YouTube SEO Guide : How to rank videos in 2024

This YouTube SEO tutorial will help you get more views, subscribers and traffic to your Channel from YouTube, Google Videos and Google Search.

1. Video Keyword Research on YouTube

SEO always starts with Keyword Research, and so does YouTube SEO. Finding the right keywords for your videos and finding the search intent of your potential viewers are both together the key to your success.

Let's start by generating a list of keywords ideas for our video :

One way to do this is to use YouTube’s Search Suggest feature. Simply head over to YouTube and input a word or phrase and YouTube will suggest a list of keywords related to what you typed in.

These suggested keywords are a great start because these are actually terms that people really type into YouTube, meaning these keywords are all popular.

Another way is to copy the keywords from a popular video in your niche that you expect to have similar content and purpose as your video.

You can also find new keywords on your YouTube “Traffic Source > YouTube search” report. These are the keywords people typed to find your videos, you might want to optimize your videos with some of them you didn't know yet.

2. Trim down your list of keywords to terms that are truly relevant for your video and viewers

You are done with your list of keywords? Now is the time to pick the best keywords from your list :

If you are just starting on YouTube, it is recommended you avoid competitive keywords where you have very little chance to rank at the moment. Instead, go for the low-competition keywords, these would probably be long-tail keywords.

You may also pick keywords that match perfectly with the purpose of your video in terms of search intent. For example if your video is a general product guide video, pick the keyphrases containing keywords such as "how to", "price", "reviews", and if your video is even more specific (which it should be if you are just getting started) then go with even more specific additional keywords.

To judge how competitive a keyword might be, simply search it on Google Videos or on YouTube Search, and prefer the keywords resulting in thousands of videos to those resulting in millions.

TIPS: To get the most traffic, you want to rank well on YouTube Search and Google Videos, but also on Google Search itself. For that you better target keywords that usually have video blocks featured within the Google Search results, this is usually the case for how-to videos or review videos, but also many other keywords. The best is to search by yourself, as Google is giving more and more space to videos within its SERPs

Last but not least, do not forget the importance of the search intent. If the viewer was searching for "how to" and you serve him a review video, he will certainly be disappointed. You may get additionnal views but you may lose credibility towards viewers and also YouTube algorithm itself. This is especially important if you are selling something through your channel and videos.

3. Make a video that can keep Audience Retention as close to 100% as you can

Audience Retention is the amount of your video that people have been watching. According to YouTube this is one very important ranking factor. If your video keeps people on YouTube, YouTube will rank your video higher in the search results.

Make a great video, interesting enough from its first to its last second.

Other important insights for YouTube engagement rating are video comments, thumbs up, thumbs down and subscribing just after watching the video. Keep engaging with your viewers and subscribers.

Create great thumbnails and titles to make your video stand out on Youtube Search listing. This will improve your CTR and send a positive signal to YouTube that your video is what users want to watch when they search for those keywords.

Longer videos usually rank better than shorter videos. There is no suggested length either. If you can make it more than 20 minutes and keep it fun and engaging, go for it. But keep in mind you don't want the viewer to leave in the middle of your video.

4. Optimizing YouTube SEO : Adding your keywords to your video

We are in 2024, YouTube can automatically transcribe your video, which mean they understand what you are saying. Do not underestimate this point, say the keywords in your video, as long as this sound natural and legitimate of course.

Video Title : Your title should be at least 5 keywords long. Do not stuff too much keywords in it (60%~80% sound more natural). You may especially add keywords at the beginning of your title. A good example of title would be "[Your niche activity] Tutorial: Learn How To [Do something] [Now/Today/In N minutes]. And make sure your video does what its title says.

Video Description : Your video description is important because it helps YouTube understand the context of your video. This will help you rank higher but also show up in the Suggested Videos section.
Do not be too spammy with your keywords. Make the description at least 200 words and include your best keywords in the first 40 words. Include your best keywords 2 to 3 times, and just 1 time for the other keywords. Use slight variations when you can. Make it as natural as possible.

Video Tags : Because they have been spammed so much in the past, tags are not anymore that important. But it doesn't hurt your SEO. If your keywords make sense to be used as tags, use your main keyword as the first tag and then add some more generic tags describing what type of content is your video about. Keep tags short, sweet and relevant.
Tags may help you to appear in Related Videos section. For this reason your may want to add same keywords are your fiercest competitors do.

5. Promote your video to the world

Your video is ready, now you need to get some views so that YouTube algorithm can start measuring all the signals you have optimized the video for. Your earliest viewers should be the best advocates of your video quality.

Mention your video on social networks where you already have an audience, on your newsletter if you have one. Mention it on Reddit, Quora, Q&A sites. The views you will get from there can be high in quantity but also in quality. This is what your video need to get a good start in the eyes of YouTube.

Once you already have published many videos on your YouTube channel and already have a regular traffic, use playlists to boost your new video. Simply group your videos with a common theme and create a playlist out of it, including your newest video.

6. Optimize your Channel page

YouTube search listing does not only list videos and playlists, it also lists channel pages. A great channel page will boost your subscribers and all your videos. This is a great asset over time. Your channel page should look nice, clean and professional. Try to fit its design to your videos theme. Include your niche's keywords in your channel's description, following same recommendations as in your videos descriptions.

That's it !

Patience and consistency will be your best assets for a successful SEO strategy. Once you start getting results, you may want to monitor your keywords rankings on YouTube Search and Google Video Search using YouRank. By monitoring your videos comparatively to your competitors' videos, you will get to use their keywords, find out their strategy and outrank them.