10 YouTube SEO Tips to Get More Views and Subscribers

As the world’s second-largest search engine, YouTube is an incredibly competitive platform, and with a jaw-dropping 500+ hours of video content uploaded every single minute, standing out in this vast sea of content can feel like an uphill battle.

If you’re a new creator you might be worried you’ll never make it on this platform, but fear not, because we’re here to help you navigate these digital waters!

To give your videos the traction they deserve and reel in a wider audience, it’s crucial to optimize them for YouTube Search. That’s where a solid grasp of YouTube SEO (Search Engine Optimization) comes into play.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll be dishing out 10 actionable YouTube SEO tips that can work wonders in boosting your video’s visibility, drawing in more viewers, and ultimately helping your channel flourish. By putting these SEO strategies to work, you’ll give your content a competitive edge and be well on your way to YouTube creator success.

So, without further ado, let’s jump right in and get your YouTube SEO game on point!

1. Understand YouTube’s Search Algorithm

As a video-sharing platform, YouTube is laser-focused on delivering relevant and engaging content to its vast user base. To achieve this, the platform employs a complex search algorithm that carefully considers a multitude of factors when ranking videos.

Gaining a solid understanding of this algorithm is the first step to mastering YouTube SEO and making your videos shine.

In this section, we’ll delve into the inner workings of YouTube’s search algorithm, exploring the key factors that influence video rankings. These are:

  • Keywords: Keywords are the terms or phrases users input into the search bar to find content. Optimizing video titles, descriptions, and tags with relevant and high-ranking keywords can improve your video’s visibility.
  • Engagement: Engagement metrics such as likes, dislikes, comments, and shares are used by YouTube’s algorithm to determine a video’s popularity and relevance. Videos with high engagement perform better in search rankings, so encouraging viewer interaction can greatly benefit your video’s performance.
  • Watch time: Watch time refers to the amount of time users spend watching your videos. YouTube’s algorithm gives preference to videos that retain viewers for longer periods, as longer watch times indicate that the content is engaging and valuable to the audience.

2. Keyword Research

Now that you’ve got a solid grasp of YouTube’s search algorithm and its inner workings, it’s time to optimize your content to align with what the algorithm loves. The foundation of your YouTube SEO journey begins with keywords, which act as signposts that guide users to your content.

By mastering keyword research and incorporating these best practices into your content strategy, you’ll be ready to create videos that align with user intent and effortlessly rise in YouTube’s search rankings.

Here is how to perform optimal keyword research:

  • Identify Target Keywords – The first step in keyword research is finding the right keywords that resonate with your target audience, ensuring your content is relevant and easily discoverable. Start by brainstorming a list of keywords that users might search for when looking for content like yours.Then, use keyword research tools like Google Trends, YouTube’s search suggestions, and dedicated keyword tools like TubeBuddy or vidIQ to validate and expand your initial list.This will help you zero in on high-traffic keywords that have the potential to drive significant viewership to your videos.
  • Analyze Competitor Keywords – Don’t underestimate the power of learning from successful competitors in your niche. By analyzing their keyword strategies, you can gather valuable insights to refine your own approach.Use tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs to discover the keywords your competitors are ranking for and identify gaps or opportunities that you can capitalize on. Keep an eye on their video titles, descriptions, and tags to see which keywords are working well for them, and consider incorporating similar keywords into your strategy.
  • Long-Tail Keywords – While it’s essential to target high-traffic keywords, don’t overlook the importance of long-tail keywords.These are longer, more specific phrases that can drive highly-targeted traffic to your videos while reducing competition. Long-tail keywords typically have lower search volume but higher conversion rates, as users searching for them tend to be more engaged and closer to taking action.To find long-tail keywords, use tools like AnswerThePublic or Keywords Everywhere to uncover popular search queries that are relevant to your content.

3. Optimize Your Titles

Crafting the perfect title for your YouTube videos is both an art and a science. It needs to be engaging, informative, and optimized for search – all within a limited character count.

An effective title can make all the difference in your video’s performance, as it’s often the first thing users see when browsing search results or scrolling through their feed.

Here are some essential tips and best practices for optimizing your video titles, ensuring they captivate your audience and rank high in YouTube’s search results:

  • Include Your Primary Keyword: Your primary keyword should be an integral part of your title, ideally placed towards the beginning. This signals to both users and YouTube’s algorithm that your video is relevant to the search query.But remember, don’t force the keyword into the title if it doesn’t fit naturally – your title should still be engaging and make sense to viewers.
  • Keep It Concise: YouTube typically displays around 60 characters of a title in search results and up to 100 characters when a video is suggested. To ensure your title isn’t cut off, aim to keep it under 60 characters.A shorter title also has the added benefit of being easily digestible for users, making them more likely to click on your video.
  • Be Descriptive and Compelling: Your title should accurately represent the content of your video while also piquing users’ curiosity. Use strong, action-oriented language to convey the value of your video and motivate viewers to click.Avoid clickbait or misleading titles, as these will likely result in high bounce rates and hurt your video’s performance in the long run.
  • Use Numbers and Lists: Including numbers and lists in your title can make it more attractive and organized, which may lead to higher click-through rates (CTR). For example, instead of using “Tips for Gardening,” try “10 Essential Gardening Tips for Beginners.”This gives the user a clear idea of what to expect from your video and makes it stand out from competing content.

4. Write strong video descriptions

While titles are the first impression, video descriptions play an equally vital role in your YouTube SEO strategy. A well-crafted and keyword-optimized description not only improves your search rankings but also provides valuable context for potential viewers, enticing them to click and watch.

Here are some tips for creating compelling video descriptions:

  • Prioritize the First Few Lines: The first 2-3 lines of your description are crucial, as they’re visible in search results and serve as a teaser for your video.
    Make sure to include your primary keyword within these lines and provide a concise, informative overview of your video’s content. This will give potential viewers a clear idea of what to expect, increasing the likelihood of them clicking and watching.
  • Incorporate Relevant Keywords: Just like with titles, incorporating relevant keywords in your video description is essential for YouTube SEO. Use your target keywords and related terms naturally throughout the description, but avoid keyword stuffing.
  • Add Timestamps and Subheadings: For longer videos, consider using timestamps to create a clear structure and help viewers navigate to specific sections of your content. This not only improves the user experience but also signals to YouTube that your video is well-organized and valuable.
    Additionally, use subheadings and bullet points to break up large blocks of text, making your description more readable and scannable.
  • Include Calls to Action (CTAs): Video descriptions are an excellent opportunity to drive engagement and encourage viewers to take action. Include clear CTAs that prompt users to like, share, subscribe, or visit your website for more information. This can help you build a loyal following and increase overall engagement on your channel.
  • Don’t Forget About Links: Make use of your description to share relevant links, such as your social media profiles, website, or affiliate links. This can help you drive traffic to other platforms and potentially generate revenue. Be mindful of YouTube’s guidelines on external linking and avoid excessive or spammy links that could harm your video’s performance.

5. Optimize Your Tags

Tags, often underestimated, are a crucial component of YouTube SEO. They serve as a valuable tool for the algorithm to categorize your video, understand its content, and determine its relevance to specific search terms.

Properly optimized tags can significantly improve your video’s visibility and help you reach a broader audience.

Here’s how to optimize your tags:

  • Start with Your Primary Keyword: Your primary keyword should be the first tag you include, as it directly connects your video with the most relevant search queries. This simple yet powerful step helps YouTube’s algorithm understand the main topic of your content and improves your chances of appearing in search results for your target keyword.
  • Use Related Keywords and Phrases: After including your primary keyword, add related keywords and phrases that accurately describe your content. These additional tags help YouTube’s algorithm grasp the context and nuances of your video, further refining its categorization and increasing its relevance to a wider range of search queries.
  • Focus on Specificity: While it might be tempting to include popular, broad tags to capture a large audience, it’s better to focus on specific and niche tags that directly relate to your content.
    Specific tags attract a more targeted and engaged audience, leading to higher view duration and overall engagement, which YouTube values when ranking videos.
  • Keep It Relevant: Avoid using unrelated or misleading tags in an attempt to gain more views, as this will likely backfire. Irrelevant tags can confuse the algorithm and hurt your video’s search rankings.
    Additionally, viewers who arrive at your video through unrelated tags will likely leave quickly, negatively impacting your watch time and audience retention metrics.
  • Limit the Number of Tags: While YouTube allows you to use up to 500 characters for tags, it’s best to focus on quality over quantity. Aim to include 10-15 relevant, specific tags that accurately describe your content without being repetitive or redundant. Overloading your video with too many tags can dilute its effectiveness and may even be perceived as spammy by YouTube’s algorithm.

5. Create Custom Thumbnails

The thumbnail is like a movie poster for your video; it plays a crucial role in enticing viewers to click and watch. Custom thumbnails, when designed effectively, can significantly improve your click-through rate (CTR), boost your video’s visibility, and contribute to your overall YouTube SEO success.

Here are some essential tips and best practices for creating eye-catching custom thumbnails that capture viewers’ attention and drive engagement:

  • Prioritize Visual Appeal: Your thumbnail should be visually appealing and stand out from the competition. Use high-quality images, bold colors, and contrasting elements to grab users’ attention as they scroll through search results or browse their feed.
  • Include a Human Element: Including a human face or figure in your thumbnail can make it more relatable and engaging. Studies have shown that thumbnails featuring people tend to perform better, as they evoke emotions and create a connection with viewers.
    If your video features a person, consider using a close-up shot of their face, displaying an expression that reflects the emotion or theme of your content.
  • Incorporate Text and Branding: Adding text to your thumbnail can provide context and emphasize the main topic or value proposition of your video. Choose a clear, readable font and limit your text to a few words or a short phrase.
    Additionally, consider incorporating your brand logo or a consistent visual element in your thumbnails to establish a recognizable style and foster brand recognition among viewers.
  • Be Consistent with Titles: Your thumbnail and video title should work together to convey a cohesive message. Ensure that the text and imagery in your thumbnail complement the title and accurately represent your video’s content. Misleading or clickbait thumbnails may attract initial clicks, but they often result in high bounce rates and can damage your video’s long-term performance.

6. Add Subtitles and Captions

Including subtitles and captions not only improves the accessibility of your content for viewers with hearing impairments or language barriers but also provides search engines with additional information about your video.

Accurate and well-timed captions can positively impact your video rankings, engagement, and the overall user experience of your content.

Here are some benefits and best practices for creating and implementing them effectively:

  • Improve Content Accessibility: Adding captions to your videos ensures that people with hearing impairments or those watching in noisy environments can still enjoy your content. Furthermore, subtitles allow non-native speakers to follow along more easily, expanding your reach to a global audience.
  • Boost SEO and Engagement: Search engines, including YouTube’s algorithm, can crawl and index the text within your captions. This provides additional information about your video’s content, potentially improving your search rankings. Moreover, captions can increase viewer engagement and watch time, as they enhance comprehension and overall viewing experience.
  • Ensure Accuracy and Timing: Your captions should accurately reflect your video’s audio, including dialogue, sound effects, and music. Additionally, they should be correctly timed to synchronize with the audio, making it easy for viewers to follow along. Inaccurate or poorly timed captions can be distracting and detract from the overall viewing experience.

7. Engage With Your Audience

Building a successful YouTube channel is not just about creating and optimizing great content; it’s also about fostering a strong connection with your viewers. Responding to comments, asking for feedback, and encouraging viewers to like, share, and subscribe helps create a sense of community around your channel.

Make an effort to read and respond to comments on your videos. Engaging in meaningful conversations with your viewers shows that you care about their opinions and appreciate their support. Responding to both positive and negative feedback can lead to valuable insights and help build trust with your audience.

During your video or in the description, invite viewers to like, share, and subscribe to your channel. Additionally, ask them to leave comments, suggest topics for future videos, or share their thoughts on your content. Encouraging interaction fosters a sense of involvement and helps create a more engaged community.

8. Use End Screens and Annotations

YouTube offers various features that help you guide your viewers to more of your content, keeping them engaged and increasing your channel’s watch time. End screens and annotations are powerful tools to promote your other videos, playlists, or even your channel itself.

By adding these to your content, you can encourage viewers to continue watching your videos, thereby increasing watch time, CTR, and overall engagement, resulting in higher search rankings.

Here’s how to effectively use end screens and annotations to enhance viewer engagement and boost your SEO:

  • Add End Screens: End screens appear during the last 5-20 seconds of your video, providing viewers with clickable elements, such as video thumbnails or subscribe buttons. Add end screens to your videos to direct viewers to related content, playlists, or external websites, and encourage them to subscribe to your channel.
  • Use Annotations Wisely: Annotations are clickable overlays that you can add to your videos. Although annotations have been replaced by end screens and cards on YouTube, they may still appear on older videos.
    Use annotations sparingly, as excessive use can be distracting and annoying for viewers. When using annotations, ensure they are relevant, well-timed, and visually unobtrusive.
  • Leverage Cards: Cards are another feature that allows you to share additional information, promote related videos, or link to external websites throughout your video. Cards appear as a small “i” icon in the upper right corner, which expands when clicked. Use cards to provide context, add value, and encourage viewers to explore more of your content.
  • Promote Related Content: When using end screens or cards, focus on promoting videos that are relevant to the viewer’s interests. By suggesting related content, you increase the likelihood of viewers continuing to watch your videos, ultimately boosting your channel’s watch time and engagement.

9. Perform YouTube Analytics

To stay ahead in the competitive world of YouTube, it’s crucial to regularly review your channel’s performance and make data-driven decisions. YouTube Analytics provides a wealth of information about your video performance, audience behavior, and areas of improvement.

By analyzing trends and adjusting your content and optimization strategies accordingly, you can consistently improve your video rankings and visibility over time.

Here are some of the best ways to use YouTube Analytics to track your progress:

  • Monitor Key Metrics: Keep an eye on essential metrics, such as watch time, views, average view duration, click-through rate (CTR), and audience retention. These metrics provide valuable insights into how well your content is performing and help you identify opportunities for improvement.
  • Understand Audience Demographics: Analyze your audience demographics, including age, gender, location, and language, to better understand who is watching your content. Catering to your audience’s preferences and needs can lead to increased viewer engagement and loyalty.
  • Evaluate Traffic Sources: Review your traffic sources to determine where your views are coming from, such as YouTube search, suggested videos, or external websites. Identifying successful traffic sources can help you focus your optimization efforts and expand your reach.
  • Optimize Based on Insights: Use the insights gained from YouTube Analytics to adjust your content strategy and optimization techniques. Continuously test new approaches and measure their impact on your key performance indicators (KPIs) to identify what works best for your channel.

10. Share Your Content on Social Media

To increase your chances of attracting more views and subscribers, it’s crucial to share your videos on various social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Cross-promotion is an effective way to grow your channel and attract viewers who may not have discovered your content through YouTube Search alone.

Here are some of the best practices for sharing your YouTube content on social media:

  • Tailor Your Posts: Customize your social media posts to fit the style and tone of each platform. Write engaging captions, use relevant hashtags, and tag influencers or collaborators when appropriate. This will ensure your posts resonate with your target audience and help drive engagement.
  • Optimize Thumbnails and Previews: Make sure your video thumbnails and previews are visually appealing and optimized for each social media platform. Eye-catching visuals can significantly increase the likelihood of users clicking on your content and watching your videos.
  • Leverage Platform-Specific Features: Utilize platform-specific features, such as Facebook and Instagram Stories, to share teasers, behind-the-scenes content, or updates about your YouTube channel. These features can help create buzz around your content and encourage viewers to check out your videos.


To succeed in this ever-evolving landscape, it’s crucial to have a solid understanding of YouTube SEO and employ effective optimization strategies. This comprehensive guide has provided you with all of the tips and insights you need to take your YouTube channel to the next level.

By implementing these strategies and regularly monitoring your YouTube Analytics, you can refine your content and optimization techniques, ultimately improving your video rankings, visibility, and overall channel performance.

Remember, the key to success on YouTube lies in continuous learning, adaptation, and perseverance. With dedication and a data-driven approach, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful YouTube creator.

Happy optimizing, and may your channel reach new heights!

10 YouTube SEO Tips to Get More Views and Subscribers