Inbound marketing largely revolves around connecting the right persona with the right content from the get-go. Video content is an excellent way for brands to initiate these connections and build awareness, however, visibility on Google is an integral part of the equation.

The right videos can improve the overall user experience. Upload all videos from your website to YouTube for increased exposure, and leverage positive feedback.

The following Google guide explains how to execute search engine optimization on YouTube, the second largest search engine, owned and operated by (the largest search engine) Google


Step #1: Have the Right Title and Description

YouTube offers limited room for text. Make sure titles are more than eye-catching. Use strategic search terms that will appeal to a specific customer persona in the title and description of YouTube videos. Be cognizant of demographic or industry-specific jargon, and write titles and video descriptions using the same verbiage that a targeted customer persona would use.

Target keywords within the first 66 characters of the title and description, and be careful not to overstuff the descriptions with repetitive keywords. Instead, use general best practices for keyword usage in SEO. Keywords should flow naturally and make sense to the end user. Also, include a link to the main site in the description and a call to action. When in doubt, revert back to traditional, content-based SEO methods.

Step #2: Have the Right Tags

Use about five or seven relevant keywords as tags for each video for superior SEO. Tags can help YouTube identify when a video is related to more popular videos. In addition, using tags in general can help improve web traffic and increase views. Ensure that all tags are highly relevant, and experiment with some trial and error when finding the tags that best appeal to a specific buyer persona.

Step #3: Off-Page SEO Link Building

One of the best aspects of video content is that it is highly sharable. YouTube is an easy platform for users to share videos and marketers to build relevant links. One of the easiest ways to build inbound links is to embed them in a sister site or a blog.

Step #4: Boosting Video Rankings

Getting premium rankings is what SEO is all about. In many ways, a YouTube video that is placed in the Most Viewed Videos category is comparable to ranking #1 on Google Search. Videos are ranked on YouTube based on the number of views recorded over the past day or two days. More views and positive reviews are what SEO on YouTube is all about. Similarly, positive rankings and high levels of user engagement are taken into account. YouTube is not all that different from Google Search.

Google Guide In-Depth: Differences in Video SEO

The primary difference between SEO on YouTube and SEO on Google Search is that videos lack substantial anchor text. Black-hat SEO methods are no longer viable on Google Search. There is no way to crack the secret code to top rankings. Instead, content has truly become king. Let thoughtful and engaging content drive inbound marketing efforts.



Chris Marentis

For nearly three decades, Chris Marentis, founder and CEO of Surefire Social, has been responsible for driving innovation and sales growth for large media and e-commerce brands as well as start-ups. Marentis is a frequent speaker at local digital marketing conferences and a contributor to SMB and technology-focused publications.

Surefire Social

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2 Responses to “Brief Guide: How to Optimize YouTube Videos for Google Search and Improve Leads”

  1. I love video marketing and it's a quintessential element for every small business and a competitive advantage. U blogged about my latest interview on this very topic.

    Tip for Step 1, So I'll call it Step 1B

    In first line of description – key elements include:
    Website link http:// not just “www”)
    Phone number (toll-free / local number)

    Unless of course you don't want people to visit your website and hire you!

    TIP: Search Engine People hasn't done this on their own latest video… but the content is fantastic!

  2. Hi Chris,

    I've never really focused my effort towards creating YouTube videos. But, recently, I mustered enough courage to record and upload a video of me describing the pros and cons of a WordPress plugin. And I must admit that I took no care of the optimization affairs of the video!

    And naturally, the video didn't fared well, views wise. Along with views, the comments also have been very low. I think there wouldn't have been any comment at all had my good friends not left their opinions there :)

    Now I realize what the video really missed. I never really addressed some of the SEO aspects at all! Like- using right tags, offline link building etc.

    Guess I'll hit it right with my next video! Informative article!