YouTube SEO – Tips for Video Search Engine Optimization

November 27, 2010 by  Filed under: Video 

YouTube receives over 2 billion views daily. This number continues to rise as YouTube improves search and discovery of videos. YouTube videos can be viewed directly from Google search results, and through a variety of mobile devices, including built-in applications on all Android and iPhone devices. To improve user experience and increase views, YouTube stringently ranks videos in a manner similar to Google’s ranking of websites in search results. In order to increase views of YouTube content, businesses must focus not only on making a memorable and interesting video, but also on optimizing this video for YouTube search so that it can be findable.

1. Start with Keyword Research
YouTube’s keyword suggestion tool is a good starting point for developing your YouTube SEO strategy. Use this tool to determine how users are searching for videos related to your topic of interest. Begin by typing in two to three of your main keywords, for instance “Twitter” and “social media.” The tool will provide suggestions on keywords that are frequently used, and in what combinations. Save relevant keyword phrases to your keyword list.

2. Optimize Video File Uploads
Name video files using relevant keywords, such as “” Use audio and video compression prior to uploading, in order to optimize the file. Videos should always be saved into QuickTime.MOV, Windows.AVI or .MPG files for upload to YouTube. Videos for upload should be in a 16:9 aspect ratio, with an ideal video frame rate of 30 fps. Video files should be uploaded in HD whenever possible.

3. Video Description Optimization
After upload, spend time editing the title, description, and tags for your videos. Ensure that you include relevant keywords in all fields, while still making the description and title user friendly. These keywords will make your video findable for searchers.

4. YouTube Categories Matter
Similar to keywords, an appropriate category improves the likelihood that your video will be viewed frequently. If you are not sure which category to use, search for popular videos with similar content and categorize accordingly.

5. Captioning for Everyone
Utilize YouTube’s audio transcription option to create a caption file for the video. YouTube encourages this so your video can be accessible to the hearing impaired. This speech recognition technology will automatically generate a caption file for the video. You can also use external free services, such as or to create video caption files for your uploads. View and edit these files prior to uploading them to YouTube.

6. Popular Videos Are Optimized Videos
One of the most important factors for increasing a YouTube video’s search rankings is popularity. YouTube “popularity” can be increased through views, embeds, shares, and comments. So you need to promote, promote, promote! Encourage employees, friends, family, and coworkers to view and share the video on social media outlets, such as Facebook. Embed the video in your blog or other medium, and encourage users to comment on the video itself. The collective popularity of your videos and YouTube Channel is also a factor, so encourage users to check out your other videos and subscribe to your channel.

7. Channel Interaction
The history of your account and your channel is a factor in ranking your videos, so get out there and interact! Respond to commenters whenever possible. Subscribe to relevant channels. Comment on and share other relevant videos.

Morgan Vawter

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