Optimize Your YouTube Video For Search (YouTube SEO Tips)

August 26, 2011{ 20 Comments }

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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  • 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.

  • 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;

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

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

  • 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.

  • Thank you man. View my video, thanks.

  • 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,

  • qbert

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

  • 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.

  • 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..