How to optimize your SEO with YouTube?

While most companies focus their SEO efforts on their websites, there are many other ways to improve their SEO.

Search results are now composed of all kinds of content: images, interactive maps, business listings and… videos! YouTube has thus become a very effective online marketing tool due to the high ranking of videos on Google.

With its billions of daily views, YouTube is commonly accepted as the second largest search engine in the world, behind Google. So the video hosting site has incredible potential:

  • First of all, your content can be found from YouTube itself.
  • Then, your content can potentially be indexed in Google’s search results pages, which greatly increases your chance of appearing in the organic SERPs for keywords associated with your business or activity.
  • Finally, your videos can be embedded on websites and shared on social networks.


Can a YouTube video help your SEO?

YouTube gives you an unexpected reach! So use it wisely and consider video as an important part of your SEO strategy.

Because Google owns YouTube, the two platforms communicate with each other. As a Google property, videos posted on YouTube have a ranking advantage in search results.

Optimizing your video content can therefore have a significant effect on your SEO by boosting your ranking in Google search results by keyword.

Indeed, it is important to know that the latest Google algorithm updates are based on the Google mission statement:

“Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

To be well positioned, your video content must therefore be aligned with this mission.

It is also important to consider that the more active and popular a YouTube channel is, the more it will boost the ranking of the website that is attached to it.

However, beware! Youtube links contain a “no follow” code that makes YouTube channels useless for creating back links that will directly affect the ranking of a website’s pages.

While your YouTube channel may not directly affect your website’s SEO, it will still increase traffic. Its popularity will indeed lead to more clicks, links, comments, etc., and thus increase your site’s ranking in keyword searches.

Because of this increase in traffic, your YouTube video can indirectly have a very positive effect on your website’s ranking.

To take advantage of YouTube for your SEO, you need to deploy the right strategy.


How to improve the SEO of a YouTube video?

First and foremost, it doesn’t matter how you promote your video: if people don’t find value and meaning in its content, it won’t be enough to make a difference.

That said, there are many ways to use YouTube to optimize your SEO. You just need to make sure your videos are well designed. And it’s still pretty simple.

After uploading your video to YouTube, you will need to enter a title, description and tags. That’s where the SEO starts.


1 – Length of the video

As with text-based articles, longer videos are likely to rank higher.

Ideally, you should post a video of at least 5 minutes in length. But if it makes sense for your video to be even longer, go ahead!


2 – Video keywords

Like any content in SEO, the YouTube SEO process starts with keyword research.

Just as you would for an image or a graphic, it is necessary to associate keywords with your video to help search engines identify its relevance.

Although Google gives YouTube videos an inherent advantage in the SERPs, this is only true for certain keywords.

In general, Google tends to use video results for these types of keywords:

  • Practical keywords (“How to make a power of attorney”)
  • Notice (“Italian restoration notice”)
  • Tutorials (“Setting up WordPress”)
  • Physical or sports advice (“Cardio kickboxing”)
  • Funny videos (“Cute animals”)

For example, any keyword that includes “cute cats” will almost always have multiple video results. Which makes sense: a web user looking for “cute cats” doesn’t want to read an article like “10 reasons why cats are so cute”. He wants to see cute cats playing, eating and sleeping!

référencement vidéo youtube

5 videos are highlighted on the 1st page of Google search results for the query cute cat



So before you decide on a keyword for your video, start by checking if there are any videos on the first page of Google search results.

The next best thing is to conduct keyword research to determine how people are searching for your video content. For example, search directly for these keywords on YouTube, and note the keywords used that appear in the top ranked videos.

By the way, feel free to leave meaningful comments on these videos and channels, in order to create YouTube links to your video channel and increase its exposure and popularity. The more comments you leave on popular videos about the same topics as you, the more you will position yourself as an active “expert” on the topic in Google’s eyes.

Once you have identified your keywords for your SEO, include them in :

  • The name of the file
  • The title
  • The description
  • Tags


3 – The description of the video

Remember that YouTube and Google cannot watch or listen to your video. As a result, they use the accompanying description to determine its content and understand what it is about.

So the more informative and rich your description is, the more “confident” YouTube will be in ranking your video for your target keyword.

description SEO vidéo youtubeE

Example of a long description for a YouTube video

To optimize your description for SEO:

  • Add a 5-6 word call to action with the full URL of your website or leading to a specific page on your site.
  • Then add a paragraph of text of at least 250 words to describe the content of your video. Ideally, your keyword should be included in the first 25 words.
  • Include your keyword 3 or 4 times.
  • Use as many words as possible that give semantic context to your video to help YouTube and Google understand its meaning.


4 – Video tags

From an SEO point of view, the tags of a video are not of crucial importance. Nevertheless, they are not negligible.

To do so, you just need to fill in some keywords in the tags field to help Google and YouTube know and identify your video.

The big advantage is that when someone watches a video with a tag similar to yours, your video will have a great chance to appear in the autoplay of the YouTube sidebar!


5 – The call to action

To convert your audience into visitors and thus generate traffic to your website, the best method is to use a call to action.

To do this, each of your video descriptions should tell the viewer:

  • What he should do: “Go to my site
  • Eventually, how to do it: ” Click on the link below “
  • Why do it: “Find the products in this video on sale”

Of course, the more compelling or attractive your offer, the more likely you can expect to convert your video audience into visitors and then customers to your site.


6 – Subscription and like

Since YouTube’s algorithm does not use backlinks, it places a lot of importance on user experience signals for SEO.

Subscription and like are two of the most important user experience signals that YouTube uses. When someone likes your video enough to “like” it or subscribe to your channel after watching it, it sends a strong message to YouTube.

You can increase both of these user experience signals by asking or prompting people to like your video, continue playing or subscribe to your channel:

  • At the end of the video, thanks to the credits for example.
  • By adding calls to action directly into your video with the YouTube video editor.
  • By asking in the video description.
appel à l'action vidéo youtube

The youtuber Norman systematically encourages users to subscribe to his YouTube channel


7 – Integration of the video on your website

Another way to use YouTube for SEO is to integrate your videos into your website content.

It’s all about logic. If you incorporate videos into your website’s pages or articles, you increase the chances that more people will watch them, leading to an increase in your website’s popularity, which translates into higher search engine rankings.

Moreover, the mere presence of video in a web page affects one of the most important SEO factors: content. Indeed, video is proof of rich, quality content and sends positive SEO signals to search engines.


Also check out our article: 6 content marketing trends & innovations to watch


Because of this, Google prefers web pages that contain YouTube video content and these pages will in most cases find higher rankings than those that do not.


8 – Keyword rich playlists

Don’t leave your YouTube channel in disarray.

One of the easiest ways to get more YouTube search traffic and better SEO for your videos is to organize them into playlists.

playlist youtube seo

Example of a YouTube playlist optimized for search engine optimization

A keyword-rich playlist gives YouTube in-depth information about the content of your channel, the subject matter of your videos, your business and your activities in general. And, as with the description, more text-based content = more views.


Using YouTube to promote your business requires constant updating and promotion. It can be time consuming, but it pays off! When YouTube is used correctly, the added value in terms of SEO, brand awareness and authority is worthless.

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