How to do YouTube SEO: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

The most recent trend is video contents are getting more popular than text contents. And YouTube is the largest place for videos. That’s why YouTube has become the second largest search engine.

Whenever we need to learn something or want to listen to music, we simply go to YouTube and hit the search button, right?

So, you don’t need to give a second thought to realize how important YouTube SEO is. Here I am going to show you how to do SEO for a YouTube video step-by-step and give you some pro tips from my personal experience.

Let’s dive in….

Step 1: Keyword Research

The first thing is to find the keywords for which you want to rank the video. Whatever people write in the search bar to make a search is called keyword.

The best source of video keywords is YouTube itself. First, make a search writing your topic in YouTube. Now if you look at the search result you will get keywords which are used in top videos on your niche.

Secondly, when you write something in the search bar, YouTube shows the most frequently used keywords. You can get ideas from there too.


You can also try niche related forums. Forums are very good source of keywords. Use these search terms to find your niche/topic related forums:

“your keyword” + “forum”

“your keyword” + “forums”

“your keyword” + “board”

“your keyword forum”

Now, you need to know whether your keyword has enough search volume. Because without a decent search volume you won’t get desired traffic.

let’s go to Google Keyword Planner. Simply open Google AdWords, sign in with your Google account and then from Tools section click on “Keyword Planner”

Here write your keyword in the search bar then click on “Get Ideas”. It will show the average monthly search volume.


If your keyword has a good search volume you can go for it. It’s important to know the volume because you need to know how many potential views you are going to get, right?


Step 2: Create Perfect Video

Content is KING. After the recent update of YouTube, it is clear that only quality content will survive.

Generally, tutorial, cooking, how to, vlogs, product reviews are some categories which do well in YouTube. But if your video is good and resourceful you can forget about the trend. The more you give to the video, the more you will get out of it.

A decent DSLR camera will be OK initially for recording. Now-a-days mobile phones have great camera. If your budget is too tight, they. can be a good alternative

On the other hand, if your videos need to show your computer screen, you can go for Camtasia, CamStudio or SmartPixel.


As a newbie Camtasia is a great choice. It’s super easy to use and produce quality video.


Step 3: Optimize your video for on-page SEO

Now it’s time to optimize the video for SEO.

Title: Give an attractive title to your video. A good title should tell what your video is about. Try to place the keywords at the beginning. If your video is about “Basketball shooting”, the title can be “Basketball shooting techniques: 5 perfect ways to shoot better”

Description: Describe your video in at least 100 words in the description section. Use the keywords in the first and last paragraph. You can also use LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing).

For example: if your video is “best paleo diet”, the LSI can be:

“list of paleo foods”

“paleo diet recipes”

“paleo food recipes”

“easy paleo lunch ideas”


At the end of the description add links of your website and social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram etc.

Tags: Tags are important to tell the search engines what your video is about. Use the most relevant tags.

Use single word tags first, then double-word and long tags. Such as- From the previous example,

Single word






Double word

paleo diet

paleo foods

paleo idea


Long tags

best paleo diet

paleo diet recipes

paleo diet for quick result

quick paleo diet recipe

The best way to find good tags is to see which tags are used in top videos. But the thing is YouTube doesn’t show the video tags.

vidIQ and TubeBuddy are very good browser extensions to see the video tags used in other videos. Both has free and paid versions. Free versions will do just fine to fill your needs.

Screenshot of vidIQ:

Screenshot of TubeBuddy:

Screenshot of tags in vidIQ

When you play a video, tags will be shown at right side of the page. Both work pretty same. You can use either of them.

Thumbnail: Though YouTube gives you three auto generated thumbnails, believe me using them is a great mistake.

The first thing what audiences see in the SERP is the thumbnail. So video thumbnail has to be attractive and you MUST use a custom thumbnail to get SEO benefit.

Adobe Photoshop is a great tool to create attractive thumbnails easily. There are many other tools available, you can use whatever seems fine.

Now save changes then hit the Publish button and you are done with on-page SEO.


Step 4: Off-page SEO

YouTube SEO is incomplete without off-page SEO or video promotion. It is a crucial factor for ranking a video. Video promotion will also help the video to rank in Google.

Here are some of my personal favorite strategies of video promotion:

Facebook Pages and Groups

Facebook is the most popular social network today. It is a great source of traffic as well.

Create a page /group on your niche in Facebook. Post the videos there regularly. Besides post other relevant info, updates time to time to increase engagement with the followers.

There are many other pages and groups related to your niche. Share your videos there too.


Reddit is one of the best social media to promote your video. It has people from all the premium countries like USA, Canada etc.

Post the videos in relevant sub-reddits to drive traffic to your videos.


Google+ is very important as it is Google’s very own social media.

Just find related Google+ community and post your videos there regularly.

Apart from these twitter and Instagram are also great sources of traffic.

Don’t forget to AVOID SPAMMING. Write something about the video while posting video link. Spamming is a serious issue and it will drain your ranking in no time.

Quora & Q/A sites

Quora is a tremendous place to get backlinks to your videos. You will get a lot of people are asking questions regarding several issues related to your niche. Answer their questions and place video links where it is relevant.

There are many other Q/A sites like Yeahoo Answers, Wiki Answers, Answerbag. Utilize them to get quality backlinks.

Forums & Blog comments

Earlier in this article I have given some search terms to find niche related forums. Use them to sort out relevant forums and post your video links there wisely.

Blog comment is an excellent way of driving traffic and ranking your video. Place video link along with thoughtful comments in relevant blogs.


I have tried many things as YouTube SEO strategy. Believe me, these are the best practices which will give you the best results. Follow theme wisely and I am sure gradually you will master the process of ranking YouTube videos.

YouTube Videos don’t rank overnight. It takes time and hold your patience. Just do the SEO properly and you will see the results soon. Generally, it takes 5-10 days to rank, it may vary depending on the completion.

Here is a video showing some techniques to rank a YouTube video:

6 thoughts on “How to do YouTube SEO: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners”

  1. I had no idea that YouTube was something I should use SEO with – I’ve been optimising my website, then embedding my YouTube videos to get traffic. This is fantastic, thankyou.

    Is this something I can do with existing videos, or does it have to be done when you first release your video?

  2. Thank you so much for this guide!

    I’m starting to realize the importance of adding YouTube as part of my blog. But I’ve been so hesitant because I’m not that good in front of a camera, and I was wondering if a video of just my screen would be interesting enough to get many views.

    Is it necessary to be videoing yourself? Or can you do well with making video of your screen – I have programs that will do this.

    Thanks for your advice, this is a lot of new information to me!

    • You can do whatever you are comfortable with. You can do animated videos those are really popular, or your screen and one day when you are brave you can film yourself. But I do recommend doing Youtube 🙂

  3. I have been involved in sewing for about 50 years and making money working from home. With the knowledge I have gained over the many years I am building a website that will help dressmakers and sewers, with different sewing interests, with any queries about sewing and am able to suggest ways they can also make a business out of this great passion.


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