Youtube SEO Checklist


Are you looking to learn YouTube SEO? Then this simple step-by-step Youtube SEO checklist is for you. Youtube SEO (search engine optimisation) is actually a lot like Google SEO (unsurprisingly so, as Youtube is a subsidiary of Google). Learn how to optimise your videos and climb the YouTube rankings.

Here are the key points to consider in Youtube SEO:

  1. Choose a target keyword for your video: Identify a keyword that your audience is searching for and that you can create a video around. This keyword will guide the rest of your optimisation efforts.
  2. Keyword Research: Generate a list of potential keywords using YouTube’s Search Suggest feature or by looking at popular videos in your niche. Choose the best keyword with low competition.
  3. Include the target keyword in the file name: When you upload your video to YouTube, include your target keyword in the file name.
  4. Optimise the Video Title: Include your target keyword in your video title, and ensure your title solves a problem or provides a clear benefit to the viewer.
  5. Include the target keyword in the title: The title of your video is one of the most important factors for YouTube SEO. It should be 5-12 words long and include your target keyword once without keyword-stuffing.
  6. Start Your Description With Your target keyword: Include your target keyword early in your video description. This can result in a higher ranking for your keyword.
  7. Include the keyword and keyword variations in the video description: Your video description should be at least 200 words long and include your target keyword a few times.
  8. Optimise YouTube Tags: Use relevant keywords in your tags to help your videos get more views. 10 to 15 are enough.
  9. Add related tags to your video: Your first tag should be your exact target keyword, followed by a few variations and other topics that your video covers.
  10. Add your video category: Select a category for your video to help YouTube group your video with similar content and help it appear in relevant playlists.
  11. High-Retention Video: Create valuable and interesting content that keeps viewers watching for longer. Encourage viewers to comment on your video.
  12. Improve Your YouTube Content: Focus on creating high-quality content that provides value to your viewers.
  13. Find Your Optimal Video Length: Longer videos tend to rank better. Aim for videos that are longer than the average in your niche.
  14. Increase Your Watch Time: Aim to increase the amount of time people spend watching your videos, an important YouTube ranking metric.
  15. Create an Eye-Catching Thumbnail: A good thumbnail can lead to more clicks and better SEO. Make sure your thumbnail stands out and clearly communicates what your video is about.
  16. Upload a custom video thumbnail: Thumbnails can significantly increase your video’s click-through rate.
  17. Add Closed Captions: Closed captions are crawlable by search engines. Ensure your captions are accurate for the best results.
  18. Add subtitles: These can improve the accessibility of your video and can also give you a slight SEO advantage.
  19. Add cards and end screens that tie into the topic of your video: Cards and end screens are tools that you can use to promote other content within your video. They can increase audience engagement and keep viewers on your channel.
  20. Add hashtags to your video: Hashtags can help your video appear in relevant searches and can increase its discoverability.
  21. Create YouTube Playlists: Building keyword-rich playlists can strengthen your YouTube SEO and increase view time and retention.
  22. Create a playlist about your video: If your video is part of a series, or if you have other videos on the same topic, consider creating a playlist.
  23. Optimising your channel page: Include keywords in your channel’s About section and make sure your channel page looks professional.
  24. Build Links to Your YouTube Channel, Not Just Your Videos: Inbound channel links tell YouTube that you’re an authority in your niche. Aim to get links to both your channel and your videos.
  25. Video Promotion: Share your video on Q&A sites, include a link to your video in your email signature, and embed your videos in blog posts.
  26. Share on Social Media: Share your videos on every social platform available to maximise visibility and SEO.
  27. Send an Email to Your List: Use your email list to get more eyes on your content. This can increase the number of views you get, which is crucial for good YouTube SEO.
  28. Embed Your Video: Embedding your videos can get them in front of more people and increase user engagement.
  29. Promote your video: After uploading and optimising your video, you need to promote it.
  30. Audience Interaction: Encourage viewers to comment, subscribe, and share your video on social media.
  31. Engaging with your audience: Encourage your viewers to leave comments on your video and reply to comments that you get.
  32. Encourage people to Subscribe: Subscriptions are a significant factor in YouTube’s algorithm. Encourage viewers to subscribe to your channel to increase your visibility.
  33. Monitor your video’s performance: Use YouTube’s analytics tools to track how your video is performing. Use this information to improve your future videos.
  34. Review Your Watch Time Report: Use YouTube’s watch time report to see how many minutes people are spending on your videos. This can help you track changes in user engagement.
  35. Use Engagement Reports to Drive YouTube SEO: Use YouTube’s engagement reports to measure your overall performance. These reports can provide valuable insights into your performance and help you improve your YouTube SEO.
  36. Step Up the Production Value: Improve your video quality by investing in a tripod, backdrop, proper lighting, and a good microphone.
  37. Add Some Suspense to Your Videos: Start your video with a bit of suspense to keep viewers watching. This can be a surprising statistic or a compelling question.
  38. Privacy Settings: Choose whether your video should be public, unlisted, or private.
  39. Monetisation Settings: If you’re part of the YouTube Partner Programme, you can choose to monetise your video.
  40. Comments & Ratings: Decide whether you want to allow comments and ratings on your video.
  41. Age Restrictions: If your content isn’t suitable for all audiences, you may need to add an age restriction.
  42. Video Language: Indicate the language of your video to help YouTube provide a better viewing experience for your audience.
  43. Recording Date and Location: You can choose to include the recording date and location, but this is optional.
  44. License and Ownership Rights: Choose the type of license for your video and indicate whether it contains paid promotion.
  45. Advanced Settings: In the advanced settings, you can enable or disable features like allowing embedding of your video, enabling age restriction, and more.
  46. Community Contributions: If applicable, you can allow your community to contribute translated video titles, descriptions, closed captions, and subtitles.
  47. 360-degree Video Settings: If you’re uploading a 360-degree video, you’ll need to verify that the video is 360.
  48. Distribution Options: You can choose whether to notify subscribers and whether your video should be distributed to all of your subscribers, or only to those who have clicked the bell icon.
  49. Premiere Settings: If you want to create a premiere, you can schedule your video to be released at a specific time.
  50. Customisation for Visibility: You can choose to feature the video on your channel page.
  51. Ad Breaks: If your video is longer than 8 minutes and you’re part of the YouTube Partner Programme, you can add ad breaks in your video.
  52. Associated Website Annotations: If your YouTube account is verified, you can add annotations to your video that link to an associated website.
  53. End Screen Templates: If you frequently use the same end screen layout, you can save it as a template for future use.
  54. Auto-generated Captions: Review and edit YouTube’s auto-generated captions for accuracy.
  55. Video Location: You can tag a location for your video, which can be useful for local SEO.
  56. Shorts Permissions: If you don’t want others to use parts of your video in YouTube Shorts, you can disable this option.
  57. Content Declaration: If your video contains a paid promotion, product placement, or endorsements, you need to declare this.
  58. VR Video Settings: If you’re uploading VR content, you’ll need to specify this in the video settings.
  59. Content Ratings: Depending on your location and the nature of your content, you may need to set a content rating for your video.
  60. Timestamps: You can add timestamps in your video description to create video chapters.
  61. Live Chat Replay: If your video was a live stream, you can choose to show the live chat replay alongside the video.

YouTube SEO is ultimately about creating valuable content that people want to watch, and then optimising that content so it’s easy for YouTube’s algorithm to understand and rank.

If you’re new to SEO, you might find our SEO tutorial for beginners and Title tags SEO checklist helpful. Also, don’t forget to check out our free SEO checklist. With over 20 years of experience in SEO and online marketing, I’m here to help you succeed.

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