YouTube SEO: How to Rank YouTube Videos in 2020

YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and a HUGE source of traffic!

YouTube gets 30 million visitors per day and is a great source of traffic for your website.

Despite this, it’s extremely easy to rank on the first page!

If you’re not using YouTube, you’re missing out on a MASSIVE opportunity!

You need to start using YouTube to your advantage, now!


UPDATE: YouTube Creators Academy has created its own course on how to create a brand for your channel, and why it’s important.

I highly recommend you go through this course.

Check it out here:


Step 1 – Video Creation:

I can’t tell you what content to put in your video, as this depends heavily on your niche, but there are a few key points you should keep in mind.


Video Length

Just like blog posts, longer videos rank better.

Your video should be at least 5 minutes long.

20 minute long videos rank the best, and have the best viewer retention.

Viewer retention is the main factor YouTube uses to rank videos.


Make Your Video High Definition

The top 70% of videos are all available in 1080p HD.

These videos provide better user experience and therefore rank better.

All video creation tools allow at least 720p HD, anything less and you need to invest in better software.


Add Audio To Your Video

You’d be hard pressed to find a top-ranking video with no audio.

They don’t exist.

People expect videos to have accompanying audio.

They don’t want to have to watch the video (that’s far too much work), they want to be spoon-fed.

Add a decent background track and relevant commentary to your video.



Videos that entice people to subscribe to your channel rank higher.

Adding a simple CTA at the end of your video can increase both subscriber count and video rank.

Simply ask viewers to subscribe if they liked your video, add an annotation with the link to your channel, and your away.


Step 2 – Channel Authority:

There are thousands of channels regularly publishing content for their viewers.

What makes you stand out? How do you distinguish yourself?

With a well-branded channel, of course.



Your channel header is the first thing viewers will see when they visit your channel, so make it stand out.

It should contain your channels name, and any other relevant information, such as your website address.

If you’re useless at design, then you can outsource it.

However, I strongly recommend becoming proficient with design as it will save you (and potentially make you) lots of money over time.


If you’re running a personal channel, then there’s nothing wrong with using a picture of yourself.

The problem with this is that it’s not quickly recognizable.

Viewers should be able to skim over the homepage and easily recognize when a video has been uploaded by you.

I recommend using your businesses logo, if you have one.



Your channel description should include your catchphrase or slogan, and a few main keywords.

A little introduction about yourself, and the type of content you will be uploading, works best.

Include things that make you stand out, such as awards you have received, or companies you have worked with.


Channel Trailer

Possibly the most important thing on your channel, the trailer is your one shot opportunity to convince potential viewers to subscribe to your channel.

It should be no longer than 60 seconds, and be engaging from start to finish.

As with your channel description, give a quick overview of yourself, your achievements, and your channels content.

Remember, this can make or break your channel, so take the time to create an enticing channel trailer that converts potential viewers into loyal subscribers.


Video Introduction

You should use the same branded introduction for every video, but remember, the first 15 seconds of a video are the most important.

They should be used to grab your viewers attention.

Your branded intro should come after this first 15 seconds, and last no longer than 30 seconds.

The first 15 seconds should be a personal introduction from you, explaining the purpose of this specific video.


Video Ending

Similar to the introduction, I recommend having a branded video ending.

This is your call-to-action.

As mentioned, include a link to subscribe to your channel, and a trailer for your previous and next videos.

Again, this shouldn’t be longer than 30 seconds.

You can also add the names of your social media handles, for more exposure.


Vanity URL

Once you meet the requirements, you should claim your custom channel URL.

The custom URL – which is formatted as “” – is much more professional, so you can share it on your other social profiles.

To create a custom URL for your channel, your account needs to:

  • Have 100 or more subscribers
  • Be at least 30 days old
  • Have a channel logo and header


Step 3 – Uploading:

Before uploading your video, you should take the time to add relevant metadata to the file.

Right-click the file and add a title, small description containing your keywords, and a few tags.

You should also rename your video file to contain your keywords.

You’ll add the same information to your video on YouTube once it’s uploaded.

Read on to learn how to write enticing video titles and descriptions.



The video title should be descriptive yet simple.

It should contain your keyword at the very beginning, and possibly a second time at the end.

For the second instance, you could also use an LSI.

Here’s some examples:

“How To Samba – 5 Easy Moves To Begin Learning Samba”

“Immediate Back Pain Cure – 3 Simple Tricks To Ease Back Pain Instantly”



The first paragraph of your description should be a brief overview of what your video is about.

Again, it should contain your keyword near the beginning, and again further in.

Finish it off with a link to your website and a quick one-line CTA.

The second and third paragraphs should go into more detail about your video, again containing your keyword and various alterations.

This should be a small 200-300 word article. If you have a related article, use an excerpt from that and link back to it.

Next, add a link to your previous video, or a video related to the topic of this one. Write a short description of the video, so people know what they are clicking on.

Add a link to your channel, a relevant article on your website, and a quick thank you message similar to how you’d end the video.


Keywords / Tags

I’m not going to show you how to find keywords, there are plenty of tutorials that do that already. But here’s a few key points.

Choose A Long-Tail Keyword

Yes, these are still effective. They also allow you to rank for multiple keywords (including LSI’s), with the same videos.

Choose A Low Competition Keyword

A keyword with difficulty under 40 is great. Ideally, it should have at least 300+ monthly searches.

Targeting a higher difficulty keyword is fine, especially if you already have a large following, but it will, of course, be harder to rank.

How To Show Up On Competitors Videos

Here’s a simple trick to show up as suggested on competitors videos. Add their channel name to your tags. Simple.

Here’s a quick example, I’m trying to rank a video about infographics.

A channel called “The Infographics Show” ranks well for this keyword (clearly).

I want to show up at the end of their videos…

…So I add the phrase “The Infographics Show” to my video’s tags.

And… BOOM, there I am. What did I tell you? Simple!

Use All 500 Characters

Unlike meta-tag keywords – YouTube keywords are still very much relevant.

Use the allocated space to include variations of your keyword and related long-tail keywords.

If you’re not using all 500 characters you’re missing an easy ranking opportunity.


Annotations & Transcripts

Any further text which includes your keyword is helpful.

Annotations are another way to promote CTA’s.

If you have the transcript of your video, you should add it.

This allows YouTube to further understand the content of your video.

If you don’t have the transcript, then listen to the audio and write it!

Remember, YouTube can’t watch your video, it doesn’t know what your video’s about unless you tell it.


Step 4 – Backlinks:

These are nowhere near as important for ranking videos as they are for websites, but they’re still useful, especially for ranking on Google. Luckily, getting backlinks for videos is much easier than for websites.

I will show you the best backlinks for YouTube videos, and how to build them.


Social Sharing

Share the video on your social media profiles. Encourage people to do the same. This is how videos go viral.

Embed the video on relevant forums and blogs.

Don’t just spam posts, only embed your video where it’s relevant and helpful.

If the site doesn’t allow embedding, a link will work just the same.



If you have a relevant article on your site, embed the video at the top, or mention it within the blog.

People enjoy watching videos much more than reading lengthy articles.

If you don’t have a relevant article, write one!


DIVA Sharing

I’ve talked about this method before in my easy link building methods post, and it’s even easier to implement for videos.

We can use the video transcript and article written above, images and slideshows from the video, the audio track, and of course the video itself.

Check out the post to learn more about this great method.


BONUS: Best YouTube Marketing Tools

Here is a list of tools to help make your life easier:

And more coming soon…


Extra Reading

I’ve read every YouTube SEO tutorial on the web, and I’ve covered the most important areas.

The only guides worth mentioning are the ones from Backlinko, which are as follows:

If you find any other resources worth mentioning, I’d love to hear about them.


Final Thoughts

As you can see, ranking on YouTube is much easier than ranking on Google.

Nobody optimizes their videos for SEO, so this gives you the advantage.

Use this information and soon you’ll have streams of traffic on both your website and videos.

Good luck!


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