Video SEO: The Definitive Guide

This guide has everything you need to know about video SEO.

So if you want to rank your videos on YouTube and Google, you’re in the right place.

Keep reading…

Video SEO: The Definitive Guide
About Brian Dean


About The Author

I’m Brian Dean.

My first YouTube channel was a complete disaster.

I consistently uploaded high-quality videos…but no one watched them. (In fact, each of my videos averaged only 27 total views).


That’s when I decided to take YouTube SEO seriously.

Today, I rank for some of the most competitive keywords on YouTube, like “SEO”…

Brian ranking for the term SEO

…and “get traffic”:

Brian ranking for the term Get Traffic

And today I’m going to show you exactly how I did it (step-by-step).

Chapter 1:Video Keyword Research

Chapter 1: Video Keyword Research

Keyword research for videos is completely different than for text-based blog posts.


Two reasons:

Reason #1: Most of your views come from YouTube suggesting your video to their users.

(Not from search engines)

Yes, you should optimize your videos for YouTube and Google search. But most people only get around 15-25% of their video traffic from search.

Chapter 1: Youtube Search

The rest come from suggested videos and “browse features”. I’ll show you how to optimize for these features later in this guide.

Reason #2: People use Google and YouTube in completely different ways.

A keyword that gets 100k monthly searches in Google (like “life insurance”) may get only 50 in YouTube.

On the other hand, a keyword that gets a bazillion searches in YouTube (like “cute cats”), will get significantly less in Google.

(That said, tons of people search for cute cats on any platform. It’s the internet after all 🙂 )

Now it’s time for me to show you my 5 favorite video keyword research techniques.

YouTube Suggest

This works just like Google Suggest.

Type a keyword into the search field. Get a list of suggestions:

Chapter 1: Youtube Suggest

Don’t underestimate the power of this technique. YouTube is literally telling you the exact keywords people search for. HUGE.

Pro Tip: Put an underscore (“_”) before your keyword. YouTube will show you word suggestions that appear BEFORE your keyword.

Chapter 1: Youtube Suggest (Underscore)

TubeBuddy Tags

This nifty (free) extension show you the exact tags your competitors use for their videos.

First, install the extension on your Google Chrome browser:

Chapter 1: Install TubeBuddy

Then head over to a competitor’s video. Click the “tags” tab:

Chapter 1: Click Tags Tab

This will show you that video’s tags:

Chapter 1: Show Video Tags

Also, the green numbers show you where that video ranks for those terms in YouTube search:

Chapter 1: Video Rank

So if you find a poorly-optimized video that ranks for a keyword, add it to your list.

You can probably outrank that video by publishing a high-quality, keyword-optimized video (I’ll show you exactly how to optimize your videos in Chapter 3).

Tubular Labs Competitor Videos

Tubular Labs is a powerful freemium program that lets you spy on your competitors’ channels. And it’s one of my favorite ways of finding amazing keyword and topic ideas for my videos.

Here’s how to use it:


First, head over to the site and sign up for their YouTube Dashboard.
Youtube Dashboard


Next, connect Tubular Labs to your YouTube channel.
Link Tubular Labs


Once that’s done, click “Insights”.
Click insights


This will show you videos that your audience watches when they’re not watching your stuff.
Videos your audience watches

Can you say gold mine?

YT Cockpit

YTCockpit is one of the few keyword research tools on the market designed specifically for YouTube.


To use it, enter a seed keyword into the tool:

Enter seed keyword


YTCockpit will show you a slew of keyword suggestions…and important metrics for each keyword.

Like any keyword research tool worth its salt, YTCockpit shows you basic information for each keyword suggestion (like search volume and CPC).

Keyword suggestion information

(It’s important to note that “Monthly Searches” in YTCockpit represent the amount of Google searches. And “Impressions Per Week” is a rough estimate of how many people view videos on that topic in Google’s Ad network…which includes YouTube. So while not 100% accurate, these numbers give you a rough idea of the interest people have on that topic on YouTube).


But what I REALLY like about this tool is that it sizes up the competition in YouTube.

YTCockpit shows you the average video length, number of likes and amount of comments for each video that ranks for a given keyword:

Competition Information


And if you click on a keyword suggestion, they’ll show you a detailed breakdown of the YouTube SERP:

SERP breakdown

Why is this helpful?

If you see that the first page is packed with massively successful videos, you probably want to scratch that keyword off of your list.

(It takes A LOT of time and energy to make a video. And don’t want to create a video that’s going to get buried.)

This competition analysis feature helps you avoid this pesky problem.

YouTube Analytics Stats

I saved the best for last.

If your channel has at least some traction, YouTube Analytics will be your BEST source of awesome keywords.

Why? Because YouTube Analytics shows you keywords that you already rank for.

Let me show you how it’s done:


First, head over to your YouTube dashboard.

Head to Youtube dashboard


Click “Analytics” and “Traffic Sources”:

Click Analytics and Traffic Sources


Click on “YouTube Search”:
Click YouTube Search


Voila! You can see all of the keywords that you rank for:

See keywords you rank for

You can do two things with the keywords that you find on this list…

Thing #1: Optimize an Existing Video Around That Keyword

If you have a video that ranks for a keyword — but it’s not well optimized for that specific keyword — optimize your video for that term.

With some video on-page SEO, you can usually blast your way to the top of the search results.

For example, this video of mine ranks #7 for “Google SEO”

But this video isn’t well optimized around that keyword.


So all I’d need to do is add that term as a tag…

Add a term as a tag


…and mention it in my video description.

Mention term in video description

Simple yet effective.

Thing #2: Create a New Video For That Keyword

This is pretty straightforward:

Instead of optimizing an old video around a keyword, create a whole new video.

This way, your video is laser-targeted for that keyword. Which means it’s likely to rank better than a video that’s only partially optimized around that term

OK, so you have a list of keywords in-hand. Nice work.

What’s next?

It’s time to create an awesome video. And that’s exactly what I’ll show you how to do in Chapter 2.

Chapter 2:Create Awesome Videos

Chapter 2: Create Awesome Videos

If you want to rank in YouTube, your videos need to be awesome.

The question is:

What does “awesome” actually mean?

A video that’s “awesome” to me might make you want to toss your laptop out the window.

Well in the world of YouTube, “awesome” is measured by a few key metrics, like:

  • Session Time
  • Watch Time
  • Audience Retention
  • Engagement
  • CTR

And when you create videos with these YouTube ranking factors in mind, you can find yourself sitting pretty at the top of the search results.

With that, it’s time for me to break down each of these ranking signals…

…and show you how to create videos optimized for each one.

Total Watch Time

Total Watch Time is likely YouTube’s #1 ranking factor.

What is Total Watch Time?

Total Watch Time (TWT) is the amount of watch time minutes that your video accrues.

You can see this metric in YouTube Analytics:
Total watch time metricHow can you optimize for TWT?

First, create long videos.

Let’s say you publish two videos:

Video A is 12 minutes. Video B is 4 minutes.

And on average, people watch about 40% of each video.

At the end of the day, Video A will have 3x the watch time of video B!

In fact, if you look at the results for competitive keywords, you’ll notice that the top-ranking videos are pretty darn long:
Top ranking video timeSecond, create videos that maximize audience retention.

I’ll show you how to do that right now.

Audience Retention

YouTube’s other big “on video” ranking signal is audience retention.

Audience retention is the amount of your video (as a percentage) that people watch.
Audience retentionObviously, the more of your video people watch, the better.

Here’s how to maximize your video’s audience retention:

Focus On The First 15 Seconds

The first 15 seconds of your video is HUGE.

In fact, YouTube recommends focusing on this critical part of your video.

First 15 seconds


Because their data has found that if you hook someone in the first 15 seconds, you’ve hooked them for good.

(The opposite is also true. If you lose someone in the first 15 seconds, they’re not going to stick around).

Look For Peaks and Valleys

Spend a few minutes checking out the audience retention reports for your videos.

Pro Tip: Flip over to “Relative audience retention” to get a feel for how your video performs vs. similar videos

Relative audience retention

Specifically, look for spots where audience retention peaks…

Audience retention peaks

…and drops:

Audience retention drops

Then, in future videos, double down on what works. And eliminate elements of your video that’s making people click away.

Use “Pattern Interrupts”

Pattern interrupts are moments in your video where you change things up.

And sprinkling in one or two Pattern Interrupts per video can make a BIG difference in your audience retention.

I always add 1-2 pattern interrupts per video (usually me doing something silly):

These brief funny moments reset people’s attention. And instead of clicking away, they keep watching.

Pattern interrupts

Session Watch Time

Session Watch Time is YouTube’s “uber metric”.

It’s basically how long viewers spend on YouTube’s platform after seeing your video.

When YouTube confirmed this ranking factor they stated:

“As with previous optimizations to our discovery features, this should benefit your channel if your videos drive more viewing time across YouTube.”

In other words: “We reward videos that keep people on YouTube.”

Unfortunately there’s no way to directly measure Session Watch Time.

(Why? If someone clicks on a video that doesn’t belong to you, you can’t see any analytics for that video. But it WILL add to your video’s Session Watch Time)

If you can’t measure Session Watch Time, how can you optimize for it?


First, create playlists.

That way, your Session Watch Time automatically increases whenever someone watches your playlist.

Create playlists

(A win-win)


Next, include links to one of your other videos at the end of each video…and a link to your channel:

Include links

(You can use an annotation like I did here. Or use YouTube’s End Screen).

Again, this encourages your user to stay on YouTube instead of clicking away.

User Engagement

Now it’s time for another key video ranking signal: User Engagement.

YouTube doesn’t want their users to passively sit back and watch your video.

Instead, they want to see that people actively engage with your video.

Specifically they measure how many people:

  • Like
  • Comment
  • Subscribe
  • Share
  • Add your video to a playlist

The more of these signals YouTube sees, the more they know that your video is keeping their users engaged on the platform.

Here are 3 tips to maximize user engagement signals:

#1: Ask People to Comment on Your Videos

People LOVE giving their opinions.

But people HATE thinking.

So to increase the odds that people comment on your video, give your viewers something specific to comment on.

Comment guidance

#2: Add a Clear “Subscribe” CTA To Your Script

Don’t be afraid to ask people to subscribe to your channel.

In fact, I recommend adding a clear call-to-action at the end of every video, like this:

(Yes, I realize that I look crazy in that shot 🙂 )

Ask people to subscribe

#3: Reply to Comments

When you reply to comments, you encourage more people to comment.

More comments=more engagement=higher rankings.

I make sure to reply to 100% of the comments that come in during the first 24 hours that my video goes live:

Reply to comments

Now that you have an awesome video, it’s time to keyword-optimize it.

That’s what Chapter 3 will show you how to do.

Chapter 3:Video Optimization

Chapter 3: Video Optimization

Like with a blog post, there’s more to video SEO than publishing an awesome piece of content and hoping for the best.

You also need to optimize your video around keywords that people use on YouTube (and in Google).

Here’s how:

Video Title

You have two goals with your video title:

Goal #1: Include your target keyword.

Goal #2: Maximize click-through-rate (CTR).

I’ll show you everything you need to know about CTR later in this chapter.

But for now, let’s focus on keyword-optimizing your title.

All you need to do here is include your target keyword ONCE in your title.

Video title goals

Video Description

I recommend writing 200+ word descriptions for each video.


Longer descriptions give YouTube a deeper understanding of your video’s topic.

And this deeper understanding helps your video show up as a suggested video on more videos:

Video description
Suggested videos

YouTube Video Tags

Tags aren’t nearly as important as they were back in the day.

That said, YouTube still asks for tags. So I recommend using them.

I honestly don’t put a ton of thought into tags.

I simply include 5-ish tags that make sense for my video. And I make sure that one of the tags is my target keyword.

That’s it.

YouTube tags

Say Your Target Keyword in Each Video

Remember that YouTube can understand what you say in your video.

They’re not perfect at it…

YouTube understanding

…but in my experience they correctly understand 90% of the words in a given video.

Plus, you can upload a transcript to make sure YouTube gets every word right (more on that next).

And when YouTube hears you say your target keyword in your video, it helps them understand that your video is about that keyword.

That’s why I make sure to say my keyword once or twice per video:

Keyword repetition

Upload a Transcript

A transcript helps YouTube fully understand your video’s topic.

In my experience, this helps your video show up in more suggested videos.

Optimize Your Video for CTR

My experiments have revealed that YouTube uses CTR as a BIG ranking signal.

If lots of people search for a keyword in YouTube — and click on your result — you’ll likely get a rankings boost.

The question is:

How can you optimize your video for CTR?

CTR Booster #1: Compelling Title.

Yes, you want to include your target keyword in your video title. But the rest of your title should be dedicated to attracting more clicks.

Compelling title

Pro Tip: Don’t use clickbait titles. Yes, you’ll get more clicks in the short-term. But your audience retention numbers will make YouTube bury your video.

CTR Booster #2: Eye-Catching Thumbnails.

Pro YouTubers know that your thumbnail can make or break your video’s success.

So make sure to create a custom thumbnail that stands out.

Eye-catching thumbnails

CTR Booster #3: Attention-Grabbing Description.

YouTube displays the first 125 characters of your description in the search results.

Attention-grabbing description

Your first 125 characters should compel someone to click on your result.

OK so you have a kick-butt video that’s optimized for your target keyword.

Now it’s time to dive into one of the most underrated video SEO ranking signals: channel authority.

Chapter 4:Channel Authority

Chapter 3: Channel Authority

Your channel’s authority plays a direct and indirect role in how your videos perform in YouTube.

In general, videos published on a channel with lots of authority and a strong community will rank above the same video on a new channel.

Here’s how to quickly build up your channel’s authority.


Your Channel’s Branding and Messaging

Here’s where you answer the question:

“How is your channel different than all the others on YouTube?”

If your channel doesn’t answer this question, new visitors have to wonder why you exist. And you’ll miss out on potential subscribers.

But when you broadcast a consistent message, your target peeps will slam the “subscribe” button.

In my case, I knew that my target audience wanted to get “higher rankings and more traffic”.

So I made my channel’s slogan: “higher rankings and more traffic”.

Simple, yet effective.

And in the rest of this chapter I’ll show you actionable tips you can use to boost your channel’s branding and authority.

Your Channel Header

Make sure to include your channel’s slogan here.

Here’s an example from my channel:

Channel slogan

Animated Logo

Your animated logo is HUGE for your channel’s brand.

In the early days of my channel, I’d simply include my company logo:

Animated logo

Today, I also include my channel slogan:

That way my brand message is reinforced with every video view.

Include slogan

About Page Description

Don’t forget to include your slogan early in your channel’s about page:

Remember to include your slogan

Pro Tip: Also include a few keywords in your channel description. This can help your channel show up in the search results. Here’s an example:
Include keywords in description


Your playlists should represent what your channel is all about.

For example, my channel has a playlist called “Advanced SEO Strategies”:

Advanced SEO Strategies Playlist

Because my channel targets pro marketers (not newbies), this playlist appeals to that group.

Pro Tip: Keyword-optimize your playlists for long tail keywords. That way your playlists can rank for that term:

Optimize playlists for long tail keywords

Number of Subscribers

Do channels with more subscribers get a built-in rankings boost?

It’s hard to say.

After all, popular channels get more views every time they publish a new video.

So it’s impossible to know whether your subscriber count is a direct — or indirect — ranking factor.

Either way, the more subscribers you have, the better your videos will perform in YouTube.

Here’s how to get more subscribers:

#1: Channel Trailer

Your trailer is your channel’s pitch.

Besides your header, it’s the first thing someone sees when they visit your channel:

You have about a minute to answer these questions from potential subscribers:

  • Who are you?
  • Why should I care?
  • What makes your channel unique?
  • Why should I subscribe?

But if you can answer these questions, you can turn your viewers into loyal subs.

Channel trailer

Here’s an example of an excellent trailer:

What makes this trailer awesome:

  1. It’s short (a shade over a minute)
  2. It’s funny
  3. It leaves ZERO doubt about what the channel is about

#2: Ask People To Subscribe At The End of Every Video

I mentioned this in chapter 2, but it bears repeating here.

Ask viewers to subscribe to your channel…at the end of every video.

If someone made it all the way to the end of your video, they’re primed to subscribe. And sometimes all they need is a little nudge.

Your “subscribe to my channel” CTA is that nudge.

I mean, even the Star Wars YouTube channel does it.

Ask people to subscribe(Consider your subscription CTA a Jedi Mind Trick. At least that’s what I do ;-D )

#3: Link to Your Channel From Your Site

Make sure to add a YouTube link to your list of social media profiles.

Link to your channel

Chapter 5:Ranking Videos In Google

Chapter 5: Ranking Videos In Google

In this chapter you’ll learn how to rank videos in Google.

The Secret to Getting Your Videos Ranked in Google

Here’s the deal:

Google earmarks certain keywords for video results.

I call these “Video Keywords”.

And the secret to ranking your videos in Google is to target Video Keywords.

In my experience, if you optimize your video around a keyword that doesn’t already have a video in Google, it’s going to be VERY hard for it to rank.

For example, “how to clean an iphone 6” is a video keyword:

Video keywords

How to Find Video Keywords

The simplest way to find Video Keywords is to search for your potential keyword in Google.

If you see at least one video result in the top 10, great.

If not, you may want to consider a different keyword.

Fiding video keywords

Pro Tip: The top 3 spots in Google get 55% of all clicks. So keep an eye out for keywords that have a video result in the top 3. Your video won’t get nearly as much traffic if it ranks in positions 4-10.

How to Rank YouTube Videos in Google

Now that you’ve created a YouTube video around a Video Keyword, how do you get it to show up in Google?

The “secret” is to create an awesome video (which covered Chapter 2) and then optimize that video (which is what Chapter 3 is all about).

Other than that, it’s all about getting backlinks to your video. Like any page on the internet, the more high-quality backlinks you build, the higher you’ll rank.

I show you how to promote your videos in the next chapter.

Ranking Self-Hosted Videos in Google

What if you self-host your videos on your site?

For example, let’s say that you post your videos to your blog with a service like Wistia.

Can you get those videos to rank?

Technically…yes. But it’s A LOT harder to rank a self-hosted video than a YouTube video.

In fact, 82% of all video results in Google are from YouTube.

(Considering that Google owns YouTube, this shouldn’t come as a surprise).

That said, it is possible to rank self-hosted videos.

Here’s how:

YouTube integration share

#1: Put The Video at The Top Of Your Page

This shows Google that your video is the main piece of content of that page.

So make sure your video is at the very top of the page…or right after a brief text-based intro:

Video at top of page

#2: Publish a Transcript Below Your Video

A full transcript below your video helps search engines understand what your video is all about.

Video transcript

Pro Tip: Optimize your transcript for readability. Most people just copy and paste a big ol’ transcript. Instead, make your transcript easy for people to read and skim. This will improve your dwell time and reduce bounce rate –two key Google ranking factors.

#3: Use Video Schema

Google and Bing both support Video Schema markup.

This guide from Google will give you the full run-down.

But in general, here’s what you need to have in place:

  1. Keyword-Rich Video Title: Don’t use a generic title like “video 5_version 3.4”. Instead, write a title like: “5 Ways to Rank Videos in Google”.
  2. Video Description: This is a brief description of what your video is all about. Make sure to use your target keyword once here.
  3. Video Duration and Upload Date: No description needed (I hope 🙂 )
  4. Eye-Catching Thumbnail: This is what will appear in Google’s search results, so make it good.

You can set up this schema code manually. But it’s kind of a pain. Instead, I recommend hosting your videos with Wistia or using the the Yoast WordPress plugin for videos.

Now that your video is live, it’s time to get the word out.

Chapter 6:Video Promotion Strategies

Chapter 6: Video Promotion Strategies

400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube…every minute.

(Seriously, take a second to think about how crazy that is).

With so much video flying around the platform, even your best videos need serious promo.

And in this chapter I’ll show you how to promote your videos.

Announce New Videos to Your Email List

This is simple…but darn effective.

Whenever you publish a new video, let your email subscribers know about it:

Inform your subscribers

This is a win-win.

Your subscribers get access to premium video content. And your video generates lots of high-quality views.

This view spike can push your video to people’s YouTube homepages…

Popularity spike

…which leads to more views.

Pro Tip: YouTube suggests videos on your homepage that are similar to videos you recently watched. And this is now bigger than YouTube search and “Suggested Videos” combined. So you 1000% need to optimize videos so they appear on the homepage.

You can easily see if your video shows up on people’s homepages. Go to your YouTube Analytics. Click on “Traffic Sources”—>”Browse Features”—>“Home”:

YouTube Analytics

If your video is high-quality and well optimized, it should pop up in the homepage after a few days of promo.

And if your video is up to snuff, it’ll rank in YouTube’s search results in no time.

Share Your Videos On Social Media

I know what you’re thinking: “Thanks Captain Obvious!”

It’s not as effective as promoting videos to your email list. But you can get some buzz on your new video by sharing it on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest:

Social media shares

Pro Tip: Ask your social media followers to subscribe to your YouTube channel.

Ask for subscription

If they follow you on social they’re VERY likely to hit your channel’s subscribe button without thinking twice.

Embed Videos In Your Blog Posts

Embeds help your videos rank for two reasons:

  1. Embeds are a YouTube ranking signal
  2. Embeds create a backlink to your video

So don’t be afraid to embed your best videos in your blog content.

These embeds can make a HUGE dent in your video views (especially if you don’t have a lot of subscribers yet).

And it’s a subtle way of letting your readers know that you have an awesome YouTube channel.


Promote Other Videos In Your End Screen

I always put a “Next Video” on my end screen.

This little trick promotes videos that need some TLC. And it boosts your Session Watch Time.

Set a “Featured Video”

When you do, YouTube will suggest your video in your other videos.

YouTube suggest

Share Videos on Forums and Quora

First, keep an eye out for a question that your video could help answer.

Then, provide a full answer in text form.

Full text answer

Finally, link to your video as a way for people to find more info on that topic.

Now It’s Your Turn

I’d like to hear what you have to say:

What did you think about today’s guide?

Or maybe you have a question.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

Leave a comment
    1. Hello Brian,

      Another great post. this new post type I mean to say chapter wise guide is a great thing. I never thought that we could do so many things to optimize our video.

      Though want to know one thing Is it legal to embed somebody else’s youtube video to my website? will it have any copywright issue ??

  1. Brian, this is much needed. The video you published recently was great, but I was actually looking for a full Backlinko-style guide, and boom, now we have it!
    A quick question: What would be the best place to get lots of views as soon as a video is live on YT (if you don’t have many subs)?
    Thanks, Akshay.

      1. Brian, the chapter is great.

        Let’s say I have a very small email list, a few followers on social media, my site gets a few hundred hits daily, then what should I do?

        Another question: After how many months did your first video (SEO strategy) got ranked on YouTube, at the first place?

        Thanks again,

        1. Akshay, I’d promote the video like any other piece of content: email outreach, guest posting, Facebook ads etc. Hmmm. I’d say a few months. Not sure how long exactly.

    1. Thanks Dave. This guide wasn’t easy to put together. But I’m happy with the way it turned out. It should help a lot of people grow their YouTube channels.

  2. Another great content Brian. I did follow the older post that you wrote about ranking yourtube videos but this one has much more updated information.

    Also the browser extensions sounds great. Can’t wait to check up with the extension and use these methods for youtube videos.

    Thanks again.

    1. Thanks Franz. I’m a BIG fan of testing everything. It’s the only way to learn what really works (especially when it comes to YouTube. There’s a ton of BS advice from so-called “Video marketing experts”).

  3. Brian, another great guide. I think video is key because not everyone will do a video because a lot of people do not like to be on camera or they do not understand the technology. Therefore, it is always good to do something where you will not have a huge amount of people doing it so you stand apart. However, I feel video is not hard to do and your guide will help a lot of people.

    1. Tariehk, great point. There’s a barrier to entry with video that can be a competitive advantage for those willing to put in the work.

  4. Damn Brian, I gotta say this is definitely the best guide you’ve done so far – content and design wise! Thanks for putting the hours in on this one. Looking forward to trying this stuff out 🙂

    1. Thanks, Sam. I have to agree. It wasn’t easy but I’m happy with how the guide turned out. It’s much of what I learned about YouTube marketing over the last 6 months or so.

  5. This guide could also act as a guide on how to properly make guides in general, it’s just wow. You said in a comment above that it took you about 25 hours, what about all the imagery and everything, do you outsource that work or do you do it yourself?

    1. HA! Nice Ales. The 25 hours is pure writing (outlining, the writing itself, edting etc.). The design and coding of the guide is another story (my team does that part).

          1. Great stuff Brian – when putting together a page like this is it all developed outside of WordPress and then a new stylesheet added for the single page along with all the HTML just pasted into your new page?

          2. Thanks Bob. I honestly don’t know the ins and outs of how it’s done. I focus on writing and my team handles design.

  6. Once again! Mammoth of a guide Brian, I’m soon starting with my own set of videos (similar to yours in style). Your guide is coming at the perfect time. (A Happy STW Student).

    Just a quick question, have you considered posting the videos on Vimeo as well? (Unless you are already doing)

  7. Great walkthrough on how to setup a youtube channel and videos the correct way. I’m in the process of using youtube to target my hard to reach demographic, so this will work great. Thanks!

  8. Great guide Brian. I really appreciate all the work you put into and making it so aesthetically pleasing.

    Have you ever experienced your videos disappearing from YT searches? Days at a time and then resurfacing? I did a search on YT about it and other people have had the issue just curious if you ever ran into or had any thoughts on the subject.

    1. No problem, Carlton. Yes definitely. I’ve seen my rankings fluctuate like crazy (more than you typically see with Google). But they usually settle down eventually.

  9. Brian,

    Thanks for the great advice and content on YT ranking factors. I started family vlogging this past summer, and have been training in SEO for serving businesses locally. Most of all I have been mentioning to my mentor Dan @ Digital Elevator that Youtube will be playing a huge role in SEO in the future, and your guide backs this up!

  10. Love this so much Brian. This is the kind of stuff we’re always telling our clients but it’s hard to explain all the ins-and-outs sometimes – you make it all so super simple! You’re an absolute master. Thank you for the constant inspiration, and a great resource we’ll definitely be sharing 🙂

    1. You’re welcome, Lydia. Very good point: YouTube has a lot of “ins and outs” (so to speak). I’ve learned that details matter a lot with YouTube. So I made sure to include lots of deets in this guide.

  11. This is the best SEO post I have read on video SEO. I’m going to take this info and run with it to get my video SEO taking off. Thanks so much for great guide 🙂

  12. Hi Brian,
    Awesome content as usual you are right about the watch time because YouTube is becoming more like Netflix they like what’s keep the viewer for a long period.
    Keep up the good work Brian

    1. Well said, Youcef. YouTube is definitely moving more towards a Netflix model. And total watch time (and sessions time) will be big parts of that shift.

  13. Great stuff Brian. Happy #33 turned out so well 🙂

    I can appreciate how you consistently go out and “do it” FIRST, before you blog about it, unlike a lot of online marketers I’ve come by.

    And that’s why the Backlinko blog is so great: I know all the content you put out is Brian Dean tested.

    1. Thanks Matt 🙂

      That’s the “secret” to great content in many ways. Anyone can write 2000 words of regurgitated BS. It’s a lot harder to test everything in real life and then report on it. Harder…but worth it.

  14. This is a fantastic resource.

    I’ve found a lot of success combining these strategies with influencer marketing on YouTube. Since these creators have highly engaged audiences and channels of authority, working with them on optimization can get the video ranking really, really fast.

    While the video that ends up ranking doesn’t actually come from your channel, it comes from the influencers, the landing page of a YT search is always the video and you can always control the CTA link in the description of an influencer’s video.

    That’s my little YouTube seo hack 😉

    Great stuff Brian!

    1. Hi Aaron, great hack. I’ve talked to a lot of pro YouTubers that have used collaborations like that to get their channel on the map. Kind of the YouTube equivalent of guest posting on an authority site.

  15. Yet another master piece. Quality stuff featuring complete guidance and totally actionable steps. Great for people like me, looking for freebies. Thanks Brian. I always looking for your stuff.

  16. You’re absolutely killing it Brian! The amount of time and effort you put in your content really shows, and this guide is just another example. Hands down the best guide to video SEO I’ve ever seen.

    1. Hi Dominique, I appreciate that. My goal was to make this the best guide to video SEO online. Looks like I’m on the right track 🙂

  17. Hey Brian,


    Kudos to you for your in-depth research about Video SEO and your team for putting it all together. Please pass a “thanks a million” to your designer who helped in designing this entire post.

    You are inspiration to many bloggers around the world!

  18. Brian, another killer resource! Thank you!

    Quick question, for self-hosted videos you recommend publishing the transcript below them, is there any value in doing the same for YouTube hosted videos that you’re embedding in a blog post?

    1. You’re welcome, Ed.

      There is. The same principle applies. That said, YouTube is better at “listening” to videos uploaded to YouTube. So it’s not as important as with a self-hosted video.

    1. Jim, that’s a lot to list out. But honestly, I hire a studio + pro videographer to help me with my videos. So I don’t know all of the tools used.

  19. Another AMAZING guide from the great Brian Dean! Thanks so much for this. I’m going to read it over twice as I want to get into video marketing for my e-commerce client.

    One thing that I did notice is the link that you have to Tubular Labs goes to Tubular Insights, which is their blog. It was kind of confusing to me at first, but I figured it out.

    Great information though!

  20. Wow! The keyword research tips for videos are awesome, I can’t wait to dive it.
    A little story: I was using Wistia for a while but switched over to Vimeo because videos were taking too long to load plus I still had the ability to add “Add to Cart” links to the end of the videos (I have an ecommerce store).
    Learning in your post about how embedded Youtube video views DO count for overall views made me want to look into switching to Youtube but… what about the “add to cart” links?
    Well, I just figured out how to do that with Cards annotations and yes the Card works even on embeds! Whoo hoo! Switching to Youtube embeds soon!
    Thank you again for this resource, I always learn something new from you.

  21. Hey Brian,

    Truly excellent post here. And something that I needed before I rushed blindly into incorporating videos as another strategy.

    I recently purchased video equipment (lighting, screens, camera) over the holidays because I wanted to start making videos, but fortunately I didn’t because I wold have been making so many mistakes.

    Thanks a ton for this guide. This will definitely help me out.

    – Andrew

    1. Hey Andrew, glad to hear that. Best of luck with your new videos. Investing in proper equipment is an important first step. And this guide should help you produce high-ranking videos.

  22. Brian I’ve been ranking videos for over 7 years now. I’ve learned way more in this guide than I have in some courses I’ve paid for. You’re very in depth and keep it simple. Thanks man!

    1. You’re welcome, Adrian. Same here: I’ve bought quite a few YouTube marketing courses. Most are terrible. This guide is not 🙂

      1. If you’re breaking into a new niche with no list, social media following, etc…how would you recommend video promotion?

        1. Adrian, I’d focus big on the video itself. I’d spend 50%+ of your time on that. Then I’d promote with guest posting, Facebook ads, outreach etc.

  23. Hey Brian! Thanks for the detailed guide!
    Do you think that is necessary for a simple blog to have a youtube channel? Youtube is growing and growing but don’t you think this is only temporary?

  24. Hi Brian
    Very, very, very good. It is very rare to find free advice which is for real and not just a teaser to get you to sign up for something paid. I am very grateful.
    A question. My business is making videos (e.g. life story documentaries) and my site points to my videos in youtube (and some Vimeo) as examples of my work. My WordPress plugin does not know how to block the youtube suggestions when playback ends.
    Is there a way to ensure that when the video playback is complete, youtube will suggest my video and not someone else’s?
    Thanks again

    1. No problem, Yonatan. As far as I know there’s no way to prevent that. I recommend adding an end slate to your video that pitches your other videos (I have an example or two in this guide).

  25. Hey I use to have a channel for 7 months have tried the keyword and compelling title have done the keywords in a 200-300 description and stuff and never really found any success that channel only got 100 views per video and only 400 inactive subscribers saying that

    I FEEL THIS GUIDE HAS helped me find some of the most useful information like extensions and tips tricks and much more so I have just started another channel and I’m trying to create a gaming brand for games which I develop and make/ also trying to make a website and emailing list also going to try your awesome video chapter and more very glad I read this but I have no idea if this will actually make me successful so I really hope this works like the suggested videos and home page that would be great and I will be overjoyed to get 20k views per video id be bouncing.

  26. Thanks for a well thought out post on video optimization. A lot of these things we do in one way or another already, but we don’t have a set process for them. This is very helpful in creating those processes, as we do quite a bit of video marketing with our clients. Keep up the great work!

    1. You’re welcome, Clark. Yup, this process should definitely help with the cool stuff you’re already doing. Let me know how it goes.

  27. Hi Brian. Another great free guide. I basically want to rank a page for a key term so obviously a video on the key term would help. Should I place this on you tube and other video sites after all the optimisation techniques you suggest have been done?

  28. Wow…this is incredible! Really well written, super easy to follow, nicely designed and GREAT information. Thank you & cheers!

  29. You always seem to surprise with new and awesome content Brian. I really enjoy this “post rarely but good” style of yours. You put things very clearly, but on todays standards, I still think it’s important to have the required crew, equipment and resources to be able to compete on the top keywords.

      1. One more question, Brian. On the CTR section, you’ve mentioned that Catchy Thumbnails are important, and obviously, they are. I’ve recently heard that people have a very big attraction to human faces and expressions in images, and from what I’ve noticed, most of your thumbnails feature your face. Have you done this on purpose, or was it just a happening 😀 ?

        1. Adrian, faces can work. But it has to represent what’s in the video (otherwise people will click away once they see the video). So I use a shot of me because I’m in the video.

  30. Awesome article–just what I’ve been looking for. Thank you! I have a question…I usually create a blog post supporting my video content and embed the YouTube video in that post. When I promote my video to my email list and social channels, would you recommend sending them to the blog post to watch the video or directly to that video on my YouTube channel?

    1. You’re welcome, Steve. It depends. If the YouTube video is your “main attraction” you may want to send peeps to YouTube. That way they can easily comment, like etc. –signals that help your video rank.

  31. Hi there Brian,

    You don’t make very often posts but the time where your post is published you make sure to nail it. This is what I call a post, you have included a ton of content that can be nowhere found.


    Clay Smith

  32. Very interesting article , i think it’s the best one for Youtube SEO .

    I’ve bought some ebooks related to this topic , those don’t have so much informations like this one .

    Congratulations and thank you for talking time to write this nice guide !

    1. I’ve been there, Nenciu. Lots of people claiming to be YouTube SEO that publish ebooks full of garbage. I wanted to make this guide a step above.

  33. Hi Brian, I think you’ve outdone yourself. Again. Every time I think you can’t get better you prove me wrong. This is such a professional, well-designed, and well put together post.

    I look forward to your emails – always – not for the wow factor of how well they are designed and structured, but on the quality of your FREE content.

    I’ve learned so much from you, it’s unbelievable. With your actionable steps, I’m always swamped with updates to make.

    Honestly, though, there’s not enough hour in a day for me to keep up with you. When are you going to make the PDF version available so I can add it to my “Brian Dean” folder?

    Did I say thank you?

    Thank you, Brian for sharing your techniques and principles – you are an inspiration.

  34. Aloha Brian! Thanks for the massive download of info. Really well thought out. Geek Question – what camera rig, audio and lighting are you using for your videos?

    1. You’re welcome, David. Good question. I rent a studio and they take care of all that stuff. I honestly don’t know what they use.

  35. I was wondering if you had any thoughts about a channel that includes different topics. I had a brand channel that was pretty focused on one niche. Then I changed it to a personal channel and used my full name.

    I started creating other videos about other topics as well as my main website.

    I have been going back and forth about putting it on a separate channel. IDK. Maybe it’s just a matter of time until subscribers adapt to the changes.

    1. Ian, I wouldn’t change topics too much. Otherwise existing subs will get confused and not watch your videos. But it does depend on how far off the topics are from one another.

  36. Correct me if I am wrong. (great post by the way.) But is the only way to test the traffic value of a keyword, that you don’t rank for, through YTCockpit? (199$/year or 19$/a month)

    Or is there another way to get the search volume of a keyword?

  37. Thank you Brian for another great step by step article.

    You are such a real deal. After I entered “SEO” on YouTube and verified that your video is on top of all the others, I truly believe that and will follow every step you mentioned in this article if I want to be successful to promote my products on YouTube. Thank you again.

    1. You’re welcome, Peter. Lots of readers have said the same thing. Looks like more an more people are jumping into video this year.

  38. Always look forward to your guides. No matter how much I have looked on a topic I know hands-down there will be a couple of things in what you write on I haven’t tried yet. Of course all the reading in the world won’t matter without implementation so off now to try a few things. One question though, is this the start of a build up towards a new course? 🙂

    1. Thanks for the heads up, Hopeton. Maybe YouTube changed something yesterday. I’ll update the guide if that trick continues to not work.

  39. Hello Brian,

    I really love this EPIC guide. What a CONTENT! 🙂
    That’s why I’m a great fan of your work. You always help me through your work. Excited to implement these actionable tips you’ve shared.
    Thanks for this amazing stuff. Keep up the great work 🙂

  40. Thank you for sharing useful SEO tips for video. We already have YouTube channel, but I am not able to see the Analytics tabs there as you mentioned in the “Keywords Research” Chapter.

    Thank you again.

  41. hey Dean,
    Thx for the amazing content. Just 2 questions:
    1) you mentioned:”In my experience, if you optimize your video around a keyword that doesn’t already have a video in Google, it’s going to be VERY hard for it to rank.” . Why is that? In my experience, it’s the opposite. I was able to beat existing websites in SERP with one youtube video. Example keywords (dutch, sorry): “Kaarttrucs” and “Hsp loopbaanbegeleiding” I managed to get the YT video on page one in google although there were no video’s in this domain.
    2) transcript: I did some tests (silent video’s with transcript full with unique word combinations). Even after one month google was not able to find these unique word combinations. I read somewhere that google (youtube) is reading transcripts anymore.

    These are my thoughts

    1. You’re welcome, Arnout. 1. I can only report on my experience. And in my experience Video Keywords are key. It could be that is different than Google US. Or that this rule doesn’t apply 100% of the time. 2. That’s probably because Google knows whether the transcript matches the audio (somewhat). If you upload a transcript to a silent video it’s going to look fishy to YouTube.

  42. Hi Brian!! that you for sharing some of your secrets with use:)
    can you please tell how much it cost/time to make one of those videos? and who does all of the effects and animations?

    thank you

    1. Hi Simcha, I don’t know the exact cost or time per video. But like any piece of content, the more you put into it the more you’ll get out of it. Its quality over quantity on YouTube for sure.

  43. Thank you Brian, so much, just this moring in my car I was wondering where to get a good guide for YT rnking from, then opening up my inbox and … voila here it is. You’re great, man!

  44. Hi Brian. Your video SEO – It is soooo Informative. Youtube SEO is unknown domain for me. Your step by step instruction takes me to understand to the depth of knowledge. I’m overwhelmed with the information. Thank You.

      1. Thanks for reply, Brian!
        From my personal experience, the biggest struggle of moving to YT from G is being alive, artistic, exciting, authentic… which equals engagement, and it’s vital for YT.

        When writing a copy, you actually can rewrite it for 1000 times and visitor will see only your crafted copy.
        And unfortunately this principle does not apply to video recording 😀

        Good luck.

  45. Hey Brian,

    I am planning to launch my own blog and a YouTube channel as well. For the past few days, I was wondering whether you’d upload content on YouTube marketing or not.

    And now, here it is!

    Thank you for such an awesome piece of content.

  46. Hey Brian,

    thanks for putting this guide together.

    In 2013/2014 I managed to get videos ranking in Google for “non-video keywords” (as you call them), but they needed LOTS of powerful backlinks. I built like 40-60 high authority backlinks to one video and it ranked on the first page after just 4 or 5 days (for a high-competitive commercial keyword with 70.000+ searches per month).

    I thought I’d let you know since I’m pretty sure this still works, but unless you put in tons of effort into outreach you would need to use blackhat tactics (PBN links or something similar) and I’m not sure it’s worth it.


    1. You’re welcome, Filip. And thanks for sharing that. It could be that black hat links don’t work as well now. But I honestly don’t have a ton of experience with black hat link building anymore (to web pages or YT videos).

  47. Thanks Brian for the Video SEO guide, you already ranked for the term “Video Seo” on 4th position in Google.

    Brian I’d request if you could update the guide with other handy tool with which you create these awesome Video.

    “Added your targeted keywords twice in my comment to see you in first position for the term” just kidding

  48. Brian, All I have to say is WOW! This is incredible and thank you. I do have a question around video creation. We (@zogics) are an e-commerce company with thousands of products and we would like to create how-to’s, product usage videos and other product application/testing videos. What software and tools are folks using to create videos?

    1. You’re welcome, Jeff. It’s hard to say exactly. Some people use DSLRs. Others use their iPhones. It depends on the video creator.

    2. Jeff,
      There are plenty tutorials on the Wistia website.
      I use a DSLR Canon 70d
      Microphone – ME Sennheiser, which connects to Zoom H5
      Soft box lighting
      Editing: Screenflow (mac only)

    1. Pavel, good question. I’m not sure how they create those. I think it’s a combination of that video’s authority and user personalization.

  49. Hello Brian!

    Thank you for the great content!

    Quick question: In the comments you say that creating the content take you 25 hours. How much people are involved in the creation? Is it only you or some other team help you out with the graphs and the page itselves?

    1. You’re welcome, Grigor. That 25 hours is on writing alone. Many more are put into the design and coding. My team handles that part (and they do a great job!).

  50. Great post as always, Brian! I guess I’m in the minority about pattern interrupts. Whether it’s a video online or a TV show, those things drive me nuts. If I’m interested in the video, they’re not needed. If I’m not, then they’re useless. I’m going to turn it off regardless.

    1. Fair point, Matt. The fact is: they work. Plus it depends how you do them. Family Guy is the king of pattern interrupts. In fact, Peter’s asides (“That’s like the time I…”) are some people’s favorite part of the show.

  51. Awesome post as always Brian, extremely helpful.

    You don’t post a million posts a day but when you do it’s always an eye-opener for me.

    I’m close to launching a new site and video will be play a big role but I was having trouble finding a reliable and inexpensive KW research tool but I’m dialed-in now.

    Thanks for the killer tips, info, and advice Brian 🙂

  52. Hey Brian, thank you for this awesome post! Extremely informative. The link “YouTube recommends” doesn’t work (where you recommend focusing on the first 15 seconds of the video), could you fix please?

  53. This is MUCH better than your last YouTube SEO post. Incredible work. It seems you’ve been taking some of our feedback into account.

  54. Using Tube buddy for finding the tags used by competitor is the best tip.

    This will make it easier to find new tags for use in our videos and also to understand how the tags usage relate to ranking.

    Thanks brian 🙂

  55. Brian, this guide, along with your others are amazing! Are you independently wealthy? Is that how you are able to GIVE AWAY more information than other people sell. Seriously though, this is the standard others should aspire to when creating step by step guides for others.

    Thanks for putting together such a definitive guide. Looking forward to the PDF ;>)

  56. Awesome article Brian ! Since I am a beginner, I was not having much knowledge about these things. But this article helped a lot in learning. Its time to start Youtubing 🙂 # Eyeopener

  57. Some really great tips. I was just thinking about using YouTube in my SEO strategy more. Is it still worth it do Wirecast “live” videos to get better rankings?

  58. Thanks for the content Brian. I have a HUGE question, that nobody can answer. Let´s try with you.
    The Total Watch Time of a video is a very high ranking signal. So, it´s recommended to not make videos too long, because audience engage better with shorts videos, but… It´s a fact that longer videos rank better for certain types of keywords, above all: “How to keywords”
    So, what´s your advice for this matter?
    What to do? A short video an pray to rank, or a long video and pray even more?
    Thank you

    1. Gerard, you’re welcome. There’s no “right” answer to that question. But if one of your options including praying as a strategy, I’d go with option #2.

  59. Dear Brian

    Awesome! Aweosome and super awesome!!. Could you please make a pdf version of this guide available for download?. I actively read and re read all your posts. I am starting afresh on my first page. So a downloadable version makes life easy. Thanks again and keep up the super duper work you are doing!!!!

  60. Hi Brian, I have been studying the subject for around two years, loved the article, I am mainly interested in local business and ranking video on Google. I want be an authority in this area in particular.

  61. Hey Brian,

    Amazing post – seriously…this is something I would have paid for! So, double thanks.

    One thing though, your link to Tubular Labs actually points to TubularInsights.

  62. Brian,

    This is the best roundup I have ever seen for YouTube! Thank you for putting this together! How do you best get a good transcription for your videos, simply writing it down yourself?

  63. Hey Brian,

    great work, but this is usual, when it goes with backlinko, so I am not surprised :).

    I am actually going to test recommended tools (as they are free) to Google Keyword research (I am not in the YT level yet), for my client websites.

    One question, I am curious, why You don’t have link for Your Blog in the top menu area on Your website (only in the footer). What strategy is behind that?

  64. Hi Brian.

    Generally, after posting a video on YouTube, I post the same video on DailyMotion, although the title and description are different. Sometimes, both actually rank high. Is this a good idea? Thanks.

    Great tips, by the way.


  65. MANNNN….Thanks for bringing the high HEAT!

    One question if you don’t mind.

    Is it okay to change your video’s title to optimize it better. I have a great video, but the keyword in the title could be better.

  66. Hi Brian,

    This is insane post. Indeed a great guide for VIDEO SEO. I’ve learned many things from this post. You’re a great guy and inspiration for all the bloggers.

    Btw, I’m surprised that you’re giving too much information free of cost. But, I’ve seen the results with huge comments and shares you’re getting.

    Good luck and keep up the great work!

    PS: Design of your post is awesome!


  67. Really great tutorial. I’ve tried to do videos for seo for a number of years but I don’t feel I’ve ever really pulled it off. But I know it’s something I really need to put some emphasis on. There are some great tips in here – it’s inspired me to give it another go!

  68. Hey Brian, really enjoyed our guide, as usually. I have a question for you. I’m writing about videos for ecommerce on recently I’ve been doing some research about video SEO, so your guide is a perfect place to start. However, it’s hard to come across advice about the SEO benefits of videos that are embedded on the third-party sites. In other words, if an ecommerce site embeds a video from YouTube, are there any SEO benefits they’d be getting from having this content on their site? So, I’m looking for a perspective on the benefits for the content-sharer, so to speak, rather than the benefits for the video creator. I’d really love to hear your thoughts.

  69. Hey Brian Dean, another awesome guide on YouTube SEO, no doubt this guide is awesome, I was confused before working on YouTube, but now I have watched your guide and now I think I will be successful if I will apply your strategies. I am interested in Gaming Channels and I was much confused about doing Keyword Research because no one was showing the right way, now I think I will run that channel successfully.

    Thanks for sharing the guide, your blog is awesome, I have learned many SEO Tricks from your website, Thanks 🙂

  70. Such a great article.

    I was wondering if you could elaborate on the below statements?

    “If you see that the first page is packed with massively successful videos, you probably want to scratch that keyword off of your list.

    (It takes A LOT of time and energy to make a video. And don’t want to create a video that’s going to get buried.)

    This competition analysis feature helps you avoid this pesky problem”

    I am a new YouTube channel so should I be targeting keywords where videos have less than say 50 comments? Or maybe likes are more important?



    1. Simon, there’s no specific comment number I’d look at. But you have the right idea: go after long tail/less competitive keywords when you’re first starting out.

  71. Brian, you are the best,
    i just noticed how easy people can do great on youtube, i decided to create one that talks about logistics, logistics tools, logistics management..anyway, i would like just to say thanks man,
    may i ask how long it takes to notice improvement on a youtube channel after putting in place the whole tips you explained above.
    thanks in advance

  72. Amazing, useful, actionable information as always, Brian.

    Question — what program do you use to produce your videos? I know you can upload video/audio snippets to YouTube but I don’t think you can do the graphic overlays, green screen, effects, or anything like that. Or am I mistaken?

    Thanks, as always!

  73. Hi Brian,
    Awesome post and as always got my light bulb lit up again so thnx for that.
    I also thought I would mention for anyone that is struggling to make videos they can try using creative commons videos which can be found through the youtube dashboard under “create” then “video editor”

    Click on CC at top – type in your keywords and hit search – they may find someone else has already done a great video they can use to point back to their site for free.

    Title can be changed as well as new tags and description – Youtube approves 100%

    Just make a slight edit – 1-2 seconds off the original video and you are good to go.

  74. Is there a way to find search traffic for a particular keyword in youtube? Google Display planner – shows estimated impressions on videos. But any way to get search traffic in “Youtube only”

  75. Super awesome tutorial.
    Besides the awesome info I have to say I like this way of presenting your material, I mean this page design.
    May I ask what / how to do layout these pages? Is there a landing page plugin you are using or some page builder or what? Would really like to use similar technique…

  76. This is an extremely helpful guide! Thanks a lot for the great tips. I shared this with my fellow creators.

    Just one addition; I think it slightly boosts your channel/videos SEO, if you include a bunch of keywords to the file names of everything you upload on YouTube, from thumbnails to banners and watermarks. I have made a list of important keywords and always apply it to the names of the files I named above by copying and pasting that list. I hope it helps, even if just a little. 🙂

  77. Brian you are a master of your craft young man! There are people online who charge thousands for this information and you give it to us for free! well done sir, I hope your online business grows even more! Shaun 🙂

  78. Excellent article Brian!

    This guide is a good summary for our checklist. We are planning to start creating service description animated videos for our agency and publish those on YT, then publish on our web description page above CTA. How do you think – will it increase our CTR?

  79. Just read chapter 1. Very useful advice to optimise videos on YouTube! You’ve stated tools which i’ve not heard of before which is great to be able to learn something new!

    One question, the tools you’ve mentioned in chapter 1 which do you considered to be the most useful/best to use?

  80. Love this guide Brian! I’ve been watching your Youtube videos and this article pretty much summarizes everything! Good job. I was wondering, do you use any tools for keywords search? do you have any recommendations? 🙂 Would love to know. Thanks a lot in advance!

  81. Hi Brian! As always, great tips!

    I was wondering if there is a plugin available to make the table of contents for this post or if you simple went the custom coded table and images route? Looks really nice and user-friendly!

    Thanks again,

  82. Hi Brian,

    When I type an underscore followed by my keyword in youtube search, I don’t get any suggestions for the words to appear before the keyword

    1. Hi Umair – try a space after the underscore. Sometimes it doesn’t work first time, so delete the space between the underscore and the first word in your search query, then add the space back in. Does that work?

  83. Wow! Fantastic article!

    I’m curious about one thing – I’ve noticed that some high ranking videos for keywords I’m targeting seem to not follow any of the rules (no tags, no description, lackluster title, poor video quality, etc.), yet they seem to make it to the top.

    What’s going on in those cases?

  84. Hi Brian this is an amazing guide, I just started doing videos and I started being very SEO onpage conscious for my plan to roll them out.
    Thanks again for the great insight and I can’t wait to see similar results

  85. Fantastic, easy to follow guide Brian.

    I noticed in Chapter 1 after ‘Thing #1’, the video you mention is your own but the embedded one is of Derral Eves. Did I miss something?

    One more thing:

    As watch time can help ranking, do you think video ads could help boost ‘organic’ ranking or provide initial momentum if they were highly relevant to the video the user is about to watch?

    I’m developing a tool that helps find highly relevant videos/channels in any market. I’d love to get some feedback on it from you or any of your readers. Maybe we could test this theory out?

    I won’t post a link unless I have your permission though.

    Keep up the great work (love STW too).


  86. Thanks for the detailed post. I haven’t started implementing videos for my blog, but my wife has focused on it starting last year. It has easily provide her the most gains in leads. It’s now on my ever growing to do list. Thanks again!

  87. Wow! Probably the most informative, yet most straight-forward article on video SEO that I’ve ever read. Often easy to get “bogged down” in all of the tech-geek stuff but you kept it clear and easy to follow. Thanks so much!

  88. Has this page undergone editing in recent weeks? I thought I remembered reading about obtaining a special channel URL once we hit 100 subscribers. Made a mental note of it. I went out and goosed our subs a little to push us to 100, and now I can’t find the details here.

    Also, any more tips about doing a proper transcript?

  89. Damn Brian, I gotta say this is definitely the best guide you’ve done so far – content and design wise! Thanks for putting the hours in on this one. Looking forward to trying this stuff out 🙂

  90. Thanks Brian for this ultimate video SEO hacks. The Tube Buddy extension is awesome and we can use all our competitor’s tags. I will use this in my videos too.

    Thanks again Brian!

  91. Everything that you mention in this guide is awesome but I can’t believe you don’t put very much attention to tags… they are HUGE. It’s one of the biggest SEO rankings for any video…

    I’ll put it this way, filling a video with lots of tags that contain YouTube and Google suggested searches allowed me to rank “Curso de inglés completo 1” (I teach english in my channel) using that keyword to the very first position.

    It’s a demanding search in spanish speaking places.

    And I uploaded that three months ago, 400k + views.


    This is the real power of the great combination of title, description, tags and a great thumbnail. Plus the video is 56 minutes long.

    You can see the results here:

    See what I did there?

    You’re such a great teacher, kind regards.

  92. Excellent input on video SEO, Brian.

    I feel that the transcript was neglected in a way and considering that search engines cannot read what is on the video.

    I would recommend adding a transcript to all videos that anyone uploads on YouTube.
    (Not only when one uploads a video on their website or blog.)

    Transcripts are not only good for Video SEO but also help Non-English speakers understand your videos better and therefore reaching a wider audience.

    They come in handy when someone is watching your video e.g. at an airport, coffee shop and they do not want to crank up the volume because YouTube will convert your Transcript into Closed Captions.
    (Please note I am not referring to the automatic captions that YouTube provides – these are not indexed.)

    There’s more to the transcript when it comes to video SEO.

    Thanks and keep up the good work.

  93. Hey Brian
    Really great work man!
    Really appreciate the time and effort.
    I am a bit confused though, in regards to tags.
    Initially you mention how important it is to use them and suggest using TubeBuddy (btw, they should give you a cut of the subscription I NOW have with them) but then down the page you say you are only using just 4-5 of them…
    Which is it? 🙂

    Thank you

  94. Had this sitting in my inbox for over a month. Cant believe I did not see it soon. Amazing guide, very thorough and detailed. I honestly dint know we could do so much with YT. Thank you Brian.

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