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YouTube SEO: The Best Way to Rank YouTube Videos

YouTube SEO: The Best Way to Rank YouTube Videos

YouTube SEO is important. If users can’t find your videos by searching for relevant keywords on YouTube, Google, Bing, or other search engines, they’ll probably find your competitors’ videos instead.

With over 1.8 billion users, YouTube ranks as the world’s most popular video-sharing service. As a business owner, you can use the Google-owned service to promote your brand as well as your products or services.

Record in High Definition

Check out Camtasia for Crisp Clear Video.

The resolution in which you record your YouTube videos may impact their search rankings. While high-definition videos require more storage space and take longer to upload than low-definition videos, they tend to rank higher than their low definition counterparts.

A study of over 1 million videos conducted by Backlinko found 68.2 percent of videos ranking on the first page of YouTube’s search results were recorded in high definition.

Give Videos a Relevant File Name

Before uploading a new video to your YouTube channel, give it a relevant file name.

Most video recorders and video editing software automatically use generic file names, such as 000038mov.mp4.

Giving your videos a more descriptive and relevant file name helps search engines understand their content. If you’re uploading a video on how to replace a vehicle’s brake pads, for example, you can give it a file name such as how-to-replace-vehicle-brake-pads.mp4.

Create Closed Captions Manually

Try Tubebuddy.

Adding closed captions to your YouTube videos will make them more accessible to hearing-impaired viewers while potentially increasing your videos’ search rankings in the process.

Once added, closed captions allow viewers to read text that describes the dialog and sounds in a video by clicking the “CC” button on the video’s control bar.

When you add closed captions to a video, you’ll provide YouTube with a transcript containing specific information about the video’s content.

As a result, YouTube may increase the video’s search rankings for relevant keywords included in the closed captions.

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YouTube can automatically create closed captions for your videos using Google’s high-tech speech recognition technology, but you’ll experience better results creating closed captions manually.

Research shows YouTube’s automatic closed captioning is about 50 percent to 80 percent accurate, meaning up to half of the text could be incorrect.

Leave Rating and Comments Enabled

Don’t disable viewer ratings or comments on your YouTube videos. There’s a strong correlation between both of these metrics and a video’s search rankings.

YouTube videos with a high like-to-dislike ratio and lots of viewer comments usually rank higher than videos with a low like-to-dislike ratio and few or no viewer comments.

Optimize the Title

The title is one of the most important search engine optimization (SEO) elements of a YouTube video. YouTube will display the title as the video’s main headline — similar to how search engines use the title tag to create web page listings for their index.

To rank a YouTube video for a specific keyword, you generally need to include it in the title.

YouTube limits video titles to 100 characters, but most search engines only display up to 70 characters of a title in their listings.

Any additional characters are simply cut off. To consume more space in the search results without having your titles truncated, use between 60 and 70 characters, including spaces, for your titles.

Write a Long and Detailed Description

The description doesn’t carry as much SEO weight as the title, but it can still influence the search rankings of your YouTube videos. When a viewer lands on your video, he or she will see a snippet of the description.

Clicking the “SHOW MORE” button will then expand this snippet to reveal the video’s complete description. Writing a long and detailed description not only helps visitors understand what your video is about; it encourages search engines, including YouTube, to rank your video higher for relevant keywords.

You can make your descriptions up to 5,000 characters long. Don’t just write a few short sentences describing a video’s content. Try to consume as much as 5,000 characters as possible.

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If you’re suffering from writer’s block and can’t think of anything else to add to a video’s description, consider using some or all the video’s closed captions transcript. With long descriptions, search engines will have more text to crawl and use when ranking your videos.

Aim for 10 Minutes or Longer

Longer videos typically outperform shorter videos in the search results, so aim for at least 10 minutes when creating YouTube videos.

If your videos are shorter than 10 minutes, search engines may perceive them as thin, low-quality content, which could adversely affect your videos’ search rankings.

Use an Attention-Grabbing Thumbnail

With billions of videos hosted on YouTube, you should use an attention-grabbing thumbnail to make videos stand out. Check out Tubebuddy for creating Youtube thumbnails without leaving the Youtube platform.

A red- or yellow-bordered thumbnail, for example, will likely attract more clicks than a traditional thumbnail without a colored border.

And when your videos have a high click-through rate (CTR), the search engine will rank them higher because they are perceived as being more popular than videos with a low CTR.

YouTube allows you to choose from one of several automatically generated screenshots to use as a thumbnail.

On its Creator Academy learning portal, though, YouTube says 90 percent of the top-performing videos use custom thumbnails.

To use a custom thumbnail instead of an automatically generated thumbnail, first, you’ll need to verify your YouTube account by visiting and following the instructions.

Once your account has been verified, locate the video in the Studio app and select Edit > Edit Thumbnail > Custom Thumbnail, at which point you can select the image’s location on your computer or device to upload and use as the thumbnail.

Encourage Viewers to Subscribe to Your Channel

In your videos or the first 150 characters of the description, encourage viewers to subscribe to your YouTube channel by clicking the red “SUBSCRIBE” button.

While your subscriber count won’t impact your videos’ rankings on Google or Bing, it will affect your videos’ rankings on YouTube. As your channel attracts more subscribers, YouTube will perceive your videos as being trustworthy and authoritative, so they’ll rank them higher than videos shared by a publisher with a low subscriber count.

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By performing SEO, your YouTube videos will attract more traffic from search engines, allowing you to reach a larger audience with your business’s visualized marketing messages.

Just remember to monitor the performance of your videos and optimize them as needed.

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