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SEO for video: Learn How To Rank On Youtube

Ranking for Youtube is a whole different game then ranking for Google. But with the unstoppable growth of video as a marketing tool, it is essential to know how you can let your videos rank higher.

Number of clicks

SEO Title

Creating a title for your video is similar to creating a title for a blog post. Write a title that describes your video with your main keyword included in the beginning .Try to make itas appealing as possible while still being an accurate representation of your video. Use emotional compelling words to make your title more appealing.

According to Hubspot adding brackets to your title can help you increase your clicks by 30%.
Adding the year to the video title can really help for fresh content. Define if it is something that matters for your content and consider adding the year in between brackets.


Make sure the first sentences of your description are compelling as that is the part most people will see. Your description should help understand what your video is about and why they should watch it. Do not feel shy about writing too big of a description. A long description is actually good for ranking as it will help Youtube understand the content of your video.


A thumbnail is a placeholder for a video when it is not playing. The thumbnail is by default a frame from your video. Nowadays it is possible on most video sites to manually change the thumbnail into any picture.  It is a good idea to change the default thumbnails to an attractive image that matches the content of the video, looks professional and contains some branding (logo).

Your thumbnails should be the face of your company. The thumbnail should group together your videos. People should already recognize the videos as yours by just viewing the thumbnails.

Make sure your thumbnails stand out. Create your own unique style. Don’t be afraid to spend time designing your thumbnail as it is your youtube business card.

Use colours that contrast with the standard Youtube colours (Red, Black and White). Colours like Blue, Green, Orange, and Purple work best.

Adding big bold text to your thumbnail can increase your CTR as well. Try to stay under 30 character so your thumbnails does not look too crowded.


Use relevant tags for your video. Use your most relevant keyword as your first tag and variations of it as your secondary tags. Your final Tags should be a bit more broad, like your niche or subtopics you discuss in your video. Make sure you use tags that are relevant to your video. Don’t use too many tags as you will only make it unclear for Youtube what your video is about.

Using the same tags for your other videos will allow your other content to show up under the recommendation section, increasing exposure and hopefully, drive more traffic.

So how can you know what tags another video uses? I will show you a trick.

  1. Open Chrome
  2. Right-click > Source
  3. Type control F (command F on mac)
  4. Type Keywords
  5. Behind keywords; you will see the tags

If you copy some of their tags exactly, create a high-quality video, and follow the other tips in this guide, then there is a good chance you will be ranked as a recommended video for that video.

Audience satisfaction

Audience retention

Audience retention is the percentage of your video people watch. If your video is 10 minutes long and on average people watch your video for 5 minutes your average audience retention is 50%. Keeping your audience attention should be one of your most important goals.

Total watch time

The total watch time is a crucial ranking factor for Youtube. It is different from Audience retention because it is measured in minutes not in percentage. The easiest way to improve your total watch time is to just make your videos longer. It sounds like a silly way to improve your SEO but it does work. As long as you can keep your Audience retention the same.

For example, your audience retention is 50% and you have 2 videos. One video is two minutes long and the other ten minutes. The total watch time of the first video would be 1 minute while for the second video it would be five minutes. If all other ranking factors are equal, the second video should rank higher just because the total watch time is higher.

Audience engagement

Likes, comments, shares, and subscriptions tell Youtube that you are doing well, and have a huge impact on ranking. So how do you get more likes?

Ask. This works especially well with reactions. Ask a question to your audience and respond to their results. Don’t just ask people to comment, make sure to ask something specific.

Try to reply to as many reactions as possible. It invites your audience to comment, since they know you read and react on to their feedback.

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The video

The first 15 seconds

The first 15 seconds are the most important seconds. You have to hook your viewer’s attention. The chance people stop watching your video in these first seconds is high, but if you do manage to keep your audience, they are likely to keep watching most of your video.

So it is clear you have to hook people in the  first 15 seconds, but how do you hook them?

Start by summarising your video in one or two sentences so people will know what to expect.

After that, you should establish authority. Show why you are the expert. The the last step is to give a preview of your video, not a summary but more specific. I will provide an example of the first 15 seconds of a video below.


Today’s video will be an about the best way to pet dogs. I have studied dog behavior for 15 years and came to some interesting conclusions that want to share with you. I will not explain the best way to pet a dog I will also describe why the way most people pet their feline friends is wrong,

The first sentence tells the audience where the video is about: Petting dogs

The second sentence explains why I know the best way it establishes authority

The third sentence is a preview of what I will cover during the video.


Make sure you say your keywords throughout your video. If you use different keywords in your metadata then in your video you will be punished for ranking purposes.