18 Tips for Optimizing Your Videos on YouTube

Since YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, it is important to be sure your videos are properly optimized in order to show up in search results. This process is called Search Engine Optimization, or SEO for short. When your content shows up in YouTube’s search results, it helps get your video discovered so you can earn views, watchtime, and new subscribers. Remember that it’s the quality of your content that keeps people watching, but it’s SEO gets people's foot in the door.

Here are 18 tips to help you optimize your videos.

  1. Research your topic before you start creating. This is an important step to take before you even begin to work on a video so you know if people are interested in the topic you want to create.

  2. Use our Keyword Explorer tool to research your topic. You can discover what people tend to type into the search bar, which will help you craft your topic around what people are actually looking for. You’ll see that even as you type, Keyword Explorer is making suggestions based on what people are looking for. This alone can help you find the right targets.

  3. Try to use long tail descriptive keyword phrases because they can help you show up in search. Single word tags are too broad, and people don’t usually type things like “San Diego” “Zoo” “Safari” or “Park” to find information about a subject.

  4. Look at the Overall Score for guidance on how well a certain keyword will likely perform. The Weighted Score takes into consideration your channel's size and average views per video, while the Unweighted Score doesn’t account for that information and is more generalized. Look at the Weighted Score for the most accurate prediction for your channel specifically.

  5. Pay attention to the color of the score within Keyword Explorer. A green score is like a green light at a stop light - you are good to go!

  6. Once you land on a topic, you can start saving keywords in a Tag List right within Keyword Explorer. That way, you can save keywords for later when you’re uploading the video. They will be ready to go, saving you lots of time.

  7. You can also add your topic research to our Video Topic Planner, so if you don’t have time to make a final decision now, you can have all of the information saved for later.

  8. Remember that YouTube prioritizes 3 main pieces of metadata when deciding on a video’s search rankings - First it looks at a video’s title, then looks at its description, and finally, it looks at its tags.

  9. When crafting your title, be sure to incorporate that exact phrase you decided on while doing your research, including those same words in the same order. If we were to change the order of the words from ‘San Diego Zoo Bus Tour’ to ‘My Bus Tour of the San Diego Zoo’, we would be targeting a completely different search term than the original one we found. Using the exact term will ensure YouTube connects our video with the phrase we want to target.

  10. Don’t forget that YouTube reads titles like Westerners read English - left to right, in order of importance.

  11. Split your title into two parts. The first part of the title should focus on what you are targeting in search. The second half should entice the viewer to click and hone in on what your video is about. For example, ‘San Diego Zoo Bus Tour - What you need to know.’

  12. You can separate your title to help make it easier to read using a few different types of dividers. You can use a '-', or even a vertical bar like this '|'. Bonus tip: YouTube reads right through a divider when looking at a title, so a title like 'San Diego Zoo | Bus Tour Information' would still be optimized for 'San Diego Zoo Bus Tour.'

  13. Focus on the first 200 characters of your description since that’s where YouTube looks for searchable data.

  14. Be sure to rephrase your title and keyword phrase naturally into the first 200 words of your description, like ‘Join us as we take the San Diego Zoo Bus Tour and fill you in on what you need to know!’

  15. Don’t include links in the first 200 characters - they should really go after the fold, or the line after the first 200 characters. That way you’re giving YouTube data to work with, while also making sure people know to click to read more.

  16. Select tags that are similar to your topic and title, and that rephrase what your title is trying to get across in different ways, while staying as close to the original as possible.

  17. YouTube allow us to use 500 characters to create our tags, so try to use as many of the 500 characters as possible. But make sure the tags are relevant to your video, or you will be doing more harm than good.

  18. Use TubeBuddy’s suggested tags to get help in finding additional tags to use for your video. They will automatically update based on what you currently have in your title and tags list.

To see these tips in action, watch as Andrew walks through the steps researching a topic, finding the right tags, and how to incorporate those tags in your title and description.

SEO can be challenging, but using tools like TubeBuddy can give you ways to find more accurate keywords, and can help you in YouTube search and be discovered!

For more tips and tricks, be sure to check out our YouTube Channel for tutorials and strategies on how to save you time and grow and optimize your channel with TubeBuddy.

Comments (67) -

  • Solid advice! Thanks. It's so tough for me to articulate all these points to newbies who ask how I do it. So, now I have an article to point them too. Big kudos!
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