories through the art of video.

But have you ever wondered why some videos get tons of hits while others do not?

The formula is simple. The trick is in YouTube SEO.

YouTube is primarily a platform for video sharing and content creation. Like any other search engine, it has its own unique algorithm.

Before we dive deep into how to rank high on YouTube, let’s take a quick look at YouTube SEO.

What is YouTube SEO?

What is YouTube SEO?
Source: Ink Drop /

Videos have become the most popular way in which content is consumed on online platforms.

It is no wonder that YouTube has gained traction over the recent past, as more and more people leverage its benefits to educate, market their products, or widen their professional reach.

But what most people who would like to make it on YouTube do not know is that just like website content, they can improve their viewership just by working on their SEO. YouTube SEO is a technique which, when mastered, can help you hack the algorithm and earn you a wider audience.

1. Optimise Your Videos with Keywords

keywords matter in youtube seo

Just like on-page SEO, keywords matter in YouTube SEO, too.

One of the ways of using YouTube SEO is by researching and using commonly searched keywords in your content. This is as easy as creating titles and descriptions for your videos which correspond with what most people would search on the internet when looking for content in your niche. YouTube ranks videos the same way Google does. It does this by taking into account, not only the title of the video but also the views your channel gets over time.

When making your videos, make sure that you use relevant meta tags as this will help YouTube rank your video based on the topic. Another way of mastering SEO for your channel is to add transcripts to your videos. Some people rely on the ones generated automatically by YouTube, but the reality is that these subtitles and captions might not help you get top ranks.

When creating your transcripts, make sure to optimise them for SEO too. But more on this later.

2. Attention-grabbing Thumbnails

design matters in YouTube SEO

Humans are visual creatures.

Another creative way of using YouTube SEO is through thumbnails.

Having a catchy thumbnail is the best way to get ahead of the competition but you have to be careful and use concise descriptions. A catchy image will also help boost your viewership if the keywords are optimised already.

3. Share the Video on your Social Channels

Source: Bloomicon /
Source: Bloomicon /

When you create a video and post it on YouTube, it does not do you much good if it does not get any clicks. After posting your video, you should consider sharing it with your network and encourage them to watch and share with their circles too.

The good news is that there are numerous resources you can take advantage of and share your content widely. For example, you could add a link to your video on a website you created like how we have done for our own videos.

Or you could simply share the video organically on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

Apart from getting views, you should also encourage your audience to comment on your video and give it a like. On YouTube, videos that get many comments and likes do well by attracting even more people because YouTube will rank them higher. Some videos appear on the trending section because of the high engagement levels they get. This is the easiest way of growing your channel and getting ahead of your toughest competitors.

Another way of earning more viewership and improving your YouTube ranking through comments is to ensure that you take time to engage with your audience on the comment section.

4. Use Keywords in your Video

youtube seo and keywords

Just like with SEO for written text, you should consider investing in relevant keywords.

For beginners, this may look like a challenge when you consider using keywords in a video but when you get the hang of it, you will find it easier with time. Everyone starts from somewhere, after all.

Keywords used in your videos should be those commonly searched ones by your potential viewers. They should be related to your content and should not contain words that might be considered sensitive, vulgar or copyrighted. YouTube will pick up these keywords and show your videos to audiences that might find your content relevant.

When creating videos, the easiest way to add keywords is also by creating transcripts.

5. Use Closed Captions to Rank Organically

closed captions for YouTube SEO

It’s a sneaky way to rank. But hey, it works so why not?

Mastering video SEO for YouTube may also be as easy as working on boosting your video rankings through captions.

To rank organically, make sure that you make use of closed captions. While captions would be useful for your viewers who are wither deaf or have problems hearing, research shows that people without hearing problems also make use of captions.

Not only do captions help you insert keywords for ranking, but they also encourage people to watch your videos there and then as opposed to saving them for later and maybe never getting round to it.

Creativity is Not Enough

Sorry to burst your bubble but creativity is just the first stepping stone.

Sure, you might produce the most moving videos with the most cutting-edge audiovisual equipment. But if you are not optimising them, you are missing out on tons of opportunities for growth.

Optimising your YouTube videos helps you reach your target audience organically. Plus, you can build engagement from people who are actually keen and interested to hear what you have to say.

Ultimately when it comes to marketing, each channel has its own unique algorithm. Understand it and apply to it your marketing strategies.