How to Optimise Content for SEO through YouTube Videos

For any holistic digital marketing strategy, the key to success lies in how well the different channels work together to achieve your overall business goals.

That’s where YouTube SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation for YouTube, comes in. At the nexus of these two seemingly separate areas of digital marketing, the best holistic strategies bring in principles of SEO to make sure your YouTube videos get the most clicks and views possible.

Ready to take your YouTube campaigns to new heights? Dive into this guide to YouTube SEO and other specialised SEO tips from First Page.

Achieve Business Goals with Our YouTube SEO Tips

Any comprehensive strategy will be a multi-pronged approach, with the nuance and depth to meet the needs of your audiences at any point along their customer journey.

It’s not enough to just produce a lot of material and blast it out onto the internet, hoping it’ll generate traffic and reach your desired target audience. Not only does your content have to be high quality and optimised just right, but all your different types of content – from landing pages to blogs and ebooks, from ad copy to podcasts and video clips – all need to be working together in concert.

Alongside highly targeted Google ads, this means using videos to advertise through YouTube. As video grows explosively in popularity, digital marketing teams are spending more than ever on the platform and the competition is heating up. Once you’ve put in all the effort to create a flawlessly crafted, beautifully produced video, to make sure it gets the views it deserves, you need to bring in the SEO experts to support it.

The combination of YouTube and SEO makes more sense than you may first think. After all, YouTube is really just another search engine. It’s actually the second largest search platform in the world – right behind its sister site under the Alphabet suite, Google.

But what exactly is YouTube SEO? And what steps can you take to make this area of digital marketing work for you in achieving your business goals?

Incorporate SEO Keywords in the Video File

Name the Video on YouTube with SEO Keywords

Your general SEO strategy will involve keyword research and the subtle placement of these keyword clusters throughout your website to increase website traffic.

YouTube SEO is no different. The first step is to conduct keyword research, using an SEO tool that gives results specifically for YouTube, to select the right keywords to target. Once you’ve selected these, the relevant keywords need to be incorporated into the name of the video file, which is then uploaded to your YouTube channel.

Just like Google uses the meta title and description tags of web pages, YouTube uses the name of the video file to categorise it and determine whether it is relevant to users’ search queries. This means the name of your video file is the first port of call for your YouTube SEO.

Name the Video on YouTube with SEO Keywords

It’s not just the video file for upload. You should also incorporate your SEO keywords into the name of the video on YouTube itself – if it’s possible to do so in a way that sounds natural and unforced.

Not only is this good for your YouTube SEO rankings, but it also tells the people searching on YouTube that your video is relevant. The keywords should match the user’s search terms so their eyes are immediately pulled to the title of your video, and they can see that it matches their query.

Matching Keywords

Videos whose titles have an exact keyword match with the user’s search term drive a marginal advantage over those without.

And in the competitive environment of advertising through YouTube, where every small gain can add up to your business beating out your competitors small wins can snowball into larger ones.

Succinct and Clear

Keep in mind that it’s not only about SEO tips and best practices. Because the title of the video is so eye-catching, it’s often the deciding factor as to whether or not a person will click to watch the video.

Don’t sacrifice a succinct, clear and compelling video title just to cram in more SEO keywords – that’s just shooting yourself in the foot. A brief video title, one that gets to the point about whether or not the video will be relevant to a user, is more likely to drive the clicks and views you’re looking for.

Make the Description of Your Video Stand Out

Make the Description of Your Video Stand Out

YouTube video descriptions have a maximum character count of 1,000 characters.

However, only the first 100 characters or so are visible above the fold, which translates to about the top two or three lines. The rest of the text will be hidden below the fold or under the “show more” button.

This means you have about two or three lines to get across why someone should watch your video.

Top-Heavy Weighting

There’s no space to waste so start your video description with the most critical information, such as calls to action (CTAs) and important links to help drive viewers from browsing on the YouTube platform to the next step in the sales funnel, closer toward that all-important purchase goal.

You may also want to consider incorporating keywords or other SEO content for YouTube video descriptions. While keyword-optimised video descriptions don’t have a direct impact on driving higher YouTube SEO rankings, they can help the video show up in the suggested videos sidebar and therefore help your video gain more views.

Short and Sweet

Again, one of our most important SEO tips for YouTube is to avoid overdoing it. People are browsing on YouTube to watch a video, not to read an overly long description.

The vast majority of videos on the platform won’t need to fill out the 1,000 character limit, and keeping it short and sweet is more likely to make your video succeed in driving a high view count.

Use SEO Keywords in the Video Tags

Keywords are a recurring theme among our YouTube SEO tips. Another place where your target keywords can be incorporated is the video’s tags.

While users primarily use video tags to know what your video is about, the YouTube search engine algorithm uses them too to understand the content and context of the video.

For example, YouTube may use your tags to categorise your video with similar videos – meaning that views on one could help bring traffic to another, hence driving up your video view count and the overall reach of your YouTube channel.

Similarly to the description, start listing the tags with the most crucial keywords first, then round off the pack with a nice balance of commonly used and long-tail terms.

However, keep in mind that YouTube penalises videos for using tags that are irrelevant just to drive a higher view count.

Provide a Custom Thumbnail with Your Video

Provide a Custom Thumbnail with Your Video

Perhaps even more so than the video’s title, the video thumbnail may be the single most eye-catching part of the YouTube Search Engine Results Page (SERP). It’s one of the most important deciding factors as to whether or not a video drives views and clicks to increase website traffic for your business.

You have the option to go with YouTube’s auto-generated thumbnail, but it’s strongly advised that you submit your own image to be used for the thumbnail. In fact, as many as 90% of the top-performing videos on YouTube feature a personalised thumbnail.

The first step is to make sure your YouTube account is verified. All you need to do is go to and follow the on-screen instructions there.

Once verified, you can upload your custom thumbnail. For the technical specs to ensure a high-quality thumbnail image, we advise using pictures with a resolution of 1280 × 720 pixels or a ratio of 16:9. Aim for a file size of 2 MB or less, in a jpg, png, gif or bmp file format.

Add Optimised Subtitles and Closed Captions

Add Optimised Subtitles and Closed Captions

Subtitles and closed captions aren’t just a wise step for accessibility purposes to help non-native speakers or the hearing impaired to watch your video. They’re also yet another form of content for YouTube, which can be optimised for SEO, just the same as any other form of content.

If you have a text transcript or a timed subtitles file as an SRT file, this can simply be uploaded to the YouTube video. To do so, go to your video manager and select “Videos” from the “Video Manager” menu. Select the relevant video. Next to the “edit” button is a drop-down arrow, so click that and select the “Subtitles/CC” option. From there, you can choose to add either subtitles or closed captioning.

If you don’t have an SRT file on hand, you have the option to simply enter the transcript text directly, and the text will automatically sync as the video plays.

Add up to 5 Cards to Your YouTube Video

Cards are a specific type of notification on YouTube videos that come in a set format. You can add up to 5 cards to a single video. There are 5 types of cards available in Australia that you can choose from.

  1. Video or playlist cards help viewers move from your video to another similar video or playlist.
  2. Channel cards direct viewers from the video to another station.
  3. Link cards do just that – they take viewers from the YouTube platform to a third-party website. This could be a crowdfunding tool or an approved product sales platform.
  4. Poll cards drive engagement by asking your viewers a question and allowing them to vote on a response.
  5. Fan financing cards encourage viewers to donate money to support the financing of the production of your video content.

Using cards can help your business promote or advertise through YouTube. This YouTube SEO tool is primarily used to link a video to other similar content to drive awareness and engagement, or encourage viewers to take an action on a third-party site that can help nudge them further down the sales funnel to an eventual purchase.

Choose the Correct Category for Your YouTube Video

After you’ve uploaded a video, click on “Advanced options” to add it to a specific category.

This system helps to direct YouTube to put your video together with similar content on the platform. The correct categorisation will help your video to appear in search results, playlists and much more.

To choose the correct category for your video, do a bit of digging around to research what success in that category looks like. For example, if you take a look at the most successful videos in the category, does your video or channel offer something similar, and could you target a similar audience? Could your video compete in terms of video duration or production value?

These SEO tips all add up to help drive a higher view count and wider reach for your video. It’s like you’re using YouTube’s advanced algorithms to find the people who are most likely to be interested in the contents of your video – and in the products or services that your business offers.

From SEO to YouTube and Google Ads and More

From SEO to YouTube and Google Ads and More

Ready to take these SEO tips and use them to create a high-performing, all-encompassing digital marketing strategy? Sounds like you’re looking to partner with First Page.

Optimising your YouTube videos to rank is easier said than done, and if you really want to win in this competitive game, you need the best players to be on your side.

If you want to advertise through YouTube to grow your brand, there’s no better SEO company than First Page. Experts in SEO, Google ads, social media and much more, we know how to increase website traffic and take your business to the next level.

For the expertise you need to make these YouTube SEO tips work for you, get in touch with First Page today.