SEO for YouTube - Simple Strategies for Ranking Videos - Social Media Explorer
SEO for YouTube – Simple Strategies for Ranking Videos
SEO for YouTube – Simple Strategies for Ranking Videos

With over one billion users, YouTube manages to reach almost a third of all people with internet access. The only site currently more popular than YouTube is Google, with over 3.5 billion searches occurring each day. Such a large user base means every business will clearly benefit from a number of videos ranking on both platforms. 

Popularity also means competition, though, so you will inevitably be faced with competing videos for any significant keyword. Thankfully, using a number of simple strategies can give your videos the best chance of success, potentially leading to a long-term stream of targeted traffic.

Keyword Research

Keyword research ensures you don’t waste time trying to rank for terms that get minimal searches. You will be searching for keywords that receive at least a few hundred searches per month, but does not have a large number of authority sites in place. The Google Keyword Planner is a good place to start, compiling a list of related terms and their monthly search volume. 

Tools like SEMrush, Moz, and Ahrefs can be used for additional research and competitive analysis. also has an element that focuses specifically on YouTube. You can use many of the tools to analyze the competition, but be sure to also manually look at the top few search results to ensure you feel comfortable competing with them.

Create Your Video

While it may sound obvious, you must ensure your video is of a high standard. If limited numbers of viewers watch a substantial part of the content, you will struggle to rank for anything significant. YouTube will provide you with audience retention stats, so you can get an idea of what is working across all your videos. 

Try to make your video at least five minutes long, avoiding too many short snippets unless absolutely necessary. Add annotations and a segment at the end requesting viewers like and subscribe to your channel. Likes and comments will play an important factor in convincing more people to watch.

Optimize the Video

The next stage is to upload the video to your account. Start by using your main keyword as the file name. Next, create a title that includes your keyword, but still manages to be eye-catching, intriguing, funny, or controversial. 

“Studying the YouTube algorithm regarding which keywords get the most traffic is crucial in maximizing views,” says long-time Los Angeles SEO veteran, Isaac Rau, of Proactive SEO Solutions.  “Take Carter Sharer, who has nearly 7 million followers, he has harnessed his strong technical background to master Youtube’s algorithm and harnesses that knowledge to dictate which type of episodes to shoot.”

While you want to optimize for the search engines, you must ensure everything you create is tailored for real viewers. Write a detailed description, including your main keyword and associated ones. The description will help the viewers who check it out first, while also assisting the search engines who won’t understand your video content without it. Finally, add appropriate tags that use your keyword and variations of it.  


To effectively promote your video for YouTube and the Google search engine, you need to gain embeds and backlinks. Initially, you should promote the video on your blog and social media accounts. If you already have some popularity, you should see the video shared by other viewers. 

You may find your video gradually starts to rank, but you might still require further promotion. Facebook Ads will expose your video to many people for a reasonable price, while reaching out to other niche bloggers can lead to reciprocal promotion opportunities. If your video is of a high quality, though, you should see many embeds and backlinks occurring naturally after an initial burst of promotion.

Many of the videos uploaded to YouTube are not created with optimization in mind. The quality of the content might be exceptional, but lack of time spent on a title and description might lessen the impact. If you follow best practices,though, you can easily find your videos appearing prominently in the YouTube search results and the main Google search engine. 

Of course, certain niche keywords will be highly competitive and require far more promotion, but you can usually find a number of quality terms that will provide a consistent level of traffic. For a number of years, online businesses have been built on video marketing, so a handful of popular keywords could be transformative for your own endeavors.

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About the Author

Annika Bansal
Annika is a Senior Editor at Social Media Explorer. She travels full time and has lived on the road working remotely for over two years. You can check out her Instagram to follow her on the road.

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