8 Advanced Tips for YouTube Search Optimization

When was the last time you watched a YouTube video?

If you’re a normal human being with access to the Internet, my guess is you interacted with YouTube in some way in the last 24 hours.

YouTube is one of the most visited websites on the planet, with over 6 billion hours of video streamed monthly from the service.


That, my friends, is insane!

Since YouTube is part of the Google universe (Alphabet Inc.), YouTube videos are integrated into Google search results. If you watch videos on Facebook, there’s a pretty good chance it’s a YouTube video (even though Facebook is fighting back).

YouTube videos are everywhere. And YouTube isn’t shrinking, no matter how popular Facebook Live is, no matter how viral Instagram stories are, and no matter how trendy Snapchat is.

The platform is a gold mine, and popular YouTubers like PewDiePie (whose estimated net worth is around $70 million) are outearning traditional celebrities like Allen Iverson, Meghan Trainor, and Hillary Clinton.

Like with Google, part of being discovered on YouTube is how you optimize for search.

I’ve been spending a lot of time on YouTube recently, and wow—I’m still learning power hacks and insane techniques that are helping my clients blow their revenue sky high.

YouTube isn’t dead. It isn’t old school. It isn’t lame.

YouTube is a red hot tool for search engine power, and you can benefit from using it.

I’ve already covered the basics of building a successful YouTube channel. In this article, I want to cover some of the advanced ways to increase your YouTube search visibility.

1. Write long, detailed descriptions for each video

You wanted advanced tips? Okay, so including a detailed video description doesn’t seem that advanced, but I mention it first because it’s absolutely vital.

And you may be missing something.

The longer and more detailed your video description, the better you’ll be able to rank for relevant searches.

Here’s why: contextual keywords. Contextual keywords are at the heart of all Google and YouTube searches.

The concept is simple. You’re not simply trying to rank for a single long-tail keyword. You’re trying to rank for a variety of loosely-related searches, which may or may not include the exact keyword phrase you’re targeting.

What do you do, then? You create a long and detailed video description that will inevitably contain some or all of the relevant keyword verbiage.

The below example of Dove’s video description shows how a hashtag and website link can be used in the video description field to maximize ROI.


Because it hosts user-generated videos, YouTube is often referred to as a social network. Detailed video descriptions are often applauded by the YouTube community and can help you gain followers.

Long-tail keywords are as important on YouTube as any other site as they allow you to provide specific information on five- to seven-word key terms through the usage of contextual information.

Jenna Marbles built a 16+ million following and is the most subscribed-to female user. Marbles uses her video descriptions to disseminate website, blog, and social media information.

2. Carefully research and select the right keywords for each video

Since YouTube’s videos are also searchable through Google, it makes sense to optimize for both search engines.

In fact, YouTube is second only to Google as the most heavily used online search engine. Here’s what video results look like on SERPs:


Search Engine Journal has a great article on optimizing YouTube videos for both YouTube and Google search using long-tail keyword research on Google’s Keyword Planner tool.

Those in-depth instructions explain how to determine which keywords will work best across both platforms.

Know that the devil is in the details. Adding as much text information to a video as possible provides both humans as well as robots (and whatever hybrids, like Stephen Hawking, may exist) with the necessary contextual information.

3. Embed and share videos wherever possible

Direct video SEO for contextual keywords is great (70% of all Google search results in 2012 included video), but where YouTube is very useful in hosting video content is for videos used on social media and the web.


Video embedding and sharing buttons are already included in your default options, so you don’t even have to do anything special as a creator unless you want to limit the distribution in any way.


The more websites, forums, chat rooms, and social networks link to your video, the more likely it is to be found. This is basic SEO backlinking applied to video content.

Adding video content to your blogs and websites increases engagement in a variety of ways I won’t go into too deeply here as I’ve championed the use of video throughout my blogs.

People love watching online videos, and these shares are what will ultimately drive your video’s traffic until it creates organic search traffic.

4. Curate themed playlists

In addition to having videos as a way to increase viewership, having playlists (curated lists of videos) also increases channel time, engagement, video length, and other important KPIs that improve your ROI.

Anyone can create a YouTube playlist by clicking this button:


When you’re in a playlist, you’ll see a list of videos in it while watching the current video. You can then navigate through the playlist.

This format provides a more immersive channel experience, and curating great playlists can have a greater impact than creating videos. Spotify built its entire $10 billion brand in the face of stiff competition from Apple, Pandora, and even YouTube because of curated playlists.

Here’s what it looks like:


Playlists are heavily promoted by YouTube, and your video is more likely to be viewed as part of a playlist than on its own in YouTube’s ecosystem of over 1 billion unique monthly users.

However, solo videos show up more often in Google searches, so each provides value.

5. Watch your metrics, and grow your subscribers

On YouTube, having subscribers equals having clout. In fact, you can even link your YouTube account to Klout to find out a general estimate of your YouTube clout in relation to other social media platforms and influencers across all channels.

For brands, businesses, and organizations on YouTube, the key metrics to measure the success of video content marketing campaigns are a bit different. Here’s an idea of key metrics to look for in video SEO:


Subscribers do increase views, which can increase your Adsense affiliate revenue, but that’s just a side project to help the channel pay for itself and sustain itself.

Where your video ranks in YouTube searches, the click-through rate of people who view it, and the bounce rates of people leaving after watching only one video are your true measurements of video content marketing success.

Phil Defranco built his $1 million fortune on the back of 6 million+ YouTube subscribers. Encouraging people to subscribe to your channel can quickly build viewership for new videos and help increase your odds of appearing in YouTube SERPs.

6. Optimize videos for the correct length

People who tell you length doesn’t matter are probably upset about how short their video is.

If you’re creating a video ad, the requirement is less than 1 minute (30 seconds is even better), but for video content, you’ll need videos that are ideally 10 minutes or longer.


The device the video is watched on does make a difference, as does video length. Music videos, for example, are commonly 3-6 minutes, making them ideal for mobile consumption.

Hollywood has taken note, and Dreamworks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg explained during a sit-down discussion at CTIA’s Super Mobility Week that studios are focused on providing 3-5-minute video clips with the Game of Thrones level of production.

Shorter videos are also often preferred when making live clips on other social networks, like Facebook, Vine, or Instagram.

Here’s a list of the average video length of top 10 most shared videos on Facebook as of September 2015:


With mobile video usage on the rise, a 5-10 minute video will suffice, with 20+ minute videos serving as tent poles to draw viewers.

Some podcasts and vlogs stretch longer, but until you get the hang of things, these are the lengths you should focus on.

Remember, quality counts. Most popular videos are shot in at least 1080p, and both 4k and 360-degree videos are on the market, while TVs are reaching beyond 8k as of this year’s CES trade circuit.

Spend the time, money, and resources to professionally shoot, edit, and animate a video to increase the likelihood it will be viewed more widely.

7. Consider crowdsourcing views

Market research is an important part of marketing, but to perform this research with online videos is difficult.

You can solicit views, but you need to keep in mind YouTube’s community guidelines. Some companies have found success using services like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to crowdsource video views.

Here’s how it works:


Instead of directly buying views, firms hire crowdsourcing platforms to perform market research: “Watch this video and let us know what you think by filling out this survey.” Each person is compensated $.10 to $1.00 for their time.

This market research increases views, which does help your videos rank, and it also provides the extra benefit of giving you hundreds to thousands (however many crowdsourced tasks you pay out on) of surveys about the video’s quality. This feedback can be invaluable in creating more content.

The most important consideration, however, I saved for last.

8. Be thorough

I started this article by mentioning the importance of filling out all fields, and I’m going to end on the same note because it’s that important.

Have you ever noticed how much information is crammed onto the packaging of anything you buy, from candy to electronics?

Businesses succeed by pushing through mounds of paperwork and grinding away at providing the most information possible. There’s no example of a popular YouTuber who doesn’t meticulously label their videos.

Here’s what YouTube’s video upload form looks like, asking for closed captioning, language, category, tags, descriptions, and other information:


Fill it all out every time before publishing to increase visibility.

You can also add filming time and location, enable/disable commenting and ratings, control whether your video can be embedded on external sites, add annotations, and more. Watch a few YouTube videos, and you’ll see how often these features are used.



Having a presence on YouTube is incredibly important, especially with the push for spherical video content and video search results.

Creating professional video content is only the first step.

Making it visible requires meticulous labeling and attention to detail to create a finished product.

What do you do to help increase views on your YouTube videos?


  1. Fantastic Blog Post Neil!

    I approach Video Promotion the same way I would a blog post. Create epic content and over deliver the hell out of it. Next I would create a mini blog post inside the description.

    Back over on my blog post I would create a show notes page which would include an intro to the video, the video itself and any resources mentioned. Whenever it feels right I will offer a content upgrade to help build my list.

    I’ve never tried this but works for podcasts… transcribing the audio, or creating a blog post, basically a written version of the video.

    I always like to share videos with my friends and family first because you can tell them to watch to end as it helps you. Next reach out to my network and… Start to hustle!

    Because my family and friends have started to watch and share, it adds a little social proof.

    Next I will reach out to influencers and ask them to come over and check it out. Most will share if your content is good.

    Thanks for this post Neil


  2. awesome, thanks neil 🙂

    • No problem.

      • Shorter videos are also often preferred when making live clips on other social networks, like Facebook, Vine, or Instagram. That’s so true Neil. If you want to make your YouTube videos go viral, you should be making them sharable on as many networks as possible.

        Also I highly recommend linking to multiple relevant sources from your video description and try to get your videos linked from top influencers in your industry. That way they rank really high.

        Thanks so much for the insights.

  3. Paragraph right underneath the YouTube Ecosystem.

    Should it say If you watch videos on Facebook, there’s a pretty good chance it’s a YouTube (originally Facebook) video?


  4. Actionable tips, love it.

    Just wanted to ask you, Neil, what software do you use or recommend for recording videos?

    And what about you guys?

  5. Thank you, Neil;

    Before reading your article Youtube was a complete mystery to me. Now I know I need to start using it for my marketing and feel more confident tackling on Youtube.

    I’m sharing the article on FB now.

  6. sandeep singh :

    These are the great tips, I came across these things 1 year after creating my channel and learned several other techniques including keyword research for YouTube, and how can your videos get next to popular videos in the recommendation (Same niche).

    Niel, closed caption also holds weight for ranking on YouTube since your video would be viewable in different countries.

    In 2014 I started following such tips and my views are increased from 32K/month to 700K/month and my channel is related to tech tips and troubleshooting so users search for the query and find my videos.

    More than 72% views are coming from search.

  7. Janet Shaughnessy :

    Many of my transcription clients have increased their rankings considerably by inserting a transcript of the video in the Description field. This goes along with your recommendation to put as much information in that field as possible. Simply placing the transcript in the area provided by YouTube does nothing, or next to nothing, to increase your search engine visibility. Just a hint. 🙂

  8. Brother Simeon :

    An excellent article as usual. Every article which applies to what I do, I print out and highlight extensively.

    What I would like to see is an article along the lines of “LinkedIn from A to Z: How Your Company Can Get the Most Out of This Essential Social Media Platform”

    I did a search for LinkedIn in your articles, and did not find a recent one that answered my questions. Probably just missed it.


    Brother Simeon (Swami Tarakananda)
    Light of the Spirit Monastery (ocoy.org)
    Light of the Spirit Press (lightofthespiritpress.com)

  9. Hey Neil,

    I’ve been hearing a lot about YouTube being dead but I’ve felt the opposite. My marketing depends on YouTube audience and I think it’s here to stay. I’ve been on YouTube for awhile now but still found this article extremely helpful. Especially when you mentioned the importance of video length. I always thought my videos were too long but found that it really depends on the content and the audience. I target different audiences and I noticed a difference between one audience and the next. But more importantly the content. They will stick around even for the longest videos.

    The other thing I found helpful was crowdsourcing views to get feedback. Never knew that was a possibility. So thank you!


  10. Great article Neil,
    Quality stuff here. In particular, I’ve always written 2-3 paragraph descriptions and I totally agree that it works.

    What is your take on link building to YouTube videos?

    No ones talking about it but 2 years ago or so Google pushed a lot of videos off of page one. The long tails videos are on page one but there’s nothing for popular terms like “how to build muscle” or similar on page one.

    So what’s your take on link building to get YouTube videos on page one of google? Thanks

  11. Sorry Neil but these tips are rather basic. A great part of my income comes from YouTube so I should know, right?

    You see SEO will take you only this far….and I can prove this in less than 30 sec.
    See the descriptions, keywords, seo tags on vids from vloggers.
    What you’ll find is that none of them are SEO optimized but get more views than any other content and get ranked easily.
    So why is that?
    I’ll let you guys in on a secret…when it comes to YouTube watchtime and retention are king. And after YouTube’s new algorithm change it seems also if your subscribers are tunning back in for your content.

    Neil if you want a practitioner on your side feel free to reach out.

    • nekraj bharitya :

      and to increase vloggers use “Fake thumbnails ” and ” Youtube autoplay” right ?Mr.Tom

      • nekraj, I’m just laying out the facts about the system, but feel free to test for yourself.

        I guess what you’re referring to with fake thumbnails is called clickbait, which is nothing

        Buzzfeed and every other giant publisher uses it. Also Neil btw. They want you to click and watch/read their content.

        It was more of a problem in the old days of YouTube. Today if your video is bad(clicked but not watched) YouTube will not suggest it to others.

        For the second one I have no idea what you’re referring to.

        • Nekraj @seofreetips :

          Tom The second I am saying that embeding YouTube video in our post or home page or sell page with auto playing.
          Means you have noticed some web page has a video which automatically start once a user land o that page.

    • Thanks for the comment and I do appreciate the feedback, Tom.

  12. Quick question Neil.. If I copy and paste some information from one of my blog posts and put it as the description of a Youtube video will I be penalized for duplicate content?


  13. nekraj bharitya :

    I have one quick question .Does link building affect video ranks or not ?
    I have seen many person build link for their youtube video by auto comment and other forums .
    will it help to improve rank or not ?

  14. So I read full post and all the comments here .

    And I can say one thing “This page is divided in 2 section :- One is basic Youtube SEO Tips which written by Neil Patel(or his team) and second is Advanced+Secret Youtube SEO Tips which shared by your readers in comments section ”

    So either you should change the tile of your post or just add the “Real Advanced Youtube SEO Tips” in you post which shared by commentator like adding captions , adding transcript in description field , using fake thumbnail , using YouTube auto play option while embedding video etc .

    This is my first comment here .Let’s c how you will reply .

  15. Hi Neil,

    I’m working on a YouTube video and it is for my friend who is a WordPress theme developer and launched his 4th theme on the ThemeForest. It’s is an exclusive theme for Adsense users. As I’m a blogger, I’m trying to send organic traffic to his theme.

    I have made the content on LinkedIn, Slideshare, Medium and finally on YouTube to rank on the several Keywords like “Best WordPress theme for Adsense, ad-friendly WordPress theme, high CTR theme, Ad-optimized WordPress theme and few more..

    Of course, I have created a blog post as well and got few reviews and mentions from the bloggers (who are already playing well with their Adsense theme post).

    Thanks for sharing these Advanced YouTube strategies, I’ll implement for sure. As you said, I have provided the long description with KWs. So, do you have any idea, Whether my organic plan will work?

    Awaiting for your great reply!


    • Good luck, Nirmala. Let me know how it goes but make sure you try to network with influencers in your marker as well.

  16. The biggest problem with YouTube is protecting your own content. Some of the big players in the industry are creating monopoly and you have to come up with solid content and great SEO to be in the game. Your insights on SEO are truly helpful.

    Attracting first 10k subscribers is crucial to compete with biggies. You will be granted a previlage from YouTube to copyright your content after you got first 10k subscribers.

  17. Part time CFO services UAE :

    Very interesting! Good luck to you for upcoming post and I look forward to reading more about your work in future.

  18. Mohammed Anzil :

    Great post Neil. If you are not a star and your video went viral this would be compare as winning a lottery. Thanks for your details about YouTube playlist.

  19. Hi Neil Sir, Great Content as always
    Do the Consider crowdsourcing views can be use as one of the raking tips for any videos. Do Google will not track them down? Like these are paid reviews.

  20. Teddy Tech - SEO & Web design in Kerala India :

    Thanks Niel. Nice article about YouTube optimization.

  21. Awesome Article,

    I complete agree with point 1 Write long, detailed descriptions for each video with keywords will help us alot to get ranks.

    Thanks Neil this is another great post.

  22. Hey Neil,

    I was thinking about long description and your article cleared all my doubts. Thanks 🙂

  23. Neil, Thank you so much for your Skillful Knowledge and that which you have explained the whole thing as easy as that. It would actually give me more boost from now on… you really helped do my work easier…

  24. uthman saheed :

    I do upload video on youtube, but I have never optimized them for search engine that choosing the appropriate keywords. Thanks for this.

  25. Amazing post Neil, as always.. I have never explored the Youtube opportunities yet. But after this I must try and use your tips!



  26. HI Niel,

    Thank you for the post,

    So description of the video really helps it in Google SERP. I have uploaded many videos but didn’t much cared about a long description. Great Tip

  27. Thanks Niel,

    Your YouTube article is very helpful and after read this article my all doubts clear. Now i know how to start using it for my marketing. Thanks for sharing these Advanced YouTube strategies.

  28. Thank you for the Aritcle.

  29. Here’s a quote near the start of this post “If you watch videos on Facebook, there’s a pretty good chance it’s a Facebook video (even though Facebook is fighting back).” I believe you meant “… good chance it’s a YOUTUBE video. Just want to make sure I understand completely.

  30. Alexander Tereshchenko :

    Hi Neil!
    Thanks for your post. Almost all the tips sound familiar to me, but #7 was something fresh.

    But still, not sure if these tips are useful. Let me explain: I agree that these recommendations help a vid to get found. But the biggest foible is following:

    all these tips are nothing if a clip isn’t engaging.

    By “engaging” I mean its possibility to provide retention.

    Neither paid views, nor rich descriptions won’t help if there is low retention and total view duration.
    What do you think?

    • Getting noticed is the first step but you are right keeping them engaged is another discussion worth exploring more.

  31. Hey Neil,
    Thanks for sharing this. I have a small YouTube channel. I want to share something here.

    It was my 2nd video on YouTube and I did some sort of keyword research and then I uploaded the video. I wrote a really big description with tags. The length of the video was around 10:30.

    After 10 days of uploading, My video was ranking at 10th position on the first page of youtube when searched for that keyword. Then, I got to know some more things about Youtube optimization and I applied the same on my video (That was a kind of experiment)

    Do you know what?

    IT WORKED!!!

    My video jumped from 10th position to 4th position within a week. My video is the only video among other videos which is 2 months old having 1756 (Counting) views (Poor ME). All the videos near mine videos are 1-2 years old with 215K, 90K, 750K views.

    These tactics works. But I am still looking for something to jump my video from 4th to 1st 😀

    Going to try some of these. That was a long comment, though!!!
    Thank You

  32. Great tips on YouTube but I will also add you should also encourage viewers of your videos to like and comment on your videos.

  33. Ranjeet kumar :

    I just have started affiliate marketing and I am using youtube. Thanks lot for great post.

  34. Thanks for your post. Almost all the tips sound familiar to me

  35. Thanks for this amazing Article. Would test it on a Youtube Video!

  36. Thanks Neil for such a great effort.

    I learnt a lot a things from this single article which I was searching for a long time, and I am surprised as I get all of them from this single article.

    And a miner request somehow not related to you. If possible kindly make a tutorial on it.

    And if it is possible then kindly share the link with me.

    Thanks in advance

  37. This is fabulous! Useful tips! Love it! Any one know where to get free music? I have a couple of slides and I want some music in background!

  38. youtube verify :

    Thanks Neil for the tips
    it’s the best article i’ve ever read about youtube SEO.

  39. Hello Neil,

    Excellent post..

    I have learnt a lot from this article, here you have shared fantastic tips which i never got from other websites. For my office i am planning to do video marketing and i hope this post will help me a lot to get more traffic and subscribers.

    I can consider it as the fantastic article i’ever read for YouTube SEO. I will concentrate more on writing long and detailed description for every video.

    I have one query, what should be the length of the video? It should exceed 5 mins or less than 5mins.

    Thank you Neil

  40. Hello sir , a bundle of thank’s to sharing this nice article.

  41. Flats in Ultadanga :

    Great Article.

  42. Hi Neil

    Thanks for your excellent, detailed, clear structured blog. I’m sure with your help I’ll soon hit the million mark… although I have to launch the blog first 😉

    One question … I thought Facebook ‘downgraded’ links and content from external sites like YouTube, so they reach less people, unless they already have a huge following. Consequently for small audiences I was recommended to upload separately to Facebook and YouTube… Is that correct? Any thoughts on this?

    Looking forward to hearing from you.


  43. Hi,

    Excellent & Great post indeed!

    You are right Dear, Thank you!

    I liked the way you worded this information so even a newbie can understand the process. Great information looking forward to more of the same.

    It’s really an inspirational one!! But hard work is also a requirement. What a super, empowering and wise post to kick the year off.

    Great Article. Looking forward to hearing from you.


  44. Nathan Stadler :

    Great article on Youtube SEO, youtube is right under google when it comes to search engines. I’m not a big youtube watcher myself, I prefer reading articles like yours. Though it’s very easy to overlook this market, I can see your points on making use of youtube.

    I’ve noticed you’ve started to using single sentences in your paragraphs lately, is that something you’ve started or is this a trend that helps in conversions?

  45. Its really helpful to promote any new video on Youtube to increase the viewers. I also like to watch the videos on Youtube for more details of any news, movies or celebrity gossip.

    Thax for such worthy article realted to SEO. I look forward for more such articles.

    Well Wishes

  46. Whenever it feels right I will offer a content upgrade to help build my list.

  47. Hey Neil,
    Thank you So much for your valuable article , your tips really helped me out to increase viewers on my videos and also on my youtube channel.

  48. I have a youtube channel, after reading this I am trying to optimize my youtube channel

  49. Yep. Totally agree with your points. All broadcast company (like Jio TV) have their own Youtube channels and they will definitely beat you if you do nothing.

  50. Merry Williams :

    Great…That is a really powerful post. Thanks for sharing with us.

  51. Neil, the screenshot under ‘Curated Playlists’ has been lifted from my site without permission. I have sent you a direct message on Twitter about this too. I would appreciate if you check and take necessary action immediately.

  52. Thank you for sharing this great post. In this post give good information about Advanced Tips for YouTube Search Optimization and for that in this post good explanation in detail that helpful for people. In this post you give us Wonderful information.

  53. I already follow all steps but not getting enough viewers. What should I do in such situation?

    • You have to give the strategies plenty of time to work. In the meantime, participate in the comment section of other YouTube channels. Make yourself known.

  54. https://www.hmlwires.com/ :

    Thanks for posting your valuable thoughts with us & our readers. Please keep coming & continue commenting on this blog.

  55. Length of the video really matters a lot. Even YouTube now allows you to add locations as well, where you want to show your video.

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