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6 Tips to Optimise YouTube Videos for SEO

by Rocket on 
August 05, 2020 | 

When it comes to marketing your business, you probably know how important content is. It’s no secret that creating high quality content with consistency can be a gold mine for inbound leads.

Most businesses turn to blogs and organic social media posts, both of which are solid components of content marketing and SEO.

However, there’s a key element you’re likely missing out on: YouTube.

In Australia, YouTube has 15 million unique visitors per month. No other channel has these many users per month. Facebook has the same figure whereas Instagram comes in second with 9 million active monthly users per month.

Here’s another key statistic. When Australian marketers were asked about their digital marketing strategy, only 64% said they use YouTube for content marketing.

So here’s the opportunity with YouTube - 15 million unique visitors per month and only 64% of the marketers using this channel.

As a marketer, if you’re not using YouTube as a marketing channel, you’re missing out on a big piece of that brand awareness pie, and subsequently losing out on potential leads.

While most marketers recognise the importance of uploading marketing videos on YouTube, few implement the next steps necessary to get more views. Here is a clear step-by-step guide on how to optimise your YouTube videos for SEO.

Let’s jump into the key steps for YouTube SEO

1 : Keyword Research and Placement

Just like any type of SEO, your keywords form the pillars of your strategy. Getting this right is crucial.

So how do you find the right keywords?

Once you have the video ready and know what the main topic of the video is, you can find the right keywords through and/or the YouTube autocomplete tool.

This tool allows you to filter your search for keywords based on channel. Here, you can select YouTube and perform a keyword search based on the topic of your content. All you need to do is pick a base keyword to start with.

You can even select the ‘questions’ tab to see the popular questions around that base keyword.

YouTube autocomplete

If you want a quick and easy method to find what your users are looking for, look no further than YouTube itself. That’s right, the search bar is one of the best predictors of what your users are looking for.

Just type in your base keyword and the YouTube autocomplete tool will give you a list of popular searches. Depending on the topic of your video, you can pick out some keywords from this list.

digital marketing search

2 : Use the Keyword in the Filename

Even before you get to optimising your title and description, as you would in the case of your website, there is a key step that is commonly ignored: Renaming your video file to include the keyword.

As is the case with video edits, we end up with multiple versions of the video. By the time you’re near your final edit, nomenclature goes out the window and the filename can look something like ‘’ (we know it can be worse than this).

For example, if your video is about ‘Facebook advertising’ and the keyword you’ve chosen is ‘Facebook advertising for beginners’. Rename your video file to that keyword: Facebook advertising for beginners.

This is the easiest way to start your YouTube SEO journey.

3 : Video Title and Description

Now we can move to some known territory. Your video title and description must contain your keyword.

Considering our example, you could keep your video title as ‘The all-in-one Facebook advertising guide for beginners’. Easy as pie.

Don’t forget your video description. This is where you have some wiggle room.

youtube description example

Like standard SEO practice, you should use your keyword and also links that lead to your website. If you have blogs associated with that topic, it’s a good chance to lead your prospects to your website by simply adding these links to your description. Be sure to check that these are not broken links. Broken links are a clear no-no when it comes to Google and SEO.

4 : Use a Custom Thumbnail Image

The thumbnail of your video is what grabs a user’s attention.

While you can choose a frame in the video as a thumbnail, we recommend that you customise this thumbnail to showcase the content covered in your video.

Here are a few key points to keep in mind:

  • Use a high contrast image that stands out
  • Use a 16:9 aspect ratio for the thumbnail
  • Keep file size to a maximum of 2MB

5 : Add the Option for Subtitles Using an SRT File

On average, subtitled videos are watched 91% to completion. Without subtitles, that number goes down to 66% (Source:

There are multiple reasons for this statistic:

  • Many people don’t turn audio on. By default, the audio is off.
  • For some, subtitles improve comprehension
  • People speak different languages and subtitles help reach and hold the attention of a bigger audience

This is why subtitles help get viewers and also push them towards watching till the end of the video.

The best way to add subtitles to your video is by using an SRT file. This is a file type that contains both the text and time codes (time at which each line should be displayed). Once you have the file prepared, you will simply have to go to YouTube Studio and upload the file.

6 : Create YouTube Playlists

You have your video ready, it’s been optimised with your keyword, and you’ve uploaded it.

That’s it right?

Not yet.

You want to make it easier for your users to navigate your videos. If you’re like us at Rocket Agency and have a significant number of videos, you want to categorise them and help your viewers understand what kind of videos each playlist has.

created playlist image

Bonus : Repurpose the content for other channels

The final step to improving SEO for your YouTube channel is to repurpose your videos for other channels.

While this is not a direct SEO tactic, if you repurpose your video content and post them on other channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Medium, etc. and provide a link, it helps create a network of links that leads to higher traffic and engagement.

Remember, whatever the question is, using a single channel is never the right answer.

We know this can be overwhelming, and in today’s world, us marketers are time-poor. If this resonates with you, you can let an SEO agency handle it for you.

We at Rocket Agency manage SEO for our clients day in, day out, and we love doing this. Get in touch with us and we can help you achieve your SEO goals for better leads and more sales.

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