YouTube SEO: How to Optimize Videos for YouTube Search

As recently as a decade ago, inbound marketing was a brand new idea. Marketers were learning that they couldn’t just publish a high volume of content it also had to be high-quality and optimized in ways that made it as discoverable as possible through search engines.

That content was once largely limited to the written word. Today, that’s no longer the case.

Today, a comprehensive content strategy includes written work like blogs and ebooks, as well as media like podcasts, visual assets, and videos.

YouTube SEO Tips

Tag your video with popular keywords that relate to your topic

YouTube’s official Creator Academy suggests using tags to let viewers know what your video is about. But you’re not just informing your viewers you’re also informing YouTube itself. 

As a result, YouTube will be able to connect your video with similar videos, thereby expanding the impact of your work. However, select your tags carefully. Use a relevant tag only if you think it will help you obtain more views. You may be penalized by Google as a result of this. And, as with your description, start with the most crucial keywords, incorporating a good balance of popular and long-tail keywords.

Upload a custom thumbnail image for your video’s result link.

Your video thumbnail is the main image viewers see when scrolling through a list of video results. Along with the video’s title, that thumbnail sends a signal to the viewer about the video’s content, so it can impact the number of clicks and views your video receives.

While you can always pick one of the thumbnail options auto-generated by YouTube, we highly recommend uploading a custom thumbnail. The Creator Academy reports that “90% of the best performing videos on YouTube have custom thumbnails,” recommending the use of images that are 1280×720 pixels representing a 16:9 ratio that are saved as 2MB or smaller .jpg, .gif, .bmp, or .png files. If you follow those parameters, it can help to ensure that your thumbnail appears with equally high quality across multiple viewing platforms.

It’s important to note that your YouTube account has to be verified to upload a custom thumbnail image. To do that, visit and follow the instructions listed there.

Insert your keyword naturally in the video title.

When we search for videos, one of the first things that our eyes are drawn to is the title. That’s often what determines whether or not the viewer will click to watch your video, so the title should not only be compelling, but also clear and concise.

Although your keyword plays an important role in the title of your video, it also helps if it closely fits what the audience is looking for. According to Backlinks’ research, videos with a perfect keyword match in the title have just a little benefit over those without.

Optimize your video description.

First things first: According to Google, the official character limit for YouTube video descriptions is 1,000 characters. And while it’s okay to use all of that space, remember that your viewer most likely came here to watch a video, not to read an essay.

If you do decide to create a longer description, keep in mind that YouTube only shows the first two or three lines of text, which are around 100 characters long. Following that, visitors must click “see more” to see the entire description. As a result, we recommend starting the description with the most important information, such as CTAs or important links.

End Screens

End screens display similar information as cards, but as you may have guessed, they don’t display until a video is over, and are a bit more visually detailed in nature.

There are various thorough instructions for adding end screens depending on the platform you want to create them for, as well as the different kinds of content that YouTube allows for them.

Now, most of the SEO tips above rely on you identifying a keyword and promoting your video correctly. And not all of those tips can be carried out through YouTube alone. To get the most bang for your videography buck, consider some of the tools below to optimize your video for search.

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