White Hat SEO for Videos

To understand how to optimize rankings for your YouTube video, you first need to understand how YouTube ranks the videos. The most important aspects of your video YouTube considers in ranking are (in no particular order) are −

  • Title
  • Keywords in description
  • Tags
  • Audience retention (how long viewers view your video)
  • Views
  • Subscribers
  • Likes and dislikes
  • Comments

Here are some strategies to make the most of these video attributes to take your videos to a higher rank −


Be specific but also interesting. Use relevant keywords that will allow YouTube crawlers to identify your video for relevant searches. But also consider how interesting your title is.

  • Example 1 − Make your video stand out (interesting, but few relevant keywords)

  • Example 2 − How to use SEO for YouTube (relevant keywords, but not very interesting)

  • Example 3 − How to use SEO for YouTube videos to stand out (relevant keywords AND interesting)

You can use up to 100 characters in your YouTube video titles, but only 50-60 words show up in search results. Use those characters wisely. Also, don’t be afraid to change your title if it’s not performing well, which you can do at any time!

Keywords in description

The description is another opportunity to get your video noticed by honing in on additional key words that would not fit into your title.

Be specific. Be relevant. But do not overreach. In other words, only use keywords that truly describe the content of your video. Google and YouTube crawlers are constantly updated to get the best results for search engines.


Use the keywords you have mentioned in the description and any more (up to 20 that are relevant and clue YouTube in to what your video is about so they can help viewers find you.

Audience retention

This is just a fancy way to say how long viewers actually watch your video. A video that is viewed in its entirety will outweigh another video in this category that has viewers who lose interest after a few seconds. The best way to get great audience retention is to have a great video, plain and simple. Be concise and make sure there is no lag time. Appropriate editing is a must.


The more people who watch your video, the higher your video will rank on YouTube. The best way to get more views is to promote, promote, promote. Share your video on social media. Promote upcoming videos at the end of the videos you post (“Look out next week for a new video that will get you knew YouTube subscribers instantly!”).

Email your video to your social circle and especially to your list of subscribers. If you have a blog, embed the video. You can even run ads to promote your video on YouTube.


The more of an authority you are on YouTube, the heavier the weight your videos will have. In other words, the more subscribers you have, the higher YouTube will rank your individual videos. The two best ways to get subscribers is to produce high quality, entertaining videos and to ask viewers to subscribe. You can verbally ask them at the end of each video or in the descriptions. A watermark on your video asking viewers to subscribe is also a popular strategy.

Likes and Dislikes

This more passive form of interaction also factors into your ranking. Similarly to subscribers and comments, simply asking people to like is an effective way to increase likes.


There are two basic strategies for increasing comments besides creating a great video. Ask people to leave a comment, or more specifically, ask a question at the end of your video to compel viewers to leave a comment to answer your question.