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YouTube SEO & Discoverability

Updated: May 21

#MadeByMELO Creative News & How tos Blog Post: YouTube SEO By MELOGRAPHICS

A content creator’s guide to creating & publishing content the smarter way.

Getting Discovered on YouTube

Are you ready to work smarter and not harder to maximize your content visibility and viewer engagement? If you’ve been putting in the effort to create exceptional videos but feel like you’ve hit a wall or it’s just not working; it’s time to take control of your content’s discoverability with a strong content plan backed by SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Having a solid foundation of SEO then implementing an effective YouTube content strategy, can increase your chances of getting your videos in front of your target audience — ultimately growing your channel and viewership.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the key concepts of YouTube SEO, from understanding how it works to optimizing your video details and leveraging the power of metadata and keywords. At the end of this article, you’ll find recommended YouTube optimization tools (e.g. TubeBuddy), free resources, and a quick reference glossary to ensure you have all the info you need at your fingertips.


Let’s SEO! — cheezy, I know 😉

What is YouTube SEO?

Before we dive into the specifics of YouTube SEO, it’s essential to grasp the fundamental concept of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). YouTube is not just a video-sharing platform; it is also a search engine. In fact, it is the second largest search engine globally, making it crucial for content creators to optimize their videos for search.

SEO is the practice of optimizing your content to rank higher in search engine results. By utilizing SEO techniques, you can increase the visibility of your videos and attract more viewers. YouTube SEO involves optimizing various elements of your video, including the title, description, tags, and thumbnail, to ensure that your content is easily discoverable by both YouTube’s and Google’s search algorithms.

The Importance of YouTube SEO

Optimizing your videos for search is essential for several reasons. Firstly, it helps your content get discovered by potential viewers who are searching for specific topics or keywords related to your videos. By appearing in search results, you can tap into a wider audience and increase your chances of gaining more views and subscribers.

Secondly, YouTube SEO can also improve your overall channel’s visibility. When your videos consistently rank higher in search results, it signals to YouTube’s algorithm that your channel is relevant and authoritative in your niche. This, in turn, can lead to more exposure and recommendations from YouTube, ultimately boosting your channel’s growth and engagement.

Now that you understand the importance of YouTube SEO, let’s explore some key strategies and techniques to optimize your videos for search.

Conducting Keyword Research

Keyword research is a crucial step in any SEO strategy, including YouTube SEO. Before you start creating your video, it’s essential to identify relevant keywords and phrases that your target audience is searching for. This research will help you craft your video topic and optimize your content to align with popular search queries.

Start by brainstorming potential keywords and topics related to your video. Think about the questions or problems your viewers may have and how your video can provide valuable solutions. Once you have a list of potential keywords, use tools like TubeBuddy’s Keyword Explorer to analyze search volume, competition, and related keywords. This research will help you choose the most relevant and effective keywords for your video and viewers.

Optimizing Video Details

To maximize your video’s visibility in search results, it’s crucial to optimize its details. This includes the video title, description, tags, and thumbnail. Each element plays a significant role in how YouTube’s algorithm ranks and recommends your content. You can then review how each video and your overall channel is performing in YouTube Analytics.

Video Title

The video title is one of the most critical SEO elements that determine your video’s discoverability. It should accurately and concisely describe the content of your video while incorporating relevant keywords. Aim to include your primary keyword within the first few words of the title to increase its prominence in search results. However, make sure the title remains engaging and compelling to entice viewers to click and watch.

Video Description

The video description provides additional context and information about your video. It’s an opportunity to expand on your video’s topic, provide timestamps for different sections, and include relevant links. When writing your description, be sure to incorporate your primary and secondary keywords naturally throughout the text. Avoid keyword stuffing, as it can negatively impact your video’s ranking. Aim for a minimum of 200 words in your description to provide sufficient content for YouTube’s algorithm to analyze.

Video Tags

Tags help YouTube’s algorithm understand the content and context of your video. When selecting tags, consider using a mix of broad and specific keywords related to your video. Use TubeBuddy’s Tag Explorer feature to find relevant tags and assess their popularity and competition. Aim for around 10–15 tags per video, ensuring they accurately represent your content and align with popular search queries.

Video Thumbnail

While not directly related to SEO, your video thumbnail plays a crucial role in attracting viewers and encouraging clicks. Create visually appealing and eye-catching thumbnails that accurately represent your video’s content. Include text overlays, vibrant colors, and clear imagery to make your thumbnail stand out in search results and recommendations.

Leveraging Metadata and Keywords

Metadata and keywords are essential components of YouTube SEO. By properly leveraging metadata and incorporating relevant keywords, you can increase your video’s visibility and improve its chances of appearing in search results and recommendations.

Closed Captions and Transcripts

Including closed captions and transcripts in your videos can significantly enhance their searchability. YouTube’s algorithm can crawl and index the text within your captions, making it easier for the platform to understand your video’s content. Additionally, closed captions make your videos accessible to viewers with hearing impairments, expanding your potential audience.

Playlists and Channel Organization

Organizing your videos into playlists and optimizing your channel’s layout can have a positive impact on your overall SEO. Playlists help categorize your videos and provide a more engaging viewing experience for your audience. Additionally, organizing your channel with relevant sections and featured playlists can improve your channel’s navigation and encourage viewers to explore more of your content.

Channel Keywords and About Section

In addition to optimizing individual videos, it’s essential to optimize your channel as a whole. Incorporate relevant keywords in your channel name, description, and about section to help YouTube’s algorithm understand your channel’s content and niche. The more accurately you describe your channel, the better YouTube can recommend your videos to relevant viewers.

Understanding the YouTube Algorithm

To truly master YouTube SEO, it’s crucial to understand the platform’s algorithm. YouTube’s algorithm determines which videos to recommend and rank based on various factors, including engagement, watch time, and relevance to the viewer. While the exact workings of the algorithm are not disclosed, understanding its key principles can help you optimize your content effectively.

Engagement and Watch Time

Engagement and watch time are two crucial metrics that influence YouTube’s algorithm. The more engagement your videos receive, such as likes, comments, and shares, the more YouTube will perceive your content as valuable and relevant. Similarly, longer watch times signal to YouTube that your videos are engaging and retain viewers’ attention. Encourage engagement and optimize your videos to keep viewers hooked from the start to maximize watch time.

Click-Through Rate (CTR)

Your video’s click-through rate (CTR) measures how often viewers click on your video when it appears in search results or recommendations. A higher CTR indicates that your video’s title, thumbnail, and description are compelling and enticing to potential viewers. Experiment with different titles and thumbnails to improve your CTR and increase your video’s visibility.

Audience Retention

Audience retention refers to the percentage of viewers who continue watching your video over time. YouTube’s algorithm considers audience retention as an indicator of video quality and relevance. Keep your content engaging, concise, and well-paced to maximize audience retention and improve your video’s ranking.

Tools and Resources for YouTube SEO

Optimizing your YouTube SEO can be made easier with the help of various tools and resources.

Google Trends

Google Trends is a powerful tool that allows you to explore the popularity and search volume of specific keywords over time. By analyzing trends in your niche, you can identify rising topics and optimize your content to align with current interests and search queries.

Creator Tips

The YouTube Creators website features guides, videos, and support docs to help creators tell their stories and build communities on YouTube.

YouTube Analytics

YouTube Analytics provides in-depth data and insights about your channel’s performance. It offers valuable metrics such as watch time, audience demographics, traffic sources, and more. By analyzing this data, you can identify trends, understand viewer behavior, and make data-driven decisions to optimize your content strategy.

Recommended Tools & Resources (Free & Paid)

From YouTube SEO, analytics, and social media management to creative content development and music licensing here are some excellent resources, tools, and services to help you achieve your channel goals.

Glossary of YouTube Video Analytics Terms

To help you navigate the world of YouTube SEO, here are some key terms you should be familiar with:

  • SEO: Search Engine Optimization. The practice of optimizing your content to rank higher in search engine results.

  • Keywords: Words or phrases that describe the main topics or themes of your content.

  • Metadata: Information about your video, including titles, descriptions, tags, and thumbnails.

  • Algorithm: A set of rules or calculations used by YouTube to determine video rankings and recommendations.

  • CTR: Click-Through Rate. The percentage of viewers who click on your video when it appears in search results or recommendations.

  • Engagement: The level of interaction and activity your videos receive, such as likes, comments, and shares.

  • Watch Time: The total amount of time viewers spend watching your videos.

Wrapping it Up

In conclusion, mastering YouTube SEO is crucial for content creators who want to maximize their video’s reach and engagement. By understanding the principles of SEO, optimizing video details, leveraging metadata and keywords, and comprehending the YouTube algorithm, you can increase your chances of getting discovered and growing your channel.

Remember to conduct thorough keyword research, optimize your video details, and leverage metadata and keywords effectively. Use tools like TubeBuddy and YouTube Analytics to gain insights and track your video’s performance. With a solid understanding of YouTube SEO and consistent optimization efforts, you can elevate your content and reach new heights on the platform. Start implementing these strategies today and watch your YouTube channel thrive.

Happy Creating — and Optimizing!

Continue Reading…

This article is part of a series with additional tools, resources, and tips to come from MELOGRAPHICS in #MadeByMELO on Medium.


Opinions in this article are my own based on personal experience and research and may include *affiliate links (disclosure). For professional guidance and information please refer to the YouTube Help Center, YouTube Creator Tips, Think With Google, and the resources linked in the article.


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