Youtube SEO: Best Practices, Tips & Tools for Beginners

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Youtube is currently the 2nd largest search engine in the world and many marketers and business owners are flocking to the platform in droves to market their content.

Video is projected to be about 80% of online traffic in 2020 so every business needs a strategy to get exposure on Youtube to increase traffic, leads and sales.

In this guide, you’ll learn everything you neeed to know about ranking Youtube videos at the #1 result along with some more tips and tricks.

Top 5 Youtube SEO Best Practices

Use Youtube Suggested Search

One of the easiest ways to find good keywords to target is to use Youtube’s suggested keyword feature.

When you start typing any keywords in Youtube, you’ll get a list of related keywords in the dropdown tab.

This information is a goldmine because Youtube is telling you exactly what people are searching for.

Use these keywords to brainstorm topics and create a video around these keywords is the first step to ranking for your desired topics and niches. provides an excellent tool to search for Youtube suggested keywords in bulk. It’s 100% free to use with an upgraded version for CPC data.

Target the Long Tail Keywords

Youtube gets tons of traffic but you may be tempted to go for super competitive keywords. Target keywords with at least 2 or more keywords for best results.

For example, don’t target “SEO” but “Youtube SEO” is a better keyword to aim for. Why? Because it’s more targeted and descriptive.

Optimize Your Title For SEO & Clicks

Your title is an important way to let potential viewers know exactly what your video is about.

Go to Creator Studio -> Details to edit your video titles.

Here’s a few tips to optimize your Youtube titles for good SEO:

  • Put a number in the title (i.e. Top 10 Most Beautiful Beaches Around the World)
  • Place your main keyword within the title
  • Keep your titles under 65 characters to avoid getting cut off in the Youtube Serps
  • Use exclamation points & question marks to attract clicks
How to TITLE Your YouTube Videos to Get More Views

Next, you’ll want to include at least 200 characters or more about the video in the description box.

The description box helps not only viewers, but tells Youtube’s search bot what topics and keywords surround your video.

I like to include one or two paragraphs about the topic along with some links to helpful resources and my social media accounts.

If you people watch your video, they can find out more about you and/or your company in the description box or click some of your links to visit your website.

Remember to add the “http://” to the beginning of your URLs to make them clickable.

Create Custom Thumbnails

Youtube wants to maximize the amount of time users spend on their website so you can increase your video rankings with a custom thumbnail. Custom thumbnails generate more clicks, thus a higher Youtube SEO ranking.

Use Canva to create custom Youtube thumbnails if you want to save money and do it yourself. It’s 100% free to use and you can create thumbnail templates to use over and over again.

Canva Thumbnail Tutorial: How to Make a YouTube Thumbnail with Canva

If you’re short on time, then outsource this task to talented thumbnail designer on Fiverr.

Ask Viewers to Hit the “LIKE” Button

A big part of the Youtube alrorithgm is the Youtube like button. Ask your viewers to hit the like button so your video will appear higher in the search results. Youtube uses engagement factors to rank videos.

Best Youtube SEO Tools

How Long Does it Take to Rank my videos on Youtube?

Depending on how many subscribers your channel has, I often rank for #1 within minutes. Youtube is a real time search engine and your videos will appear at the top depending on your upload frequency and sub count.

Try to keep your channel updated with fresh content so Youtube favors your videos. Daily uploading is best but upload at least 1 time per week to keep your content updated with fresh content.

How to Outrank Your Competitor’s Video

Ranking Youtube videos is easy and I have successfully ranked a bunch of videos for some high converting keywords using this Youtube SEO guide.

If you follow that guide, then you will be able to outrank most videos in Youtube and Google easily.

If you or your client’s video is getting outranked, here’s a step by step guide on how to outrank your competitor’s video:

Step 1 – Analyze Your Competitor’s Backlinks

If you have the main keyword in your Youtube video title and still get outranked, then your competitor has better links than you.

The best way to outrank them is to analyze their links then try to get links from the same websites.

Head over to OpenSiteExplorer or MajesticSEO and take a look at their backlinks.

Ask yourself a few questions:

  • Where are these backlinks coming from?
  • Any they paid links or free links?
  • Is he using a private blog network?
  • How can I get the same links?

Create a list of the top 10 best backlinks and visit the website to see where they are coming from. If the website has a contact form, then contact the webmaster and ask for a link.

If they look like a PBN, then you need to invest in a private blog network yourself. Just try to get similar links and you should be able to overtake him.

Step 2 – Start Building Social Bookmarking Links

Social bookmarking links work great for Youtube because the domain has so much authority. While they may hurt a normal domain, I have noticed a big jump in rankings when sending these links to Youtube videos.

I’ve gone from page 3 to page 1 with these easy links alone. Go to Fiverr and purchase the CrorkService Social Bookmarking package for $5. You get over 1,001 social bookmarking links for just $5. The links are great value for the money.

Step 3 – Optimize Your Description with more longtail keywords

Ranking for your main keyword is great but you are missing out on easy longtail keywords that probably convert even better.

Use Suggester to get a big list of longtail keywords then add them to your Youtube descriptions. This will help you video rank for more low competition keywords as well.

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