YouTube SEO

What is YouTube SEO?

As with classic search engine optimization (SEO), you can also turn a few screws on the individual YouTube videos to improve the ranking on YouTube. Because YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google.

What measures must be taken?

Keyword research

As with classic SEO, everything starts with the research of relevant keywords for the video. For this purpose, there are several options that you can use. The first and easiest method is to simply enter the keyword in the search box of the search engine and let the autofill give you a number of suggestions.

This way, you can quickly get very good suggestions based on the queries that users usually enter in connection with the keyword.

Here you can already collect a whole bunch of keyword opportunities. You can also go directly to platforms like Google Keyword Planner. There you can find more ideas for keywords.

Of course, there are also tools that deal specifically with YouTube SEO. The Morningfame tool offers targeted keyword research for the video platform.

The title of the video

The most important element of video optimization is the assignment of the title. Similar to the web page optimization, the title here fulfills the task of the headline. And please do not forget to provide the title with a keyword.

The video description

The description is the text that you see on YouTube directly under the video and which provides additional information about the video. The description area offers even more possibilities, such as linking to your own YouTube channel or directly to your own website.

When creating a longer description text (5,000 characters are possible), you should take into account that YouTube has a collapse function and thus a lot of information is not visible at first glance. Therefore, it is recommended to place as much important information or relevant clicks as possible right at the beginning of the text in order to lead the user to further content / channels through calls to action (CtA).


The thumbnail is a preview image of the video and has a high importance in the click-through rate of the video. Therefore, the thumbnail should be chosen very carefully, because ultimately it forms a kind of advertising banner on the video and should convince users to click on the video.

When creating the thumbnail, you should make sure that the image has a size of 1280x720px and does not fall below a minimum width of 640px. The file size should be at a maximum of 2 MB.

Video name

Naming the file is also an important part of YouTube SEO. Here you should take a good and descriptive name, which is provided with a keyword.

Length and playback time of the video

The goal must be to keep viewers glued to the video for as long as possible. Because the playback time, also called watchtime, is one of the highest ranking factors in YouTube SEO. The algorithm assumes that the longer the watchtime, the more interesting and relevant the video.

It is important to note that the playback time is measured by how long individual viewers have watched the video. The more and longer users have watched the video, the higher the ranking factor.

For the length of the video itself, videos should be at least 10-16 minutes, which YouTube considers a relevant video.  


The YouTube algorithm likes interactions between video creator and viewer. Therefore, giving viewers calls to action is explicitly encouraged. This interaction can consist of the video creator asking a question in the video and asking the community to answer the question in the comments. However, interactions also include likes and subscribing to the YouTube channel. Clicking on links in the video description also counts as interaction.

Video subtitles

YouTube has become quite good at recognizing words and classifying them linguistically correctly. However, nothing is perfect and mistakes happen in the correct translation and rendering of subtitles. Therefore, you should check your own videos every now and then and, if necessary, intervene yourself and provide the correct translation. A small plus point with manual correction: for YouTube this represents a ranking factor, since YouTube rewards the active maintenance of content.

Why YouTube SEO? What are the advantages?

When YouTube SEO is taken into account, it provides a higher placement of the video, which is ultimately the goal of the YouTube algorithm. Just like Google with the content of web pages, YouTube also wants to put the created video on the top places in the ranking. With YouTube SEO, you show the algorithm that the video is worth ranking high for the selected keywords.

And why is it so important to have a high placement? Higher placement guarantees higher reach of the video, which in turn significantly increases the click-through rate and watch time. Higher placement and higher reach also guarantees a higher number of likes and subscribers. High number of subscribers and regular creation of new videos attracts advertisers and there is even a possibility to earn money with YouTube videos.  

Summary of the most important ranking factors in Youtube SEO:

  • The number of views and watchtime of the video
  • The interactions 
  • The length of the video  

YouTube SEO Checklist   

  • Keyword research: create list of keywords, select keyword and write texts around chosen keyword (title, description and file name)
  • Title of the video: Short, Concise and Relevant
  • Description of the video: Don't forget keywords and cover all relevant information about the video.
  • Name of the video: Filename with keyword
  • Interactions: Prompt for actions in the video and in the description
  • Subtitle: It is best to create it yourself, so no mistakes happen.

If you need support for your SEO strategy on YouTube, we can help you as a SEO Agency in Munich can help you with certainty.

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