YouTube SEO | How to use Keywords to Optimize Your YouTube Videos

YouTube SEO

“Oh man, that’s totally going to go viral!” is a rare occurrence said entirely too often. Being that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world (the top video search engine), it should come as no surprise that between you and a cat – the cat wins. While your video can’t go viral on a wish, there are ways to help give it the nudge that it needs. And maybe, just maybe, the world will make you internet famous overnight.


Achieving a high number of video views isn’t impossible, as long as you have the right plan and you are right on timing. Aside from the many ways to increase your views and optimize your videos, here are a few optimization tips focused on keywords, to give your video a glimpse of hope.

>Optimize your keywords:

Let’s face it, your video virality depends on your ability to appear in a Google search. Be sure to utilize relevant and timely keywords in your title, tags, and description. This will allow users to find your awesome video in a search.


It is recommended by Google to use keywords first and then add in your branding (e.g., Wood Carving – ECHOusa – Jason Emmons).  If you are referencing a season or an episode, be sure to include that as well. Keep all titles to less than 50 characters. I mean, you could go longer, but it will be cut off, thus, decreasing the odds of your video being clicked – then boom, there goes your virility.


Make sure the keywords in your title are also in the description. “ Watch as Jason Emmons uses an ECHO chainsaw to tackle some epic wood carving.” The description is where you want to include all of your enticing copy in order to direct your viewers to go and do as you want them to: watch another video (all descriptions can link to the  same video), go to website, check out promotional brand, call now, etc.)

The first 3 sentences will be displayed in a search, so make them good! Aside from including the same keywords from your title, the MOST important element to optimize your video is to include your website URL. While you are enticing your viewers to go and do and click and see, be sure to also offer them something in return; a free info product, transcript, or any other related product.


Your tags are your keywords. There have been rumors that YouTube put weight on the first few tags – true or not, why risk it? For optimal results: while you are trying to order you keywords by importance, be sure to find enough keywords to max out the 120 allowed characters. After you have them in order of most important.

Stuck on which tags to use? You could get a Thesaurus or crowd-source for keywords. A trick I like to use is checking out other videos in my category for inspiration. Unfortunately, YouTube doesn’t make it as easy as it used to be. Although tags are no longer shown on a video’s watch page, there are ways around this. Try installing the vidIG Vision Extension for Chrome. This will allow you to see exactly which tags and keywords are being used for every video you watch.

Closed Captioning:

Adding Closed Captioning may be seen as annoying to some viewers. However, by adding this feature, you are not only helping out hearing impaired individuals but you are also creating a beautiful opportunity to stick it to that 120 character limit by adding additional keywords. There are quite a few ways to add captions: Manually, match up your video with script, or upload file. YouTube is quite helpful in this area and provides a detailed help guide. Just keep in mind that even though YouTube provides this stellar feature, it is advised to preview your video for quality control.

Now that you know what to do with your keywords, be sure to polish up on your timing,  video production, length, cross-channel and self-promotion, as well as branding and rules and regulations to monetize. Kids, “Going Viral” is so much more than putting a video on YouTube. Buckle up.

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If you would like assistance YouTube SEO efforts to improve the ROI of your videos and channel, contact your pals at Customer Magnetism, we can help!

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Jessica Parr

Director of Social Media at Customer Magnetism. Jessica is quite the social butterfly and has been for over a decade. When she isn’t discovering new ways to connect via Social Media, Jessica is exploring the outdoors or spending time with her husband.

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