Image of YouTube SEO 101

YouTube(1), one of the most dominant online social platforms in existence today, was an idea created by three former Pay-Pal employees; Steve Chen, Chad Hurley, and Jawed Karim. These three developed the idea, with the notion for users to upload video dating-profiles, which initially gained little traction. Shortly after the website emerged(2), users began uploading all sorts of videos to the website, and based on customer feedback, the co-founders transformed the platform into a free video hosting platform. Fast forward 17 years, YouTube today is the most widely used website, for sharing both amateur and professional videos. With 500 hours of video uploaded every minute and 1 billion hours of video watched daily(3). YouTube has evolved from an amateur video sharing website into a platform for original content and revenue generation for content creators. In this blog post we will discuss how to improve your YouTube SEO optimization according to its own algorithm.

Image of YouTube logo
Image of YouTube website

This is where Search Engine Optimization(4) comes into play. “Search engine optimization”, known as SEO, simply refers to the process of making changes to your website (or YouTube Channel) to make it more visible. This process is utilized when users search for products or services associated with your brand on Google, Bing, and other popular search engines. The more visible your pages are in search results, the more likely it is that you’ll get noticed and draw both new and returning consumers to your company. Like any search engine, YouTube aims to provide results that specifically address the user’s inquiry. It will present search outcomes that address that particular inquiry.  YouTube considers “watch time,”(5) or the amount of time people spend watching your video, when ranking your website or channel. When your watch time is long, you’re providing important content that consumers are benefitting from, whereas if your watch time is minimal, your material will most likely not rank as high and consumers are less likely to find your video as a result.  Of course, the longer you watch a video, the more chance you will see a sponsored advertisement and that is good for YouTube and Google as well.  However, you may find that shorter videos when you first start to build your channel will help grow your human customer base due to short attention spans.

A lot of people have some misconceptions about YouTube SEO(6). They want to have their YouTube videos appear on page one of Google’s search results. However, your videos should be optimized for YouTube’s algorithm. When discussing watch time, computer analytics versus human traffic analytics can differ. With YouTube, shorter videos have higher retention rates.  When these shorter videos appear on your website (versus the YouTube channel), that website will perform better in SEO due to visitor durations.  Visitors will watch your short video and, hopefully, explore other areas of your website. states that, “Most video marketers agree that you risk losing viewers once your video goes over 10 minutes. Vidyard reports that long video length deters 59.9% of people from watching. And according to YouTube statistics from FortuneLords, 20% of the people who start a video leave after the first 10 seconds.” This means that you must maximize every second of your video production.

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YouTube provides a detailed list of analytics utilized to increase audience engagement. You can find these analytics by signing into your YouTube Studio going to analytics on the menu, and clicking on engagement. The list includes the following terms(7):


Average view duration Estimated average minutes watched per view for the selected video and date range.
Watch time (hours) The amount of time viewers have watched your video.
Views The number of legitimate views for your channels or videos.
Card clicks The number of clicks on a specific card. A card is an interactive element creators use to promote specific content.
Cards shown The number of times a card has been shown. A single card can have at most one impression per view.
Card teaser clicks The number of clicks on a card teaser; the text that appears on your card before someone clicks on it. Card icon clicks are attributed to the last teaser shown. This involves the card teaser CTR, which is the click through rate of the teaser. 
Card teasers shown The total number of times a teaser has been shown. Teasers can have several impressions (teaser views) per video view.
Teaser clicks per card teaser shown The average teaser clicks per teaser impression.


Clicks per card shown How often viewers clicked a card when it was shown.
Clicks per end screen element shown How often viewers clicked an end screen element when it was shown.


End screen element clicks The number of times an end screen element was clicked. End screen elements are generally put in the last seconds of the video to promote other videos or to like, comment and subscribe, etc.  


End screen elements shown The number of times an end screen element was shown.


There are many tips formulated to improve your YouTube search engine optimization. One of the most beneficial tips out there is keyword research. By understanding your audience and how they search for products or services; in this instance how they search for specific videos on YouTube, will be most beneficial. With keyword research(8), you will be able to figure out information that answers common questions for your business such as; How many people are searching, what are they searching for, and how do they want what they are searching for to be shown? Keyword research tools such as: can be utilized to find average monthly search traffic and keywords related to your specific inquiry.

Image of keyboard and word "keywords"
Image of word title on chalkboard

Secondly, a good video title will improve your SEO while also eliminating competition. Good video titles will be easier to find and will stand out amongst common and frequently labeled videos of a certain topic. For users to locate your YouTube video through its algorithm listed above, a clever title is critical. Creators can use to create these unique, attention grabbing titles. 

Promotion of videos is a critical way to drive traffic to your videos. Social media is so popular today and dominates when it comes to video content, which we actually have a blog post about on our website. Take a look! Nonetheless, in order to gain traction on your videos, social media can be a great way of advertising your content to your followers. 

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Image of example YouTube video and its description

Video tags are also a great way to help viewers find your content(9). According to YouTube Help, “Tags are descriptive keywords you can add to your video to help viewers find your content. Your video’s title, thumbnail, and description are more important pieces of metadata for your video’s discovery. These main pieces of info help viewers decide which videos to watch.” Tags work as additional descriptions that YouTubes algorithm(10) picks up on and serves as a function to help users find relevant content and search results that actually contains information of that inquiry.

Video descriptions are also beneficial for improving SEO. A strong video description makes it easier for visitors to find your content and channel. Video descriptions are part of the information that helps YouTube understand the content of your videos. In order for visitors to find your videos in search results and comprehend what they will be seeing, the description of your video needs to include useful information. What to add (11): Use keyword-rich, conversational language in the first few sentences of your description to describe the topic of the movie. Before choosing “Show More” on the description, users see this. Use the remaining space in the description to include pertinent details about your business or channel that viewers should be aware of. Include one phrase that briefly describes your organization.


Image of YouTube keys highlighted on keyboard

Video captions/transcriptions, often known as automatic speech recognition, are both text representations of audio in video content. These ASR captions are built to let viewers hear and read the spoken words. Due to the similarities between the two, it has sometimes been difficult to tell which is which, how to access them, or what their capabilities are. Like closed captions, transcripts break up the text of what is being spoken on-screen into manageable portions that correlate to where it is in the video. Transcripts differ from other formats in that they display the whole transcription along with a highlighted entry for the present position. Since the complete transcript is available, users can jump to a certain spot in the transcript and the player will immediately advance to that spot in the video. Transcripts are also searchable within the player.



Last but not least, social media allows for business to consumer engagement. Social media easily allows customers to find you on social media, follow, like, interact, and share your posts with others. Brand engagement is so critical in this day and age because positive brand engagement can ultimately lead to brand loyalty which helps promote a positive experience. Brand engagement helps businesses have social media presence and establish themselves online and on popular social platforms. It helps allow for deeper connections with consumers which is one of the main missions of a brand. A happy consumer market allows for a happy business. If your consumers are happy and pleased with your product and service, it will be seen. Social media has allowed for drastic influence on the well-being of businesses. Social media has rapidly improved the success of businesses in the ways we discussed above. The world of social media is only improving so one can’t even imagine how it will improve business in the near future.

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