How to Optimize Video Search


Why optimize video search with YouTube?

Why optimize video search with YouTube? One of my favorite YouTubers of all time is Devin Graham, or if you do a YouTube search of him, better known as devinsupertramp.  His videography of his many adventures captured my attention and I wanted to watch them again and again.  His choice of music is superb for the story he is telling, and many people subscribe to his videos as a result.  He has more than 4.5 million subscribers and over 915 million total views and he has become a master of how to make a YouTube video.  We can learn from devinsupertramp about how to make a good YouTube video and ultimately improve our YouTube ranking.

How YouTube’s video search engine functions and why to optimize video search?

One of the most important things about video SEO is to understand how YouTube’s video search engine functions.  If we understand how to get on YouTube, implement the best tags for YouTube, find the right YouTube Keywords and How to optimize YouTube videos for search we will be able to create awesome content and improve our YouTube ranking.

We don’t need to be one of the video SEO experts to understand how video search engines work; we could read a book on it.  Many of my thoughts are from the fabulous book: The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization by Enge, Spencer and Stricchiola1Today more than 144,000 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube everyday – that’s 100 videos per minute!  Because there are massive amounts of people using this social network, YouTube SEO is important to any content creator who will use video.  Also, even if your desire is to optimize YouTube tags to improve product demonstrations – in hopes of leading to higher conversion rates – understanding how to optimize YouTube videos for top ranking will help.  Lastly, you need this knowledge if you ever want to understand how to be a youtuber like devinsupertramp!

If you are still not “sold” on the value of this – here is a little more on how YouTube can improve conversions from Ann Smarty at

Videos improve conversions for a clear reason: They offer a low-effort way for your customer to see why they need your product. Over the years, there have been numerous case studies proving the point:

  • An older study (dating back to 2011) states that customers are 144% more likelyto add products to a shopping cart after watching the product video
  • Around 1 in 3 millennialsstate they have bought a product directly as a result of watching a how-to video on it
  • This Animoto surveyfound that almost all the participants (96%) considered videos “helpful when making purchasing decisions online”
  • Wistia found that visitors who engage with a videoare much more likely to convert than those who don’t

 That being said, YouTube is a perfect platform to host your video product overviews: it’s free, it offers the additional benefit of ranking well in Google, and it provides additional exposure to your products through their huge community, allowing people to discover your business via native search and suggested videos.

Now on to the meat of video SEO – first how does YouTube search videos – how does the video search engine function?  Historically, “view count” was an important factor in how YouTube videos were ranked, but in 2012 YouTube changed the video search engine to reward “watch time.”  The incentives now reward engaging videos that hold viewers’ attention and content creators should keep this in mind as they develop content.  Viral videos (such as Donald Glover’s Childish Gambino – This is America) get lots of view counts, while famous vloggers such as Casey Neistat accumulate long watch times. Though watch time vs view counts are major factors, “relevance” is still a high-ranking factor and has been since Google purchased YouTube in 2006.  As with many SEO topics, relevant content trumps most.

Choosing the right YouTube video tags and optimizing the YouTube video

Next, keyword research: there a few tools to familiarize yourself with to find the right keywords to use.  Google trends is a great tool and so is Google Trend’s Filter of YouTube trends – both of these tools will help you to find the appropriate YouTube video tags when publishing your video or writing the video title and description.  These are also crucial to getting your content found – especially by search engines, which rely heavily on keywords.

We must then optimize the title, video description (metadata), tags, and thumbnails and captions for the YouTube video – most of which is in the “basic info” section when uploading a video.  Pius Boachie, the founder of DigitiMatic, stated a few best practices on for optimizing the YouTube video (specifically the data behind the video):

  • Title – “Experts advise that you spend as much time you spend creating the video on devising your headline. It is safe to say it is the most important piece of information in your entire content. An average video with an eye-popping headline will lure huge amount of viewers, while the best content with a dull headline would struggle to get a few clicks. Simply put, your headline should be short (not more than 66 characters so that Google will display it easily), intriguing and compelling.
  • Description – “…keep in mind that most people don’t read the descriptions; they are more interested in the video. Keep the descriptions short and succinct.”
  • Tags – “…The tip here is to keep tags to a minimum and avoid irrelevant tags.”
  • Thumbnails – “Custom thumbnails that are consistent with your videos will help you create a memorable brand that your target audience can easily identify. To get custom thumbnails for your videos, your account needs to be verified.”
  • Captions – “It has been suggested that closed captions can boost YouTube SEO. Discovery Digital Networks found an overall increase of 7.32% in views for captioned videos. Subtitles and closed captions also allow viewers to watch the video in various places such as a noisy or quiet environment.”
Do all these things and you’ll be sure to improve your YouTube ranking!

To summarize, optimizing YouTube videos is valuable in many areas for personal brand and for conversions.  To understand How to Optimize Video Search, we don’t need to be one of the video SEO experts, but we do need know the basics of how YouTube’s video search engine functions.  We need to use the appropriate tools to help us research and gather the right keywords to be found.  Then, we need to optimize the data surrounding the video.   If we do these things we will be able to create awesome content and improve our YouTube ranking!


  1. Enge, Eric; Spencer, Stephan; Stricchiola, Jessie. The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization. O’Reilly Media. Kindle Edition.