YouTube SEO Tips: How To Rank Your Videos

This post will show you EXACTLY HOW to rank YouTube videos.

So if you want to get more views, subscribers and traffic from YouTube, then you’ll love this new YouTube SEO tutorial.

Step 1: YouTube Keyword Research

The YouTube SEO process begins with video keyword research.

This is exactly how you find the best keywords for your YouTube videos.

Start by creating a list with keywords ideas.

The first step is to create a large list of keywords. Next, I will help you choose the best keyword from that list.

Here are some tips to help you find keywords for YouTube videos:

YouTube’s Search Suggest is my favorite strategy.

You just need to head to YouTube and type in a phrase or word.

YouTube will give you a list of keywords that are related to the words you have typed:

These keywords are great.

These are the terms people type into YouTube. These terms are popular so you don’t have to wonder if they are. YouTube will suggest them to you 1000%.

You can also visit a video that is popular in your niche and copy the keywords it uses.

Keyword optimization is an important part of YouTube SEO. If a video gets a lot of views, it is likely that the video was optimized around a popular keyword.

This step can be completed by going to another channel within your niche.

Next, sort the videos by “Most Popular”. Getfans.io can give you subscriber boost.

These videos will be displayed to show you which ones have received the most views.

Next, select a video from your list. You want to choose a video you are able to create an amazing video with (more details in step #2).

However, the general rule is that if the video fits your niche, it will work.

Finally, find out which keywords your video is optimized for. It’s easy.

Take a look at the keywords used in video’s title, description, and video tags.

Your YouTube traffic YouTube search report can help you find great keywords. This report will show you all keywords YouTube users searched for in order to find your videos.

These are often keywords you already know (because your videos were optimized around them).

Sometimes, you might stumble upon a few keywords you didn’t know existed.

Here’s an example of a key word I found in my Traffic Sources report:

This keyword is one that I wouldn’t have found with any other strategy. It is a keyword that I am sure people search for in YouTube so it is a great one to add to my own list.

The second step is to find the most important keyword in your list

Once you have compiled a list, it is time to select the best keyword.

You want to specifically targetlow-competition keywords.

This is especially important if you don’t have many subscribers. Your video will be buried in search results if you don’t play by the rules and pursue competitive keywords.

Instead, look for keywords with low competition.

What can you do to check?

All you have to do is:

Google search for your keyword.

Check out the “About results”.

This is the number of YouTube videos about this topic. This number is indicative of how competitive a keyword is. You should target keywords with low “About results”.

(How low can you go?) Each industry is unique. Therefore, I cannot give you an exact number. Focus on keywords with low competition in your niche.

If I search for “YouTube’s SEO”, there are 11,500,000 results.

If I were just starting out, I would try some other keywords like “YouTube ranking factor”.

Bingo! This keyword has only 45,100 results.

This keyword is therefore MUCH more competitive.

A bonus tip: Search for your keyword on Google.

YouTube is home to the majority of YouTube views.

Don’t stop there. Your video can getGet 2-5x More ViewsIf possible, rank it in Google.

How do you explain?

Optimizing your videos around keywords is the key to successAlready have video resultsGoogle.

Google includes videos only in search results for specific keywords.

Google reserves a large portion of the first page for video results for certain keywords, rather than a “normal” page with 10 results.

Google is more inclined to use video results when searching for these keywords.

Keywords for how-to (“how to cold brew coffee”)
Reviews (“beats By Dre review”)
Tutorials (Setting Up WordPress)
Anything related to fitness (“Cardio Kickboxing”)
Funny videos (“Cute animal videos”)

What is the point?

Let’s suppose you optimize your video for a keyword without any Google video results. You will only get traffic from YouTube searches.

Optimizing for a specific video keyword will also help you get targeted traffic to the video.DirectFrom Google’s first Page.

The question is:

How can you locate these magic keywords?

You just need to search for the keyword you have used in the previous step.

Check to see if any keywords you searched have YouTube video results.

Simple right?

Once you have found a Video Keyword it is time to check if there is any search volume. You might not rank for a keyword that gets only 20 searches per month. It’s not worth the effort.

Make sure your target keyword is included in the search resultsMinimum 100-1kGoogle searches per month (you can find this information)Use the Google Keyword Planner()

Why not 500 searches per month

You can rank your video on Google and many searchers will click on your video in the results.

This means that you will get more quality traffic to your video and eventually your website.

Here’s an example from real life:

Backlinko being in the SEO niche, I will be searching for video keywords with searches such as “keyword research tips”, how to build backlinks and “SEO tutorial”.

Bingo! You can find 4 YouTube videos for the keyword SEO tutorial on Google.

That keyword is sure to exceed our minimum 500 monthly searches.

This would make a great keyword for a video.

Actually, I did it already

Talking about creating your video…

Step 2: Publish a high-retention video

Here’s the truth

You want your videos to rank.You need to keep them watching.

The amount of your video that people watch is known as Audience Retention.

YouTube also stated that “Audience retention” is an important ranking factor. To quote YouTube:

And this is how it works:

YouTube will keep people watching your video if they are interested in it.Your video will be ranked higher in search results.

YouTube wants users to keep using the platform, so they click ads. They’ll promote your video if they help you achieve that goal.

The question is:

How do you make a video that engages people?

Also known as “High-Retention Videos”

These are three simple steps that work great. These 3 steps were difficult for me to master. This video will show you how to create high-retention videos right away.

Video tutorial

Three Simple Steps to Quickly and Easily Increase Viewer Retention

High-Retention videos don’t require fancy cameras or microphones, as you can see. You don’t need to worry about production value.

You’re fine as long as your video is interesting and valuable.

What is the bottom line?

Your video won’t rank if it’s not good enough for SEO.

Unlike Google (uses backlinks and other signals to evaluate the quality of a piece of content) YouTube has no such luxury. They rely on Audience retention.

YouTube’s algorithm uses Audience Interaction as one of its ranking signals.

Let me now show you 5 important YouTube ranking factors.

Video Comments

YouTube gets a strong signal from comments that someone left a comment. This tells YouTube that they enjoyed the video or at least were interested in it.

I actually found that comments strongly correlate with high ranking in search results when I analyzed 1.3 Million YouTube searches.

Encourage your viewers to comment on the video and to reply to any comments.

After watching a video, click “Subscribe”

If someone subscribes to your channel after watching your video that sends a HUGE signal that you have an amazing video.

The best way toGet more YouTube subscribersWhat is the best way to get started?Ask them to subscribe.I have found that asking viewers for their subscriptions at the end my videos increases my monthly subscribers numbers significantly.

Video shares

How many people have shared your video on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter?

It’s not like people share bad videos. YouTube notices people sharing your video and thinks: “This must have been an amazing piece of content!” They’ll also give you a boost in rankings.

(Also social shares can bring more people from those networks to YouTube…which they like).

Click-Through Rate (CTR).

Which result does a person click when they search for your keyword on YouTube?

Your video… or the video of someone else?

YouTube is very attentive to user behavior, as it turns out. Click-through-rate (CTR) is the percentage of people who click on your result. The higher your CTR is, the better.

Also, you want YouTube users to click on your result.

YouTube observes that many people click on your result and decides to “Rank this video higher in search results!”

However, if people don’t pay attention to your results, it will result in your ranking being dropped.

How can you increase your CTR?Make compelling titles and thumbnails.

As an example, my title and thumbnail are clearly different from other results for this keyword.

Thumbs up/Thumbs down


Video Length

As withGoogle allows text-based articles?longer videos rank better.

In YouTube and Google searches, I find that longer videos perform better than shorter videos.

The data backs this up. YouTube ranking factors research that I referenced earlier found that longer videos are more effective than shorter videos, at least in terms of YouTube SEO.

If you search YouTube for the keyword WordPress, 3 of the top 4 videos will be displayed.Are over an hour in length.

What length should your video be?

This is not something I would worry about. Focus on making the best possible video.

You can make your video longer if you feel it is necessary. Your video shouldn’t be too long. People will watch your video if it’s great.

The coolest part about all of these stats is that you can track all of them in the new YouTube Studio:

This will allow you to see your progress and help you improve your videos.

Okay, you have created your High-Retention Video. Now it is time to upload it and optimize it for SEO.

Step 3: YouTube Video Optimization

Here are some ways to get the best SEO value out of your video.

SAY Your Target Keyword

YouTube automatically transcribes your videos, as you probably have noticed. They’re quite accurate.

YouTube will “hear” if you mention your target keyword within your video. YouTube will also understand your video better if you actually SAY the keyword in your video.

Video Title

Your video title should not exceed 5 words. This will allow you to include your entire keyword without keyword-stuffing.

This video title is 10 words long. Only 3 of these are my target keywords (“higher Google ranks”)

Power TipAs with blog posts, you can get a slight SEO boost for video by placing your keyword at theBeginningTitle

If you wanted to rank for surfing tutorial, you would want a title such as:”Surfing Tutorial”: Learn how to ride a wave today.


The description of your video is extremely important.

YouTube and Google can understand your video’s context by looking at the description. The better they understand your video, and the more frequently you will appear in the Suggested Videos sidebar, the higher your rank.

These are the basics of the description.

In the first 25 words, include your keyword
The description should be at least 250 words
Include your keyword 2 to 4 times
Without being spammy, this SEO-optimized description tells Google and YouTube about your video.

Here’s a sample of my description for a video that I optimized around the keyword “Onpage SEO”.

Notice how I included my keyword a few times without being too spammy? This is what you should do.