What is YouTube SEO?

YouTube SEO allows you to rank your YouTube videos at the top of both YouTube and Google search results.

As a result, YouTube SEO is one of the best ways for business owners to get high-intent leads and new clients each month with people that are actually searching for your services.

What are high intent YouTube SEO leads?

High intent YouTube leads are leads with people who are actively searching YouTube or Google for a solution that you provide.

Many other lead generation channels get leads with prospects who are “somewhat interested” or who might be interested in how you can help them in the future.

But high intent leads are interested right NOW because they’re actively searching for a solution. This means high-intent YouTube leads will usually convert much quicker compared to other lead generation channels.

So there’s no better way to get high-intent leads on YouTube than by appearing at the top of the YouTube search engine through YouTube SEO (search engine optimization).

Here are some tips on how you can get more leads for your business through YouTube SEO:

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Table of contents

The best YouTube SEO strategy

YouTube SEO all starts with the right strategy.

To rank your videos higher on the YouTube and Google search engine, you need to to the following:

  • Create great videos (if your video isn’t very good, it won’t rank higher no matter what you do)
  • Create clickable video thumbnails and titles (you could have the best video in the world, but if no one clicks on it, it’s pointless)
  • Optimize your videos for both Google and YouTube search engines by having the correct title description and tags
  • Do keyword research to find keywords that have low search competition and high search volume
  • Create content around one topic so that you can build up an audience and create topical authority in the eyes of Google

And most importantly, if you’re planning on using YouTube to help you grow your business, you need to have a strategy to generate leads with your videos.

Focus on results (not vanity metrics)

Marketing funnel with vsl lead magnet

Video views, likes, engagement and comments are all great… But the most important thing is winning new clients with your YouTube videos.

To do this, you need a way to get leads with your YouTube videos.

To learn how to do this, check out my free training by clicking here.

This will show you how to do this in more detail.

Once you’ve finished watching the video, keep reading to learn some of the best YouTube SEO tips to rank your video higher on the YouTube search engine.

1. Brainstorm a list of video content ideas

Brainstorm content ideas

The first step to ranking higher on YouTube is to do keyword research and brainstorm a list of potential video topics to talk about.

Here are some ideas to help you do that

Answer questions potential clients ask you in a youtube video

What questions do your potential clients (or even existing clients) ask you on a sales call?

The chances are high that if a prospect asks you a question (in person, via email or over the phone) that there are also other people searching for the same answer to that question on YouTube or Google.

These are typically some of the best types of questions that you can answer.

Use predictive YouTube search

If you type search into YouTube, it will start to predict what you’re searching for.

For example, if you type in “How to get leads”, you’ll see YouTube suggest the following searches:

YouTube predictive search

These suggestions are not just chosen randomly.

They are based on the most popular suggestions for your search query.

This gives you a good idea for what keywords to target.

You can also use the underscore _ character in between a word that you search for and YouTube will fill in the blank with the most popular keyword searches.

Here’s an example:

How to use YouTube predictive search to find video ideas

As you can see, this is a very powerful way to brainstorm YouTube keyword ideas for your next video.

Use YouTube SEO keyword research tools

If you need more keyword ideas for videos to record, you can use keyword research tools such as TubeBuddy or VidIQ.

The advantage to using SEO keyword research tools, such as VidIQ is that they can tell you how often people search for certain keywords and how much competition it has.

Here’s an example of VidIQ’s keyword score:

Keyword score

And here’s another example of VidIQ’s “interest over time” graph:

Video interest over time

These tools are free to use, but they do also offer paid plans if you want access to extra features.

Another good way to find content ideas for your videos is to go to one of your competitors YouTube channels and look at their most popular videos.

This allows you to see what videos are likely to perform well for you if you share a similar audience.

Tip: If you use the VidIQ plugin, they can also tell you the most popular videos right NOW. It’s called views per hour (VPH) and it’s a helpful way to see which videos are still getting views today.

Create a list of your video title ideas

It’s a good idea to write down a list of all your video title ideas.

I personally like to do this using the “Notes” app on my phone, but feel free to use whatever method works best for you.

Once you have a list of keyword ideas, you can pick the best ones and start recording your video.

2. Record a highly engaging video

Free YouTube leads

When recording your video for YouTube, you want to make sure the video answers the question someone is searching for to the best of your ability.

Avoid making the video unnecessarily long

You want to make sure the video is as short as possible while still having all the information it needs to answer the question as best as you can.

This means your video can be 2 minutes, 4 minutes, 7 minutes or even longer.

It all depends on your topic and how long you need to answer the question thoroughly.

The most important thing with your video length is to make sure the video is not longer than it needs to be.

If the video is too long, your watch time will decrease and the YouTube algorithm will be less likely to recommend your video to people in the future

Use B-roll content in your videos

To really bring your video to life, it’s a good idea to use b-roll content.

B-roll content are videos or images that you play over certain parts of your videos to keep viewers engaged.

It’s no secret that a lot of people are easily distracted these days and it’s probably why most big YouTube channels use b-roll content to the average watch time on their videos higher.

And remember: the higher your video watch time, the more likely YouTube will show your video to additional people.

Tip: If you’re recording faceless YouTube videos, then b-roll content (stock images or videos) is even more important to keep people engaged.

Have a call to action in your video (super important!)

This part of the video is SO important and yet so many people do NOT do this!

If your goal with YouTube SEO is to get more leads and clients for your business, you MUST have a call to action to take people to the next step in your video sales funnel.

If you don’t do this, you will never get any leads or clients from YouTube SEO.

So, at some point in your YouTube video, you need to tell people watching the video to click on the link in the description of your video to learn more about how you solve this problem.

For example, in a video I recorded on how to target business owners on Facebook Ads I say that BEFORE you even think about running Facebook Ads, you need to have the right strategy. And to learn the right strategy, click the link in the description of my video (which goes here) to watch a video that explains how the strategy works.

This type of video is called video sales letter and I recommend you use it for all your YouTube lead generation efforts.

So, in your business, you want to have one primary piece of content or video that shows people in more depth how to solve a problem they have.

Tip: You could have a call to action at the end of the video (which is fine) but since most people don’t always watch till the end of a video, you’ll probably get better results it you have a call to action in the middle of your video instead.

Proof watch your video before publishing

It’s a good idea to watch your video a few times before going live.

When watching your video, make sure you:

  • Have removed any mistakes
  • It’s not longer than it needs to be
  • You have call to actions in your video

You don’t want to upload your video to YouTube, realize you made a mistake and then have to delete it.

I’ll admit I’ve done this a few times in the early stages of my YouTube channel and it’s not a good idea.

After you’ve watched your video, if you’re happy with it, you can save it as a .mp4 and upload it to YouTube.

3. Optimize your video for search engines

Webcam screen recording

Once you start uploading your video to YouTube, this is the part where you need to start optimizing your video for SEO.

Here are the tips to optimize your video:

Optimize the video description and title for SEO

To write an effective YouTube title, you need to balance these ranking factors:

  • Include the keywords you want to rank for
  • Include the most important keywords near the start of the video title
  • Make the video title enticing for people to click on
  • Capitalizing a few keywords in your video can sometimes help it stand out

Example of a bad YouTube SEO title: A video on how to get LinkedIn leads

Example of a good YouTube SEO title: LinkedIn lead Generation: How to DOUBLE your LinkedIn leads

Optimize the video thumbnail for clicks

A good video thumbnail can make or break your YouTube video.


If no one clicks on your YouTube video (even if the video itself is really good), YouTube’s algorithm will not promote it to more people.

This is why its very important to optimize your video thumbnail for CLICKS.

How can you do that?

In short, you need to create video thumbnails that create curiosity combining image and sometimes a few words of text.

Depending on your video topic, there are a lot of different types of video thumbnails you could create.

If you want a deeper dive into creating video thumbnails, I’d recommend watching this video here:

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Use video chapters to show up on search engines

Chapters helps organize your content and as an added bonus, they can also appear in both the YouTube and Google search results.

Here’s an example of on of my videos with chapters appearing on a Google search:

YouTube video chapters

As you can see, video chapters will help your video stand out in the search results pages and can give people a preview of what your video is about before they click on it.

Use end screens to keep viewers on YouTube for longer

YouTube rewards videos that keep people on YouTube for longer.

That’s why at the end of your YouTube video, it’s a good idea to recommend another video for people to watch.

This will increase the chances YouTube will display your videos in the future on the search engine results pages and on the YouTube homepage (recommended feed).

Optimize your video description and tags

This one isn’t super important these days, but it’s still recommended as a best practice.

In short, you need to include a description with the keywords you want to rank for in your YouTube video description.

But don’t just stuff in a bunch of keywords in your video.

You need to make sure the description of your video reads well and doesn’t look spammy.

I typically copy and paste (with a few tweaks) my video script notes for my Youtuve video description.

I do this because it’s quick, easy and provides a decent video description for YouTube SEO.

At the same time I don’t want to spend too long on it, because I know it doesn’t affect rankings too much.

After writing your video description, the next part is to create video tags.

Video tags again do not affect rankings very much, but it’s still recommended as a best practice. Just don’t spend too much time on them!

Put your YouTube videos into a playlist

It’s a good idea to organize your YouTube videos into different playlists.

This is so that if someone likes one of your videos in a playlist, YouTube will automatically suggest the next video in a playlist.

Don’t accidentally restrict your videos

When uploading your video to YouTube, they will ask you two important questions:

Is this video for kids?


Is this video for people over the age of 18?

It’s important that for BOTH of these questions, your answer is NO (of course, assuming that your video isn’t actually for kids and isn’t for people over the age of 18).

If you accidentally select that your video IS for kids, YouTube will severly restrict who your video is shown too.

And if you select that your video is for people over the age of 18, since many YouTube users are not signed in (which means youtube doesn’t know their age), then your video will not appear to any of these people either.

It’s also a good idea to make sure your video is set to “public” when you publish it.

Do not click on “unlisted” otherwise people won’t be able to find it in the YouTube search results.

Include call-to-actions on your published YouTube video

Remember to include links in your YouTube video description and in a pinned YouTube comment sending people to a lead magnet on your sales funnel so they can learn more about how you can help them.

Tip: You can easily host your lead magnet using one of the best sales funnel builders on this list.

This will allow you to generate more leads and clients from your YouTube videos so you can monetize your YouTube channel more effectively.

4. Create regular YouTube videos

YouTube VSL

YouTube uses a ranking factor called “Topical authority” to rank videos higher. In other words, the more videos you have on a certain topic, the more YouTube will view your YouTube channel as an authority on that topic.

That’s why if you record one YouTube video on its own, it won’t get you a lot of results.

You need to record multiple YouTube videos on the same topic to start seeing tractions.

So it’s important to spend some time recording new YouTube videos on a regular basis (such as once a week).

Tip: Some YouTube videos you record will do better than others. So the more videos you create, the higher the chances are that you’ll have more successful videos that generate leads and clients.

5. Repurpose YouTube videos into SEO blog posts

If you want to really maximize your SEO results, you can repurpose the videos you create and turn them into a blog post with video to text tools.

This will allow you to generate leads with Google SEO (the biggest search engine in the world) and YouTube SEO (the second largest search engine in the world).

Here’s a video that shows you how to do this using Ai (if you want to save some time):

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Best YouTube SEO tools to save you time (bonus tips)

If you want to save time when doing YouTube SEO, there are a number of free and paid tools you can use.

Here are some of the best YouTube SEO tools for your business:


YouTube video editor

Invideo is a YouTube video editor tool that allows you to easily edit your YouTube videos with templates, animations and more from within your web browser.

What I like about Invideo’s YouTube video editor is that it’s easy to use and is perfect for both beginners and pros alike.


VidIQ YouTube tool

VidIQ is one of the most popular YouTube SEO tools which includes a Google chrome extension and the VidIQ mobile app.

VidIQ also has one of the biggest YouTube growth with over 1 million subscribers. So they practice what they teach!


TubeBuddy tool

TubeBuddy is YouTube SEO tool very similar to VidIQ. I would recommend checking out both TubeBuddy and VidIQ to see which one you prefer.

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer

Ahref keyword tool

Ahrefs keyword explorer is great for doing research on some of the most popular keywords for both YouTube and Google.

The advantage to using Ahrefs keyword explorer tool is that you can use it for both YouTube search and Google search.


Canva YouTube video thumbnail templates

Canva is really easy to use image editing software on the cloud. You can use Canva templates to create highly engaging YouTube video thumbnails.

All the video thumbnails I’ve created for my YouTube channels are made in Canva.

The advantage to using Canva is that is has a lot of premium licensed stock photos that you can use. It gives you a lot more options compared to other free stock photo websites.

Click here if you want to get a free Canva trial.


Descript video editing

Descript is a video editing tool that allows you to edit videos as if it was a word document.

The advantage to using video script is that it’s super easy to use for beginners and it has a neat feature called “Studio Sound” which will instantly make the audio of your video sound amazing (even without a quality microphone).

Here’s an example of the Descript “Studio Sound” feature in action:

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Click here to get a Descript free trial


Camtasia video editing

Camtasia is another video editing tool, but it has more advanced features compared to Descript. It’s great if you’re looking for more advanced video editing software that is budget friendly.

Click here to get a Camtasia free trial

YouTube SEO FAQs

What are the most important YouTube SEO ranking factors?

The five most important YouTube SEO ranking factors are:

  • Watch time: how long someone watches your video for
  • Click through rate: how many people click on your video each time they see it
  • Video title: what keywords you use in the video title
  • What words you use in the video when you record the video
  • Topical authority: the more videos you record on a topic, the more likely you will be to rank for keywords related to that topic

If you can optimize these five YouTube SEO ranking factors as much as possible, you’ll increase the chances your video ranks at the top of YouTube vs your competitor videos.

If you create YouTube videos for SEO, you will get traffic going to that video for a very long time. If you create YouTube videos for the YouTube recommended page, you can get a lot of traffic to your video very quickly, but then it often dies out very quickly too.

Both options have pros and cons.

Overall, it’s best to do a bit of both.

Create some YouTube videos focused on SEO (long-term growth and predictable growth) and other more clickable videos for the YouTube recommendation page (for quick bursts of growth).

What kind of beginners video equipment do you need for YouTube videos?

If you’re a beginner just getting started with YouTube videos, you do not need any expensive or fancy video equipment. Here are the basic video recording equipment you need:

Use your smart phone to record videos

  • A tripod to hold your phone
  • Good lighting if you don’t have any natural sunlight where you’re recording
  • A lapel microphone
  • Video editing software
  • Somewhere you can record with a plain or nice looking background
  • And that’s it!

It also doesn’t have to be perfect. You can always start recording and improve your video quality later on.

Is YouTube SEO the same as Google SEO?

There are some similarities. Both Google and YouTube want to rank the best content at the top of their search engines. The main difference is that for YouTube seo, the content is in a video format and for Google SEO the content is in a written format.

The added advantage to YouTube SEO is that it can appear at the top of both YouTube and Google search engines. Whereas a written blog post for Google SEO can only appear at the top of the Google search engine.

Is YouTube SEO or Google SEO easier?

Because recording a video is harder than writing an article, YouTube SEO has less competition and is easier to rank higher on compared to Google SEO.

Is YouTube SEO necessary?

If you want to get new views on your videos for years into the future, then YouTube SEO is necessary to do that. YouTube SEO gives you predictable and consistent results once your video is ranking at the top of either Google or YouTube search results.

What are some of the best YouTube SEO tips?

Create videos that answer the question someone is searching for better than any other videos. Then make sure you optimize your videos for search by including the best keywords in your video title and description.

How can you generate leads on YouTube without ads?

The best way to generate leads on YouTube without ads is to use YouTube SEO. It’s important that all of your videos have a call to action (CTA) going to your lead magnet and your marketing funnel. To learn how to do this in more detail, watch this free training video.