YouTube SEO in a knutshell

Are you looking to improve the visibility of your YouTube channel and get more views on your videos? Look no further, because today we’re going to be talking about YouTube SEO!

First things first, let’s define what SEO stands for:

Search Engine Optimization. In the context of YouTube, this means optimizing your channel and videos so that they show up higher in search results and suggested videos, ultimately leading to more views and subscribers.

Now, let’s dive into some key areas that you can focus on to improve your YouTube SEO:

  1. Keywords: Just like with any other type of SEO, using relevant keywords in your title, description, and tags can help your videos rank higher in search results. Make sure to do some keyword research to find out what terms people are using to search for content related to your channel.
  2. Video titles: Your video title is one of the first things that viewers will see, so it’s important to make it catchy and descriptive. Try to include your target keywords at the beginning of the title, as this can help improve your ranking.
  3. Video descriptions: Your video description should provide more context about what the video is about and should also include your target keywords. Make sure to use a mix of short and long-tail keywords, and include a call-to-action to encourage viewers to subscribe to your channel or watch more of your videos.
  4. Tags: In addition to including your target keywords in your title and description, you can also use tags to help your videos rank higher in search results. Make sure to use a mix of broad and specific tags, and consider using relevant hashtags as well.
  1. Thumbnail images: Your thumbnail image is another key factor that can influence whether or not someone clicks on your video. Make sure to use a high-quality image that accurately represents the content of your video.
  2. Engagement: YouTube’s algorithm takes into account the engagement that your videos receive, such as likes, comments, and shares. Encourage your viewers to interact with your content by asking for their opinions, responding to comments, and promoting your videos on social media.
  3. Consistency: Consistency is key when it comes to YouTube SEO. Make sure to upload new videos on a regular basis and stick to a specific content schedule to keep your audience coming back for more.
  1. Playlists: Creating playlists on your channel can help improve your ranking, as it keeps viewers on your channel for longer periods of time. Make sure to include a mix of your own videos as well as relevant external content.
  2. Collaborations: Collaborating with other creators can help expose your channel to a new audience and improve your ranking. Make sure to choose partners who have a similar target audience to your own.
  3. Annotations and end screens: Annotations and end screens are a great way to encourage viewers to interact with your content and subscribe to your channel. Make sure to use these features to promote your other videos and playlists.

By focusing on these key areas, you can improve the visibility of your YouTube channel and get more views on your videos.

Don’t be afraid to experiment and see what works best for your channel – the more you practice, the better you’ll become at YouTube SEO!

Key factors for YouTube SEO and Ranking #1 on YouTube

Video Metadata and Optimization

Factor Tips Examples
Title Use target keywords, keep it clear and concise. “Easy Vegan Pasta Recipe in 15 Minutes!”
Description Add keywords, links, and a summary of the video. “Learn how to make a delicious and easy…
Tags Use relevant tags related to your video content. “vegan pasta, quick recipes, easy cooking”
Thumbnails Use eye-catching, high-quality images. A colourful image of the finished pasta dish

Engagement Metrics and Optimization

Factor Tips Examples
Likes Encourage viewers to like the video if they found it helpful. “If you enjoyed this video, please…
Comments Ask viewers to comment with their thoughts or questions. “Let me know your favourite pasta…
Subscribers Remind viewers to subscribe and turn on notifications. “Subscribe and hit the bell icon…
Shares Make it easy for viewers to share your video on social media. “Share this video with your friends…

Watch Time and Audience Retention

Factor Tips Examples
Watch Time Create engaging content to keep viewers watching till the end. Use interesting visuals, animations, …
Audience Retention Monitor audience retention to identify drop-off points in your video. “At 2:30, 60% of viewers stopped…

Playlists and Series

Factor Tips Examples
Playlists Organize videos by topic or theme. “Vegan Recipes”, “Quick Meal Ideas”
Series Create a series of videos to encourage binge-watching. “Pasta Lovers: Episode 1 – Vegan Pesto”

I hope this article has been helpful in your journey to improve your YouTube SEO. If you have any questions or want to share your own tips, feel free to leave a comment below!

Q1: How important are keywords in YouTube SEO?

A1: Keywords play a crucial role in YouTube SEO as they help your video appear in search results when users search for related content. Using relevant keywords in your video title, description, and tags can significantly improve your video’s visibility. According to a study by Backlinko, videos with an exact keyword match in the title have a slight advantage over those that don’t.

Q2: How does the length of a video affect its performance on YouTube?

A2: While there’s no strict rule on video length, longer videos tend to rank better on YouTube because they generate more watch time. Backlinko’s study found that the average video on the first page of YouTube search results is 14 minutes and 50 seconds long. However, it’s essential to maintain audience engagement throughout the video, as a high audience retention rate also contributes to better ranking.

Q3: What is the impact of user engagement (likes, comments, shares) on video rankings?

A3: User engagement plays a significant role in video rankings on YouTube. YouTube’s algorithm takes into account factors such as likes, comments, shares, and subscribers to determine the popularity and relevance of a video. Backlinko’s study revealed that videos with higher engagement levels (likes and comments) tend to rank higher on YouTube search results.

Q4: How important is audience retention in YouTube SEO?

A4: Audience retention, or the percentage of your video that viewers watch, is a crucial factor in YouTube SEO. YouTube favors videos with high audience retention, as it indicates that viewers find the content valuable and engaging. High audience retention can lead to better search rankings and more visibility. Aim to keep viewers engaged throughout the video by providing valuable information, maintaining a good pace, and avoiding long intros or unnecessary content.

Q5: How can I optimize my videos for YouTube search and suggested videos?

A5: To optimize your videos for YouTube search and suggested videos, focus on the following factors:

  • Video metadata: Use relevant keywords in your title, description, and tags. Make your title engaging and descriptive. Write detailed video descriptions with keywords and timestamps (if applicable).
  • User engagement: Encourage likes, comments, shares, and new subscribers by interacting with your audience and creating high-quality content.
  • Watch time and audience retention: Create engaging content that keeps viewers watching until the end of the video. Monitor audience retention to identify areas for improvement.
  • Thumbnail: Use high-quality, eye-catching images that accurately represent your video content.

Q6: How can playlists improve my video’s performance?

A6: Playlists help organize your content and increase overall watch time by encouraging viewers to watch more videos from your channel. When you group related videos into a playlist, it’s more likely that viewers will watch multiple videos in a sequence, leading to higher watch time and improved SEO. Additionally, playlists themselves can appear in search results, potentially driving more traffic to your channel.

Q7: Does backlinks help gain views?

A7: Growing backlinks can show authority. You can get those organically or use a service like LinkLifting.


Do YouTubers Get Paid for Likes?

In 2019, the YouTube video with the most likes was Despacito by Luis Fonsi. Although the video was uploaded in 2017, it has ridden the wave of competition and is still at the top of the list, unbeaten, in 2019. Currently, it has 6 billion views and 38 million likes. This is every YouTuber’s dream – to go viral.

When Fonsi wrote Despacito, he never dreamed it would be such a massive hit. He released the song anyway because he believed in it. You, as a creator, never know which of your videos will become a sensation. You just have to keep making videos and putting your best out there.

So, What is the significance of YouTube likes? Do YouTubers Get Paid for Likes? – YouTubers do not get paid for likes. However, a like is a form of engagement that can help the video do better in the long term. The more likes, comments, and shares a video gets the higher it can rank. A good rank in search can mean more traffic to the video, more advert views and clicks.

Do YouTubers Get Paid for Likes?

How YouTube Likes Work

Up till 2012, videos on YouTube were ranked according to how many views they got – the view count.

This was a good metric, but if a video had a misleading title, people would only watch a few seconds of it then leave. A marketer who had attached their advertisement to such a video would feel short-changed, as their advert would not get watched. Marketers also objected to some of the content being uploaded.

A lot of the popular videos aired controversial topics like racism and terrorism. Marketers who didn’t want to be associated with such videos pulled out, leading to loss of revenue for YouTube.

This was bad for business. To stop this exodus, YouTube had to police the platform and suppress objectionable channels by not recommending them regardless of how popular they were.

YouTube then changed its metric to how much time viewers spent watching a video. Videos that captured viewer attention for longer time periods now got ranked higher. This was good for marketers as it would ensure that their product was seen by the viewer. This, however, meant that creators now had to spend more resources trying to make their videos longer while still retaining the viewers’ interest. Creators started delaying the core message of their videos for as long as they could without annoying the viewer.

They also had to change the frequency and content of uploads so as to make longer videos. This was not easy. An example of how this changed things for creators can be seen in this video. Longer-duration videos also meant more resources spent on making and editing new videos.

Ultimately, two main factors now determine how often a video will appear in search results and recommendations:

· Behavior

· User Queries


The YouTube algorithm tracks viewer behavior for the purpose of making recommendations based on what they watch.

This is why your YouTube homepage will never be similar to someone else’s homepage. Your activity determines what other videos YouTube recommends to you.

Factors determining how YouTube recommends and ranks videos that you need to know include:

· What people watch

· Consistency in uploading videos

· Time spent on watching a video (retention time)

· How fast a video gains popularity

· What videos don’t get watched

· How new a video is.

· How people engage with a video- likes, dislikes, shares, and comments

· Explicit feedback i.e. not interested.

User Queries

YouTube will rank videos according to how often users search for them. A commonly searched for video is obviously popular, so YouTube will rank it at the top of search results and recommend it as well.

This is because the goal of YouTube is to keep you on that platform for as long as possible because it increases your chances of seeing advertisements.

The goal of YouTube is to ultimately recommend videos that viewers want to watch. Its algorithm will, therefore, use the metrics above to determine whether or not to recommend a video and how often the video will appear in search results.

This means that your video not only has to be good, but it has to match keywords used in searches.

Can YouTubers Make Money from Likes? – Not directly. Likes show how good your video is, measuring its popularity. Depending on their number, the only effect is to increase the frequency of visits to your channel. When a viewer likes your video, they are ‘teaching’ YouTube that your video is good and should be recommended more often.

This is why YouTubers encourage their viewers to like, share, and subscribe to their content. The more the engagement, the higher the rank of the video, the more it will appear in results and the higher the number of viewers will increase.

So don’t underestimate the importance of YouTube likes. If anything, try to get as many as possible. Below you can see a number of things you can do to increase them.

How to Grow a YouTube Channel (30+ Ways) 6

How to Get More Likes on YouTube

Now that you know likes can be fuelling your channel growth, its time to start getting more of them!

Ask for them

At the end of your video, request your viewers to like your video. Don’t assume that they’ll like it anyway. Encourage them by also explaining how the likes will help your channel grow.

Make it easy

In addition to verbally asking for likes, include prompts at various points in your video to remind your viewers. Just be careful not to overdo it as your video will end up looking tacky.

Invite subscribers

Having subscribers means that your content is so good people want to receive more of it. In a way, you are assured that you will have a number of likes because your videos will have a dedicated pool of viewers.

It also teaches YouTube that your channel is popular and should be recommended frequently.

Social media

Promote yourself on other platforms- share your videos on other social media networks. People who may like your work may not be frequent users of YouTube, so go out there and look for them. Don’t wait for them to find you.

If you need help to promote your videos on social media I wrote a huge article on the best places to share your youtube videos for more views on my blog.


If you can afford it, advertise. Some creators advertise their new uploads for a short period of time to increase their fan base. Cast your net wide.

Now that we have seen how important likes are and how they increase our chances of getting noticed on youtube, let’s see how we can turn that into money.

How YouTubers Make Money

The more money you make on YouTube the more you can invest back into content, growth and success. Making money on YouTube can be a burning desire but you don’t always have to use the YouTube Ads program.

I make a good chunk on my income from affiliate marketing and I wrote a huge deep dive into Affiliate Marketing for Beginners on my blog – it explains all the jargon and steps you through everything you need to do to get started.

Advertising Revenue

Channel owners can link their channels to advertisers and earn revenue based on how many people view the adverts. An example is Google AdSense.

This is a feature of the YouTube partner program, which enables you to monetize your channel. To make money from AdSense, you have to have at least 1000 subscribers and more than 4000 watch hours in the last 12 months.

This is why consistency in video uploads is important. Few uploads equal few watch hours. Lastly, you have to live in a country where Google AdSense is available. You can choose what ads will come with your video, and where they will appear.

When someone clicks on an ad or watches your video for at least 30 seconds, you earn revenue depending on the advertisers’ bid, the length of the video, and the type of content.


A company could approach you and ask you to endorse their product on your channel. You then talk about it, describe its features, and encourage your viewers to buy the product. You include a link in your video description where people can buy the product. To encourage a purchase and also reward their viewers, a number of YouTubers, in collaboration with the company, offer discounts for viewers who purchase a product through their channel.

Every time a purchase is made a percentage of that revenue goes to you as the owner of the channel.

Still, you don’t have to wait for a company to approach you. You could approach companies whose products are related to your content and make a deal with them. For example, if you have a food channel, you can advertise products for a company that produces spices.

Selling Merchandise

YouTubers with a substantial following and a well-developed brand also make revenue through selling merchandise. Once you have a dedicated base of subscribers, you can begin to make merchandise related to the subject content of your videos.

You can make branded t-shirts and caps or sell products like makeup kits. If you upload how-to videos, you can offer more information through a premium subscription service or sell a how-to manual in text form.

Ensure your products are unique and high quality, as disappointed customers will spread the word about you and this could affect your popularity on YouTube. You want to go viral, but not for controversial reasons.

YouTube Premium

Many people find it annoying to have a video they are watching interrupted by advertisements. Well, this is the price we pay to enjoy YouTube for free.

HOWEVER, if you really cannot stand constant interruptions, why not try YouTube Premium? This is a paid ad-free service offered by YouTube as a response to our grumblings against advertisements. Viewers can watch videos and listen to endless playlists without interruptions.

If you have a channel on YouTube premium, you earn revenue every time your video is watched. Viewers can also download your videos to watch offline, and this will still contribute to your watch times.


Donations are not necessarily a revenue stream, but they can support up and coming creators until they have enough views to generate their own revenue. When you make really good content, you gain many committed fans who wouldn’t mind supporting you financially so you can continue making more content.

To this end, MANY creators have a Patreon account through which fans make donations. Although Patreon takes 10% of this money, it can still be enough to keep your channel going.

Creators in turn offer their donors (patrons) extra content like behind-the-scenes footage as a reward or thank you for their support. Patreon is also a great platform for creators who need financial support for their work but want to maintain their independence.

So instead of signing contracts with commercial companies that will exploit their talent, they upload content on YouTube and earn revenue through their channel and the support of their Patrons.

Make Long Videos

Make your content as interesting as possible for as long as possible, at least for up to 10 minutes. The longer time people spend on your video, the higher the chances of earning more revenue, and the higher it will rank among search results.

Remember, YouTube wants people to spend time on videos so they can see adverts.


You can reach out to creators who post similar content to yours and suggest a collaboration. Not everything needs to be a competition, and we can also grow together. Collaboration will open up new horizons for your viewership and get your subscribers from a different niche category than the one you cater for.

A good example of collaboration was that of Lindsey Stirling, a violinist who dances while playing the violin and the Piano Guys, a group of men who make original instrumental music and do classical-style covers of popular songs. Their collaboration was actually demanded by fans and was a huge success, opening up new markets for both groups.

Targeted Content

Make your videos with a certain target market in mind. This will establish your niche, and also enable you to propose a brand endorsement to a company that targets that particular group of people. For example, if you have a food channel, you can focus on organic recipes and built viewership based on this.

You can then approach an organic food company and offer to advertise their products.

Use Targeted Keywords

Use top keywords in your video titles, descriptions, and video tags. Specific keywords attract different viewers with different interests. The type of viewer you attract will also determine the type of advertisers you attract.

Keywords that attract advertisers who pay more for adverts will also earn you more money.


In summary, likes will not directly earn you revenue on YouTube, but they will increase your channel’s visibility to raise your chances of earning marketing revenue.

If you need help in making better videos to get you more likes then maybe check out my resources page where I show you all my equipment, secret tools for amazing graphics and youtube seo tools!

You can follow these tips discussed in this article to get more subscribers and more likes. So keep creating!

Top 5 Tools To Get You Started on YouTube

Very quickly before you go here are 5 amazing tools I have used every day to grow my YouTube channel from 0 to 30K subscribers in the last 12 months that I could not live without.

1. VidIQ helps boost my views and get found in search

I almost exclusively switched to VidIQ from a rival in 2020.

Within 12 months I tripled the size of my channel and very quickly learnt the power of thumbnails, click through rate and proper search optimization. Best of all, they are FREE!

2. Adobe Creative Suite helps me craft amazing looking thumbnails and eye-catching videos

I have been making youtube videos on and off since 2013.

When I first started I threw things together in Window Movie Maker, cringed at how it looked but thought “that’s the best I can do so it’ll have to do”.

Big mistake!

I soon realized the move time you put into your editing and the more engaging your thumbnails are the more views you will get and the more people will trust you enough to subscribe.

That is why I took the plunge and invested in my editing and design process with Adobe Creative Suite. They offer a WIDE range of tools to help make amazing videos, simple to use tools for overlays, graphics, one click tools to fix your audio and the very powerful Photoshop graphics program to make eye-catching thumbnails.

Best of all you can get a free trial for 30 days on their website, a discount if you are a student and if you are a regular human being it starts from as little as £9 per month if you want to commit to a plan.

3. helps people read my videos

You can’t always listen to a video.

Maybe you’re on a bus, a train or sat in a living room with a 5 year old singing baby shark on loop… for HOURS. Or, you are trying to make as little noise as possible while your new born is FINALLY sleeping.

This is where Rev can help you or your audience consume your content on the go, in silence or in a language not native to the video. can help you translate your videos, transcribe your videos, add subtitles and even convert those subtitles into other languages – all from just $1.50 per minute.

A GREAT way to find an audience and keep them hooked no matter where they are watching your content.

4. Learn new skills for FREE with Skillshare

I SUCK reading books to learn, but I LOVE online video courses.

Every month I learn something new. Editing, writing, video skills, how to cook, how to run a business – even how to meditate to calm a busy mind.

I find all of these for FREE with Skillshare – Sign up, pick all the courses you want and cancel anytime you need.

5. Shutterstock helps me add amazing video b-roll cutaways

I mainly make tutorials and talking head videos.

And in this modern world this can be a little boring if you don’t see something funky every once in a while.

I try with overlays, jump cuts and being funny but my secret weapon is b-roll overlay content.

I can talk about skydiving, food, money, kids, cats – ANYTHING I WANT – with a quick search on the Shutterstock website I can find a great looking clip to overlay on my videos, keeping them entertained and watching for longer.

They have a wide library of videos, graphics, images and even a video maker tool and it wont break the bank with plans starting from as little as £8.25 ($9) per month.