How to Optimize YouTube Videos for SEO

SEO optimize youtube videos

In this article, you are going to learn how to optimize your YouTube videos for SEO.

How will it help you and your videos?

Properly SEO optimizing YouTube videos leads to better rank in the search results. Hence, your videos will get more views and engagement.

Even better: It will help you make more money online on YouTube.

Sounds good?

Lets dive right in without wasting any time.

YouTube Keyword Research

YouTube Keyword Research is finding the words or phrases that people use to search for Youtube videos about a certain topic. 

If you optimize your video around these keywords, it can show up at the top of the search results.

It means that you can get more views and audience engagement.

How do you find such keywords?

Here are a few easy ways you can do so:

1. YouTube Autocomplete

Autocomplete is a feature in which YouTube suggests certain keywords when you search for something on YouTube.

These are the most searched keywords. Lots of people use these words and phrases to find the type of videos they are looking for.

So, it means that these keywords are the best to optimize your videos around.

The best part?

The autocomplete suggestions usually contain 4+ words. These are the “long-tail keywords”.

These terms are less competitive and so it is easier to rank for these keywords.

It is especially helpful for new YouTube channels.

2. Competitor Top Videos

In this method, you will find the keywords that have already worked well for your competitors.

Here is how:

Go to your competitor’s channel and click on the “Video” tab.

Sort by “Most Popular”

This will show you the videos that get a lot of views.

You can get keyword ideas from these popular videos. 

Also, look at the keywords used in the title and description.

Simple, right?

3. Competitor Tags

Now you are going to dig deeper into the competitor’s videos to find more keywords.


By looking at their video tags.

First, you will download the VidIQ Chrome Extension.

Open the competitor’s video and look at the tags in the VidIQ section.

Viola! You have now got a list of keyword ideas for your YouTube channel.

Optimize YouTube Videos for Search (Video SEO)

I will tell you how to SEO optimize your videos to rank organically on YouTube.

Video Title 

1. Include Keywords in your title

Make it a rule to include the relevant keywords in your video title. The best practice is to use the exact, word-for-word term.

YouTube gives more importance to the words that appear early on in the title. So, you should try to place your keywords at the beginning of the title.

For example:

Suppose your target keyword is “keto snacks”

So, instead of using a title like “7 Examples of Tasty Keto Snacks”

Go with something like “Keto Snacks: 7 Tasty Examples”

2. Add a number

Using numbers in your title is good for the click-through-rate.

Instead of “Ways to Make Money Online”

Use “5 Easy Ways to Make Money Online”

3. Use attention-grabbing words

In order to entice people to click on your video, use words that can grab their attention. 

For example:

Instead of using “8 Easy Ways to Earn Money Online”

Use “8 Unbelievably Easy Ways to Earn Money Online”

To get feedback on your title, use the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer.

YouTube Video Description

The video description is crucial as it helps YouTube understand what the video is all about. Well-optimized descriptions can lead to higher rankings.

Here are some tips on how to nail the YouTube description:

1. Write 200+ words

Aim to write long, detailed descriptions. Always write more than 200 words.

This will give YouTube a lot of information about your video, which will help in your rankings.

2. Focus on the first few sentences

YouTube puts more weight on the words and phrases that show up in the first 2-3 sentences of the video description.

So, it is better to put your most important keyword (and other related keywords) at the beginning of the description.

Also, it is good to repeat your target keywords 2-3 times in the description. (Make sure that they are in a way that sounds natural)

3. Optimize description for CTR

The first few sentences of your description appear in the search results:

So, it is not only important to make these sentences SEO friendly but also compelling to click on. 

Start off by highlighting the benefit the viewer will get after watching your video.

Also, avoid any links in the first few sentences. They don’t make your videos look very appealing.

4. Optimize for Suggested video

Suggested Video is the related videos column that appears on the right side of the video you are watching:

How do you appear in the suggested videos?

Before writing your video description, take a look at the description of the top one or two videos on your topic. 

What keywords have they used?

Include the same keywords in your description.


YouTube Tags

YouTube tags (AKA video tags) are an important ranking factor. They are used to give YouTube (and Google) context about a video.

But, how important are they?

A research study found a significant co-relationship between tags and YouTube rankings.

Here are some pointers you should follow:

1. First tag equals target keyword

YouTube pays very close attention to the first tag (first few tags, in general). 

That is why you should place the target keyword as the first tag.

For example:

Let’s say you want to rank for the keyword “How to rank YouTube videos” 

Make that keyword your first video-tag.

2. Use tags 2-3 words in length

According to a study, the ideal tag length is 2-3 words.

What does this mean?

It means of all the tags you use, keep a good chunk of them around 2-3 words. 

Now it does not mean that you shouldn’t use tags with one word or more than 3 words.

You should. But, as I said, “keep a good chunk of them around 2-3 words”

3. Mix broad and focused tags

What are focused and broad tags in the first place?

Focused tags help to figure your video’s exact topic.

Broad tags help give context about the video.

For example:

Let’s say you are using “YouTube SEO” as your primary keyword.

You should use that keyword (along with the variations) in your video tags.

You should also use a couple of broad keywords to tell YouTube about the broader topics that your video covers:

4. How many tags should you use?

Most YouTubers stuff a lot of tags in their videos.

But, that’s gonna do more harm than good. 


YouTube uses tags to understand what your video is all about. But, if you use a lot of tags, it becomes difficult for them to figure out your video content.

In simple words, it is confusing.

I would suggest you stick to 6-9 video tags (broad and focused) to describe your video.


Try to read your tags (forget about the title and description for now).

Are you able to figure out the video content from the tags alone?

If yes, you are good to go. Then, YouTube will also understand your video content.

5. Copy tags from popular videos

Are YouTube tags important for suggested videos?

Hell yeah!


If your tags match the tags of the top-ranking videos, you can show them in their suggested videos.

So, you should use relevant tags from popular videos.

You can see video tags of YouTube videos using VidIQ.

6. Generate YouTube tags using a tool

You can use a free tool like TagsYouTube to generate related tags for your videos.

Just enter the video’s main, target keyword:

And, it will generate a list of tags you can use:

YouTube Hashtags

YouTube hashtags (denoted by the symbol #) are used in the video title and description to denote the video’s topic and category.

Hashtags on YouTube work in the same way as they do on Twitter and Instagram. When you click on a specific hashtag, it shows you other posts that have used the same hashtag.

According to the YouTube Creator Academy:

“You can use related hashtags in video descriptions to help viewers find your video when they search for a specific hashtag”


Hashtags can improve your video SEO.

Where should you use hashtags?

There are two different places you can use them.

First, in the video description.

Only the first 3 hashtags you use in the description will appear below the video title.

Second, in the video title.

What exactly should you use in the hashtags?

Remember, the keyword research we did before?

I have always used the top 3 keywords and it has worked great for me.

1. Don’t use too many hashtags

Don’t go crazy with hashtags. If you use more than 15 hashtags per video (called “over-tagging”), YouTube is going to ignore all of them.

The sweet spot is 3-4 hashtags.

2. Use relevant hashtags

Use only those hashtags that are related to your video. 

If not, you will violate YouTube’s metadata policy. And trust me, that won’t be good for your channel.


This is how you can SEO optimize your YouTube videos.

Now, I want to ask you something.

Which of these steps you haven’t used before?

Please let me know know in the comments below.

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