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YouTube SEO: How to Rank YouTube Videos in 2024

YouTube SEO: How to Rank YouTube Videos in 2024

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Have you ever wondered how some creators seem to effortlessly hit their YouTube videos’ rank high in search results?

You also undoubtedly want more audience to see your videos if you’re a content provider or even just a passionate YouTube viewer.

If you want your videos to shine, understanding YouTube SEO is key.

Of course, producing excellent content is important, but did you realize that your video’s other elements also affect who watches it and when?

Similar to the majority of social media platforms and search engines, YouTube uses a number of factors to decide where to display your video in search results. Optimizing keywords and CTR and maintaining audience retention are the foundations of YouTube SEO, which guarantees the audience will see your videos more frequently.

In this post, we’ll discuss the best YouTube SEO practices to help you rank your videos on YouTube.

YouTube SEO: Rank #1 on YouTube (Complete Guide)

So, without any further ado, let’s get started.

1 What is YouTube SEO?

YouTube SEO, refers to optimizing your videos to rank higher in YouTube’s search results.

The goal is to make your content more discoverable by YouTube’s algorithm and, consequently, more accessible to your target audience.

Like traditional SEO for websites, YouTube SEO involves various strategies and techniques to improve the visibility and reach of your videos.

Let us now discuss how YouTube SEO works.

2 How Does YouTube SEO Work

Being an integral part of Google, YouTube uses similar search algorithms to present the viewers with videos that closely align with their search queries.

This algorithm assesses various elements within each video post to determine its ranking for specific search terms. These elements include the video title, description, metadata, number of views, comments, and likes, as well as watch time.

Notably, the algorithm takes into account the viewer’s past search activity, tailoring search results to provide a more personalized experience.

When all these signals are considered collectively, the algorithm gains insights into the relevance, popularity, and engagement level of your video post in response to a viewer’s query.

3 YouTube SEO Best Practices

Let us now discuss the best practices and strategies to rank your videos on YouTube.

3.1 Pick the Right Keywords

Selecting the right keywords is a fundamental best practice in YouTube SEO. It plays an important role in enhancing the discoverability of your videos.

Keywords are words or phrases that reflect the content of your video, and incorporating them strategically can significantly impact your video’s visibility in search results.

Choose keywords directly related to the main theme or subject of your video that satisfy the search intent.

For instance, if your video is a makeup tutorial, relevant keywords might include natural makeup, beauty tips, or makeup for beginners.

There are three types of keywords: trending, product update, and evergreen.

How to Find Trending Keywords

Google Trends is a powerful tool for identifying trending keywords and understanding the popularity of search queries over time. It allows you to stay ahead of the curve by recognizing what topics are currently trending or experiencing a surge in interest.

In the search bar, enter a keyword or topic related to your content. Customize the search parameters, such as location, time range, and category, to narrow down results.

For instance, you run a tech-related YouTube channel and want to create content about smartphones. So, enter smartphones in the search bar.

Google Trends example to find trending keywords

Scroll down to find related queries and topics that can provide additional insights and inspiration for your content.

Customize the settings based on your preferences, such as selecting the past 30 days and setting the location to a specific country or region.

Adjust the settings

Scroll down to find related queries like best smartphones, cheap smartphones, etc.

Related Queries

Examine the interest over time graph to see if there are specific months or periods when interest in smartphones peaks.

Interest over time

You can compare the popularity of smartphones with other terms like mobile devices or cell phones to identify which keyword is currently more trending, as shown below.

Compare the search terms

By utilizing Google Trends in this manner, you can pinpoint trending keywords, understand their historical popularity, and create your content to align with current interests, thereby enhancing the visibility and discoverability of your videos.

How to Find Evergreen Keywords

Using YouTube suggestions is an effective way to discover evergreen keywords, which are search terms that remain consistently popular over time. YouTube’s auto-suggest feature provides insights into what your audience is actively searching for.

Let’s say you run a fitness channel and want to find evergreen keywords related to weight loss. Go to YouTube and log in.

In the search bar, enter a broad keyword or topic related to your niche. So, in the search bar, type weight loss. Take note of the auto-suggestions, such as weight loss diet, weight loss drink, or weight loss exercises at home.

YouTube AutoSuggest to fond evergreen keywords

How to Validate Keywords

You can validate keywords using TubeBuddy or vidIQ Chrome extensions. These tools provide valuable insights into keyword performance, competition, and potential reach.

These are free tools, and you can get started by creating an account and adding it to your Chrome browser.

Once installed, navigate to your YouTube account and search for a keyword.

vidIQ provides insights into search volume, competition, and relevance. Pay attention to the Score and Search Volume metrics for keyword validation.

For instance, If you’re a gaming content creator and want to validate the keyword best gaming laptops 2024, vidIQ may show you data on its potential performance.

VidIQ performance result for YouTube SEO

Similarly, in TubeBuddy, look for keywords with a balance of high search volume and manageable competition.


Now that you have the right keywords and validated them, it’s time to optimize them for the click-through rate.

3.2 Optimize for Click-Through Rate

CTR is a metric that measures the percentage of viewers who click on your video after seeing its thumbnail and title. A higher CTR indicates that your video is compelling and relevant to viewers, influencing YouTube’s algorithm to recommend it more frequently.

Optimize Thumbnail

Optimizing thumbnails is a key element of YouTube SEO. Focusing on a standardized format, incorporating a face, and making them intriguing can significantly enhance their effectiveness.

A report by Google suggests that 90% of the best-performing videos on YouTube have custom thumbnails, emphasizing the importance of visually appealing thumbnails for higher CTR.

It is important that your thumbnail is clear, sharp, and easily recognizable. Avoid clutter and make sure that elements in the thumbnail are distinguishable, even at smaller sizes.

The thumbnail should accurately represent the content of your video. Including a face in your thumbnail can create a sense of connection with viewers. Viewers are naturally drawn to faces, and it can make your content more relatable.

Create thumbnails that increase viewers’ curiosity and interest. You can also pose questions, showcase a key moment, or provide a sneak peek into the content of the video.

Here’s how we optimize the thumbnail on our YouTube channel.

Thumbnail example

Optimize Title and Description

The title serves as the first point of contact, and incorporating relevant keywords is key for YouTube SEO.

For instance, a video about improving website visibility might have a title like Unlocking SEO Secrets: Boost Your Website’s Visibility. This not only includes the essential keyword “SEO” but also conveys the promise of valuable insights.

When it comes to the description, think of it as an opportunity to provide additional context and engage your audience. Begin with a summary of the video’s content to set expectations.

For example, Explore advanced SEO techniques in this comprehensive guide to enhance your website’s ranking and visibility online.

You can use Rank Math’s YouTube Video Description AI tool to create engaging video descriptions.

And the best part is you can use Content AI for free, as we provide 750 monthly credits. You just need to create a free Rank Math account, connect your website with the account & then refresh Content AI credits.

Youtube video description using Rank Math's AI tool

Once you have your video description ready, integrate keywords naturally within the first 100 characters of the description to maintain readability, and consider adding descriptive timestamps for different sections if applicable.

Timestamps and description example

To increase the CTR, include power words strategically in your video title. Utilizing power words in your video title helps to capture attention, evoke emotions, and improve the overall performance of your YouTube content in terms of SEO.

Power words are impactful, emotionally charged terms that influence viewers to click on your video.

For instance, Unlock Your Potential NOW: 5 Tips for Rapid Self-Improvement. These words convey urgency and prompt immediate action from viewers.

3.3 Increase Audience Retention

It is necessary that your video aligns with the search intent to enhance your viewer’s satisfaction, thereby reducing the likelihood of early exits.

It is also important to provide value to your viewers. In a tutorial video, promise and deliver tangible value early on. For instance, In the next 5 minutes, you’ll learn three simple hacks to boost your productivity.

You need to inculcate in your viewers that you have a solution to their problem.

Creating a script can help you stay organized, deliver content more effectively, and ensure that you cover all key points, contributing to better video quality and engagement.

You can use Rank Math’s YouTube Video Script tool to create engaging scripts that hook the audience to your video.

Another way to increase audience retention is inviting comments and replies to boost engagement and extend watch time as viewers engage with each other.

Comments/replies on YouTube

Playlists contribute to increased watch time, and YouTube’s algorithm may recommend the entire playlist after a user watches one video. So, you can consider grouping related videos into playlists.

Playlist example

Also, regularly assess audience analytics to understand viewer behavior and refine your approach accordingly.

4 Frequently Asked Questions

Why is YouTube SEO important?

YouTube SEO is important for increasing the likelihood of your videos being found in search results and recommended to viewers, ultimately attracting a larger audience to your content.

What is the significance of user engagement in YouTube SEO?

User engagement metrics, such as likes, comments, and shares, contribute to higher rankings as they indicate audience interaction and interest in your content.

How frequently should I upload videos for optimal SEO?

Consistency is key. Upload videos regularly, whether daily, weekly, or monthly, to keep your audience engaged and signal to the algorithm that your channel is active.

Is YouTube SEO a one-time effort, or should it be ongoing?

YouTube SEO is an ongoing process. Regularly analyze performance metrics, adapt to changing trends, and consistently optimize your content to maintain and improve search rankings.

5 Conclusion

YouTube SEO is an essential aspect of content creation on the platform.

Aligning content with search intent, using compelling titles, and creating engaging thumbnails are key components that contribute to higher click-through rates and increased audience retention.

Additionally, using power words, providing consistent value, and adding interactive elements foster a strong connection with the audience.

Ultimately, YouTube SEO is so powerful that, when used effectively, it can help you reach wider audiences, build a loyal following, and achieve long-term success on the platform.

If you like this post, let us know by Tweeting @rankmathseo.

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