Improve Your YouTube Video Ranking with SEO

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@nirvanoSTORM FZE

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YouTube is a platform that receives over 2 billion active users every month. This means that this platform has one of the largest communities on the Internet, making it one of the most important parts of your content strategy. No matter your niche, if you create valuable and quality content, you are going to gather an audience and start building a community.

However, the number of active users on YouTube means that there is also a huge number of active channels competing for users’ attention. If you want to learn how to rank YouTube videos in 2021, then SEO is the answer. SEO for YouTube requires different practices for the optimization of your videos and channel. When you get it right though, you are going to obtain a better YouTube search ranking, which will influence your video views and potentially your subscriber count.

In this article, you are going to discover what YouTube SEO is and learn the best ways to improve it. 

#1 Prioritize Keyword Research

Just like the typical SEO optimization, SEO for YouTube starts with proper keyword research. This research will generate a list of main and secondary keywords that you should focus on in your videos. An easy way to check what users are searching for is to use YouTube’s search bar. Start typing something related to your videos or channel to the search bar. Once you have typed a couple of letters, YouTube will start generating search suggestions that are based on previous searches. However, make sure that you are using your browser in private mode so that your search history isn’t affecting the results. 

#2 Improve Your Videos’ Watch Time

YouTube has a machine learning algorithm that can identify the channels and videos that are worth recommending to its users. If your video is optimized for this algorithm, it will appear on many users’ home pages, as well as the related videos section. One of the things that influence the algorithm and affect your YouTube video ranking is your videos’ watch time, which is the accumulated time that users spend on your videos. You can check this number at any time through your creator studio.

#3 Increase The Audience Retention

One more element that is favored by the YouTube algorithm is none other than audience retention. YouTube wants videos that keep users on the platform and audience retention expresses that. This specific metric shows you how much time users spent on your content and at which point they decided to abandon it.

One of the most useful YouTube SEO tips you need to follow is to measure your audience retention. If you find that users exit your videos at an early stage, reorganize your content, or make your videos shorter to keep them watching.

#4 Optimize your Videos

If you want a better YouTube search ranking, then you need to optimize your videos. There are many YouTube SEO tips that you need to implement on your content, and these are the following. 


First, you need to write a catchy title for your video. Pick your main keyword from your keyword list and make sure that you include it in the title. However, remember to make your title sound as natural as possible.


The next thing that you must optimize is your video’s description. This part gives you 5,000 characters, which you can use to boost your YouTube video ranking. Your main keyword must make an appearance at the first 250 characters of your description. Moreover, the rest of the text must include other 4-5 secondary keywords, while avoiding keyword stuffing. 


One more thing that needs optimization for SEO for YouTube is your video’s tags. This element can be a rather tricky one as it is hidden from the viewers. However, you can install browser extensions that will bring you the tags that your competitors are using so that you find which ones work the best for you. Furthermore, you should also use your keyword list, making sure to include 8-10 secondary keywords in the tags.  


If you want to learn how to rank YouTube videos in 2021, you need to start writing your video scripts with SEO in mind. This means that keyword research should take place before you create your content. Then, when you have your main keyword, you should write a script that mentions it several times during the video. 

#5 Create Custom Video Thumbnails

One of the most common tips for getting YouTube subscribers is to upload custom thumbnails for your videos. Nevertheless, this practice will not only boost your subscriber count but also your YouTube search ranking. The click-through rate (CTR) of your videos is another important element that the YouTube algorithm is checking to figure out if a video is worth spreading on the platform. An eye-catching thumbnail will entice more users to click on your content, thus improving its CTR. 

#6 Upload Closed Captions for your Videos

The thing about SEO for YouTube is that you need to find ways to let search engines know of the content included in your videos. This can be rather challenging since video content is not the ideal medium for this.

One of the best YouTube SEO tips that you can follow is to upload closed captions for your videos. If you have written your video script with your main keyword in mind, then your captions will boost your ranking. Closed captions are also a great way to target an audience that doesn’t speak your language or live in a different region. 

#7 Use The Chapters Feature

The chapters feature was introduced in May 2020, and since then, more and more creators have begun using it. With this feature, you can create distinct chapters that appear on your videos’ timeline. The only thing you need to do is write your chapters on your video description and add the timestamps of each one. This feature is very promising for the further SEO optimization of your videos. 

Now, you have a good idea of what is YouTube SEO and what you can do to improve it. This is an ongoing process that you always need to take care of. However, by implementing all the best practices, you can get a great YouTube video ranking. 


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