YouTube SEO

Anyone who already uses YouTube as a marketing channel certainly knows how important this component is for a comprehensive marketing strategy. Nevertheless, even today many people are not aware that YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google and the third most visited website in the world, and that it holds tremendous potential.

However, anyone who wants to be successful on YouTube and ensure that their own videos appear high up in the YouTube search results must take a few essential factors into account. Here you can learn everything about YouTube SEO and the measures to increase the visibility of your own YouTube channel and the associated video content. This way you are sure to get more subscribers and views!

What is YouTube SEO?

Every month, almost 40 million Germans search YouTube for interesting and current videos. In times of constantly increasing online video consumption, in which also modern and contemporarycompanies get involved and maintain professional channels, it is only logical that YouTube SEO and in general video SEO as a special part of video marketing deals with search engine optimization (SEO). In contrast to conventional websites and online stores, where SEO has been part of a sustainable concept for many years, YouTube SEO is a rather young branch of search engine optimization.

Several billion different videos are available on YouTube at any given time. When a user searches for a specific video, such as on “assembling a computer yourself”, the search results with videos that might be of interest to the user are displayed to him. Here, the relevance of the videos determines how well the video matches the search term and how far it is listed in the search results. However, YouTube does not decide by chance which videos from the almost infinite archive are the most relevant, but certain parameters that are known and can be optimized, and which we address here.

7 Tips for YouTube SEO


The most important question you need to ask yourself at the beginning is: What are my potential visitors even looking for?

With an extensive research of the relevant keywords, this question can be answered. This involves identifying search terms that match the content and relate to a specific intention of the user, e.g., to obtain information, to learn something, or to be entertained. The goal should always be to drive traffic to your channel and videos by using meaningful and unique keywords.

To filter out the appropriate keywords, there are dozens of tools on the Internet that serve their purpose for keyword research. One of the most popular tools and also used by us is KeywordTool.io, which is particularly suitable for research, because you have the possibility to select keywords and search volume from YouTube.

Video title

The title of the video is the most important feature of YouTube SEO optimization and the first thing the user sees. Therefore, the appropriate keywords should definitely be used here. Like a website page title, the point is to let the user know at first glance that the video will take them to the destination of their search. The YouTube algorithm prefers an exact name in the title when thematically classifying the video.

The title should encourage the visitor to click, but “Click Bait” should still be avoided, because YouTube also evaluates user interactions for each video, and those where users bounce after a short time are penalized. A well-chosen title is therefore of utmost importance, as it not only highlights what the video is about, but also has an impact on whether the video shows up in the top search results and gets clicked on.

Optimized thumbnail

When browsing YouTube videos, viewers usually see
a preview image of the individual videos. YouTube automatically generates three random thumbnails, one of which can be selected as the preview image. Nevertheless, it is recommended to invest some time in creating a suitable and meaningful thumbnail.

The thumbnail is a thumbnail image that visually represents the content of the video and is intended to arouse the user’s interest to click on the video. It should be explicit about the video content and not create any misconceptions.

You should pay attention to the following points when creating a thumbnail:

  • Accurately visualize the content of the video through text and images
  • Align preview image with target audience
  • Encourage users to click
  • Create desired atmosphere

Meta tags

Meta tags are another relevant point to perform successful YouTube SEO. By using meta tags appropriately and accurately, you can help YouTube display related videos and it is additionally an important criterion for ranking in search results.

Being displayed on the right side in the related videos is a factor that can extremely influence the click-through rate of your video. And since YouTube has introduced the autoplay function, you may thus find yourself with your videos automatically in a playlist. However, it is still important to note not to simply assign a plethora of irrelevant meta tags, as this can also potentially have a negative impact on the ranking of the corresponding video.

Video description

Directly below the video and the title is the video description. This mostly underestimated feature is limited to a maximum of 5000 characters, provides users with more detailed information about the video and usually additionally contains links to the creator’s website or affiliate products. As with the title, keywords appropriate to the content should be used, as the YouTube search algorithm analyzes the video description to determine the relevance of the video to the particular user. In this way, an optimized description can greatly contribute to improving the click-through rate.

The video description should include the following aspects:

  • Short summary of the content of the video
  • Links to own website or other services and contact details as well as social media profiles
  • Links to other videos of the own YouTube channel

It should also be noted that the complete description is not directly visible, but must be partially unfolded. Therefore, it is a good idea to place the most important information and links further up in the video description so that they are directly visible to the user.


YouTube has been offering interactive speech recognition for a few years now, which automatically generates subtitles for your videos. On the one hand, this is a necessary feature for people with auditory impairments, and on the other hand, manually created or edited subtitles are used by YouTube as a ranking factor, because they can help the YouTube algorithm understand the content of the video.

The automatic subtitles feature already works surprisingly well in English, but the German version is still a bit buggy and often content is not transcribed correctly. Thus, it naturally makes sense to have the subtitles created automatically first and to correct them manually afterwards. This is easy: create subtitles automatically in the editor and then download the subtitle file. You can easily open them with a conventional text editor, revise them and then upload them again.


The last item in our list, are the interactions with the visitors of the video. Always thank users at the end of the video and ask them to comment or share the video. Even a call to subscribe to the channel or rate the video with a “like” can work wonders.

Another important factor at the end of the video is the insertion of a so-called End Card. This can attract the viewer’s attention and prompt them to interact, such as subscribe to the channel or watch the next video. The number of video suggestions is limited to a maximum of three, but it is usually worthwhile anyway to offer the visitor only one or two more videos, so as not to overwhelm him and to direct his attention thematically.

Want to learn more about YouTube SEO or get advice?


This might also interest you:

YouTube SEO 2019

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Ali Oukassi
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