YouTube SEO Best Practices: A Complete Guide | Pepper Content
You Tube

YouTube SEO Best Practices: A Complete Guide

Team Pepper
Team Pepper
Posted on 20/12/2115 min read
YouTube SEO Best Practices: A Complete Guide

Table Of Contents What is YouTube SEO? Why Does YouTube SEO Matter?  SEO Tools for YouTube  How To Grow Your Youtube Channel  SEO’s Role In Video Ranking  Complete SEO Guide To Rank YouTube Videos in 2021  Key Takeaways FAQs Views and better engagement rates are a must-have for digital brands in today’s digital world. If… Continue reading YouTube SEO Best Practices: A Complete Guide

Table Of Contents

  • What is YouTube SEO?
  • Why Does YouTube SEO Matter? 
  • SEO Tools for YouTube 
  • How To Grow Your Youtube Channel 
  • SEO’s Role In Video Ranking 
  • Complete SEO Guide To Rank YouTube Videos in 2021 
  • Key Takeaways
  • FAQs

Views and better engagement rates are a must-have for digital brands in today’s digital world. If you want to know how to do YouTube SEO marketing or are looking for YouTube video tips and SEO best practices, this guide has got you covered. In the simplest of words, appearing on top of the search results on YouTube and Google will gather more views for your video, and the following sections will tell you how to do so with carefully curated tips to get more views on YouTube.

Once you understand YouTube’s SEO best practices, you will be better equipped to optimize your videos for better rankings.

What is YouTube SEO?


YouTube SEO refers to the steps taken to optimize your channel’s video and written content to gain more visibility on the YouTube search results page and to rank higher on the search engine results pages (SERPs).

You can achieve this outcome by employing YouTube SEO best practices like creating thumbnails, choosing trendy keywords, adding a compelling title, description, etc.

Why Does YouTube SEO matter?

YouTube SEO may sound like a new concept to YouTubers starting out because everybody on the Internet says that YouTube is great for creators. But, nobody talks about how to achieve the best results or do YouTube SEO marketing the right way.

By creating search engine optimized (SEO) videos on YouTube, you stand a chance not only to rank higher but to create a consistent flow of traffic to your videos. After all, YouTube is a search engine for videos, so you have to compete with the voluminous content and do your best to stand out. 

And it gets even more demotivating when you create many videos and don’t attract enough views. But that’s because you haven’t heard of the YouTube SEO tips that are about to be revealed in this guide.

Follow the YouTube SEO tips that we will list below for your channel and its videos to get more views, rank higher, and get you excellent RoI.

The core principle of YouTube SEO = more views = better ranking = more money.

Besides, when you have well-optimized content on your channel, the organic traffic increases and serves as the foundation to grow your subscribers, which we also cover in this post.

SEO Tools for YouTube

You may be using YouTube for product marketing, business promotions, funny videos, educational content, or even to showcase your video game skills. Whatever the case, there are some really cool SEO tools for YouTube that will complement your efforts.

As a creator, you have to be aware of your channel performance and find new ways to improve it. That’s where you can leverage a host of SEO tools for YouTube, most of them being absolutely free.  

Knowing these simple YouTube SEO tips will give you an advantage over other creators.

Here are some great YouTube SEO tools you can use right now.

1. YouTube analytics

The integrated YouTube analytics tool is probably the best video SEO tool for creators. You can find insights on how well your content is doing, what’s lacking, and what can be done to improve your rankings. You learn about the audience demographics, the type of content that encourages more clicks, and ways to keep them enticed by your content. 

From checking the average watch time, dislikes, comments, and valuable data about the time of the day with the most views, YouTube analytics provides in-depth details and tips to get more views on YouTube and grow your community.


2. VidIQ

VidIQ is a browser extension that gives you real-time data about the metrics to track and analyze your YouTube channel performance. You can also study your competitor’s videos and compare the results with your content to identify YouTube SEO best practices. 

Another feature of VidIQ is that you can get email alerts about trending topics for your next video. Also, you can use the Facebook Syndication feature to instantly share videos across social media platforms.

3. YouTube Autosuggest

When you search for a video and start typing, YouTube auto-suggests phrases and keywords; this is a powerful tool for YouTube SEO. 

Just like the Google Trends platform, you can use this feature inbuilt into the search bar on YouTube to identify the perfect keywords. Using autosuggest to include in your video title, tags, and description is a smart move.

4. Google Keyword Planner

Among the many free tools that Google offers to creators, the Keyword Planner is perfect for shortlisting effective keywords for your video content. By accessing the Keyword Planner from your Google Ads interface without running any ads, you identify keyword tips to get more views on YouTube and gain visibility on Google. 

Insert these keywords in your titles, tags, and video descriptions and watch the magic unfold.

5. RankTracker

The best way to learn how to do YouTube SEO marketing is to monitor your position among the search results constantly. Using RankTracker, a freemium keyword research tool, you can derive keywords from YouTube page results based on the overall search volume, site visits, competition for the keywords, and many more tips to get more views on YouTube. 

RankTracker helps you find ways to land your videos in the famed featured snippet position on the search engine results page (SERP). The paid version of the tool begins at $72/year.

6. YTRank

YTRank is super easy to use and helps you identify the ranking of videos based on keywords, location, and performance. All you have to do is enter your location, YouTube video URL, and the keywords used in the free tool to check out some impressive results. You can also use it for competitor analysis, which is among the highly recommended YouTube tips.

Now that you have a few interesting tools to get started let’s cover some ground by revealing tips to get more views on YouTube by understanding how to do YouTube SEO marketing. 

How to Grow Your Youtube Channel

Ultimately, every creator wants views on their YouTube channel. To ensure that you get views consistently and attract new visitors to your channel, you have to learn how to grow your channel’s value and subscribers.

This includes promoting your content in a way that boosts its visibility across the Internet and acquiring more subscribers by answering relevant questions to their search queries. Quality content paired with YouTube video tips can help creators rise up to the rank of a top influencer.


So, how do you grow your YouTube channel?

Here are some YouTube tips and YouTube SEO best practices to help you grow your subscribers and attract more views.

  • Upload 720p or higher resolution videos 
  • Use unique thumbnails that urge users to click
  • Ensure zero lag in your video content 
  • A catchy and creative title; this must include keyword research
  • Good descriptions; follow our YouTube SEO tips
  • A compelling intro; first impression matters 
  • Be grammatically accurate; people like credible sources
  • Use video tags wisely; don’t worry, we’ll show you how!
  • Use a self-explanatory and fun YouTube channel background image
  • Engage with your community; don’t leave commenters hanging
  • Be open-minded to feedback; sometimes people may get out of hand, but try and be mature about it

Remember, these YouTube SEO best practices are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creating a credible and fun experience for your users. Ultimately, the emotions you evoke and the memorable content you create are the driving factors of YouTube’s success.

1. Upload high-quality videos

The nature of videos is changing. With increased access to smartphones with good cameras, most viewers prefer to engage with quality content. If you want to grow your YouTube channel, start by ensuring that the video resolution is good and the content is immediately relatable to your target audience and adheres to the chosen topic.

2. Patience is indispensable for creators

Be patient if you don’t rack up on views in the first few weeks by following these YouTube tips. The key is to start on the right note and continuously produce quality content that engages people and maintains consistency. That’s how you become a reputed source of content, leading to more subscribers and shares on the Internet. 

You can go the extra mile to promote your videos on other channels as well. But, dedicate yourself patiently to results that will surely follow in due time. If you have a creative idea that you want to share with the world, your YouTube SEO will ensure that you gain more visibility. 

SEO’s Role in Video Ranking

YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world, right after Google. And the best part is that YouTube relies solely on video content. It’s the second most visited page on the Internet, and for a good reason. 

People love to watch and create videos! So, how do you stand out among the overwhelming amount of content on YouTube? How does your video reach the right people with your message? 

Employing evidence-based YouTube SEO best practices is the right way.

There are many ways to get more views on YouTube – some of which we’ve listed in this guide already – but SEO remains fundamental to the continued success of your channel. 

But before we learn how to do YouTube SEO marketing, let’s uncover some YouTube SEO tips on how it influences the performance of your videos.

How does YouTube’s search algorithm work?

According to YouTube, the discovery process on the platform is explained through an algorithm. Here’s how it goes.

A video’s ranking is based on numerous factors like how you write a title, what you include in its description, and your video content’s relevance to the searcher’s input. Beyond these parameters, the algorithm favors videos that attract the most engagement for any search query, ensuring that viewers can easily find this valuable content.

Keywords are essential for both off-page and on-page video publishing. The ability for your content to match a viewer’s search intent reigns supreme. However, the most significant ranking factor for YouTube SEO is the engagement your video gathers. YouTube’s algorithm wants creators to keep Internet users on their site for as much time as they can. From YouTube’s perspective, more views = more ads to be shown = more money for the parent company.

So, the best way to obtain success through your videos on YouTube is to befriend the search algorithm. That’s how you drive more engagement to your channel, and your videos are rewarded with increased visibility. Using tools like YouTube analytics, you can find out how well your video performs, check the likes/dislikes, CTR, comments, average watch time, card clicks, end screen clicks, etc. It may sound like a lot of work, but it’s really simple when you do it right.

After all, your goal to engage more viewers is the same as YouTube’s intent to engage more users and retain them. That’s why you need to learn and employ the knowledge of how to do YouTube SEO marketing effectively. 

In the next section, let’s break down a complete guide to YouTube SEO. We cover YouTube SEO best practices that you can employ wisely, and you will benefit from some expert tips to get more views on YouTube the right way.

Complete SEO Guide To Rank YouTube Videos in 2021


With hundreds of videos being published online every second, video content consumption is the highest among all forms of content. Whether you’re a business looking for visibility, or a creator looking to make a career on YouTube, the following YouTube SEO tips will help you rank higher.

If you expect a steady flow of traffic on your YouTube channel, you’re in the right place. Not only will you be able to scale up your product or business, but you’ll gain an additional income source with success on YouTube. We get to the YouTube SEO tips in this section because that’s the leading player in video ranking on the platform.

A better ranking gives you more money. If you’re creating content otherwise, without gathering any views, you’re actually losing more money. So let’s avoid that! This step-by-step guide about making smart decisions has given rise to the numerous creators we all know on YouTube through their success.

How to rank YouTube videos?

In the sections above, we’ve explained the importance of YouTube SEO with some valuable YouTube SEO tips and tools to keep handy. We’ve also outlined the YouTube SEO best practices to grow your channel. But, if you want to rank higher and see the results coming in by gaining more visibility, you have to understand the ranking factors on YouTube. 

As mentioned above, ranking high on YouTube depends on aspects like keywords used. It depends on how well your content is curated and the topic you choose to highlight your video—the video tags used, description, backlinks, etc., all influence your YouTube rankings.

All these criteria can be satisfied with effective SEO. We shall talk about how to do YouTube SEO marketing with key factors that will rank your videos higher by positioning your content up and above the search results.

Despite it all, the golden rule for video creators remains the same – consistency, quality, and relevance to the viewer.

6 YouTube ranking factors

Let’s dive into the details of critical factors that influence your video ranking on YouTube and how to improve your approach to creating and publishing YouTube videos. 

When you’re done, you’ll have a clear understanding of what kind of content to create and how to become a noticeable video creator.

  1. Keywords

Keywords are the backbone of SEO. If you’re familiar with blogging, you’ll know how much keyword research can improve your page rankings. The same applies to video SEO. Thorough keyword research and strategy will position your YouTube videos on top of the results.

  • Channel keywords

By improving your YouTube channel with relevant keywords, you help the search engine identify your content as a relevant response to search queries. 

For example, in the “About” section of your YouTube channel, you can clearly articulate the purpose of your channel to the visitor. If you’re sharing content about online courses, words like e-learning, skilling, free courses, and online education can improve your channel’s SEO. 

Write a 200-300 word long introduction about your channel’s primary focus and key topics to educate the viewers and nurture their interests.

The YouTube algorithm gives extreme importance to a page’s metadata, and your channel keywords are responsible for complementing the ranking algorithm. You can add a one- or two-paragraph long description of your channel by heading over to “Settings” in your channel’s “Creator Studio” once you’ve logged in.

Using tools like VidIQ or Google Keyword Planner, you can find the right keyword to plan ahead and perform SEO.

  • Video keywords

Video keywords are usually long-tail phrases that show up on YouTube, much like how a searcher would type into the search bar. You can use video keywords to rank high in different areas and generate traffic to your channel. 

Use the autosuggest feature to help you by typing your keyword into the search bar and observing the results. If you want more suggestions, use _ (underscore) to get more ideas in the form of suggestions for the input keyword.

Your video keywords should be specific phrases from a general idea of the search intent you’re looking to respond to with your content. Whether you choose general keywords or more specific long-tail keywords, it’s always a good idea to check the competition for keywords and ensure your videos are of good quality when they go live.

An effective browser extension called the MozBar Chrome Extention lets you do the keyword research with insights about the other competing videos for any given keyword. This tool can be easily downloaded and installed into your Chrome browser. This research helps when a top result on YouTube has more page authority, and you are expected to create better videos by selecting niche phrases that address the topic.

2. Video titles

From among the YouTube SEO best practices, the significant focus is creating a compelling title that is well-thought-out and relevant to users’ search intent. 

The title and thumbnail are the main reasons people click to view your video from the search results page. Once again, just like a blog or website, your metadata plays a vital role in complementing the video title, too. A video title gives search engines an instant introduction to your content and your YouTube viewers. 

A good title should make people want to click because it looks like there’s some value for them. In most cases, shorter titles are the best performers because it’s displayed easily among results and is quick to read. In some cases, gadgets, browsers, and apps restrict video titles to maybe 6 to 8 words, or even less.

3. Video descriptions

Just like YouTube video titles, descriptions play a vital role in improving your SEO value and, thereby, your ranking.

YouTube and Google consider video descriptions as a top-ranking factor because the search results require the description to determine the nature of your video content. If you don’t fill out the description with some thoughtful words and links to other pages or related videos, you’re missing out on a massive chunk of the traffic.

Writing brief but keyword-rich YouTube video descriptions is a pro YouTube SEO tip to follow. The description is another area where your keyword planning and competitor research comes in handy.

4. Video tags

Tags comprise one- or two-word descriptions of the category that your YouTube video falls under. Video tags are a way of enhancing the value of keywords used in your video title and description. Hence, they play a vital role.

For example, YouTube video tags help viewers identify the type of content they want to view. Tags are primarily keywords that should be chosen after understanding the typical words people enter into YouTube search to find your type of content. 

If you’re creating educational videos, you can use tags like “learn a new skill” or “free courses for beginners.”

5. Linking strategy

Another important SEO tip to get more views on YouTube is having a linking strategy. You can position your social media links, website, third-party content, references, or a link to your personal blog in the description. Just be sure to use the right keywords that make it easy for the algorithm to rank you.

By inserting links into your video descriptions, you create a network of content surrounding your main video. This improves the page’s value, especially as more people click through to find out more about the resources you’ve shared.

6. Video thumbnails

Video thumbnails are not really a ranking factor, but creating good templates and using visual elements are pro tips to get more views on YouTube. 

That’s because a well-designed video thumbnail makes people want to know more when they see the video thumbnail on social media or among the search results page. The visual elements of text and images influence their decision of whether to click to view or move on to the next result.

The most significant part of learning how to do YouTube SEO marketing is understanding that visual impact is the key driving factor of YouTube engagement. After all, searchers are on the lookout for visual content in the form of videos. 

By adding creative thumbnails, you improve your chances of evoking the viewers’ interest and getting them to view your video. From there, it’s all about how engaging your video channel is to determine whether they subscribe or not.

Although we’ve covered the major ranking factors of YouTube, there’s still plenty on how to do YouTube SEO marketing. So, here are a couple more YouTube video tips and YouTube SEO best practices to rank higher by optimizing your videos.

How to optimize Youtube videos?

Optimizing your YouTube videos is integral to ranking high and generating more engagement. Here are some pro-YouTube video tips to guide you.

  • Use the focus keywords in the video file name: Mark the video file with your focus keyword before your video is uploaded.
  • Define your keywords: Keep referring to your keyword, not just to maintain it but to match it with the value of the keyword usage across your title, description, metadata, and tags.
  • The longer, the better: This applies to your videos as well as the text content on your page. Longer videos stand a higher chance of ranking because they’re usually packed with all the information a searcher seeks in one convenient package. Examples are software tutorials and product reviews, which encourage users to spend more time watching the videos. However, if you are not a verified user, you may only be allowed to post videos up to 15 minutes long or less. Verified creators can post videos as long as 12 hours, provided that the total size amounts to a maximum of 128 GB.
  • Quality HD videos are the best: You can always use your camera or smartphone for HD videos, which is important for delivering value to the viewer. If you’re recording on your computer, make sure you double-check the sound and video quality before uploading.
  • Get straight to the point: Edit out the drags like long pauses between clips and unnecessary background noises. Make your content short and crisp in conveying the core ideas early on in the video.
  • Use keyword-rich and descriptive titles: A good title contains your focus keyword and attracts the viewer. Since Google usually shows the first 60-70 characters, keep your title short and comprehensive. It doesn’t always have to be the exact keyword, but every word in the title needs careful consideration. Think, “Are they going to click if they read this?”
  • Use keyword-rich and long descriptions: Long descriptions give space for timestamps, links, and other useful resources. Links, referrals, and timestamps always compliment a general summary in the keyword-rich description.
  • Use your keyword in the metadata: The first 160 characters are important because they are your metadata. This information appears on search engine results and thus should include your keyword in the first line to encourage people to click. Keep it to one or two sentences long, and use your keywords twice or thrice in your video description as well.
  • Links help improve page authority: Backlinks and internal links attribute a lot of SEO value to your YouTube videos. Use supportive resources from your video to other videos on YouTube, your personal blog, or references used to create the video. This is a great way to provide more value for the viewer and increase your channel’s page authority. 
  • Timestamps are useful: Especially for longer videos, timestamps allow viewers to skip to sections of the video, which contain exactly what they’re looking for, thereby improving your credibility among the visitors. Timestamps are a way of making navigation easy in your video.
  • Design a creative thumbnail: Head to “Info,” then “Settings,” and upload your custom thumbnail with dimensions of 1280 pixels in width X 710 pixels in height. The thumbnail appears in the YouTube results, whenever your video is shared on social media, or when the search results show your YouTube video to internet users. Make it catchy with a mix of text and visuals.
  • YouTube video tip: Use big letters and related images to make a compelling thumbnail. 

Key Takeaways

Here are some key takeaways from the guide to YouTube SEO tips.

  • You can research well and optimize your YouTube videos using on-page and off-page SEO, combined with some interactive tools mentioned in this guide. Furthermore, your content’s creative ideation and consistent quality will help you grow your channel steadily. 
  • By understanding the key ranking factors like video title, video length, descriptions, tags, keywords, and metadata, you will know how to do YouTube SEO marketing with every new publication. 
  • Be sure to leverage thumbnails for improved clicks. Feel free to start a blog of your own, where your viewers can learn more about your creative pursuit and the main inspiration behind your videos. 
  • Everything on the Internet is about building credibility and generating engagement. So, apply your most creative ideas.
  • By creating relevant content that matches the users’ search intent, you can kickstart your career as a YouTuber or build an online presence for your business and product’s visibility. 


With these YouTube SEO tips and YouTube SEO best practices, I hope you gained a fair understanding of how to do YouTube SEO marketing and improve your overall ranking to attract more traffic and make your presence felt.

Here’s an equation to sum up the importance of SEO for your YouTube videos.

Better SEO = better visibility X Better quality = better engagement X More views = more revenue

If you want to revise the basics and learn more about the fundamentals of video content, read the blog The Basics of Video Content Marketing for some comprehensive insights. 

Also, browse through our FAQs section for some cool insights into the YouTube platform.


1. What are some SEO tools for YouTube?

YouTube Analytics, YouTube Autosuggest, Google Keyword Planner, VidIQ, and RankTracker are free tools to get started with YouTube SEO tips and hacks.

2. What are the main YouTube Ranking Factors?

Video length, keywords, title, description, tags, and engagement are the core factors that influence your YouTube video rank.

3. Is social sharing effective for YouTube videos?

Of course, social sharing is a great YouTube SEO tip that you can leverage to drive traffic from multiple platforms. Maintaining a WordPress blog or a Facebook handle is an example of how you can leverage social sharing for your YouTube videos.

4. What is the maximum length of a YouTube video?

YouTube video length depends on whether your account is verified or not. If you aren’t verified, the length of your YouTube video can be up to 15 minutes or less. However, if you are a verified creator, you can post videos on YouTube that are up to 12 hours long – as long as the maximum size is 128 GB.

5. Is the Google algorithm similar to the YouTube algorithm?

No. While they are both owned by Alphabet Inc., the two platforms have distinctively different ranking factors. They both run on keywords and engagement in terms of the average time users spent on a page, while YouTube also considers the engagement in terms of likes, dislikes, comments, etc., like social media.

6. What is the average time people spend on YouTube?

A total of 1 billion hours of video are consumed each day, and the average user on YouTube spends approximately 12-15 minutes on YouTube each day. However, kids’ average time on YouTube has doubled in the last four years, reaching close to 1-2 hours daily.

The latest from Pepper Content, right in your inbox

From our latest podcasts and articles, to the detailed guides and extensive resources. Follow the evolution of content.

By subscribing, you agree to Peppercontent’s Term of Use  and Privacy Policy.

Similar Posts