YouTube SEO Tips : A Basic Guide to YouTube Optimization

youtube seo how to get users to view your content

Whether you’re a business or an individual, there can be many advantages to creating and managing your own YouTube channel. For businesses, using YouTube and best SEO practices for your channel can improve website traffic (leading to more leads and conversions) and help you connect your audience to your brand. But maybe you just want to start a vlog or do comedy sketches. As an individual, you can get a good chunk of change from YouTube in the form of ad revenue.

While the benefits of managing a YouTube channel can be inviting, it is, however, a significant commitment. Due to the vast amount of content available (100 hours uploaded every minute), it is a very competitive landscape. Adequate time is required to manage a YouTube channel and it needs to be done right to reap the benefits.

Here are some tips and guidelines to optimizing your channel and maximizing viewer engagement:


When it comes to providing the most value to your audience, content is king (surprise!). Everything else you read about YouTube optimization is useless if your video doesn’t provide your viewer with value. When it comes to content, value is defined as useful, informative, or entertaining. This means content and visuals must be high quality.

So, what should be provided in terms of content? It doesn’t always have to be cat videos and comedy sketches. In fact, comedy sketches only land at #5 in the most popular types of YouTube videos. The others include:

  1. Product reviews
  2. How-tos
  3. Vlogs
  4. Gaming Videos


Now, this is where it gets a bit tricky. With 1 billion unique visitors per month and 18% of all download traffic on the internet in 2015, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. For this reason, it is important that YouTube SEO is done right. In most sections, there is significant importance in using quality keywords so be sure to do your keyword research in advance. There’s a nifty keyword tool provided by YouTube for this purpose. Your keyword selection will drive the following YouTube SEO efforts:


The title of your video is arguably the most significant aspect of YouTube SEO.

Since your title is the first thing that prospective viewers look for when they search for your video, your title needs to appeal to your audience and encourage them to click.

Your title also lets the search engine know what your video is about and how it should be placed in search results. For this reason, the best, most relevant keywords should be contained in your title so the search engine can index your video. The keywords contained in the title give the search engine a lens with which to view the rest of your metadata (description, tags, etc.).

Don’t be afraid to test various video titles on the same video to see what correlates to better performance over time. As always, keep your target audience in mind while doing this.


Your description should continue to build off of your title.

The description section provides lots of space to work with. In fact, they give you a whopping 5,000 characters! The first 130 characters, however, are most important, as that is what is immediately seen below the video.

This should be used as an opportunity to give your viewer more information about the video and further the content. You should continue to pack in relevant keywords to provide the search engine with more information about what is contained in your video.


Tags can help YouTube pair your videos with other related videos to display under “related content” or other sections for viewers who are not actively searching. It also helps the search engine index your video. However, there are only 500 characters to work with so you have to be wise with how you use them. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Tags should be unique and use keywords that are relevant to your video.
  • For businesses, it is important to use brand-specific tags.
  • YouTube omits propositions (and, or, etc.), so don’t waste your characters.
  • Have a group of generic, yet brand relevant, tags to use throughout your channel. YouTube allows you to create default tags to be automatically attached to each of your videos. This is important because it increases the likelihood that your other videos appear in the suggested videos, resulting in more views.

Transcription and Closed Captioning

Transcription and closed captioning are very important, but often overlooked. Closed captioning helps the hearing impaired or those that can’t use sound at that point in time (e.g. in a crowded area or a quiet library.)

Videos with transcriptions tend to also rank higher in search results. Since a transcription is a textual representation of the spoken content in the video, it helps search engines know exactly what is in the video. While search engines cannot index video or audio, they can index the text provided in the transcription, similar to how it indexes the title and description.

So there it is…

You’re well equipped and on your way to reaping the benefits of having a top-notch YouTube channel. If you’ve got a thirst for more YouTube SEO tips, read our page on YouTube SEO and contact us for help.