YouTube SEO: How to Get Your Videos to Rank Higher

14.12.2018, 7m

YouTube videos can be a great way to get exposure for your online shop. According to Jumpshot, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine, with more than a billion users and availability in 88 countries. That means that YouTube accounts for about 4.3% of all web searches. Compared to Google (86.5%), this may seem insignificant, but that’s actually not the case once you realise that the other search engines’ share is less than 2.2%.

YouTube SEO

Making YouTube videos doesn't have to be expensive. And if you already use YouTube as a marketing tool for your business, then of course you’ll want to stand out from the other videos. We can help you with this! In this article, we’ll give you tips and various step-by-step schemes for achieving the best performance for your online shop’s videos on YouTube.

Research keywords

Just as with SEO for search engines like Google, you’ll begin by looking for relevant keywords. Which words will your target group use to search for videos? If you can figure this out, there’s a good chance that you’ll be listed first for your target group and will get many viewers.

You can do this keyword research before you’ve recorded a video and then have the video focus on that keyword, but you can also do the keyword research once you’ve produced the video as well.

Step 1 – Make a longlist of keywords

A good strategy for finding interesting keywords is simply to go to YouTube and type in a word that fits your video. If, for instance, you’re active in the furniture industry, you can type ‘furniture’ into the search bar. Then you get auto-completed suggestions offered by YouTube.

These are not just suggestions, they really are the most-used keywords that start with the word “furniture”. These are therefore very popular words. Amongst these, there can also be “long tail keywords” (with 3 or more words). This means that they’re relatively high-ranking keywords for which there’s not a lot of competition, so that you rise through the ranks much easier. You can choose a number of interesting keywords for your longlist.

YouTube search bar

The second strategy for expanding your longlist is to go to a video that’s popular in your sector and look at the tags that are used for it. To see a video’s tags, you can use a tool such as vidIQ Vision for YouTube.

If it’s a much-viewed video, then there’s a good chance that it has been optimised for a popular keyword. For this, you can also employ words that are used in the title and the description. Then add the words that you find there to your longlist as well.

A third strategy is to use a tool. Keyword Tool is a very good option for this, except that the free version doesn’t offer you very much. You can, however, gain some inspiration there in combination with the other two strategies.

Keyword Tool for YouTube

Step 2 – Find the best keywords from the list

Now you’ve compiled a list of interesting keywords, it’s time to select some that best match your video.

It’s smartest to concentrate on words for which there’s not much competition. This is especially important if you’re not yet a major player on YouTube. To discover what is popular in searches, you can use Google Trends or Keyword Tool (already mentioned).

Now that you know the most popular search terms, you can work out what to concentrate on. If a keyword in Google Trends scores 100, this means that it’s a very popular search term. A score of 50 means that the keyword is about half as popular and 0 is not at all popular.

image of laptop on desk

As a new channel, you won’t want to aim for the highly popular words immediately. There’s too much competition for these terms and the chance of ranking highly is extremely small. Search for the happy medium.

Step 3 – Look for keywords in Google

Now that your longlist has become a shortlist, the last step is to search for your keywords in Google. The trick, in fact, is that you can best optimise your video with a keyword for which videos are already displayed in Google’s search results.

This is because Google shows videos only for certain keywords.


As can be seen in the illustration above, “Furniture upholstery dyes” reveals videos in the Google search results. This means that you can effectively use this keyword to optimise your video.

If your video is also shown on Google, you can achieve 2-5% more views on YouTube! Of course this is something you’ll want to exploit. If you are seen on Google, too, you’ll get viewers not only via YouTube but also via Google.

Now select one single keyword to optimise your video with. Incorporate the word in the title, description and video tags.

Bonus tip: Mention your word in the video. YouTube makes an automatic transcription for videos, and therefore knows what’s being said.

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Now that you’ve found a good keyword, it’s time to optimise the video itself.

YouTube says that audience retention is really important in achieving higher rankings. What this boils down to is that YouTube rewards you if people watch the video right to the end. The earlier they stop with the video, the less you’re rewarded. So how do you make videos that people will want to keep watching?

Step 1 – Begin with a summary of the video

Around 20% of the people watching your video will switch to another one within the first 10 seconds. So you have to immediately convince your viewers that they’re at the right place.

Make a short but effective summary. If, for example, you’re making a video about restoring furniture using special furniture dye, then say that literally at the start of your video. Explain what you’re going to do and how you do it.


Step 2 – Begin immediately with the subject

Avoid long introductions before you get to the core of the video. Viewers are there for the subject matter of your video, so they want to see this quickly. If you give a long introduction to the subject, people will leave sooner.

Step 3 – Use teasers

You don’t want to reveal everything to the viewer right away. They have a certain reason for viewing your video; once they’re staying with it, you don’t want to give everything away immediately.

To make this clear, we’ll again use the example of the video about furniture restoration. Half way through showing how you do this, you say, “You’re probably thinking, what makes a good furniture dye? Stay with us: we’ll be talking about this later!” Or, “Do you want to know how to fix rust spots? We’ll be showing that in a bit.”

This ensures that people keep watching, because they know what’s coming and really want to know more about it.

Bonus tip: Longer videos end up higher on YouTube (but only if people keep on watching).


Click-Through Rate (CTR)

The Click-Through-Rate is the percentage of YouTube users who click on your video if it’s shown in the results. Of course, the more clicks your video scores, the better.

But each time someone scrolls past your video and clicks on another one, your CTR decreases. This reveals to YouTube that people prefer to view your competitor’s video rather than yours, with the keyword they’ve used. There are two pointers for attracting viewers to your video if it appears in the results.

1. Thumbnail

The thumbnail is the image people see when they’re scrolling through the results. People first look at images before they look at the text, so be clear what the video’s about and attract attention with an appealing image.

2. Title

After you’ve attracted attention with an appealing, distinctive thumbnail, you need a captivating title.

As mentioned earlier, you also need to incorporate the keyword you’ve researched in the title. What also works well is swapping between capitalised words and lowercased words (e.g. “MUST SEE card trick”). You can also write everything in capitals and then add special characters (e.g. *SPECIAL CARD TRICKS*).

Additionally, it’s often better to have as short a title as possible. Ensure that the title really gets to the point.

Get subscribers at the end of the video

An important determinant for YouTube is the number of new subscribers you collect after watching a video. They’ve apparently found your video so interesting that they’ve subscribed to your channel! That’s, of course, a good sign for YouTube and your video will quickly rise through the rankings.

youtube on a tablet

Video comment + shares + likes

Reactions to the video, how often it’s shared, and the number of likes naturally count towards your video’s YouTube ranking.

If someone posts a reaction to your video, this tells YouTube that they found the video interesting, or have at least interacted with the video.

If someone clicks on ‘like’, this also tells YouTube that it’s an interesting video.

And of course, people don’t share bad videos. Therefore, if your video is frequently shared on social media, this gives you plus points as well.


To rank highly on YouTube there are many points you need to consider. Among them, the number of new subscribers and optimising your video for the right keywords are extremely important.

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