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Learn YouTube SEO – Part 1 – The Basics

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Okay so I go on about SEO or Search Engine Optimisation quite a bit in my videos and I realise that not everyone knows what it is, how it works and the effect is has on things. So I’ve decided to do a series called Learn YouTube SEO to help you other YouTubers out there. I’m gonna make it a four part series. Basics, Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced.

What is SEO?

Simply put, SEO is an umbrella term for every single method you use to make your videos or channel and it’s content visible on YouTubes Search Engine Results Page (SERP). As YouTube is a search engine, owned by the biggest search engine in the world, Google, it pays to learn SEO best practices and apply them to your videos, channel and social media.

The methods vary from practices you can achieve behind the scenes on your videos/channel to all the ‘off-page’ approaches you can use to raise your visibility (link-building, social media marketing).

When I say visibility I mean how much your video/channel is seen and how high up the SERP they/it appear(s).

Why Do You Need SEO?

Building a strong foundation of Search Engine Optimisation from the very beginning of your channel when you upload your first video to your latest one means that all those videos will be working for you, in the effort to improve your ability to appear higher than anyone else’s that do similar topics.

In 2014 a company called Conductor did a study and the results were 64% of all traffic comes from organic searches, compared to 2% social, 6% from paid advertising, 12% direct and 15% from referrals.

Of all organic traffic, in 2015 Google accounted for more than 90% of all global organic search traffic. So now we know Google is the big dog and practically controls everything then we should realise that conversely YouTube (being a Google owned company) really REALLY is the one to be on and rank well for.

So it’s vital that your videos appear higher than the rest, but YouTube prefers to show videos in search results that have more views no? Well no, you can appear up there with the established videos as YouTube cares about Session Duration, Watch Time and Audience Retention so if your videos have a high watch time but they’re new it doesn’t matter.

So What Is YouTube Looking For?


This is a big one, if someone puts in a search term such as “How To Adjust The Chain On A Motorcycle”, it wants to show the person searching, a video that shows them how to do exactly that. Other non-specific topics such as say “2016 ZX10R” are more open and vague.

How YouTube provides the results? Well we’ll never know because if they did that then everyone would know how to rank for anything, there are factors that influence what that person’s results will be as well. Viewing history, tags, time of year etc…


Do you make quality content that is viewed regularly by others? Do you write your descriptions for Search Engines or Humans? If it’s the latter then great, YouTube hates keyword stuffing, false tags, misleading anything basically.

Writing A Good Video Description and Writing A Good Title is made easier if you think about each one as though you’re describing it to a friend who’s never heard of the topic you’re talking about.

User Experience

Is your channel homepage easy to navigate, are all your videos related to each other by using playlists and constant tags? A well laid out homepage could be the difference between you appearing in YouTubes SERP or not, a playlist can have an individual title and it can also have a description. Plus if you have a playlist of a series then YouTube will recognise that playlist and give it a boost.

Inter Linking

Do your videos promote the others by the use of Cards and Annotations? Plus the new End Card Feature YouTube just rolled out is a fantastic tool as it means you can now target mobile users and persuade them to watch more of your videos, subscribe to your channel, go to your crowdfunding or Patreon and more.

Interlinking all your content makes YouTube notice that the videos are relevant to each other, it improves the ranking for certain keywords, say if you wanted to rank a video for a Ninja ZX10R, then you can mention the ZX10R video in another of your videos, link to it with the cards and in the description, then use the same tags plus a few more.

Meta Information

Say you do a video of a 2016 ZX10R test ride, do your thumbnail, title, description and tags all work to the same goal? Writing a solid description with a good searchable title and tags can mean the world of difference as to whether or not you’re video will appear in YouTubes SERP.

Evergreen Content

So, I’ve gone on about the 3 different types of content that you should be creating on your channel to maximise the chances of your channel and videos being seen by the most people.

But lets talk about one that YouTube actually talks about in their Creators Playbook. Evergreen content, this is content that irrelevant to the time of year it’ll always be searched for. Creating more thoughful, helpful and practical advice based videos can lead to huge long term wins in terms of views and occupying highly visible positions in YouTubes SERP.

Comments Section

Leave it turned on, Be the first to comment, reply to every comment you get, but here’s the thing, when you’re replying to people think… all that text can be read by YouTube and Google and will help improve your SEO results for your search terms, so start replying with keywords in there as well.


One of the biggest things you can do is to get your video active on social media, ask people to share your video rather than like it, because if your video brings someone onto YouTube from an external site then that fires off a trigger to YouTube that says it’s started a new session for a user, and if your video keeps them on the site or takes them to another video your video being the original one that got them on gets the bonus.

Don’t underestimate the power of social media for getting your videos out there, the big 3 are the ones that matter most but there are smaller, lesser known sites that can get your video and channel noticed more.

What Does YouTube hate?

So these are some of the things YouTube will punish you for: Keyword stuffing, bot account buying (subs), sub4sub, own ads for companies that are embedded within your video, duplicate content (taking someones video and re-uploading it as your own)

That’s where I’m gonna leave it for now guys and girls, that covers the basics of YouTube SEO and will give you something to think about until the next time when we cover the basics of YouTube Search Engine Optimisation in more depth.

Peace Out And Happy Creating – 6M

I’m a Manchester based Motovlogger on YouTube, with over a decade of marketing and design experience including SEO, analytics and branding, my mission is to help out fellow YouTubers with their own YouTube channels and to help them grow as much as they can.

Learn more. Do more. Be more.

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