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Most people would be surprised to learn that YouTube is second only to Google as a search engine. Already close to 80% of all videos are YouTube videos and the platform is growing very fast with around 500 hours of videos being added every minute. According to, YouTube is the world leader in revenues in the photo and video software category. This means it can be very easy to get lost in the ocean of videos unless you implement SEO best practices to optimize your videos for better search visibility.

Understanding YouTube SEO Concepts 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all about making changes to online content so that it is ranked better in the search results. The importance of SEO lies in the fact that the top-ranked results attract the maximum traffic. Since search engines cannot interpret images or videos, optimization will typically involve elements like Metadata, descriptions, playlists, as well as closed captions, transcripts, and subtitles. Perhaps the most important reason why YouTube has emerged as a powerhouse is its ownership by Google that dominates the search landscape. The two behemoths not only share data seamlessly but also all videos uploaded to YouTube are immediately indexed by Google obviating the need for the search engine bots to crawl through the videos or to submit the site map for the new video. However, even with this close relationship with Google, you still need to implement SEO best practices to enable Google to understand the context of the videos and rank it better for the target keywords. Some vital tips on how you can get more traffic to your YouTube videos:

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Add Closed Captions That Are Accurate

Although YouTube has a provision for adding captions automatically the accuracy is restricted to 70% at the maximum, which can often lead to captions being incomprehensible and downright silly to the point of being embarrassing. When the captions are inaccurate and gibberish, the chance of Google labelling them as spam increases and the search rank can be easily lost for not only the specific videos but also for your YouTube channel. To get over this, it is essential to add closed captions that are accurate to the videos. The addition of accurate and relevant closed captions not only makes your videos more visible on the searches but also leads to better engagement, evidenced by more likes, comments, and shares. The better level of engagement is also a strong SEO signal for better ranks leading to more views. The use of closed captions also means that the videos are better enjoyed by viewers who have hearing challenges because of either physical problems or an environment that is noisy or does not permit audio over the speaker.

Add a Video Transcript 

Adding the transcript of the video in the space reserved for the description is not only very helpful for viewers but also for search engines to crawl and understand the subject of the video for indexing it properly. The allowable space accommodates 4,850 characters, which is more than adequate for a 10-minute video and if you need more text to be displayed, you can add a link to a separate webpage for the full transcript. Making sure that the transcript includes the most important keywords will ensure better ranks in search results. Smart marketers have also realized that the video transcripts can be a very good point of origination for further content creation like blogs, whitepapers, infographics, website content, fact sheets, and much more that can be optimized to attract more traffic, according to a leading SEO Services Toronto agency.

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Translate Captions and Transcripts to Different Languages 

Given that close to 80% of the viewership of YouTube videos coming from outside America, translating the video captions and transcripts to multiple languages can only serve to inform and entertain non-English speaking populations better. When you have different languages of the captions and transcripts, your videos will show up better in local language searches and expand your audience greatly. The quality and accuracy of the translation are very important so you should always get the translations done professionally.

Optimize Title, Description, and Tags for Important Keywords 

As in conventional SEO, you should also pay attention to optimizing your text content appearing in various places like the title, description, tags, etc. for important keywords. These keywords should describe the content of your videos accurately and also represent commonly used terms used by users to find content in search engines. Be careful of not stuffing keywords as it could lead to penalties being imposed that can drive your page ranking down. It is very important not to resort to techniques for beating robots, write for humans instead, in crisp and unambiguous language. The free video analytics tool provided by YouTube is a good resource for finding out the most popular keywords and phrases being used by searchers. Long-tail keyword phrases are especially valuable as they are more targeted and specific matches. Remember to include the keywords in the transcripts also.

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Use a Thumbnail That Arouses Interest 

You can choose which video frame to use as the thumbnail from among the three options presented by YouTube or something else of your own choice. By picking a thumbnail that has appeal to your target audience, you can make a big difference to the click-through rate. The ideal thumbnail should be a good visual representation of the contents of your video and/or the most important keyword. Take care not to keep anything important in the lower corner of the thumbnail as the duration of the video is laid over it. Use images that are high contrast and high quality for the best visual appeal.


As online content management strategies mature, it is evident that videos represent the next big thing in content dissemination. Most people like to watch videos as it involves less stress and concentration than for reading text. Moreover, the memorability of contents displayed in videos is usually far more than that of text. As an increasing number of marketers upload large volumes of videos on YouTube, it can be very difficult for individual videos to move to the top of the search rankings without the help of appropriate SEO. The techniques described here will help significantly to attract a larger volume of traffic.