Optimize Your YouTube Video For Search (YouTube SEO Tips)

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Optimise Your YouTube Videos for Search

If you want your videos to be found on YouTube, (and I know you do) it’s important to make sure they are optimized for search. I know, I’m as guilty as many of you. You’ve spent hours creating and editing a video. You’ve finally got it uploaded to YouTube, and the last thing you feel like doing is making sure you’ve chosen the perfect title and tags so your video is easy to find. But why put in all that work in the first place if nobody’s gonna view your video?

I’ve outlined a few basic practices below that will allow you to optimize your YouTube videos so they get more views online. It doesn’t take much time and it will ensure you get better ranking in both YouTube and Google when people search on your keywords.

But, first: How does YouTube rank videos?

There are 5 important elements that YouTube uses to rank videos

  1. Title
  2. Description
  3. Tags
  4. Number of views
  5. Rating

While you don’t have much control over “number of views” or “rating” you do have control over title, description, and tags. So that’s where you need to concentrate your optimizations.

Note: It’s also important to remember that your videos will be indexed by Google, Yahoo, and Bing as well as YouTube’s search engine. So there are many opportunities for a well-tagged video to be found online.

Your Video Title

Your video title is probably the most important element that you have direct control over. While tags and your description should NOT be neglected, you’re going to get the most SEO value out of optimizing your title.

  • You must include your artist name in the title so your fans can find you.
  • It’s also a good idea to put the word “video” in the title. People often search for things like “Smashing Pumpkins Video” in Google. Adding “video” to your title can therefore increase your visibility in Google searches.
  • If it’s a live video, make sure you include the venue name and date. Someone trying to find that band they saw at “Joe’s Tavern on 4/13” might just find you.
  • Include a few unique descriptive words about your music. If your band is called “the Lawnmowers,” chances are people are going to search for “the lawnmowers band” or “lawnmowers hip-hop” because a search for “the lawnmowers” will just show them a plethora of grass-cutting machines.

Your YouTube Video Tags

When people search for a specific phrase in YouTube, the results include videos based on the tags that go along with the videos.

So, if you tag your video with “purple banana monster,” chances are you will come up first for that result (providing there are not a lot of other videos tagged with “purple banana monster”). So the trick with tags is to use unique keyword phrases that you think people would use to search for your video. Make sure to include your artist name and any misspellings of your band name. If your video is a music video you can try adding descriptive phrases like “mind-melting metal” or “Texas blues folk.” There’s no limit to tags, so add a bunch. Chances are, it will be hard to get a good ranking for one-word phrases like “blues” or “rock.”

Your YouTube Video Description

Your description should explain exactly what is being shown in the video. Keep in mind only about 25-30 characters will be visible in your YouTube search results, so pack in all the good stuff at the beginning. Give people a good reason to check out your video. Try something attention-grabbing that also speaks to the content:

“You won’t believe this . . .”

“The weirdest music you’ve ever heard”

“Stop, Rock, and Roll!”

Note: It’s also of value to put a link in the first sentence or two if you are trying to drive traffic to your website or elsewhere.

Do you have any tips or thoughts on optimizing YouTube videos for maximum views? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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  • William Heredia

    Very insightful, thanks

  • William Heredia

    This was very insightful, I will be sure to apply some of this to my youtube.com/loyaltydigitalcorp page right now.

  • William Heredia

    Very insightful, I will be sure to incorporate this into my strategy.

  • I agree to use tags when you first load the video tags are separated by , such as; ,new york, London, etc,.. once you go back and edit the video the tags will be separated by " " such as; "new york" "London" "etc".. the main problem I see is people tag new york london etc.. no quotation marks. The video will only be searched on you tube as "new "york" and it will not pick up london because the spelling is wrong but it would work if you put "london UK" …. It may sound silly but this could make a huge difference in the number of hits you get the other thing to do with your video is to post them as a link to another video.

  • Papa Bear

    They have to tell us this basic stuff because they realize that most musicians are to dumb to figure this out, LOL!!

  • Sun Bell

    Thanks this really helps me understand the process better.
    Let the music play and the light shine!

  • MrPrinceMoore

    Start a channel. My stuff is at princemoore’s channel There are 9 videos so far that include crusies nights with custom cars and bike nights with Mototcycles. I have 3 from the Sweet and Hot music Festival. All done with my photos and music I produced in the background. Than I just tell people to google princemoore’s channel and they all come up at once. I thing that helps them all be viewed more.

  • Audio Hills

    Good article. What I think also is important is to Network. Start to add friends and send them small messages about what you do to generate interest and make the word spread. I have done so for my channel and found that is the most effective way for getting heard on yt, http://www.youtube.com/user/AudioHills

    Best of luck to all musicians and bands out there!
    /Audio Hills

  • Surface_10

    thanks a million!

  • Callenclove

    Thanks for the info I will try it immediately!

  • Dwayneford

    Your advice was to include a link to your website in the first sentence of the description of the video. I would love to do that but YouTube said DO NOT INCLUDE URL’s. I’m a little confused now. Thanks

  • Thanks for sharing the video link.

  • I guess I would say to ignore YouTube's recommendation. Having the URL as the first line in the description is always super helpful when I'm searching for new music and want to check out the band's website.

  • Bizme10

    I tried to post tags with both,quotation marks and comma's but only 12 of 30 tags get listed.
    Why is this? I list them all the same way.Can you tell me why.Thanks

  • This Video will touch your heart DEEP…I dare you not to cry. Go to; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8EtL_ewZWM

  • caveman south africa

    uniqueness for sure – but think about what makes your video unique globally – ie include geography, (where applicable) … a steelpan player from south africa (link below) is not the same as a steelpan player from the caribbean.


  • Honeywax1

    Is it helpful to tag similar artists in your tag box? I’m an R&B, Pop, Soul singer I generally will make Tags with names of record labels, Jill Scott, Beyonce, Lauren Hill in hopes that my video will come up along with one of the more popular artists, is this helpful or a hindrance? My name is Saycon and I’d like to know the best way to associate myself with my personal videos rather than others videos associated with my work in other genre’s.
    “Be Here” “Fela” “Possible”

  • Yes. Tagging similar artists is actually a great idea. Not bazillions of them. But a few of the most relevant.

    • Johnny

      Yes, we got many searches one time when I used other bands..I also used it in the title in one video (like: “..mix of Motley, guns n roses & Motorhead”)

      The tags are also important for related videos. For example I DONT use our band name there anymore, cause we got so many “related” videos with riots around the world.. (Our name is Revolution Riot:-)

      Have another YouTube tip: do a “video answer”! You can do this one time with every video you have. (If you find a related music with many views.)

      Videos from VEVO always accept this automaticly. Just did it with a Guns n´roses video that has 27 million views:) (but there are many other people who also done this)

  • Pingback: Social Media and Internet Marketing for Creative People » Blog Archive » Optimize Your YouTube Video For Search (YouTube SEO Tips)()

  • donutwoman71

    I think the title is everything in selling a song. If you name a song with the word “Dream” or “Moon”
    or “moonlight” or “Love” “Lovehurts” Lovesong” or “Lovelips” or something else chances are
    someone will name another song like that and your song will be found easily. the more tags the
    better. using southernblues or Georgiablues or some state name attached would help.
    Read others album listings (popular artists) and see what they name their pieces of music. (don’t copy titles too much, some might have copyright for a certain name even from years back. happy composing!!!

  • JohnDoe

    Hi I am part of a channel that has over 150 Million hits and 200 Videos I will stay unknown…The key to get noticed on YouTube is simple YOU MUST FRONT PAGE. Have you ever watched a video with 500,000 views on YouTube and thought why that one? Chances are pretty good that this didn’t happen 100 % naturally, but rather had many people working hard to make it happen.

    Tip Not all viral videos are what they seem, so many videos uploaded every minute yours could be the best ever made but if no one finds it no one watches it.

    This will surprise you Design for remixing, Don’t make an outright ad, Make it shocking, Use fake headlines and appeal to Sex yes I said it it. These are critical secrets I am giving out here.

    THE BIGGEST IS Getting onto the “Most Viewed” page or “Front Paged” for your category WHY??
    The video will no longer be a needle in the haystack of 100,000 new videos per day. It will be 1 of 20 on the Most Viewed page! which means that you can grab 1/20th of the clicks on that page!

    Look use Blogs, Facebook, Email Lists Forums all your friends. Every means you have to you.
    Titles can be changed a number of times, so have a catchy and somewhat misleading title for the first day then switch to something more relevant.

    Tagging for the first 2 days don’t use tags to optimize the video for searches on YouTube. Instead, use tags to control the videos that show up in the Related Videos box! That is key!

    Pick 3 unique tags and use only these tags for all of your videos . I’m not talking about obscure tags; I’m talking about unique tags, tags that are not used by any other YouTube videos. Done correctly, this will allow you to have full power over the videos that show up as Related Videos.

    When views start falling, add some more generic tags, tags that draw out the long tail of a video as it starts to appear in search results on YouTube and Google.

    That’s all for today I have said to much already….

  • Handrews

    WOW now that is some GREAT STUFF!

  • Thanks for sharing valuable tips. With YouTube now being the 2nd largest search engine in the world it makes a lot of sense to understand SEO for YouTube Videos. After reading this post I now have a better understanding of how to optimize videos to get more exposure in YouTube searches as well as organic rankings from YouTube videos.

  • lost

    1: I read in a marketing book that google frowsn upon 7 or 8 tags, is that true, because its contradicting a part in this article??
    2: youtube's keyword tool tells you how many ppl look up a certain word you type in. Why would one word phrases like, "blues" or "rock" make it hard to get a good rating when 13 million people on youtube look up the word "rock"?
    3: wont adding unique tags make it harder for youtube-ers to find your song??

    • It's a balance. You don't want to be buried under 10 million other bands who've tagged themselves as "rock," but at the same time… you want accuracy: so "Wichita Blues" might be helpful to search. Also, regarding the amount of tags, Google keeps changing their search algorithm. And with some of the new Panda updates, they're favoring more… personal (for lack of a better term) sites. If your post is tagged with 20 somewhat related keywords, they probably frown on that, as opposed to 3 or 4 really specific keywords.

  • I'm not sure I'm understanding exactly. Are there two identical videos in different channels? I would think if the titles and tags are similar, YouTube would always favor the one with more hits. But… maybe I'm missing something.

  • cecilia

    I have a question related to this actually. I made a professional music video and wanted to see how many hits I could get so we only posted it to the director’s youtube channel. After a year and about 10,000 hits, I uploaded it to my own channel. Despite the fact that the video is only up on two channels, when I do a search for the video, his comes up first and mine doesn’t show up at all. I’ve tagged it, the title is basically the same for both videos and lots of my other videos pop up but I don’t understand why, when I search for my name and the song title, my channel’s version doesn’t pop up (at least in the top 5). It did for the first week or two but now it doesn’t. Why would my other videos show up but not the one I’ve searched for? If anyone has any ideas/suggestions how to change this, I would really appreciate it.

    • GG537

      it’s called “duplicated content” and a big no, no – can get your channel banned actually…. – change the length a little, definitely the title and also the thumbnail, then you should be fine. but if it looks exactly the same Youtube will not like it and might even penalize you….

  • Thanks for the article. And let us not forget the nifty 2nd income from Adsense.
    MONETIZE your videos, people!
    I’m making several hundred bucks a month with just ad clicks… And the most any of my videos have been viewed is a puny 321,000.
    Most are humorous Obama edited vids, but I just tried my 1st music vid with original soundtrack.
    No humor here – Just showing America some love…

  • Thank you man. View my video, thanks. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBgE16LbzZ4

  • Melissa James

    Thank you. I’ve worked through all of these really useful tips and now my tag list is huge. Really good stuff. Cheers (http://www.melissa-james.com)

  • Aaron Fisher

    This was super helpful, do you have a blog or anyother posts i can read? I am so sick of the generic info you read everywhere else. Your insight is smart and has immediately helped my videos, Cheers,

  • Dorothea Breil
  • Thank you.

  • qbert

    Just a quick note: there is indeed a char limit of 500 chars for tags, it is not "unlimited." =)

  • We have been sticking mainly to descriptive titles but may try the shocking route for our channel of awesome travel videos – http://www.youtube.com/user/BigBoyTravel/videos
    Thanks again for the tips!

  • Muhammedl

    Hi i uploaded a very useful video on youtube and wrote about 10 tags. But both google and youtube dont find my video when i write video’s name. And ı see the others’ videos has millions of tags in description called ‘extra tags’.
    How do they get that much tags or do i need them?


  • I would definitely recommend against going tag-heavy. Just pick the handful of tags/keywords that are most appropriate and relevant.


  • I just wanted to Thank you for the eye-catchy advice about optimizing youtube video for search. Now I will watchfully attempt all the above given advice.

  • great info here, especially from JohnDoe

  • I have noticed from somewhere that Google is not giving priority to number of likes or rating now in considering for ranking. I dont know how much true it is, but because of some fake views Google may take this decision!

  • Steve Barel

    Great post..very helpful..

  • Haley Evans

    Very helpful article. I really appreciate the tips! If you have a minute, please check out some of my clients youtube videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/GwamMuckahyi/videos

  • sunil maurya
  • LUK

    Hi guys

    I uploaded a youtube video check this one:
    Adele Hello Remix tropical House 2016 remix by Luk

    So what is the best tag to use? Like people are searching only for Adele Hello remix. . And im landing at page xx

  • Marimba Remix

    Overall, thank you JohnDoe. This is great advice, I’ve used all the tactics here and have applied them to my youtube channel and have had outstanding results.


  • Yes, You Tube video is one of the greatest helping hands for search engine optimization. In order make the video effective it should be well optimized. The tips given above can help a lot to do it properly.

  • GStar

    Can I change my tags after the video goes live for 3 days? Will it do anything good or bad?

  • Amber Heard

    We’ve been making some pretty amazing covers of famous songs , but they don’t make the views even on sharing a lot !! We take care of the title , description , and the tags as well , but still the videos dont seem to make it !!!
    Any solution anyone has ???
    You can check out our channel here to know what I’m talking about

  • Amber Heard

    We’ve been making some pretty amazing covers of famous songs , but they don’t make the views even on sharing a lot !! We take care of the title , description , and the tags as well , but still the videos dont seem to make it !!!
    Any solution anyone has ???
    You can check out our channel here to know what I’m talking about