How to do SEO to Rank your Videos in YouTube Search

In this article, I’m going to tell you how to do YouTube SEO to rank your videos #1 in YouTube search. And we’ve used this exact process to rank #1 for all of the most coveted keywords in our niche.

Now, you might be thinking, “why is YouTube SEO important when the most views come from suggested and browse features?” Well, there are 3 critical reasons why I think you should have a YouTube SEO strategy especially if you’re trying to get that initial traction to your videos.

#1. Suggested and browse views usually require you to have an existing subscriber base and an existing library of relevant videos.

#2. Search views are super consistent. And consistent views lead to consistent subscribers, assuming you’re delivering on the title of your video – more on this later.

And #3. Search views have high average view durations.

youtube seo

Let’s get straight into the YouTube SEO tips and processes that are going to help you rank your videos #1. The first step is to do keyword research. To get started, you’ll need to generate a list of keyword ideas. And there are a few places you can look.

The first is YouTube autosuggest. Just start typing in your keyword and you’ll see a list of queries that other YouTube users are searching for. Note down some that interest you because, at this stage, we’re just brainstorming. Now, because YouTube doesn’t show you any search volume data, you can throw them into Google Trends, make sure you have the search mode set to YouTube search, and you’ll get a general idea of search popularity on YouTube. And just so you know, Google Trends doesn’t show you absolute search volumes.

Another way you can find keyword ideas is to use a tool like TubeBuddy, vidIQ, or Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer.

Here’s how they work starting with TubeBuddy.


After you’ve installed their Chrome Extension, just click on this icon, and then go to Keyword Explorer. Next, search for a seed keyword, which is just a broad keyword related to your niche, like “cooking.”And right away, they’ll give you some scoring metrics, the number of videos in the search results, and the estimated monthly search volume. Hit the Video Topics tab to see more keyword ideas.

The second YouTube keyword research tool is VidIQ.


To get started, log in to your video account and hit Keywords in the menu. Then just like last time, type in a keyword and run the search. And you’ll see significantly more keyword ideas than the other two tools I mentioned.

Finally, Ahrefs Keywords Explorer.

Ahrefs Keywords Explorer

Just select YouTube as the search engine, enter your seed keyword, and run the search. And right away, you’ll see the search volume for your target country, the estimated number of clicks to videos, and the global search volume broken down by country. And as far as I know, Ahrefs is the only tool that shows you country-specific YouTube search data. Now, to see keyword ideas, just go to the matching terms report and in this case, you’ll see well over 300,000 unique keyword ideas with plenty of filters to play around with.

Alright, next up, you need to choose a topic you want to go after. And you should have a keyword list from the last step. Now, what you’ll want to do is search for the keyword in YouTube search while you’re in private browsing mode. Then look for one thing in the top 3 videos. Scope out your competitors. Now, generally speaking, you’ll want to look at the size of the channel and its topical authority. So for the query, “makeup tutorial for beginners,” you’ll see that the top 3 channels all have over a million subscribers.

Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t compete, but if your channel has 100 subscribers, As for topical authority, just dig through their channels to see if most of their content is on the same topic. In this case, all 3 channels are mostly about makeup or a mix of makeup, beauty, and fashion. So again, if you’re a small channel, I wouldn’t try and compete for this keyword at this point. Instead, I’d just rinse and repeat these steps until you find a topic that’s more realistic to rank for.

Alright, so after you’ve chosen a topic to create a video around, it’s time to move on to the next step which is to create a high-performing video. And by high-performing, I’m referring to a video that will have high retention, high average view duration, and high CTR. A big ask but let me show you how to do that. For educational-type content, which is kind of the bread and butter of YouTube SEO, you’ll want to script your content. Now, as for the structure of your script, let’s keep things simple and talk about them as they come – the intro, the body, and then the outro.

For the intro, you’ll want to keep it short and sweet and grab the attention of your viewers. You want to give them a reason to keep watching.

As for the actual body of your content, this is where you need to deliver on your title and intro. And there are two things you should master: the technical aspects and the engagement factors.

Let’s talk about the technical stuff first. Throughout your video, you’ll want to say your target keyword and related entities to your topic. Google has officially said that they extract audio from the video file to understand what words are being spoken. And that’s probably why all of your videos, at least in English, are automatically transcribed when you upload a video. Now, much of this should come naturally because they’ll need to be mentioned in a comprehensive tutorial. So, there’s no need to stuff in a bunch of related keywords just for the sake of it. Now, in that same statement from Google, they said they extract visual information such as objects, animations, or motions. And this means that you should show matching visuals on your screen to your spoken words if applicable.

Alright, the final part of your script is the outro. Just like the intro, you want to keep it short because people will click away if they know the video is coming to an end. Another thing worth doing is recommending other related videos towards the end of your content. And if people click and watch these videos, then your videos are creating longer session watch times which is what YouTube wants at the end of the day.

Alright, after you’ve finished scripting your content, you’ll record your video, edit it, and then we’re on to the next step which is to optimize your video for YouTube.