A step-by-step guide to successful SEO on YouTube

Most people know by now that YouTube is our second largest search engine after Google. But do you think about it when you post videos to your company's YouTube channel?

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Optimising texts to be SEO-friendly and get organic visibility on Google is not something many people raise their eyebrows about today: we know that's how we should work.

But what about SEO on YouTube? Do we think about it? Your videos, just like the texts you publish on your company blog, can generate more visitors to your website and, by extension, more leads and customers! Of course, content is an important component in this too. Quality video content that actually shows what your target audience is interested in is of course the cornerstone of a successful YouTube channel. But along with your awesome videos, the knowledge of how to SEO-optimize them to get more viewers can be what makes YOUR YouTube channel the success you want in your digital strategy!


Step-by-step guide to SEO on YouTube

1. YouTube keyword research

You have to start somewhere, and in this case with YouTube, the perfect place to start is with a proper keyword analysis. This is an important foundation for finding keywords that you can then produce videos around. A simple keyword analysis is done by typing in a word or the beginning of a phrase that you are interested in creating content around on YouTube. As you start typing, suggestions for similar words will pop up and you'll see what others are searching for in this particular area.

Identify the RIGHT keyword

It's one thing to find a bunch of keywords that you think might be interesting to make videos around, but it's quite another to actually find the RIGHT keywords for your business. Finding relevant keywords/search terms for your business means finding the keywords that have LOW competition on YouTube, i.e. the words that few others are making content around, but that have high search volumes.

Optimize for Google search

It's not just on YouTube that your videos can be found. Because Google and YouTube are connected, your YouTube video can also be found when someone Googles your topic. But to do this, it's important to understand what types of videos Google likes to show up in search results. Generally speaking, these types of videos are ones that Google likes and are more likely to rank high in video search results.

  • How-to videos ("How to publish a blog post in Hubspot?")
  • Reviews ( Beats by Dre review )
  • Tutorials ("WordPress for beginners")
  • Everything about fitness and sports ("Cardio kickboxing")
  • Funny videos ("Cute cats that fall")

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2. Create engaging videos

This may sound like a very obvious tip and it is. But it's a tip that's important for a number of reasons, and it can be useful to know WHY you should think about this when producing your videos. The fact is that YouTube's algorithms like it when they notice people engaging with your video. It's a clear sign to them that this is a video that viewers appreciate and so they should make it reach more people.

You may think that viewers should understand what to do if they like your video, but unfortunately that's not always the case. Therefore, you should make sure that you help viewers understand that they should take some kind of action after watching the video. It can feel tempting to always try to drive traffic to your website and use that as a call to action in all your videos. But when it comes to optimizing for SEO on YouTube, that's not always the best option. This is because YouTube doesn't like us driving traffic AWAY from the platform, they obviously want to keep people there. So instead of always asking your viewers to go to your website at the end of every video, sometimes ask them to comment or like your video instead. Also, don't forget to remind them to subscribe to your channel and maybe even share your video on their social media so more people can find you.

3. SEO-optimize title, description text and tags

Once you've created a video to publish on your YouTube channel, there are a few things to keep in mind to make sure your video gets the best visibility possible. What you then need to do is SEO optimize the title, description text and tags of your video.

All of these elements are things that YouTube's algorithms read and then see if your video is relevant to the searches being made on YouTube. So just like what we talked about at the beginning, this is very much about identifying what keyword you worked with in your video and what the content looks like, what title you chose and the description and tags based on the chosen keyword. When all of this comes together, YouTube understands what the video is about and can choose to show it to those searching on similar topics.

4. Give your videos wings (promote them!)

Now we've talked about how to create the best conditions for your videos. But for YouTube to capture these signals, you need views. Getting as many views as possible in the first few days after you publish your video can determine how many new people will be able to discover it in the future. So once you've hit the publish button, it's time to start promoting your video so that as many people as possible go in and watch it.


Post the video on your social channels

There are many ways to turn a created YouTube video into a file format that can be uploaded to Instagram. But we won't talk about that here, because now we want to SEO-optimize our video on YouTube and get our viewers to watch the video through this channel. So to create the best impact, you need to make sure you share your videos on your social media channels with links that drive traffic to your YouTube channel.


Use playlists

One trick for promoting your videos via YouTube is to structure your channel in such a way that it encourages viewers who have found it to consume more of your videos. Once you've managed to get viewers to find one of your videos, it's silly to lose them when you probably have lots of other interesting videos for them to enjoy. This is a trick that is incredibly effective when it comes to SEO and an important part of YouTube's algorithms is what they call "Watch Time" which is about how long your viewers stay on your YouTube channel and consume your content. So to get this KPIn up, it's important to have a defined structure to your videos that makes it easy to find more of your videos that are interesting. You can easily do this by organizing your channel using playlists within different categories that will make those who found you also stay longer on your channel.

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