How to Improve your YouTube SEO in 2024 [Step-by-Step Guide]

Build a larger audience by optimizing your YouTube videos. Follow our YouTube SEO step-by-step guide for beginners and reach your goals faster.

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You are a Video Creator.

Are you getting the results you expected from YouTube’s algorithm? Did you pay any attention to your YouTube SEO?

Let’s see which steps you can take to improve your YouTube SEO in this step-by-step guide for beginners.

What is YouTube SEO

YouTube SEO is using SEO best practices to improve the chances your video ranks well on YouTube and Google.

YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world. You can optimize your videos and copy around them and rank better.

Step 1. What is your main keyword?

What is the one keyword that you want to rank for on YouTube? Did you do your keyword research? Do you know how competitive the keyword is and how many people search for that keyword every month?

You need to understand this for every video you upload.

If you have your main keyword noted down, you can proceed to the next step.

Step 2. What is the searcher’s intent?

It can happen that you know which keyword you want to rank for but that the searcher’s intent is different from your video content.

Let’s say you want to rank for ‘how to get rid of pimples. You created a video about ‘How going vegan can help you get rid of pimples in 6 months’, but everyone wants to know how to get rid of pimples fast. How do you know? Because all top 10 videos on this topic are about getting rid of them fast. Chances are that you won’t be able to rank in the top 10 position. YouTube has ran a ton of a/b tests and figured out that fast is what people want to know.

Step 3. What are your secondary keywords?

Now that you know your perfect main keyword, search for relevant secondary keywords about the topic. You will need them for your Description and Keyword list.

Step 4. Create great YouTube Titles and include the main keyword

Your YouTube titles serve three purposes:

  • Let people know what the video is about;
  • Let YouTube know what the video is about;
  • Get people to click on your video.

You need to make sure your title:

  • Is descriptive
  • Is catchy
  • Contains your main keyword

Because your title is so important, we advise you to create several titles and then select the best one.

Check out how a YouTube Title Generator can help you do the heavy lifting.

Simply enter what your video is about and get title suggestions.

It’s then up to you to add your unique human touch and perfect your title.

YouTube Title Generator for better seo

Step 5. Create great YouTube Descriptions

You can utilize your YouTube descriptions to further optimize your SEO and for getting people to watch additional videos you’ve created.

Be sure to include your main keyword at the start of your description and sprinkle secondary keywords throughout the rest of your description.

If you’re struggling to create great YouTube descriptions, or have a lot of videos published without a description, check out how a YouTube Description Generator can help do the heavy lifting.

Step 6. Add the right keywords

For every video you publish, you have the opportunity to add keywords that are only visible to the search engine, not to users.

Make sure you make good use of that opportunity.

You should already have your list of main and secondary keywords because you needed them for your title and description. Simply add the keywords to the list.

Step 7. Use your main keyword in your video

YouTube actually listens to your video. Are all signals (title, description, etc.) about getting rid of pimples, but you don’t mention it once in the video or only at the end? That’s a red flag for YouTube.

Be sure you actually talk about your primary keyword in your video. Preferably as soon as possible.

Step 8. Linkbuilding and embedding

Links are not just important in traditional SEO. It’s also important for YouTube SEO.

After creating a video, be sure to also embed it where it makes sense on your website and build links to it.

Over to you

These were the most important steps you should take to optimize your YouTube videos to rank better.

We hope our YouTube SEO beginner’s guide and tools provided helps you build a larger audience and reach your goals faster.


Q: What is YouTube SEO?
YouTube SEO involves optimizing your YouTube channel, playlists, metadata, descriptions, and videos to be easily discoverable by YouTube’s search engine.

Q: How does the YouTube algorithm work?
The YouTube algorithm ranks videos based on various factors including relevance, watch time, viewer satisfaction signals like likes and comments, and the freshness of the content.

Q: Why are keywords important in YouTube SEO?
Keywords help in categorizing your content and making it discoverable to viewers searching for specific topics on YouTube.

Q: How can you effectively use keywords in YouTube videos?
Incorporate relevant keywords in your video titles, descriptions, and tags to improve visibility. Use keyword research tools to find the most effective keywords for your content.

Q: What role do video thumbnails play in YouTube SEO?
Attractive and relevant thumbnails can increase the click-through rate (CTR) of your videos, which is a positive signal to the YouTube algorithm.

Q: How important are video titles and descriptions for YouTube SEO?
Video titles and descriptions are crucial as they provide context to the YouTube algorithm and viewers, helping them understand what your video is about.

Q: What is the significance of video watch time and engagement in YouTube SEO?
Higher watch time and engagement (likes, comments, and shares) signal to YouTube that viewers find your content valuable, improving your video’s ranking.

Q: How can you optimize your YouTube channel for better SEO?
Optimize your channel by using relevant keywords in your channel description, creating a consistent posting schedule, and organizing videos into playlists.

Q: What are the best practices for creating YouTube video tags?
Use a mix of broad and specific tags relevant to your video content. Include keywords, synonymous terms, and common search queries.

Q: How can you measure the success of your YouTube SEO efforts?
Use YouTube Analytics to track metrics like view counts, watch time, subscriber growth, and ranking for specific keywords to measure the effectiveness of your SEO strategies.

Q: Can closed captions or subtitles improve YouTube SEO?
Yes, adding closed captions or subtitles can improve SEO as they make your content accessible to a wider audience and provide additional text for YouTube’s algorithms to index.

Q: How does video length impact YouTube SEO?
Longer videos have the potential to increase watch time, a key metric for YouTube’s SEO. However, the video should remain engaging to ensure viewers stay till the end.

Q: Are collaborations with other YouTubers beneficial for SEO?
Collaborations can expose your content to a broader audience, potentially increasing views and engagement, which are beneficial for SEO.

Q: How can playlist optimization enhance YouTube SEO?
Well-organized playlists can keep viewers engaged with your content longer, increasing overall channel watch time, a positive signal for SEO.

Q: What’s the importance of the first 48 hours after video upload for SEO?
The first 48 hours are crucial as high engagement during this period can signal to YouTube that the video is popular and relevant, boosting its SEO ranking.

Q: How do audience retention and drop-off rates affect YouTube SEO?
Higher audience retention and lower drop-off rates indicate engaging content, positively influencing your video’s SEO performance.

Q: Can responding to comments on your videos improve SEO?
Engaging with comments can increase overall engagement on your video, a factor that YouTube considers when ranking content.

Q: Is consistency in uploading videos important for YouTube SEO?
Regular and consistent uploading can keep your audience engaged and returning to your channel, which is beneficial for SEO.

Q: How does linking to videos from external sites affect SEO?
External links to your videos can drive additional traffic and increase the perceived authority and relevance of your content, positively impacting SEO.

Q: Should you repurpose content from other platforms for YouTube?
Repurposing content can be effective, but it should be optimized for YouTube’s audience and format to ensure it aligns with SEO best practices.

Q: How important is the video quality for YouTube SEO?
High video quality can improve viewer engagement and watch time, which are key factors in YouTube’s SEO algorithm.

Q: Can user-generated content like comments and video responses impact SEO?
Yes, user-generated content such as comments and video responses increase engagement and can provide additional keywords, positively impacting SEO.

Q: How does customizing video thumbnails relate to SEO?
Custom thumbnails that are clear and visually appealing can increase click-through rates (CTR), which is a positive signal for YouTube’s algorithm.

Q: What is the role of video file names in YouTube SEO?
Using descriptive file names with relevant keywords before uploading can give YouTube’s algorithm more context about your content, aiding in SEO.

Q: How effective are end screens and annotations in improving SEO?
End screens and annotations can drive viewers to more of your content, increasing watch time and channel engagement, which are beneficial for SEO.

Q: Does promoting YouTube videos on other social platforms help with SEO?
Promoting videos on other platforms can increase view counts and broaden your audience, indirectly benefiting your video’s SEO on YouTube.

Q: How can channel keywords be optimized for YouTube SEO?
Use relevant and specific channel keywords in your channel’s ‘About’ section to help YouTube understand the overall theme and content of your channel.

Q: What impact do video descriptions have on YouTube SEO?
Well-written video descriptions with relevant keywords and information can provide context to YouTube’s algorithm and viewers, improving your video’s discoverability.

Q: Can collaborating with brands or sponsored content affect YouTube SEO?
Brand collaborations and sponsored content, if relevant to your audience, can increase viewership and engagement, positively impacting SEO.

Q: How important is it to stay updated with YouTube’s algorithm changes?
Staying informed about YouTube’s algorithm updates is crucial for adapting your SEO strategy and ensuring that your content continues to perform well.

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