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7 tips for successful YouTube SEO

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7 tips for successful YouTube SEO

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What is the second largest search engine in the world? Right, it’s YouTube. Alongside Facebook and Google, it is actually the third most visited website in the world.

If you want to use Youtube as a marketing channel, there are essential factors that you have to consider when optimizing. Do you want to be more successful on YouTube? Want to increase the likelihood of appearing at the top of YouTube search results? We will show you the adjusting screws that need to be turned. This article is intended to provide basic recommendations for increasing the visibility of the YouTube channel and related video content. If you would like to learn more about other effective marketing methods on YouTube, such as influencer marketing on YouTube , then take a look at our know-how area. Otherwise, read on, because with our 7 tips for successful YouTube SEO you are guaranteed more views and subscribers!

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YouTube SEO – Image

What is Youtube SEO? 

Youtube SEO is the optimization of videos, playlists and channels on the Youtube platform. Optimization includes factors such as the correct naming of the video title , the optimization of the thumbnails to increase the click rate and the writing of a user-optimized video description . In addition, so-called meta information can also be stored which is not directly visible to the user but can be read out by the search engine. This includes, for example, the meta tags or the file name of the video .

1. Research the right keyword for your video 

To begin with, ask yourself : What are my potential viewers looking for anyway?

The way to answer this question lies in a detailed research of the relevant keywords . In general, keyword research is  about determining search terms that match the content and that relate to a specific intention of the user, e.g. to receive information, to be entertained, etc. Set the goal with the use of meaningful keywords traffic to your video – and thus the channel.

Use a tool to find the right keywords. And there are quite a number of these that serve their purpose in keyword research. Our recommendation here is the well-known Keywordtool.io. This tool is particularly suitable for research, as you have the option  to select keywords and search volumes from YouTube (pay attention to the selected tab):

youtube keywords


If you use the tool without an account, you will unfortunately not be shown any search volumes. But even then, the tool is still very helpful in identifying the right search queries. If necessary, related keywords are suggested that have a higher search volume. The more relevant keywords are used, the better YouTube can classify the video thematically and the easier it can be found by the users.

You can also research specific questions that users enter directly into YouTube – and thus have the direct answer ready. Use this knowledge to inspire yourself for new content, or to optimize existing videos and get more clicks out of them.

2. The title of the video is the alpha and omega 

The title of the video is the most important feature of Youtube optimization – be sure to use the appropriate keywords here. The name or title of a video is comparable to the page title of a website. Let the user know at first glance that they have reached the goal of their search with your video. The exact name of the video also  supports the YouTube algorithm  in the thematic classification of your video.

The title should encourage  the user to click . A well-chosen title is therefore essential because it not only tells the user what the video is about, but also has an influence on whether the video appears in the YouTube search results and is clicked on by visitors.

youtube lifehack
7 tips for successful YouTube SEO 10

In principle, the use of untruthful titles is not prohibited – and will certainly lead to high clicks for the operator of the video at the beginning . But while viewing the video, there is a high probability  that the viewer could leave it again because the video content does not correspond to the title, rate it poorly and this ultimately results in a poor ranking on YouTube. The use of keywords in the file name  can also help the YouTube algorithm to rate the video as relevant.

3. An optimized thumbnail increases the click rate 

When browsing videos, viewers usually see a preview image of each video in the YouTube search results first. Typically, YouTube will automatically generate  3 random thumbnails , only 1 of which needs to be selected . So it doesn’t hurt to invest a little time in creating a thumbnail at all.

The so-called thumbnail is a miniature image that briefly shows the content of the video. First and foremost, this should arouse the interest of the user to click on the video and watch it to the end. In addition, it should explicitly address the content of the clip and not create misconceptions in the audience.

When creating the thumbnail, pay attention to the following aspects:

  • Let the text and images make the content of the video clear.
  • Align the preview image with your target audience .
  • Try to create your desired atmosphere with the picture  .
  • If necessary, ask the user to interact ( click).

youtube thumbnail
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Update April 2018: Good user signals are the decisive factor for your video 

As with the SEO optimization of websites , the ultimately decisive factor for the algorithm is how the users interact with your video. In plain language: That means your video will have a clear advantage if the users who click on it watch it until the end. You can see the statistics of how long users see the average of one of your videos in your account:

youtube user signals
YouTube user signals


Does that mean the longer the video the better? Yes and no. In general, more information can be accommodated in a longer video, which improves the quality of the video. But depending on the user’s intention, a disproportionately long video may not be desired at all. Who wants to watch a 45 minute video on how to remove red wine stains from clothes? No one. Instructions for setting up a blog in WordPress in under 2 minutes, on the other hand, don’t sound like they contain all the important information.

The bottom line: The length of your video should be very dependent on the search intention of the user and the resulting keyword . Only if the length of the video is appropriate to the topic can it be guaranteed that users will watch the video to the end.Tip:
check out the length of competing videos. This is a good guideline, but maybe you can go a step further and pack more information into your video. Or are the videos of your competition drawn out and not getting to the point? Then make it short and sweet and use it to pick up the users.

4. An optimized video description increases the click rate on your website 

Just below the video is an underrated feature –  the video description . This is limited to up to 5,000 characters,  offers users more detailed information about the video and often also contains links to the website of the creator or to affiliate products. As already mentioned in the previous point, keywords that match the content should also be used here, as the search algorithm also reads the video description and thus determines the relevance of the video for the user. However, an optimized description can greatly improve the click rate on your links.

The description includes, for example:

  • a short summary of the content of the video,
  • a link to your own website or service (and possibly contact details such as email and social media),
  • Links to other videos on your own channel (using short and readable URLs).

In the case of particularly long and unsightly URLs, it is advisable to shorten the URLs, as otherwise they take up too much space in the video description and are clicked less on average. Tools such as the Google URL Shortener are available for this at. Shortened URLs take up less space in the description, appear more professional, are more visually appealing and are clicked more often.

In addition, it is relevant what the user sees in the folded / unfolded description: If the description is not opened  , the link to the channel or website should in any case be directly visible, as this potentially increases the probability of a click. Arrange your call to action clearly and visually appealing to encourage the user to click. A good example:

youtube description
Youtube Description

The content of an open description,  on the other hand, can be much more informative. Further links can be placed here that may not need to be seen by the user at first glance. It is also worthwhile to describe the content of the video in more detail in prose. YouTube can read this content in order to better evaluate the thematic relevance of the video – so definitely use your keywords from point 1 here.

Another point that is not irrelevant is the meta tags that you can assign in the YouTube Editor. By using the tags, you help YouTube to display related videos  on the right-hand side and it is also a relevant criterion for ranking in search results .

Being displayed in the related videos is a factor that can extremely affect the click-through rate of your video. In addition, since YouTube’s introduction of the autoplay function, you are automatically in a playlist in the related videos . Make sure, however, that you don’t simply assign tons of irrelevant tags, as these can then potentially have a negative effect on the ranking of your video.

6. Manually revised subtitles are a strong ranking factor 

YouTube offers built-in speech recognition that automatically creates subtitles in your videos . Especially against the background of the barrier-free internet , subtitles are a necessary function for people with auditory impairments:

youtube subtitle
YouTube Subtitle

And YouTube uses subtitles (also known as closed captions ) as a ranking factor : On the one hand, they help the algorithm perfectly to understand the content of the video. On the other hand, it is generally conceivable for the future that the creation of accessible content will be an important point in SEO optimization – also at Google and Co.

While the feature of automatic subtitles for the English language is already working quite reliably, the German version is currently not of satisfactory quality – too often, content is not transcribed correctly. Accordingly, it makes sense to have the subtitles created automatically and then correct them manually : Create the subtitles automatically in the editor and download the subtitle file. You can easily open and edit these in a text editor. Revise content, grammatical and typographical errors and create an all-round clean transcript. Then add the subtitle file to your video. Et voilà!

7.Call for interaction and increase click-through rates and subscriptions 

“A person cannot not communicate”, said Paul Watzlawick once – the same principle applies to the last point of optimization: Communicate with your viewers. Always thank the users at the end of your video and ask your viewers to view the video to comment , to share your subscribe channel  and a ,, I like your video “indication  to evaluate .

Another important factor is the display of a so-called end card  at the end of the video. This can draw the viewer’s attention and encourage them to interact, for example to subscribe to the channel or to watch the next video. This increases the click rate of your videos and increases the likelihood of subscriptions. You can create an end card in the editor. However, the number of video suggestions is limited to a maximum of 3 videos . Most of the time, however, it makes sense to offer the user only one or two additional videos in order not to overwhelm them and to focus their attention more specifically thematically.

YouTube SEO Optimization: Video & Channel
YouTube Endcard


The points at a glance – YouTube SEO Checklist 

For a better overview, here is a summary of the tips in a  short and concise checklist to tick off : 

YouTube SEO Checklist for Video Optimization

  • Research a suitable keyword (set) for your video.
  • Give your video a concise title with the appropriate keywords that will encourage the user to click.
  • Use a (self-created) meaningful  thumbnail to increase the click probability.
  • Add a detailed description to the video and clearly link your desired traffic target.
  • Use appropriate meta tags.
  • Add revised subtitles to your video .
  • Encourage viewers to interact with your video.
1 Comment
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