YouTube SEO – 12 tips to boost the ranking of your video


Do you wonder why your video on YouTube is not ranking? Although your keyword is in the title, the description and the file name appear and you have used great tags.

Eminence, your digital marketing agency has compiled for you the most important ranking factors that really matter to create a buzz on the Internet with your YouTube video.

Biggest video platform in the world

YouTube is the second largest search engine (after Google), as well as the largest video platform in the world. It was founded in the United States in 2005 and since 2006 it’s a subsidiary company of Google LLC. On the portal, users have the possibility to look at video clips for free but also to rate, comment and upload videos. Nowadays, YouTube has 1,5 billion active users per month. Most of the users are between 25 and 44 years old.



What are the most important ranking factors for YouTube-SEO?

  1. Video length
  2. Video introduction
  3. Video keyword search
  4. Channel optimisation
  5. Product quality
  6. Thumbnail
  7. Title
  8. Description
  9. Data name
  10. Category
  11. Subtitle/transcript
  12. YouTube engagement


  1. More traffic with the right video length

The more traffic your video is generating, the better the ranking is. Bear in mind that the traffic is not only generated by the number of clicks. The most important ranking factor is the watch time. Already in 2012 YouTube wrote that the focus is placed on the watch time. The watch time is the product of the number of views, multiplied with the consumed video time. Therefore, a higher video length produces a better watch time and moves your video forward. This doesn’t mean that you have to extend your videos, just keep in mind that the content is interesting and unique. In general a length of 08:20 (8 minutes and 20 seconds) is recommended.

  1. Video introduction
  • Confirm the respective theme at the very beginning: The subject is the reason why the user has clicked on your video.
  • Confirm your expertise: Give your users proofs, why they should believe in you. Mention your experiences and also the exact numbers. For example for a fitness video, you could say: “7 tips I followed and lost 20 kilos within 3 months.”


  1. Video Keyword research

Before the video shoot, you should find out the relevant keywords, which people are looking for. You can use search tools, for example Keyword Tool, or soovle. Also check for which keywords your competitor is ranking. Verify a channel of your competitors, which is approximately as popular as yours.

  1. Channel optimisation

An important ranking factor for YouTube is the channel trust. The higher the publication frequency, the engagement, the number of the subscribers, as well as the age of the channel, the higher YouTube is rating the channel trust.

  • Make sure your channel description is multifaceted and rich in content as well as up to date. Establish links to your website and to your Social Media channels. In the description you should also mention the channel relevant search queries.
  • Create an interesting header (recommended size: 1.546 x 423 pixel) and an eye-catching avatar (maximum 240 x 240 pixel).
  • Prepare an interesting trailer, not longer than one minute. Explain who you are and what users can expect on your channel. Deliver your users valid reasons to subscribe to your channel.


  1. Product quality

You can already reach a sufficient video quality with a good smartphone and the following standard equipment.

  • Tripod for your smartphone
  • Studio lighting
  • Microphone with pop screen
  • Background


  1. Thumbnail (preview image)

Also on YouTube, the Click-Through-Rate (CTR) is an important ranking factor. If you want the users to click on your video you must ensure, you stand out of the crowd. Use colours, which differentiate from the common YouTube colours, which are in general white, red and black. It is also helpful to contrast foreground and background, either with colours or with light intensity. Furthermore, we recommend using a consistent channel design (channel identity) for your thumbnails. You may complete your thumbnail with writing. For a vlog (video blog) you don’t necessarily need an additional writing. Whereas tutorials work better with writing. Writing works best when the font is big and bold. You shouldn’t use more than 30 signs and keep an eye on the fine balance between font and image elements.

  1. Title

A perfect YouTube title triggers curiosity and makes you want more!

It should be concise and not having more than 100 characters (with more than 100 characters your text will be truncated). Write your main keyword at the beginning, the YouTube Algorithm will realise quickly the theme of your video. The other relevant keywords should also be mentioned in the video.

Proven attributes are brackets. A study from Hubspot and Outbrain has proved that titles with explanations in brackets perform 38% better than titles without brackets.

An other tried and tested strategy to design your video titles more attractive is to indicate topicality to the user by adding year (and date) in the title.

  1. Description

The first one to two lines (100 – 120 characters) of your video description is visible in the search results. The rest only appears if you click on “show more”. This means, you absolutely have to convince your users at the very beginning to watch your video. Your entire description can have until 5’000 characters. But as an orientation value you should target 100 – 250 characters.

Skip marks are useful if you have a long video as it guides the user directly to the point/theme he is particularly interested in.

Trigger curiosity without saying too much. You should describe the content but not telling the details. In the description, your main keyword should be within the first 25 characters and in the whole description it should occur around two to four times, without affecting the readability.

Furthermore, you need to use your description to link your videos.

  1. File name

The data name is for sure not the biggest factor for the ranking of your video; nevertheless it should have integrated the main keyword, as this will send an additional sign to YouTube about your respective theme.

  1. Category

The placing of categories is not SEO relevant but determines which users can see your video on their homepage. Therefore you shouldn’t let this opportunity pass by.

  1. Subtitle/transcript

Subtitles or rather transcripts are helpful for hearing-impaired users and they can also be read by search engines. YouTube is establishing quite good subtitles, but the speech recognition is not so sophisticated. It is recommended to verify the transcript and to correct it, if necessary by a translator, to be on the safe side your content is well understood from your audience as well as from YouTube.

  1. YouTube engagement

If your video is liked, commented or shared and your channel is subscribed you are on a successful course and YouTube will register and reward it.

When it comes to the subscription you should invite your users in between the overlays. It is also recommended to invite your audience, during the video, to share and like your video.

Bear in mind, you must inspire your users to comment your video because the number of the comments has the biggest influence on the ranking!


Before you start creating a YouTube Video, you need to know your objectives as well as your target audience. Eminence, your digital marketing agency, can help you to establish a thoughtful audit, tailored to your personal needs and at the same time define your target audience. These important factors will help you to boost your company and to increase your ROI.