YouTube SEO Tips for High Video Ranking

YouTube SEO Tips for High Video Ranking

YouTube has made content more accessible to everyone. By leveraging the platform effectively, you can make your voice heard and known to many. However, that is exactly the challenging part. With millions of videos uploaded to the platform daily, the competition is high.

Optimizing your content for the search engine is imperative to be found by a more significant number of people. You can optimize videos both within and outside of YouTube for better visibility. YouTube’s algorithm is complex. It follows several rules to determine your video ranking. However, using certain SEO best practices increases your chances of reaching the top positions.

Let’s break down YouTube SEO into some effective tips.

1. Choose Relevant Keywords

Keywords are an integral part of any SEO strategy, and YouTube is no exception. The keywords we are discussing here refer to those that will be present in your video’s title and metadata. YouTube uses them to learn about the video’s subject and index your content. It also links your keywords to viewers’ searches.

As a best practice, use keywords that accurately describe your video and that your target viewers use to look for similar videos. One of the methods to find a good keyword is to use YouTube’ Search Suggest. When you type out your keyword here, YouTube will give you various suggestions.

Another important thing to remember while choosing keywords is to pick those with high search potential. If you are just starting out, you cannot expect to rank high for keywords that are most used in searches. Big brands and influencers are already using them.

At this point, it will be challenging for you to compete with them. To tackle this, we suggest using long-tail keywords. These keywords do not have much competition, but they are closely related to your video. Thus, you have greater chances of attracting the right viewers.

In other words, instead of focusing on primary keywords with high competition and volume and secondary keywords with low search volume, search for long-tail keywords. A great example would be to use ‘Boost Instagram video traffic from ads’ instead of Boost Instagram video traffic.’

2. Create Keyword-Rich Title, Description, and Tags

One of the most effective ways to pull your video to top positions is by creating keyword-rich video titles, descriptions, and tags. Here are some pointers to remember.


  • Keep the title shorter than 70 characters, including the keyword.
  • Include at least three main keywords in the title, with the most important ones coming at the beginning.
  • Titles in a listicle form tend to pull more viewers. So, try adding a number in the title. For example, 4 Proven Ways to Increase Google Ads Traffic.
  • If your target keyword is too niche, use an intriguing title. This helps generate the viewer’s curiosity.


  • Create a keyword-rich video description that is no longer than 350 words in length.
  • Include your main keywords within the description’s first two to three lines.
  • The description should align with the actual content of your video. Include a link to your official website in the description to boost traffic from the platform.


  • Tags are hidden messages beneath the video. They help the platform in categorizing your video.
  • Videos that rank in the top positions use at least 13 tags.
  • Create tags with your target keywords.

It is critical for new content creators to pay attention to their video titles, descriptions, and tags. All of them influence the platform’s indexing and ranking of your content. The more optimized they are, the better YouTube will rank you.

Today, YouTube content can be accessed not just from the PC but from multiple other devices and apps. A curated collection of YouTube content is available on many streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video and on media players like MediaPortal and Kodi through add-ons.

The YouTube add-on for Kodi, which leverages YouTube’s API, gives viewers access to the platform’s vast library of videos. Add-ons like Aliunde and Crazy Canucks also offer all YouTube content in an easy-to-navigate manner. With these types of working add-ons for Kodi, YouTube content is presented based on criteria like relevancy, search queries, and user preferences. Therefore, the more optimized your video titles, descriptions, and tags are, the better the chances of your content being showcased and discovered through streaming services and add-ons.

3. Use Keyword Rich Captions

YouTube algorithms can only understand text and code. So, creating captions is necessary if you want to ensure that the platform understands what your video is about.

YouTube, by default, provides automatic captions by transcribing your videos. However, these results are not completely accurate. It’s possible that YouTube’s captions may wrongly represent your content. Remember, Google penalizes spam. YouTube’s automatic caption generation is part of that spam. This has a negative effect on your video ranking.

The best solution to avoid this is to use your own captions. This will help you give the best experience to your audience. Here are some tips to consider to create effective captions:

  • Create an accurate transcript for your video. The transcript is a written version of everything that is said in the video. You can create it manually or use automated speech recognition (ASR) technology. If you use ASR, ensure to review and edit the captions.
  • Use correct grammar, punctuation, and formatting to increase readability. Also, use italics and capitalization where necessary.
  • Time the captions correctly. They should correspond to the spoken words. In other words, they should arrive on-screen in a timely manner.
  • Use your target keywords in the captions. However, put them naturally so they do not alter the flow.

4. Create the Perfect Thumbnail

An eye-catching thumbnail that accurately describes your video content can help you rack up thousands of views. Contrarily, poorly-made thumbnails will hinder your video from reaching its intended audience. YouTube automatically generates thumbnails by pulling three still images from your video. However, if you want to stand out from the crowd, using this thumbnail won’t help you.

To make this task simpler, follow these tips to create the perfect thumbnail.

  • Use a still image as a thumbnail only if you truly like it. If YouTube hasn’t pulled the perfect still image, pause the video on a still you like. Then make the video fullscreen and take a screenshot. Now you can customize it further by adding a title or use it as is.
  • Add a title on the thumbnail that sums up the video content briefly. For example, if your video is about teaching people how to make money with Facebook ads, a thumbnail title that says ‘$50k in 3 months’ will be ideal.
  • To take your thumbnails to the next level, combine a still image with graphic elements. This is a suitable option for those who make video tutorials or vlogs.
  • Do not get carried away in your quest of creating an eye-catchy thumbnail. Many creators commit the mistake of creating thumbnails that inaccurately represent their content. Misleading thumbnails will do more harm than good in the long run. Do not use excessive, over-the-top imagery. It can scare your audience instead of stimulating them to click on your video.
  • Experiment with different thumbnail designs. You won’t get the right thumbnail that attracts your audience right away. So, test different designs and record your results.
  • The ideal size of a thumbnail is 1280 X 720 pixels. For the best results, ensure that your thumbnail is a minimum of 640 pixels wide.

5. Use YouTube Cards to Market Your Videos

YouTube cards are interactive panels that appear in the upper-right portion of the video frame. They appear as a little white circle with an ‘i’ in the center. This is accompanied by a clickable CTA. When the viewer selects it, the circle expands to showcase the content of the card. Depending on your preferences, the content can be linked to other videos or suggested playlists.

Here are some ways in which you can use YouTube cards to boost your SEO ranking.

Place the Cards Strategically

To boost the click-through rates of your videos through cards, you need to place them strategically. This means that your cards should appear at the right time and should be relevant to the viewer.

For example, in a workout video, a card suggesting another similar workout should appear toward the end of the current video, not at the beginning of it. This is because, at the beginning, viewers will be more focused on what the current video is about. At this time, placing a card suggesting the next best workout will only divert their attention.

Use Playlist Cards for Brand Visibility

If you already have a huge collection of videos, organize them into playlists. Then use playlist cards to generate brand awareness. Doing so will enable you to come across as a trusted resource on a specific topic. It will also boost your channel’s credibility.

Use Link Cards to Generate Sales

Using link cards is a great way to increase product sales. If you are a business new on YouTube, a wise approach would be to create a video about the product you offer. Then include a YouTube card that links directly to the product’s landing page. Link cards are best suited to generate revenue from your video content on YouTube.

6. Learn and Improve From Video Analytics

Tracking your analytics is critical to determine whether your videos are doing what you want them to do. YouTube provides several key analytic reports. They help you track your performance. Here are some key metrics that content creators should track.

  • Watch time: This is the total number of time (in minutes) that your audience has spent watching your videos. Videos with higher search times rank better in search results.
  • Click-through rate: Impressions’ click-through rate determines how quickly people click on your video after it appears on their homepage. This metric spikes minutes after the video is uploaded and declines afterward. You can perform better here by customizing your video thumbnail and making it more attention-grabbing.
  • The click-through rate of YouTube cards: As mentioned above, you can use various cards strategically to boost your SEO. The card click-through rate helps you determine the effectiveness of your cards in boosting the click-through rates of other videos. It also helps you learn whether people are clicking on your CTAs presented through cards or not.
  • Unique views: YouTube computes unique views by counting how many people watch your video over a specific time duration. This is calculated by calculating the number of unique logged-in viewers. This means that YouTube only includes those viewers who watch your videos through their YouTube accounts as unique ones. This improves the accuracy of the count.
  • Views by traffic source: This report displays how many viewers are generated by every source. These include suggested videos, YouTube searches, external websites, and the like. By analyzing this report, you will be able to determine the traffic sources that are driving the most views to your videos. Thus, it will help you make better decisions regarding audience targeting.
  • Subscriber growth: Subscribers are those who like your videos to the extent that they subscribe to your channel to remain updated with your content. Ideally, your subscriber count should increase over time. Subscriber growth report tells you the number of subscribers you lost or gained. It also tells you the videos that helped pull the most subscribers. This report is crucial to track. It helps you analyze the type of content that your audience wants from you. You can increase your subscriber count by making more of the content that your audience prefers.
  • Audience retention: Audience retention gives the percentage of viewers watching and leaving your video per second. Videos with a high audience retention rate are ranked higher. This is because it indicates that more viewers are likely to watch your videos till the very end. It also shows parts of the videos that viewers skip and those they watch again. This report is important as it helps you make improvements to your video strategy.

Wrapping up

Ultimately, achieving success as a YouTube content creator is about sharing your knowledge to enrich people’s lives. Creating useful content and matching it with proper optimization methods will help you tap into a wider audience.

So, choose something you are passionate about and pull out all the stops to optimize it with the SEO best practices mentioned in this post. Do not give up when things seem tough. Sooner or later, you will achieve the success you desire. 

Picture of Rajat Garg
Rajat Garg
Rajat is a digital marketing specialist with more than 8 years of experience. Here at SocialAppsHQ, Rajat helps to manage social media campaigns for businesses all over the world and share valuable content through blogging.

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