Video SEO: How to optimise for YouTube & Google


Get your videos found.

Why is video SEO such a big deal? Because it can cost you far more to promote a video for highly competitive keywords than it does to create the video in the first place. Yes, you heard me.

Ranking for competitive keywords will cost you an arm, a leg and goodness knows what else?

And chances are that you don’t have an unlimited budget... so the question is:

How do you optimise your videos for search engines without having to sell your kidney?

Recently, we wrote a blog offering 5 tips for a great marketing video that won’t murder your budget.

Creating a cost-effective marketing video is the first step. The next step is to optimise your video for search engines such as YouTube and Google.

Essentially, this means giving your video the best chance of being listed high up in organic search results.

Let’s get into it.

How to optimise your video for Google

Firstly, perform keyword research and find video keywords that rank well on Google. Video keywords are keywords that Google prioritises for video content. Here’s some common ones:

  • ‘How to’

  • Reviews eg. products, movies etc.

  • Tutorials

  • Fitness or sports related content

  • Anything funny eg. cat videos

Why is this important for video ranking? If you don’t use video keywords, your video will only generate traffic through YouTube. In other words, you will be missing out on a lot of potential eyeballs...

Instead of just focusing on Google’s algorithm; a smarter approach is to optimise your video for all search engines.

Cool, now that we know what video keywords are – what’s next?

Well, we need to find keywords that relate to our industry. Go to Google and use one of the hints offered above, together with keywords related to your business. Here’s an example:


I typed in 'the basics of photoshop tutorial' and look what showed up on the first page of the search listings?

3 of the top 4 search results are videos. This is because of the use of the word ‘tutorial’.

We can also see from the second video listed above that ‘Adobe Photoshop Tutorial...’ ranked well because of keywords not just in the title but also in the video description. More on this later.

Continue to find video keyword opportunities and jot these ideas down. Next, we need to check the search volumes for each of these keywords. Google’s Keyword Planner is a great tool for this.

Let’s see this in action:


Let’s assume that in our initial keyword research, we decided that we wanted to use ‘how to’ as our starting video keyword. Then, playing around with the Keyword Planner tool; we found that ‘video seo’ was a good keyword opportunity to pursue.

As you can see, ‘video seo’ has a decent number of average monthly searches, isn’t very competitive and has a low suggested bid. This is a great keyword to use.

Now it’s time to use these keywords in our video.

Optimising your title and video description

Below are two different examples (keywords are highlighted in bold):

Option 1)

Title: ‘How to perform video seo


Today we are learning how to perform video SEO. You will learn how to optimise your videos for different search engines in order to achieve better SEO rankings.

Option 2)

Title: ‘How to perform video seo to rank better on YouTube’


In this video we take a look at how to perform video SEO in order to get your videos appearing higher on YouTube search rankings.

Which option do you prefer? There is no right or wrong answer with regards to how to work the title and video description. However, Google’s search algorithm prefers specific data and the use of long-tail keywords. In this instance, the second option better meets this criterion.

It might surprise you but search engines love lengthy and detailed video descriptions so don’t be afraid to up your character count!

Nitty Gritty Tip: Use relevant tags such as keywords and always include your website in the video description.

Optimising for YouTube

One of the main differences between how Google’s and YouTube’s algorithms differ is that Google utilizes backlinks and lots of additional criteria. However, YouTube has a lot less data to work with.

Instead, YouTube rates how users engage with a video. Below is YouTube’s engagement criteria:


Video views are one of the biggest factors that YouTube takes into account when ranking your video.

Watch time

A percentage taken from the average time people watch your video (the higher the better).


The number of comments (the more the better).

Subscribing after watching

When people subscribe to your channel after watching your video (massive tick!)


The number of shares across different social channels.


The number of people who favourite your video or decide to add it to 'Watch Later'.

Thumbs up vs Thumbs down

The number of users who like your video verses those who don’t.

Another thing to keep in mind is that YouTube's algorithm gives preference to longer videos. Therefore, aim to make your YouTube video 5 minutes or longer. However, producing quality content is always more important than quantity.

SEO Tip: When you upload your video to YouTube; include your keywords in the video file name.

Video Call-to-Actions


Video CTAs are a great way to connect your audience with more of your content. Always include a relevant CTA and/or annotation links in your video. Wistia analysed thousands of video CTAs and found that CTAs placed in the middle of a video had the highest conversion rate followed by CTAs placed at the end.

The main difference between CTAs and annotation links is that Call-to-Action buttons pause the video in order to drive the audience to click on a link. Whereas, annotation links are messages that pop up as the video continues to play. 

Only include links that 1) add value and 2) are relevant to the section of the video. Value could be in the form of a free offer or a link that provides further information. Relevancy just means placing links that relate to the video content being displayed at the time.

Link Tip: Be specific about what the audience will get for clicking on your link and use action words to further encourage them to click.


Now that you understand how to optimise videos for search engines; you can take this knowledge and use it to get your videos ranking on Google and YouTube. However, video optimisation is not a one-off process. It is about consistently doing the right things. Keep to a process and track how your video's are ranking over time. It will be worth it in the long run. 

Want to know how to use both video and automation to generate new leads? We created a guide just for you. Download it below.