YouTube SEO

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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 only founded in 2005 and became a subsidiary of Google in 2006 already? YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world after Google. Thus, the relevance for the marketing of companies to be present on YouTube is also increasing more and more - But the competition is great and the market is highly competitive.

And so we proceed to Youtube SEO.

SEO - Search Engines Optimization deals with your product, be it your website or in this case your videos, better for the search engine to present and the Influence ranking factors positively, 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?

Similar to other search engines, there is a Algorithm behind the ranking procedure and similar to the Google algorithm, YouTube is also secretive about which factors and parameters are relevant for the exact composition. But some assumptions can be made - And these are important for YouTube SEO to know, understand and take into account.

Which factors are relevant for the ranking?

As with Google itself, all Factors of the ranking attributable to a common goal - Create optimal conditions for the user. If the user is happy with Google's answers, and your website is the answer - then Google is happy with you. If users find your videos on your channel online entertaining and therefore stay on the platform, then YouTube finds your videos good. In order to achieve this goal, the interest of the users must be taken into account on the one hand and the expectations must be met on the other. But to do that, YouTube needs to understand what your videos are about in order to present them to a matching search query.

In general, YouTube SEO can be divided into two major areas and each of them 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 right focus and this is done via the right Keyword specified. For YouTube SEO, however, there is currently no free keyword tool, as you might know it from classic SEO. You also can't use the Google Keyword research just take over for YouTube - that doesn'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. On YouTube there are very rarely commercial keywords, because that is not asked on YouTube. This platform is primarily about information - even with a classic commercial word combination "product + buy" only purely informative suggestions appear.

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

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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 YouTube community's interests lie. By entering the topic into the YouTube Search bar, you can already good keyword combinations through the Suggest function recognize. This also makes it possible to filter out the matching concretizations that are increasingly searched for by users. For this reason, they are also suggested, as 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 the video to rank well not only on YouTube itself, but also on Google Videos and in Universal Search - Google's general or organic search. You can tell this by the fact that there are already videos in the SERP appear. Therefore, a cross-check is necessary before focusing on a keyword or a combination of keywords. Some keywords are suitable for both platforms - these all-rounders need to be found.

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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.

Info icon comma99 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.

Info icon comma99 2. Tip: VidIQ Chrome

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

Info icon comma99 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.


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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 deals with correlations and relationships of 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 confirmed this himself.

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. 

Info icon comma99 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.

Info icon comma99 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.

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Info icon comma99 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

However, the algorithm does not only capture the title. Your chosen keyword must be found everywhere, as well as in the video description. This will give YouTube information about how relevant the keyword is to the video. Only the first one or two lines are displayed in search results - so it is 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 on "Show more". It is possible to fill it with up to 5000 characters, however, according to the Briggsby studyThe keywords should contain between 200 and 350 words and have a keyword density of 3-4%.

Info icon comma99 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 advertisement poster in YouTube search -. This gives you the best chance to draw attention to your video and encourage users to click. Among the most important ranking factors is the CTR (click-through rate) and this is part of the User signals (Nutzersignale). The CTR describes the ratio of how many users have seen your video and how many have actually clicked on it.

For a well-made thumbnail, you need an eye-catcher, i.e. an image that automatically attracts attention and encourages 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 value (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 another confirmation of what your video is about and why the video 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 can YouTube even already automatic take over. However, the result should be controlled in any case and improved if necessary.

#8 Tags

YouTube tags are similar to Instagram hashtags.

They are words or word combinations 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. Subsequently, you should focus on so-called LSI keywords. LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing and these LSI keywords are words that are related to the main keyword (synonyms).

Another function of the tags is to connect to other videos and thus appear in the Suggested Videos. When you appear 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.

Info icon comma99 Tip 8: Less is more

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, with the help of your videos, you can offer the answer to the searchers on the Internet 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 channel trust. This channel trust is made up of various factors, such as:

  • Frequency of publications
  • Number of subscribers
  • Channel age
  • Engagement
  • and much more!
Info icon comma99 9. tip: YouTube report 

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 chance to bring your content and video content closer to these viewers in a short and crisp way.
  • 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.
Info icon comma99 10. tip: video sharing

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 called YouTube SEO, the right keywords are necessary for all measures. Once these have been 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!

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SEO - Search Engine Optimization