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You’ve heard of SEO. You know it helps Google find your website and written content on the web. But did you know that optimising video for Google and YouTube is just as important?

Google acquired YouTube in 2006 – so it’s important to note that the two largest search engines in the world are under one roof (so to speak).

To make sure that your videos are found on both search engines, you need to optimise them.

Like Google, YouTube has a few criteria that will improve your video’s ranking as well:

  • View time
  • Number of views
  • Number  of subscribers
  • Relevance
  • Engagement (comments, likes, shares)
  • Length

There are a number of things you can do to improve your ranking on both search engines.

Optimising video content on YouTube and Google

Great content

We can’t stress the importance of great content enough. Make your content engaging and capture attention in the first few seconds.

The majority of YouTube’s audience fall into two categories: people looking for a way to express themselves and people wanting to learn.

The first category of viewers want to watch and share videos that appeal to them on an emotional level. Think cute cat videos, inspirational videos, lifestyle videos – content that resonates with their personal values and personality. Kind of like this one:

The second category of YouTubers are after educational content that will teach them something. Whether it’s instructions on putting together a new bike, installing a program on your computer, using a specific product or make-up tips – educational videos are one of the most searched for content on the web.

optimising video: education

Length also matters, so make sure you don’t go overboard. Try and limit your video to around 3 minutes at the most on YouTube. Remember, people have short attention spans and limited disposable time.

RELATED ARTICLE: Bored Audience? Shorten your video!

Ensuring your content is engaging, useful and to the point will keep people watching for longer.


Keywords are as important for video as they are for written content. Your audience finds content through keywords, so it’s vital that you make it clear what you want to be found for.

optimising video: keywords

If you’re a florist, wanting to create a series of how-to videos on flower arrangements, your keywords will need to relate to ‘flower arranging’ or ‘flower arrangements’ or ‘arranging flowers’ etc.

Use Google Keyword Planner to get started.

Smashing title

Write an awesome title that grabs people’s attention. Make it short, snappy and include your keywords. For SEO purposes, use your keywords at the beginning of the title – this will help Google and YouTube sort out relevancy and increase your ranking.

Don’t use clickbait titles – they might increase your initial traffic but your audience won’t be impressed.

Descriptive description

optimising video: description

As Google and YouTube can’t actually watch your video to figure out what’s in it, it’s useful to include a comprehensive description. Make sure you include:

  • Your keywords you want to rank for
  • A description of what your video is about
  • Your website URL at the beginning and the end of the description.

Some people also swear by including a full transcript of the video in this section.


Tags are also important when optimising video. Search engines look at tags for further guidance about the content you publish. So help the Google and YouTube bots by tagging keywords and phrases in your video.

Share for more views

Last, but not least – share, share, SHARE! Optimising video doesn’t just happen on a single platform. To increase the number of views, share your video across all your social media channels and embed in websites and blog posts.

optimising video: share

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