Youtube SEO Guide
05 / 06 / 2024

Ultimate Youtube SEO Guide: Updated 2024

Bruno Díaz Marketing Manager
Bruno Díaz
Marketing Manager
SectorLet's talk about

At La Teva Web, we implement various strategies for content optimisation and SEO improvement. Among the strategies we employ, we focus on optimising and enhancing YouTube channels.  

YouTube is one of the most used platforms for video and multimedia content playback. Thousands of companies compete on this platform to appear among the top videos and get the most views.

That's why we're going to share some recommendations and tips so you can optimise and get the most out of your YouTube channel, which can also be very useful if you don't have a channel yet and don't know where to start.

The importance of YouTube

YouTube is the world's most visited website after the Google search engine. And this should be a strong enough argument to want to be on it. 

So, YouTube as a TOP entertainment platform butalso as a search engine, is a channel worth exploring for SEO purposes. It would be, just like we do with traditional SEO, to identify those searches related to my business, and try to rank my videos that respond to those demands. Additionally, today when we do a search on Google, the SERPs are very varied and for many searches in the featured results, we will find YouTube videos.

As we explained in previous posts, when we want to work on an SEO project, we should not only conduct a keyword study with search volumes and difficulty levels, but it is also essential to know what type of snippets we see in the SERPs. If when I do searches relevant to my company, maps, photos, product sheets, or videos appear, no matter how much I optimise my website, I will only capture a minimal amount of the clicks. Therefore, working on SEO on YouTube will be advisable for practically all projects, but in some it will be absolutely essential. It is from this perspective that we orient this post.

Before you start

It's not about starting to make and upload videos like a headless chicken. It's better to dedicate as many hours as necessary to plan what we are going to do, if we are finally going to do it. In case it might help you, I would ask myself this type of questions:

  • What are we pursuing? Visibility, SEO, branding, monetisation, web traffic…
  • What would be our target? We can opt to target the same type of users we pursue on other channels, or on YouTube go for a different or more specific audience.
  • What are we going to talk about? Set the possible topics we could address, our approach, and as always on the Internet, what is our value proposition: what can we contribute that is not already available.

If the answers to these initial questions are encouraging, you can move on to the more operational part: 

  • What resources can we have? We are talking about monetary resources, but also human resources, talent, TIME to dedicate to it. The technical part is important: camera, sound, soundproofing. And finally, you will probably need resources in video editing software and more. You must be aware that creating a YouTube channel and doing it well is not cheap, it requires many resources, and you must be willing to invest them.
  • How are we going to finance this investment? On YouTube, there are 4 common monetisation methods: Adsense (Google ads on the videos), Affiliates (I recommend such a brand or tool with which I have a commission agreement), Self-promotion (promotion of my own products or services), or sponsorships (brands that pay us to be mentioned, linked, or physically appear in our videos).

Planning videos

Visual presence

On YouTube, the image is 95%, so the first thing you need to define is the visual presence we are going to present. Whatever it is, it should be feasible, recognisable, and useful. You can opt for a close-up in a specific space, work with chromas, more set-like formats for interviews, work on a whiteboard, etc. But there are also many YouTube channels with millions of views where we don't see any face: those where we only see hands drawing or cooking, or even those that work with animations.


Lighting is essential for YouTube videos. Study it well and define how we are going to work with it. The ideal scenario is to have a basic triangle of lighting with 3 lights (main light, fill light, and backlight), but that won't always be possible and we will have to rely on a ring light.


To have good sound, we have two options: a lapel microphone (cheap, light, and suitable for both indoors and outdoors), or a blue yeti type microphone, the updated version of radio microphones, or the ones you've seen in podcast formats. 


Here the options are endless. If you don't have a good camera for the occasion, you should know that today there are webcams already designed for streamers, which incorporate the most in-demand lights, recording modes, and filters.

The script

99% of the videos you see on YouTube are scripted. You might be a master of improvisation, but even so, we advise always scripting. The script may not be every word we are going to say, but at least an outline to follow a logical structure and not get sidetracked.

Setting up the Channel

Visual identity of the channel

On a YouTube channel, there are very important visual aspects to define: logo, headers, and thumbnails. It should be consistent with the work we have done at the brand level, but we will probably have to make an adaptation to what YouTube wants and rewards. With this, we will convey creativity, security, knowledge, surprise, or whatever we have decided in the chosen corporate definition.

What elements can you optimise on your YouTube channel?

When we access our YouTube account, the first thing we need to do is create a Channel through YouTube studio. Once we have created our channel, we can complete all the information for this channel. 
We will start by completing the basic profile information, for this we will access the Customisation panel. In this section, we will find:

  • Username: it is important that this is representative, as it will be the first impression that users will have of us. This will be one of the most important factors in getting our content to rank.
  • Channel Description: define your business including keywords to appear in users' searches. In this description, we also recommend that you have some CTA that grabs users' attention.
  • Links: Different links can be added, intending to provide users with complementary information about our company. Among the links, it is advisable to add some about our company's services. Subsequently, we can define the number of links that will appear on the main banner of our channel.
  • Profile Picture: In this case, we are talking about the main image of the channel. This image is predefined by the one set in your Google account. Also, it is important that this image represents our logo or company icon so that users can identify us.
  • Cover Image: in this case, we need to upload a large image (2560x1400px), considering that depending on the device, YouTube will crop the visible area of the image. It will be part of the main page's presentation card of our channel. The header image is a horizontal space where we can add an image that strengthens our brand, an ideal way to add how we work or what type of service we provide.
  • Other Images: Other images can also be added to our channel, such as the banner image or the watermark of the videos.
  • Watermark: we have the option to add a watermark to our videos, which will be displayed at the bottom right.
  • Extra Customisations: Other customisations can be added to the channel, which can help us attract users and improve their retention. To do this, we need to access the Design section, where we have a complementary editing panel. In this panel, we are allowed to add featured videos, both for users who have not yet subscribed and for subscribers. With these types of videos, we welcome our channel, in a very different way, depending on whether users already know us or are coming to our channel for the first time.

  • The keywords we include in our channel function as tags so that users can find you more easily. To add them, we need to access our Channel Settings and incorporate them through the basic information:
  • Upload Defaults: we can configure a base of information that will always be in the videos we upload. For example, a brief introduction to the channel, links to social networks, etc.

SEO Strategy and Keywords

As a specialised SEO agency, our approach to YouTube is always related to ranking. As we have seen in other posts, YouTube is still a search engine (of videos), it is from Google, and also for many searches in the Google search engine, we will find video results. So we will see how an SEO approach can help us find topics for videos, optimise titles and descriptions, and much more.

Types of Keywords on YouTube

On YouTube, just like with Google and other channels, we work with evergreen searches and others that are more temporal or viral. A long-term strategy should include a series of planned evergreen videos, and add another type of videos that capture punctual searches or interests, as well as more branded ones.

As in any SEO project, before conducting keyword research, you must define the topic you are going to address on the channel, and your target audience. Our recommendation is that except in isolated cases, it is interesting for a channel to have a specific theme, being able to touch tangential topics occasionally, but not too far from them. The target audience is also relevant, as, for example, we could generate an SEO channel aimed at industry professionals or at the end client, and that will greatly vary the type of videos to create.

Keyword Research

Before opening a keyword research tool, get yourself a paper or notebook, if you have a team, gather them, and discuss the type of videos you can make. Think about the topics you control, the available resources, and your objectives. With this, we get a first spontaneous list.

Secondly, research the market. In this sector, what type of actor leads the searches on YouTube. Is our competition or our client's competition making videos? What are these videos like? That will lead you to consider two very important things: what is working and should be replicated, and what is not being covered and therefore we can add value there. For this, it is highly recommended to study successful YouTubers on the platform beyond the sector under study.

Thirdly, you should study the topics that interest your potential users the most. For this, we will need tools, or go to platforms to see the most searched topics. There are countless options, and it will depend on what you control and the chosen topic:

  • Google Trends
  • X (Twitter)
  • Reddit
  • Quora
  • Forocoches
  • Media
  • Any reference website in the sector, as long as we can measure by impact or virality
  • The SEO tool you like the most. For these types of topics, Ahrefs, Answer the Public, or Semrush work very well, among others.

Anyway, the best tool will always be YouTube itself: search for topics about your niche, look at the suggested videos from one to another, and watch hours of viewing. Autocomplete will often show us the way:

As you know, I have a weakness for Google Trends, Google's tool for knowing search trends, which also has a section to find out what people search for on YouTube. This way, you will know how to identify the concepts used for your market niche. Notice that it also has the two dimensions we must work on in our YouTube channel: structural searches in our sector and current trends.

You also have the option of using a specific tool for YouTube, although it is not strictly necessary. In this case, we would recommend vidQ, whose purpose is to help you find topics for videos, but also to optimise them. A good alternative could also be Tubebuddy.

Ranking factors

As much as you can, you should invest time in understanding how the YouTube algorithm works and how it is evolving. While initially, we could follow the same dynamics as Google, that has not been the case for a long time. Here are the main ranking factors:

  • Video Title: with the main keyword in the title, the further left, the better. Include a CTA and clickbait with measure.
  • Description: it should also have the main keyword at the beginning and some compelling reason to watch the video. It is recommended to timestamp in the description to provide users with a summary of the video's sections if they want to orient themselves or jump from one part to another. Users will also appreciate a good presentation with lists. You can take the opportunity to include links, which if you want to monitor can also have UTMs.
  • Tags: tags continue to be an important space to include all the keywords you can, but they are becoming less important.
  • Interaction: the insistence of YouTubers in asking us for likes and to subscribe to their channel has a logical SEO reason and also generates brand and loyalty. Hit the bell. Interaction also takes into account aspects like messages and generated debates.
  • Subtitles: they have many advantages in terms of accessibility and user service. But they also have SEO impact because Google is much more capable of reading our subtitles than understanding what we say in the video.
  • Retention: although we didn't mention it at the beginning, it is the main ranking signal. Google values the viewing time that a user spends on a video, but also on your channel. Google values the time people spend watching your videos, which interests it and will reward you with visibility. Besides the practices we mentioned about playlists, a key tip is to pay special attention to the first 15 seconds of your videos. It is vital to retain the user's attention for at least those 15 seconds, otherwise, your video will be considered of very low quality. So, before recording your video, it is advisable to decide what to dedicate those 15 seconds to. A good approach is to dedicate them to presenting the situation or problem you want to address, making it very clear that you will solve it, and the immense benefits the user will gain from acquiring the knowledge the video will provide. Hint: the importance of viewing time makes it inadvisable to upload short videos to YouTube (there are better platforms for that, like TikTok, or within YouTube, the Shorts). But we won't settle for just the first few seconds; we must structure and generate the necessary rhythm to maximise viewing time. And once the video is over (or within it), we must encourage the user to go from one related video to another on our channel. Google takes into account both retention on the video, retention on our channel, and finally overall retention on the platform (viewing session).

Tips for ranking on YouTube

1. Playlists

Whether we are starting from an existing channel or planning to create a new one, planning how to organise our videos into playlists is an added value that can benefit us in aspects such as:

  • Facilitating navigation for users, as we group thematically related videos that may interest them.
  • Improving retention on our channel, as the videos in the playlists can play consecutively.
  • Enhancing our visibility, as playlists are also included in YouTube search results.
  • They allow you to create content clusters: just like with URLs, the playlist would be the pillar page, from which each video that solves a specific need hangs, all grouped in a thematic family.

2. Using cards

Youtube cards are there to be used. Their purpose is to guide users who are watching one of our videos towards an interaction or conversion that interests us. You can use them to link to other videos, links to your website, blog, or whatever you can think of. If we get people to click on our cards => better SEO on YouTube (and outside of it).

3. Taking care of thumbnails

The default thumbnails that Google offers you will not always perfectly reflect what users will find in the video. And perhaps for that reason, you have modified a thumbnail. But if you want to improve your SEO, the main criterion for defining thumbnails should be to increase the click-through rate. Use bright colours, borders on the videos, an eye-catching image, or whatever but with the aim that when they see your YouTube video's thumbnail among many others, the eye (and finger) can't help but play your video. Thumbnails are the image preview that users will see before clicking on a video. They are used to grab the user's attention and call to action that we want, which is the click. Some recommendations:

  • Use bright colours and contrasts
  • In case we talk about an object or place (especially for reviews)
  • Incorporate texts explaining the content
  • Eye-catching facial expressions
  • If you have thematic video series, use visual identities that help us organise and relate the videos to each other

Thumbnail trends change depending on the sectors. So before defining ours, you should conduct searches to detect common patterns and what you can contribute to differentiate yourself.

4. Taking care of texts

Practically speaking, the title of the video on YouTube is like an h1, and the brief description is the meta description. So use them as such, introducing the keywords you want to rank for. Then you have a long description where you can elaborate as much as you want. We recommend that they be original texts (you cannot copy from your blog posts), generously with the target SEO keywords, but also with semantic breadth.

5. Good use of tags

As we have already said, tags are fundamental for Google to interpret the categories of the videos and relate content to each other. In this sense, our recommendation is to introduce as many tags as possible, and that are relevant to your content. If you are not clear on what tags to use, let yourself be guided by the suggestions that YouTube will make when uploading the video, or spy on what tags your competitors use. Note that your competitors' tags are no longer visible, not public, but there are multiple tools to detect them (we use Tags for YouTube for Chrome, but there are several that are very similar, also with VidIQ). And a little trick in this area: create unique tags, just yours. This way, when they are watching one of your videos, you increase the chances that other videos of yours with the same tags will be suggested in the sidebar, and you know what that can mean.

6. Taking care of the end screen

If we have reached the end screen, it means we have done very well with everything before. So congratulations. But we are not going to settle for that, with just one of our videos being watched. For this, the end screen has a very important role. There are many ideas and resources, but the key is that on that end screen we must generate some kind of retention: like the video, subscribe to the channel, watch another interesting video, or follow me on other social networks.

7. Meta-data

Just as we do on our website, we must take good care of our title, description, put the keywords as high as possible without overdoing it, and not neglect details like the file name we upload.

8. Linkbuilding

Youtube takes into account inbound links to your video, and that they are well done and from quality pages. That's why it's important to publish your video on your embedded website, share it with influencers, move it through social networks, etc.

9. HD videos

Quality is important for users, and therefore, for YouTube. Always upload your videos in HD if possible.

10. Transcriptions

Adding a transcription to the video in its description can be a detail for deaf people and a good way to improve your SEO, especially if it incorporates keywords.

11. Video language, category, and other parameters

In the advanced configuration of our video, we can define parameters that help YouTube better locate our videos. For example, the main language of the video or the thematic category it is in.

12. Watch out for copyright

Even if you have no bad intentions, ignorance of the law does not exempt from compliance. Google has very strict policies regarding copyright protection, and if we violate them, they can ban a video or even close the channel. In the end, it is common sense: do not use images, videos, or music that has copyright. Check YouTube's copyright documentation beforehand.

Measuring traffic on my YouTube channel

To understand the behaviour of users on our YouTube channel and which videos are the most viewed, we can check the Statistics section of YouTube Studio. These statistics allow us to see the evolution of our videos. One of the parameters we will consider the most is retention or viewing time.

Analysing the obtained metrics will help you understand how your strategy has performed and evaluate future actions. Also, as we have seen, YouTube takes into account different parameters to offer content to users, and therefore it is important to know them.

We will be interested in seeing the overall channel statistics, but especially seeing which videos are performing better and those that no one has seen, not even your sister. Like all analytics, consulting it is only useful if it helps us with future decision making.

The sources that have attracted those views are some of the most important metrics in our opinion, both as valuable information and as ideas for improvement. In the example we see, it is a channel that attracts traffic with ads or from its website, but there is much room for SEO improvement within YouTube.

We not only have channel analytics at a global level but also of the individual videos. We can observe what viewing trend a specific video has had, and even how users watch it, to see the behaviour in terms of retention.

Embedding videos on the web

If we have a website, a highly recommended practice is to offer the user video resources. This can increase retention on our channel, although we risk that they will jump to YouTube later. In any case, it seems interesting that instead of uploading that video directly, with the weight problems it will cause us, we upload it with a YouTube iframe. But that video should not be uploaded in any way. On one hand, you should be able to control the iframe with parameters such as related videos or playback control. All this can be configured with advanced embedding tools, like the one VidIQ has, or you can take the time to configure it manually with html parameters:

On the other hand, when we insert a video in a URL on our website, we must help Google understand that we have that type of content on the page. How will we do that? Yes, with Rich Snippets, in this case, video snippets.

Bruno Díaz Marketing Manager
About the author
Bruno Díaz — Marketing Manager
Professional with a long career as a communication and digital marketing consultant, specializing in SEO, SEM and web projects. As Marketing Manager of the agency, I coordinate a great team of digital marketing technicians of which I am very proud.

Related news

Hello! drop us a line