YouTube SEO – How to Rank Your YouTube Videos for More Views and Subscribers

YouTube Video Optimization

Optimize Your YouTube Videos for More Views and Subscribers

Want to know how to rank your YouTube videos? What about getting more views or subscribers? This YouTube tutorial will help increase all of that!

Read on to learn everything about YouTube SEO!

YouTube is the second largest search engine next to Google. Wait…Google owns YouTube so why aren’t you harnessing that power?

Every minute, 400 hours of video are uploaded. When you upload a video and it’s not SEO optimized or promoted, it gets lost in the mix. Uploading a video is not enough to get views on YouTube unless you are a big brand and already have subscribers. You need to promote the video across social platforms, blogging and other methods.

There are techniques that you could follow to optimize your YouTube videos to rank higher on YouTube search.

YouTube SEO Video Optimization

Ok, so your video is uploaded on YouTube, but you are still not getting views. If you did not know yet, YouTube videos also need to be SEO optimized just like your website or blog in order to get ranking in the search result. You must have quality content and good quality video that you will share and promote to get more views for any of this to work. Think of it as the biggest, most difficult puzzle you ever assembled.

In this article, I will talk about how you can get organic traffic to your YouTube videos and how to work on SEO for better search results. I personally use these tips with clients and my own videos.

YouTube SEO Guide: Mastering YouTube Video Optimization

Before I share these tips, you need to understand that YouTube has its own algorithm to rank a video. Even if you use the paid promotion feature, it will not ensure that you will rank higher organically.

One of the well-known factors of high-ranking YouTube video is view-time. If a user starts watching your video and quits in the first few seconds, your ranking is likely to go down. So, I assume you are already working hard on creating compelling YouTube videos and using a catchy thumbnail to get more CTR from related and embedded videos.

Now, let’s look at some of the most important YouTube SEO tips, which will help you to get more organic visits to your videos.

  1. Video Title – Keyword Research

The video title is how a person will know what your video is all about. A title which perfectly matches your video content will be very friendly to the viewer and to the YouTube algorithm for SEO. You want this to include your targeted keywords in the beginning of the title but make it catchy, not spammy.

The limit for a YouTube title is 100 characters. USE IT ALL!

Take advantage of Google and YouTube auto-complete feature. This will give you an overview of what people are searching for on Google and YouTube and will help you optimize your content accordingly. This is also a great start to keyword research.

YouTube Auto Complete Keyword Research

Here, you notice that once I have typed a few keywords into the search bar, YouTube suggests the most common searched terms under the search bar.

You can also use these tools:

Provides top 10 keywords free, projected monthly searches, and difficulty of ranking.


  1. Description of The Video

Write a detailed description of your video content. When I say detailed, I mean go nuts! YouTube has a 5000-character limit, USE IT ALL.

YouTube Description

The first couple sentences play a major role in your video’s ranking in the search engine. Don’t just type your keyword repeatedly. Write as if you want someone who is hearing impaired to be able to understand the video but not a transcription. If the searched keyword matches the title and the first two lines of your video description, the video is more likely to get a higher ranking.

Insert links to other videos, your hashtags, and anything else that is credible and relatable to the video or your channel. Inner promotion is big, kind of like links inside a blog post.

SEO YouTube Videos

In the image above, you can see that my title keywords match my first couple sentences in the description. Using longtail keywords as your video description will also boost the ranking of your videos immensely.

  1. Naming Your Video File

You have created and edited your video and it is ready to be uploaded on YouTube, but you rendered your video file as mov001.avi or random_name.mp4, make sure you rename your video as your_keyword.mp4.

Naming your video file as your focused keyword tells the search engine as to what is in your video, Search engines cannot look inside video content. The mix of the title, description and file name are all components of an SEO optimized video. Every little piece counts toward the finished puzzle. Having the video title as your video file name helps search engine index videos easily, thereby aiding in achieving a higher ranking. So put your targeted keyword into the video file name.

  1. Optimizing existing videos using search data

This section brought to you by: ShoutMeLoud

This is the golden ticket of optimizing existing YouTube videos.

  • Head over to
  • Click on Analytics > Top videos
How Optimize Existing YouTube Videos

This will bring up the page as shown in the below screenshot.

How To Optimize Existing YouTube Videos

Click on the video that you wish to optimize. This will bring up the analytics page for your selected video.

Click on traffic source and select the YouTube search

How To Optimize Existing YouTube Videos

If you see a query and your video is not explaining that part, that is the idea for your next YouTube video.

  1. Use the Closed Caption (CC) Feature in Your Video on YouTube.

Use the closed caption (cc) feature of YouTube. This helps a viewer watch your video if they are hearing impaired or can’t use sound where they are. Different languages can be used, which can help reach more people.

Closed captions can have the keywords mixed into the content. This allows more keyword placement for the video and possible increasing ranking and views. If you upload a video transcription, make sure to include your keywords in that also. Doing so makes your video keyword rich which is very friendly to the search engines. You can also take advantage of service like captions for YouTube, to create captions for your uploaded YouTube videos.

  1.  Tagging & Keyword Research for YouTube Videos

Hashtags are a missed opportunity for a lot of YouTubers. Once again, just another piece of the puzzle.

How to Use YouTube Hashtags
  • List specific tags first: Write your main keyword first. Doing this will put weight in algorithms.
  • List general tags: Write general and matching keywords. For example, if your main keyword is “SEO”, general tags can be “Blogging tips”, “Harsh Agrawal”,” WordPress help” etc.

You can use the Tubebuddy tool which helps you find the right tags to be used with your video.

It also shows your ranking for the keyword. This tool is used by many pro YouTubers and is highly recommended for your YouTube channel as well.

  • Also, include the misspelling of your tags: For example, if you have a keyword as “Home School”, also put “homeschool”. Go to YouTube analytics and check for traffic resources to see how people are searching for you.
  • Include singular and plural of your tags: If your keyword is ”Plumber”, also put “Plumbers”.
  • Include phrases into tags such as your longtail keywords.

Just so you understand. YouTube has a tag field in the upload video screen but those do NOT show up above the title of the video. In order to get hashtags to show up above the title you must enter them in the video description. I usually enter them at the bottom of the description.

Although we are new to the industry, we implement these strategies across the board with all our clients and our own videos.

Road Less Traveled

Road Less Traveled

This channel requested us to look at their YouTube channel two weeks ago and help increase subscribers. Erica had 89 subscribers when we started. 118 subscribers today. That’s a 29% increase in 2 weeks. She hasn’t even finished optimizing her old content yet. This is only following this tutorial.

In the next couple weeks, we will be implementing some advanced techniques to increase exposure and ranking also.

Wedding Photographer Philadelphia

Jennifer Childress Photography

This is a brand-new channel. This customer uploaded all her content to Vimeo. I have been slowing uploading these videos from her library to the new YouTube channel. No promotion yet, soon…

Wedding Photographer Philadelphia

Digitally Distinguished YouTube SEO Specialist

Digitally Distinguished

Our channel is new also. My personal channel gets good traffic and generates income for me but this is my new venture. Everybody needs to make money…


If you want more help optimizing your YouTube videos, contact us today!


SEO Digital Marketing Web Design

Call Now ButtonCall Now