YouTube SEO

Table of contents


YouTube SEO: 10 ways to optimize your YouTube ranking & additional 10 ultimate insider tips!

What is Youtube SEO?

Everyone knows YouTube, but did you know that YouTube was founded only in 2005 and has already become a subsidiary of Google in 2006? YouTube is after Google, the second largest search engine in the world. Thus, the relevance for the marketing of companies on YouTube to be present also increasingly - But the competition is great and the market is highly competitive. 

And so we proceed to Youtube SEO.

SEO - Search Engines Optimization - in German search engine optimization, deals with your product, be it your website or in this case your videos, for the search engine to present better and the ranking factors to positively influence to take a higher position. 

But the big goal is not only to be found well in YouTube, but also in the organic search on Google, as well as under the tab Google Videos present and come far to the top.For this we give you in this blog article tips on how to optimize your channel online on YouTube so that you come to more clicks and conversions.

How does YouTube SEO work?

Similarly to other search engines, there is analgorithm behind the ranking procedure and similar to the Google algorithm, YouTube also makes a secret of which factors and parameters are relevant for the exact composition. But some assumptions can be made - And those are to know, understand and take into account for YouTube SEO. 

Which factors are relevant for the ranking?

As with Google itself, all factors of ranking are due to a common goal- To create optimal conditions for the user. Is the user happy with Google's answers, and is your website the answer - Then Google is happy with you. Do users find your videos on your channel online entertaining and therefore stay on the platform, then YouTube finds your videos good. To achieve this goal, is on the one hand to consider the interest of users and on the other hand to meet the expectation. But for this, YouTube must also understand what your videos are about, to be able to present them to a suitable search query. 

In general, YouTube SEO can be divided into two major areas and each one needs the attention and must be optimized:

  • Video
  • Channel

The most important ranking factors for YouTube

Audience engagement

Viewer loyalty is very important on YouTube and is one of the absolute most important ranking factors online. After all, it is a well-known fact that the longer viewers spend time on YouTube, the more money YouTube earns through advertising. 

Video comment

The video comments are also a strong sign for YouTube that the viewer probably liked the video or at least engaged with it. More and more correlations can be made between a good ranking and the video comments.


The strongest positive signal a user can send to YouTube is to subscribe to your channel after watching a video of yours. The best and easiest way to do that is to simply ask people to subscribe in your videos. 

Click rate

The click-through rate also plays an important role in the ranking. CTR describes the ratio between the impression (the appearance) of the video and the click. In other words, the more users see your video and click on it, the better the click-through rate and thus the better the ranking. If users skip your video, this will of course have a negative effect on the ranking.


This is the simplest sign of a user to indicate that the video is liked. A separate account is necessary here. 

YouTube SEO - Optimize video yourself & tips

A good video is about more than just delivering interesting content. The right keyword or keyword phrase must be found, the title and thumbnail must be appealing, the description suitable, the meta tags and subtitles available. In the following we give you tips on your way to optimize your channel perfectly for YouTube. 

Important steps even before shooting begins

Some things are difficult if not impossible to change after the fact, so there are some points to consider and determine in advance as part of YouTube SEO. 

#1 The right keyword

Everyone who is present on YouTube knows what they want to make a video about. 

At the beginning of each optimization in the SEO area it is important to find the correct focus and this is specified via the correct keyword . For YouTube SEO, however, there is currently no free keyword tools, as you may know it from classic SEO. You also can't simply adopt Google keyword research for YouTube - that won't work. 

The search intention of users is often different on Google and YouTube - even if we enter the same word combination in the search bar. There are very rarely commercial keywords on YouTube, because that's not what YouTube is about. On this platform it is primarily about Informationen - even with a classic commercial word combination "product + buy" only purely informative suggestions appear.Youtube-SEO_8

Even if Youtube in the free use of the search engine again and again advertisements - The results are all of an informative nature. Youtube-SEO_6Youtube-SEO_5

Finding the right keyword for your topic takes time, as it is a new approach to research. For YouTube SEO, a classic mechanical search is required. 

Use the autosuggest on YouTube

The automatic topic suggestions from YouTube itself are a very good indication of where the interests of the YouTube community lie. By entering the topic in the YouTube search bar, through the Suggest function already good keyword combinationscan be detected. Thus, it is also possible to filter out the matching concretizations, which are increasingly searched for by users. For this reason, they are also suggested, because YouTube assumes that these could also be interesting for other users. 

The goal is that the video is found and watched. Therefore, it is advisable to keep the topic general at first, not to restrict YouTube in advance and let the autosuggest lead the way. Because this crystallize the TOP proposals that are most often searched.

However, you want to rank well with the video not only on YouTube itself, but also on Google Videos and in Universal Search - in the general or organic search of Google.You can tell this by the fact that videos already appear in SERP. Therefore, cross-checking is necessary before focusing on a keyword or combination of keywords. Some keywords are suitable for both platforms - These all-rounders is called to find. 


Example: You are a professional birdhouse builder. With the term "birdhouse" alone, YouTube offers you a multitude of possibilities and also in organic search at Google, for example, videos are suggested to you for the keyword phrase "vogelhaus bauen einfach kinder".

It is important to make sure that the search results that are displayed are also relevant to the search queries.

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1. Tip: Keyword Search

If you put an asterisk before and after your main keyword, your suggestions will expand and search refinement will be easier.

If you have found your keyword, then check out the competition.If the market around the keyword is highly competitive, it is advisable to look around further. The fewer matching search results appear on a search query, the lower the competition. Here you have better chances of a good YouTube ranking, especially if the number of your subscribers is still quite small.

However, how strong the competition is also always depends on how well you yourself are positioned on YouTube.

Are you generally in a niche industry and need new keywords and video material? Then check out your competition - go to your competitors' channel and sort by the most popular videos. It stands to reason that the most popular videos are also about the strongest keywords. 

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2. Tip: VidIQ Chrome

To see what keywords are behind the tags, you can use the VidIQ Chrome extension!

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3. Tip: Strength of your competition

You want to find out how strong the competition is for a certain keyword? The number directly under the different tabs stands for the total results of the YouTube videos and gives you information about it. 



The higher the number, the more competitive this keyword is. Especially if you are starting out with your channel or your number of subscribers is low, it is important to focus on keywords with less competition. 

#2 Video length

What should be the right length of your video, you can not say in general terms. 

A study by briggsby is looking at correlations and relationships between videos and YouTube ranking. This study found that the average video length of the top 5 ranking videos is 11:44. It is advisable to have a minimum video length of 4.5 minutes and if the content is interesting, shoot videos of more than 10 minutes

Playback time is one of the most essential ranking factors. Already in 2012 YouTube has confirmed this itself. 

The longer the video, the faster and with few viewers it succeeds to push the playback time.The playback time is the result of all viewers of a video multiplied by the consumed video time.

It is important to keep the tension and to bind the viewer to the video, so that he watches it until the end. The right ratio is important - Checking your competitor can help you with the question. 

#3 The actual video content

Apart from the fact that the content must be interesting for the user himself, YouTube is also already very far in the understanding of the moving image material. Your video must not contain any contradiction, starting with the title and ending with file names. 

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4. Tip: The spoken word

We already know that Google can understand and transcribe the spoken word - let's think of Alexa, Siri and the Google Assistant - so it is important to mention your keyword phrases at the beginning and at the end of the video. Depending on the length of the video, it is advisable to repeat the keyword phrase in the video as well.

As you create your video, you'll keep coming across topics you've already told a thing or two about, or where you've shown off your craft. 

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5. Tip: Internal linking

Consider internal linking - refer to other videos of yours in your videos where you go into more detail about a particular topic or where the video continues.

For an upload more than just two clicks are necessary. YouTube offers you several functions here, which should be used optimized.

Important steps during upload

#4 Title

Once you have found the right keyword or keyword phrase, it is important to use it in an optimized way.

The title of the video is one of the TOP ranking factors for YouTube. The title not only gives the user to understand what the video is about, but also the search engine. The title can have a maximum of 100 characters, otherwise it will simply be cut off. However, the optimal number of characters for the title is 40 - 50 characters. The main keyword should definitely be placed as far in front as possible or be used first - The main keyword must catch the eye. The ideal title must be appealing to the user and invite him to click directly. With the help of year numbers, you can signal the user the topicality and thus make the title more attractive. Youtube-SEO_1_1

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6. Tip: [] in title

According to a study by HubSpot and Outbrain, titles with bracketed explanations perform up to 38 percent better. Viewers can get a better picture faster if, for example, the addition [interview] is at the end of the title.

#5 Description

But the algorithm does not only capture the title. Your chosen keyword must be found everywhere, as well as in the video description. With this you give YouTube information about how relevant the keyword is for the video. Only the first one or two lines will be displayed in search results - so it's advisable to use your main keyword in the first 25 words and fill the rest of the description with content-related terms and useful information.You can read the whole description by clicking "Show more". It is possible to fill this with up to 5000 characters, however, according to the Briggsby study, it should contain between 200 and 350 words and have a keyword density of 3-4%. 

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7. Tip: Description density

Here you have the formula for calculating your description density.Description density = (number of largely matching KW phrase mentions) x (number of words in keyword phrase / words in description) x 100.

Also consider that in the description is not the right place for your tags.

#6 Thumbnail - preview image

A picture is worth a thousand words - So take the chance.

The thumbnail or preview image is your advertising billboard in YouTube search - you have the best chance to direct attentionto your video and encourage users to click. Among the most important ranking factors is the CTR (click-through rate) and this is a part of user signals. The CTR describes the ratio of how many users, have seen your video and how many actually clicked on it. 

For a well-made thumbnail you need an eyecatcher, that is, an image that automatically attracts attention and animates the viewer to click on it and watch the video. Here you can help yourself with colors and contrast or with appealing lettering or use the logo and icons as Recognition (Channel Identity). 

The ideal thumbnail is a combination of an appealing image, a recognizable logo, and the keyword phrase in the font. This gives Google or YouTube further confirmation of what your video is about and why it is relevant.

#7 Subtitle / Transcript

The use of the subtitles or the transcripts can be useful for different reasons:

  • The subtitles include the deaf and the users who have difficulty hearing.
  • For the international market the translations are of great advantage and partly necessary. 
  • In many situations it is not possible to watch videos with sound, like in the office or in public places.

The creation of subtitles or translations YouTube can even already automatically take over. However, the result should be controlled in any case and improved if necessary. 

#8 Tags

YouTube tags are similar to Instagram hashtags.

These are words or combinations of words that further embellish your video with content, giving you the opportunity to give search engines more information about what your video is about. The first tag should definitely represent your main keyword and also the main keyword in conjunction with specializations. Following that, you should focus on so-called LSI keywords. LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing and with these LSI keywords you mean content, to the main keyword related words (synonyms). 

Another function of the tags is to build a connection to other videos and thus appear in the Suggested Videos. By appearing in the suggestions, you can drive traffic from other videos to your video. 

But don't just relate the tags to the video itself, but also to your channel to reinforce your branding.

It is important to find the happy medium regarding the number - Too many tags and you may confuse the search engine - Too few may not be meaningful enough. 

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8. Tipp: Weniger ist mehr

But play it safe here and use rather less tags. YouTube itself says has announced that the tags play a rather subordinate role in the ranking. Your video title, thumbnail and description are relevant meta data for finding your videos. 

#9 Filename

Little things can change a lot.

Keep in mind that even the filename of your video should include the keyword. It's a simple step and you take the opportunity to make YouTube understand once again what your video is about.

Important steps after uploading

You made it and you rank well with your video and show up in the Suggested Videos? Now it's time to convince the viewers of your video content!

The first impression is crucial!

The first 10 - 15 seconds are crucial for whether a viewer stays or already searches for another video.For the execution of a YouTube SEO video, however, it is not done after the upload. 

Promote your YouTube videos

For a successful YouTube performance also brings the promotion of the videos a great advantage. On the one hand, the Traffic is directed to YouTube and on the other hand, your video performs better due to the increased click-through rate or extended playback time.

 There are different ways to implement and promote your videos: 

  • Blog - Here you can offer the answer to the searchers on the Internet with the help of your videos and at the same time strengthen your video. 
  • Social Media - Integrate your videos into your social media posts and bring interested users directly to your video on YouTube.
  • Questions & Answers Forums - There are opportunities to integrate your videos with the answers here as well.

# 10 YouTube SEO - Optimize the channel itself

An important ranking factor is the Channel Trust. This channel trust is composed of various factors, such as.

  • Frequency of publications
  • Number of subscribers
  • Channel age
  • Engagement
  • and much more!
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9. Tipp: YouTube Bericht 

With your YouTube report "Traffic Source: YouTube search" you can find out which keywords YouTube users searched for to come across your video. This is also a good way to find more good keywords.

Use the variety of options YouTube provides for you and convince the viewer to subscribe to you: 

  • Keep your channel always up to date and fill it with interesting content, as well as with tips or tutorials.
  • Link to your website and your social media platforms.
  • Create an appealing header area and a matching profile picture or avatar.
  • Create a welcome video for all non-subscribers who come across your channel. This video will only be shown to YouTube users who don't follow your channel, and you can use the opportunity to briefly and crisply introduce your content and video content to these viewers. 
  • Create playlists for your videos. This gives you an opportunity to bring structure to your videos, making them more accessible to the user. However, a much more important point is that you have the chance to quickly increase your playback time. 
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10. Tipp: Videofreigabe

Get your videos shared! If you like a YouTube video, it will be shared quickly and that is a positive signal for YouTube. Moreover, this sharing offers the possibility to bring users of other platforms (mostly social media channels) to YouTube's platform. YouTube likes that, of course. 

The overall impression must be coherent and appealing.


For the optimization of the search engine YouTube or gladly also called YouTube SEO, the right keywords are necessary for all measures. If these were found, there are relevant steps to consider and optimize before shooting, during and after uploading the video

The big goal must be to make viewers aware of your video online and keep users on the platform to increase your playback time with it - In the best case, they subscribe to your channel. With the help of social media, further traffic can be directed to your videos or to your channel.With our tips and guide, you can now confidently get started on your YouTube SEO strategy. Good luck!

Written by
Stefanie Untermayer
Stefanie Untermayer
Project Manager & Head of Accounting - Learn more about Stefanie