YouTube is still one of the most powerful content distribution platforms in the world, and that trend shows absolutely no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

According to one recent study, the platform currently has over 1.9 billion active monthly users around the world, and on mobile devices like smartphones alone, its content reaches more people in the coveted 18 to 49-year-old demographic than any broadcast or cable television network in existence.

But at the same time, simply being on YouTube isn’t enough to increase awareness for your brand. Everyone is out to increase YouTube engagement and subscribers. With such a massive volume of content being created and uploaded on a daily basis, it’s incredibly easy to find yourself lost in the noise. This, in essence, is why YouTube video SEO best practices are so important. Once you upload that great new video, you need to get to a position where people can actually see it. There is a wide range of different ways that you can do this, and there are six in particular that you’re definitely going to want to keep in mind.

1. Pay Attention to Those Titles

Just as the title of a blog post will help significantly when it comes to traditional SEO, YouTube video titles are equally important when it comes to SEO targeted at this and other types of VOD services.

For the absolute best results, always include a keyword in your title. An exact match keyword (meaning the precise keyword or phrase that someone would be searching for) is helpful, but it isn’t explicitly necessary. YouTube’s algorithm is capable of doing a very sophisticated analysis of the information you provide, so a broad match keyword (including using synonyms, related words and even playing with the phrasing) will likely do just fine.

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2. The Power of YouTube Descriptions

Equally important for many of the same reasons are YouTube descriptions – although to be fair, they’re less important than using a keyword in your video title.

After you make a good YouTube video (which is always the most important piece of advice you should start with), really think about how you can distill the essence of that video down into a couple of sentences. Come up with a compelling description that actually gets people interested in the topic you’re going to be discussing. Also, be sure to use broad or exact match keywords whenever possible in the most natural way that you can. The description will help your YouTube video rank higher by design, and the content itself will help people actually choose your video over someone else’s, too.

Likewise, try to make sure that your video’s description stays in a range of about 350 to 400 words.

youtube video seo

3. The Importance of Keyword Tags

In terms of YouTube video SEO, keyword tags are an element that you absolutely do not want to forget about. This is essentially the same idea as keyword tags that might be on your website or blog, just targeted at YouTube’s own internal algorithm.

When leveraging these tags, try to stay at around 200 to 300 characters for the best results. Try to include as many broad match variations of your keyword as you can, but not to the point where they start to get irrelevant to the content of the video.

Not only do these keyword tags help people find your video in the first place, but it also helps to:

  • power YouTube’s “Recommended Videos” engine, and
  • drives awareness of your channel, too.

4. YouTube’s Channel Description is a Powerful Ally

Speaking of your YouTube channel, one of the great ways to get more views on YouTube involves driving people, not to your videos themselves, but to the specific channel, those videos are housed. Again, you’re going to want to use broad match and exact match keywords in your channel’s description wherever possible. Try to use at least 300 characters in your channel description if you can. Really work hard to give people a sense of what type of content you’re uploading, and why it’s relevant to whatever questions they have or whatever topics they’re looking for more information about.

Then, you won’t have to worry about people finding that next great video you upload – people can subscribe to your channel and get it automatically delivered to them, which is just as good.

To learn more about how you can optimize your YouTube channel for more visibility and reach, check out this video from Uscreen, a leading all-in-one platform for video monetization, on how you can make your YouTube channel highly subscribable:

5. Focus on Maximizing That Watch Time

One of the major elements that YouTube uses when determining your ranking is watch time. If you upload a 10-minute video and the vast majority of users tap out after 30 seconds, YouTube is going to see this as a problem not with your SEO, but with your content. Your ranking will reflect that.

Because of that, try to maximize YouTube watch time whenever possible. Always try to publish the most thorough and high-quality video. Longer videos can also maximize watch time if you do this right. This is one of those tips that isn’t necessarily an exact science, but it is helpful. The better you get at creating content that people actually want to view 100% of, the longer they’ll watch and the higher you’ll rank as a result.

6. Video SEO as it Relates to Video Duration

Finally, always carefully consider the length of your video to help maximize all of these efforts even further. Now, absolutely nobody is saying that you should consider the length of the video ABOVE the content of the video. Not every video you upload needs to be 15 minutes. Sometimes you can thoroughly cover a topic in 90 seconds. Likewise, don’t create a half-hour video just because someone told you that you were supposed to. Let the subject and content dictate how long the video will be.

Having said that, experts agree that videos that fall within the 10 and 16-minute range tend to be those that are most liked by viewers. So don’t try to stretch or pad something to meet that window – instead, try to come up with topics that will naturally fall into about that amount of space to begin with.

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If you’re able to master these six core techniques, your ability to work the YouTube SEO ranking algorithm will soon begin to take care of itself automatically. At that point, you’ll have a steady stream of new viewers coming into your videos all the time – which will create its own momentum, building and building on itself until you’ve got a sizable audience of loyal followers who can’t wait to see what you do next. Rest assured, that is a very exciting position to be in for any brand.