What is YouTube SEO?
YouTube SEO is the process of optimizing your videos, playlists, and channel to rank high in YouTube’s organic search results for a given search query.
Rather than trying to dip into every traffic source in YouTube analytics, I’ll be focusing on ranking videos in YouTube search and sprinkle a few tips to “double dip” your video rankings in Google search.
So I won’t be covering suggested videos, browse features, and other traffic sources.
How YouTube’s search engine algorithm works
YouTube explains their discovery and search ranking algorithm in two sentences.
Videos are ranked based on a variety of factors including how well the title, description, and video content match the viewer’s query. Beyond that, we look at which videos have driven the most engagement for a query, and make sure it’s easy for viewers to find those.
So yes, keywords matter from both on-page and “in-video” perspectives. Matching search intent is critical.
But the key ingredient to effective video SEO is high engagement.
They want you to keep viewers on their platform for as long as possible (even if it’s not on your own videos).
That’s because more video views = more ads shown = more money in the bank for Alphabet Inc.
Most importantly, they want you to drive engagement to your videos and they’ll reward you with visibility.
Most engagement metrics can be measured in YouTube analytics as likes/dislikes, comments, CTR, audience retention, average watch time, end screen clicks, card clicks, and the list goes on.
If you can’t engage your audience, your chances of ranking your YouTube videos for a meaningful keyword are slim to none.