YouTube SEO – Do you have to worry about optimising your videos for search engines?

As a YouTuber, you need the highest possible organic traffic which should come from search engines like Google, Bing, etc. Search engines provides the best quality traffic in terms of kind of visitors. Every website or YouTube channel should be optimised for search engines besides having quality content. As a common blogger or a YouTuber, there is a need to understand few very important points which I am listing and explaining below. YouTube SEO is not much discussed or looked into for the simple reason that the search inside YouTube is much less compared to the entire World Wide Web Searches. But it is very important for optimising your YouTube videos so that it gets on top of the search results inside YouTube.

YouTube SEO Explained in simple YouTubers Language

Now coming to search engine optimisation for YouTube videos. You make excellent videos for viewers, but the viewer would know about your video if subscribed or then you video should get listed on search pages, related videos, suggested videos, etc. To get listed for search queries inside YouTube search, you need to optimise your videos in the right ways, which is not clearly documented anywhere.

Can Search Engines Understand or read the content of YouTube Videos?

As of now there are no confirmed technology that can read the content and quality of the videos posted on YouTube and rank accordingly.

Just have a look at the screenshot of a search query for YouTube SEO Beginners. First five result are from YouTube.


Google search results gives high importance for YouTube videos even if you do not search for videos. To be very precise, your YouTube videos has very high chance of getting organic views from search engines.

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What are the major ranking factors for YouTube videos on YouTube search?

Title of the video

You should have all your videos smartly titled. Check for most relevant search queries on Google Suggest and coin the best title for your video. You need to spend some time for this.

Description of the video

You can have upto 5000 characters for YouTube description. Let’s try to have a description of something between 300 words. The maximum allowed is 5000 characters, which somewhat equivalent to a good detailed article. You should start the descriptions with keyword rich meaningful and clear description of the video. You should really spend some time to prepare your video Title and Description like you spend time shooting and editing your video.

Meta Tags used for the video

Tags are very important for getting listed in YouTube searches, so make sure that you use the right tags for your videos. You have an option of adding a maximum of 500 characters in this field. I suggest to add very relevant keywords as tags to the maximum of 400 characters.

Likes and dislikes for the video

Videos with good number of likes are expected to rank well for valuable search keywords. Now do not try to buy likes, you should have organic likes, that will come only if the viewer likes the video. What you can do the best is to ask the view to give a Thumbs Up if they have liked the video.

Number of Subscribers on the video channel

Number of subscribers do have some value for the channel for sure. As you are aware that in the recent restriction of Channels for monetization using Adsense, the condition is to have minimum 1000 subscribers, which means that they do have some points. Again, do not try to buy subscribers, you are at risk of getting penalised.

Video watch time – Retaining viewers

Video watch time or in YouTube terms Audience Retention is also very important. I would not give much importance to views but as a YouTuber, you should be more worried about watch time rather than views. Number of views give a good impression to viewers or other YouTubers.

Video Shares

Another important factor is the how much your video is getting shared. When somebody watches your video till the end, which show high audience retention and next shares your video on Twitter or Facebook or any other social media. You will know that you can find these information from YouTube Analytics.

youtube seo - Sharing video

Some important social shares are places like Stumbleupon, Reddit besides Facebook, Google+ and Twitter

Subscribe after watching a video

Further to watching the entire video, sharing if the viewer is a new viewer decides the subscribes, shows that your video is good, that gives a better ranking. This also helps in increasing the number of your channel subscribers.

Word of Caution – YouTube SEO

Everything is good as long as it is done with the right intention and is not overdone.

Dont’s of YouTube SEO

  1. Dont use misleading Titles. You should add relevant keywords while you coin the title of your video, but do not add words which are not related to your video. Your audience retention will fall down even though your views will go up temporarily.
  2. Description – Do not stuff keywords which are not related to the video. Write a detailed description which explains the video including the right search keywords
  3. Same is in the case of the Tags.

Hope this article on YouTube is helpful for budding YouTubers. All the above works only when you have good videos which can retain your viewers till the end.

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