How to use YouTube SEO to attract visibility for your videos

We’ve listed some YouTube SEO tips to increase the audience on your channel and lead the first places of organic search.

YouTube SEO

If you have a content strategy, surely enough you already use SEO techniques (Search Engine Optimization) to improve the ranking of your texts on search engines.

So, you would be pleased to know that this set of techniques can also be used to improve the ranking of your videos on YouTube and attract more visibility to your channel.

And it gets better. If you do a good SEO job with your videos, not only they’ll feature first on YouTube search but they might also rank first on Google: it’s the same as killing two birds with one stone!

On today’s post, we’ll present you step-by-step instructions for a YouTube SEO strategy. They are simple tips that can be applied to the production of your videos from now on. Shall we start?

The potential of YouTube to generate business

By the end of 2016, YouTube hit the milestone of 1 billion hours of video watched every day. This number is double the previous year, when they logged 500 million hours watched per day.

Nor could it be any different. With more than 1 billion users, today YouTube is the second biggest online search engine, losing only to Google. This means that we’re talking about a social media with great potential to generate business, as long as you know how to use it.

Just look at some examples of American YouTubers like NigaHiga, Casey Neistat, and Jenna Marbles. You’ll see that they figured out how to take their hobby to the next level, and turn it into profitable businesses.

In the case of small entrepreneurs, especially online teachers, YouTube is an excellent channel to build authority on a topic and attract buyers to your online courses.

The importance of SEO to every channel

You commit every day to creating quality content. Meanwhile, dozens of other people are doing the same. This competition is old news but when faced with this scenario, what can you do to get more access than your competitors?

The answer is simple: you need to be in the first positions of the search engine ranks. And here’s why: around 34% of people click on the first organic search result on Google, while 2nd and 3rd places get 15% and 10% clicks, respectively.

SEO is the set of techniques that will help you optimize your page/channel to reach top positions on search engines and attract more traffic.

Once someone enters your page or channel, your job is to deliver quality content to convert that visitor into a lead and, in the future, into a client.

YouTube Metrics

YouTube uses some metrics to determine the quality of your video based on user experience. It’s important to know and monitor them because engagement from your viewers is the key factor in ranking.

Audience Retention

This metric represents the number of people who’ve viewed your video and, in this case, the longer they’ve watched the better, since you want users to comment and interact with your content after watching it.

Following the audience retention rate of your videos is essential to identify patterns. If most viewers abandon a video in the beginning, it might be an indication there’s something wrong with your intro.


If people commented on your video it’s a sign they’ve liked what they saw or at the very least watched it until the end. That’s why it’s so common to see YouTubers asking their followers to leave comments (positive or negative!).


Just like comments, the number of shares is a strong social proof because it shows that the content you made available is considered to be of high quality.

Videos added to playlists

This data shows how many people marked your video as a favorite and how many removed it from their favorites. It’s also possible to follow the total number of favorites in a determined period, which might be useful is you want to confirm if the changes in your strategy are bringing results.


The number of likes on a video may look like a “vanity metric”, but in the case of YouTube, every “thumbs up” count points to your ranking. But pay attention to negative feedback, because the number of dislikes also influences the ranking of your video.

Number of Subscribers

This number speaks for itself. It’s about the number of people who have subscribed to your channel to watch your content.

How to do SEO on your YouTube channel

After you’ve understood how YouTube determines the relevance of your videos, it’s time to find out how you can use SEO techniques to attract quality traffic and increase your views.

Make a high-quality video

It may seem cliché, but the first step towards a successful SEO strategy is creating content in high-quality videos. If your video is really bad, it won’t rank on YouTube, no matter how optimized for SEO it might be.

You don’t need a big production nor a professional video maker if your content adds value to who is watching it, helps to solve a problem or leads the viewer to the next stage in the sales funnel.

However, if you have the money to hire specialists to produce your content, I strongly suggest you do so! Believe it or not, this expense will pay off when you’re attracting qualified traffic for your channel.

Whatever the case may be, it’s important to put emphasis on the quality of your video, which allows for good user experience thus, improving your ranking on YouTube.

It’s important to pay close attention to the beginning of your video. According to YouTube statistics, you have up to 15 seconds to catch your viewer’s attention, so, it’s important to deliver information in the beginning that makes her want to watch the video until the end.

Another helpful tip is to add small “breaks” in rhythm, to keep your viewer hooked, especially if it’s a video of you talking all the time. Editing resources and even a bit of acting are great ways of doing this.  

Choose the right keywords for your video

The choice of keyword might be fundamental to the success or failure of your video.

The first step is to find the right balance between the most searched categories on YouTube and specific keywords to your niche. But here’s the catch: the chosen keyword must also have a relevant search volume to attract traffic to your channel.

According to Brian Dean, SEO Specialist and actor from the Backlinko Blog, the ideal keyword must have at least 300 monthly searches on Google to justify your efforts. You can find out the search volume by using tools such as Keyword Planner or SEMRush.

Learn the keywords that already take traffic to your channel

If you’ve already had a YouTube channel for a while, another option is to find out keywords that already take traffic to your channel and create more content about that topic.

To find this information out, just access YouTube Analytics > traffic sources > YouTube search.

Optimize your content for your keywords

Just like any other website, your videos on YouTube need to be optimized for the chosen keyword. Make sure to use your keyword in the title of your video, the tags, the video description and even the name of the file you’ll upload to the Internet, preferably in the beginning of the sentence. This practice will help users find your video, besides improving your ranking on the video platform.

Video Description

Besides mentioning your keyword 3 or 4 times in the text, you must take some precautions when describing your video, after all, they are the most important parameter on YouTube to identify the kind of content you promote there.

Some tips can help you when writing a good description:

  • Mention your keyword in the first paragraph of the description. This is good to make it clear the main topic on your video;
  • Texts must be around 250 words, but avoid long texts, most people online don’t read them until the end;
  • Add links to your website/blog to keep people interested in you, but too much information may prevent the user from watching your video to the end.

Come up with an eye-catching thumbnail

You have certainly chosen a video based on the preview image, right? So, having a good thumbnail is one of the most important factors to increase the number of views on your videos.

A precious tip to apply on thumbnails is: run away from excesses! To generate engagement, your image must be clear about the content you’ll talk about. Can you imagine watching a video over 15-minute-long that has nothing to do with the title or the thumbnail? You can even get views, but you will most definitely lose a follower to your channel. Playing by the rules is worth it, especially if you can offer a good user experience.

Pay attention to the length of your video

If you do a quick search on YouTube, you’ll see that most videos that rank top are more than 5 minutes long. YouTube rank well content that keeps users in the platform longer, so, try to make complete videos every time as possible.  

Think, for example, about blog posts. The more complex the topic, the more you write, right? So, don’t fall into the trap of talking too much about a topic that doesn’t require that, it can backfire with your audience and make them abandon the video.

Add subtitles to your videos

The use of subtitles on your videos is another relevant aspect for YouTube SEO because, besides the possibility of translating your content to other languages, you give an option for people who want to watch the video with no sound or are hearing-impaired.

The process of adding subtitles is very simple, just upload the words and sync the text according to the speed of the speech. This task gets a lot easier if you use a script to record your videos.

Whereas with videos recorded spontaneously you’ll have to do all the work of transcribing the content before uploading the subtitle, then it’s interesting to assess if subtitles will be relevant for the audience you’re aiming to get to. In most cases, it is, and it awards points for your ranking on YouTube.

Add cards

Have you ever noticed that when you’re watching a video, sometimes, a clickable icon shows up on the top right side of the screen? These icons are called cards and can be used to indicate other content or the action you expect from who is watching it, just like a call to action.

Currently, there are six kinds of cards that can be inserted to videos:

  • Cards that lead the viewer to another channel: ideal for videos recorded in partnership with another person. However, they must be added at the end of the video, so not to disturb the viewer.
  • Cards to incentive resource capture: crowdfunding campaigns and donations in general.
  • Merchandise cards: lead the audience to the website where they can make the purchase.
  • Cards leading to playlists or related videos.

How to promote your video

At some point in the text, we’ve talked about the importance of having high-quality content, otherwise, no SEO strategy would be enough to rank your video top. But do you know what you need to do to make your video rank top? Views. Thousands and thousands of views.

To make sure people get to your channel, after the pre-production, recording and editing work, you need to promote your video!

Step one is sharing it on your social media. Remember to use attractive copy on your posts, that catch the eye of your audience right away since most interactions with your audience happen after the first few hours of posting.

Another tip that helps a lot is embedding your videos on posts that have a connexion with that subject. This technique is good to increase the time on the page on your blog and also helps to increase views on your channel.

Don’t settle after achieving results

SEO work is never-ending because all networks are constantly changing their evaluation criteria, so, a content ranking top today might not be relevant tomorrow.

That’s why you need to keep up the pace of your channels to identify opportunities to improve and be always open to getting feedback from your audience.

Obviously, it all starts with high-quality content because it doesn’t help leading traffic to your channel if people can’t find anything interesting there.

Once you’ve created high-quality content, the next steps are much simpler! Spend the necessary time in pre-production and recording and, in time, you’ll stand out.

Do you have any other tips to share with us? Don’t forget to leave your comment in the comments section below and feel free to share this text with people who might be interested in the topic!



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