YouTube SEO Guide - How to Rank YouTube Videos in 2018

YouTube SEO Guide

Why should you learn YouTube SEO and how will it help your business?

Although Google and Facebook are both great platforms for getting a lot of views and new customers, the problem is that they became very competitive over the last couple of years.

According to eMarketer, only 9% of small businesses use YouTube even though it is the second most visited website in the world (right after Google). It is also the 2nd biggest search engine, and over 50% of Google search results also contain a video result – which could be your YouTube video!


Research has shown that 67% of YouTube users watch YouTube videos to help them make a purchase decision.

Just like Google, YouTube wants to show its users the best result for any keyword. Rather than backlinks, YouTube has other ranking criteria.

YouTube SEO ranking factors

  1. Audience retention – the percentage of your video that people watch (people don’t watch 90% of a bad video)
  2. Total watch time – the more minutes you have, the better you will rank. The more time a user spends on YouTube, the more money YouTube makes from advertising.
  3. Engagement signals – YouTube wants you to have an engaged audience (like, comment, subscribe, share and add your video to a playlist). The more signals you get, the more engaged your audience is.
  4. Keyword optimization – title, tags, description

Keyword research is the critical first step. Google SEO and YouTube SEO are entirely different in the research phase because there are no accurate tools for YouTube (such as Ahrefs and SEMrush).

  • Study your competitor’s channels to see which videos performed the best.
  • Copy topics from competitor’s blogs
  • Copy existing topics from your blog

Use vid IQ,, and YouTube Suggest.

Go to and connect to an existing YouTube channel. Go to insights and see which videos were also watched by people who watched my videos.

Analyze the tags that competitors use. You can do that by installing the vid IQ browser extension.

Do not go after low competitive keywords. For YouTube SEO, competition is a good thing. Go for highly searched keywords.

Most channels only get 10-20% of views from YouTube search. The majority of views comes from suggested videos section.

YouTube recommends videos and channels based on what the user has already watched. Competitive keywords help you get more views from “Suggested Videos.” That is because you will show up alongside videos that people already watch.

YouTube SVO – Suggested Video Optimization rather than doing traditional YouTube SEO that most people want to do – they try to rank a YouTube video for a specific keyword rather than optimizing it in a way where the video will be suggested to thousands of users.

Suggested videos have 2-5 times more potential to generate views than YouTube search. The more search results you get, the more competitive the keyword is.