YouTube SEO in 5 minutes


We’ll start with a brief summary of YouTube’s ranking factors. We will then make the best assessment of how they break down from a practical point of view.

YouTube ranking factors

There are two central general groups that include YouTube’s ranking factors: relevance and authority.


Transcripts and visual images

YouTube and Google have two main tools for creating video content. First transcripts (both automated and manually uploaded). And second, visual images from video frames. The latter is broken down by machine learning, which explains what is shown.

These tools are becoming more accurate over time. From 2022, you can largely ensure that algorithms understand the essence of what is included in your content without a large amount of extra work. All you can do is offer the most accurate picture possible with accurate transcripts and ensure that your videos are well shot.


The titles of your videos are primarily intended to attract user clicks on the YouTube platform. They also serve as an indicator of the topic of the video and for which terms it would be appropriate to rank.

While YouTube titles should be considered more analogous to H1 titles than meta titles, it’s still helpful to understand the broad keywords by which your videos are trying to rank. And make sure they appear somewhere in the title.


You can include all relevant support information about the video in YouTube’s descriptions. This may include links to external sources, hashtags and video chapters with the “key moments” feature. YouTube and Google break down the description of your video. Studies even show that videos with detailed descriptions rank higher than those without.


Hashtags can be included in the description on YouTube. They represent an increasingly important method of navigating and locating content. To use them, make sure you include the appropriate ones. This will increase the total number of impressions your videos can get from a hashtag page.

Note: Do not confuse hashtags with YouTube bookmarks. YouTube tags are largely a redundant feature located behind YouTube’s creation studio.


In general, YouTube will prioritize newer videos over older videos. This is especially true for some queries that are probably handled with something similar to QDF processing (the query deserves freshness). If you’re trying to enter a competitive period with a three-year-old video, we suggest refreshing and re-posting the video.


Quality views

While many companies try to increase their authority on YouTube by spending loads on ads to increase views, this does not directly affect rankings. This is because the number of high-quality views is more important than the number of raw views. But what are high quality views? They come from genuine, engaged users who watch an important part of your video.

There is no easy way to achieve high quality views. You just have to work hard to create a subscriber base and an engaged audience. If you manage to do this, everything new you launch will probably have a lot of quality views.


Preservation refers to how many video users, on average, watch before they get tired and click something else. However, it’s especially important to consider how successful your video is compared to videos of similar length on a similar topic. So what are the ways to improve your retention? For example, create a compelling start to your video. Promise value to your audience, then attract it at a good pace.

Clickthrough rate

If your video appears on the YouTube Discovery Page and many people click on it, your clickthrough rate is likely to be good. In other words, clickthrough rate (CTR) measures the rate at which users click to see your video when it appears to them. What’s more, if more people click on your video than other videos, your views increase and the algorithm understands that your video is a good result for the query.

So how do you get people to click on your video? Try creating eye-catching thumbnails and titles for your videos. And don’t be afraid to switch around and try something new. You need to figure out what catches the attention of your audience.

Channel factors

Authorities also have a big impact on how likely the video is to rank. If you are starting anew, it is very difficult to compete with a channel that generates a large number of views with each video. Especially if they post a similar video.

But what defines the authority of the channel? In general, channel authority is determined by the average quality of the channel’s content (i.e., quality views and retention rates for each video) and the number of active subscribers. If your channel gains a lot of interest with each new video, it’s much easier to get your new content ranked by relevant queries.

YouTube optimization

Now you know all the ranking factors. But how can you put this information into practice?

Step 1 – Clean up the mess

YouTube is the same social network as a search engine. It should not be considered a repository for all your video content. Think of it as a store instead. You don’t want your showroom to be your warehouse, so don’t show the audience a confusing and confusing display. Instead, present a few things nicely! You will probably generate more revenue.

Remove videos

To make your best work shine, remove lower quality videos by marking them as “unpublished”. If you’re not sure which ones to remove from the list, look for videos that belong to one (or all!) Of these three camps:

  1. Videos that don’t really work for YouTube
  2. Videos that generate low views from Google Search or YouTube
  3. Low retention videos

Let’s take a look at all three in more detail.

1. Videos that don’t really work for YouTube

These can be videos that require a lot of additional context to understand. For example, sales videos, product support videos, and customer case studies don’t usually work as well on YouTube. It’s better that they’re not listed, so they don’t show up when users browse your channel.

2. Videos that generate low views from Google Search or YouTube

If all your views come from external sources, then you will not benefit much from the video on YouTube. If your audience can’t find these videos through YouTube search, suggested YouTube videos, or Google search, it’s best to remove them from the list. This way, your best and most compelling content can climb to the top.

3. Low retention videos

Attention, the following advice may seem harsh. If your videos have a low retention rate, this generally tells you that the video is bad. Remember to compare your performance with other videos of similar length. However, if your average retention is less than 30% for a video shorter than 10 minutes, you’ll probably need to consider removal. You can cut it again and reload it. Especially if you think the topic is still value and a large volume of searching for relevant keywords.

Step 2 – Upload the appropriate transcripts for all your videos

Although YouTube’s automatic transcripts are better than they used to be, it’s still better to upload your own. why Because the tool can make mistakes. So if you want complete accuracy, it is better to provide the transcripts yourself.

In addition, if you target more than one language market, uploading international transcripts can greatly improve your search visibility in those languages.

Step 3 – Clean up and improve your titles

Most YouTube titles are too long. This is probably because they are trying to replicate the style of meta titles of websites. In general, YouTube titles should not be longer than 50 characters. And they shouldn’t include things like pipes or dashes followed by a brand name. Your channel name already indicates your brand in YouTube search results.

So what do you need to include? Consider using words that promise value. You can also hint what users are likely to find when they click on your video, as opposed to others.

Step 4 – Improve your descriptions

Descriptions must contain four elements: support text, support links, and hashtags timestamps (key moments).

Supporting text works best if it serves the need for additional context and helps guide users toward better understanding. Don’t put a big wall of text in your description. And avoid general type phrases about your business. Instead, explain what your video is about, when and where it was shot, and what users can expect to take away.

After the supporting text, you can include timestamps that identify key parts of the video. Then offer three to five hashtags (maximum), followed by links to other videos and relevant external sites.

Step 5 – Create your best thumbnails and repeat

In general, thumbnails that work well have bright colors with high contrast and include the face. Unfortunately, there is no absolute plan for the best types of thumbnails. So how do you know which type of thumbnail suits you best?

The best measure to measure the success of any thumbnail is the clickthrough rate. You can find these statistics in YouTube Analytics. Just take a look at which videos have the highest impression CTR and see if you can distinguish the unifying factors.

Once you’ve determined the style that seems to work best, try applying that style to all of your existing and new content. Tip: Codify this style in the style guide. This will help you keep up with your thumbnails! But try to change it over time. See if the old style still works best or if another style attracts more clicks. And always pay attention to the CTR of your impression.

If you can use all of the above, you will be on your way to many more views in no time!


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