How To Optimize Your Youtube Channel For SEO

How To Optimize Your Youtube Channel For SEO

When I started my blog, I knew nothing about SEO or search engine optimization. To be honest, even as I worked in marketing, it took time before I really got to work on it. As I started my Booktuke channel, it was the same. I knew Youtube was part of Google and a search engine but I just did not connect the dots: Youtube SEO exists and you should pay attention to it. That is when I started to try and optimize my Youtube channel for SEO.

Upon starting on Youtube, I decided to focus on books and thus now belong to the booktube community. To be honest, everything I did was very random. The only things I focused on where the thumbnail and the title of the video. I did try to film videos I knew were quite popular on Booktube already. Book hauls and reading wrap ups for example. And to date, they are my videos with the most views. However, when you optimize your Youtube channel for SEO much more can happen.

That’s when you can increase your video views as well as your number of subscribers but also your search rankings. Of course, my Booktube channel is still very small. Indeed, I just have a few hundreds followers. But again, my niche is that, very niche. Plus my videos are in French, so then my target audience reduces quite a lot.

How to optimize your Youtube channel for SEO

However, since I started to focus a lot more on Youtube SEO and started to really optimize my Youtube channel for SEO, I did see some changes. First of all, my videos do rank much higher than they used to. As a consequence, both views and subscriber count have increased. My channel itself is found much more easily than it was before. That is why today I will share with you those Youtube SEO tips.

You still need to keep in mind that the niche you will have chosen for your Youtube channel as well as your targeted audience will also influence your growth speed. The smaller the niche, the smaller the audience. Some niches are also more popular than other, i.e. beauty or lifestyle over books. But there still is space for growth and Youtube SEO can be what makes the difference.

1. Add a keyword in your channel name

When you optimize your Youtube channel for SEO, you need to make sure you do your best to help Youtube and the algorithm understand what your content is about. That is why keywords are so important. They basically give a very short description of what you do. Not only adding a relevant keyword to your Youtube channel will help the algorithm, it will also get you noticed by other users.

To stay consistent with my brand, I kept my English social media username as my Youtube channel name – What Corinne Did. Unfortunately, as my Booktube audience is primarily French speaking, that channel name did not speak to them at all.  When they see my username, they get no hint at what I do. Thus, I decided to add a keyword in my channel name.

From What Corinne Did to What Corinne Did – Booktube Channel or in French (since that how it is right now) What Corinne Did – Chaîne Livresque.

Since I am quite active on Booktube as a whole and comment on every single video I watch, my comment will show my channel name and indicate to any other users watching the video what I am about. Since I changed my channel name, I have noticed an increase in followers. French people seeing my name in comments now know what I do. Should they be interested in books, they are more likely to click.

2. Optimize your channel description

Second tip to optimize your Youtube channel for SEO is to optimize your channel description with relevant keywords. They can help the search algorithm understand better what your channel is about, and then rank you higher in search results for those particular search queries.

Youtube allows you quite a lot of space to write a good detailed description on your channel, so make use of it. You do not have to write a novel of course but adding a lot of different relevant keywords can really help. For example, do not focus on the general topic of your channel. As far as I am concerned, that would be books. 

Instead, also talk about the types of videos you do, the type of books you read, how often you post, when genre you favor, maybe add the titles of a few very popular books you love. Again, knowing that book hauls, reading wrap ups, TBRs and Harry Potter are quite popular search topics in the booktube community, I added those keywords in my description.

Make sure you also add your social media links to that people can follow you on other platforms.

3. Use channels tags

I found out about channel tags fairly recently and to be honest, I should have paid attention a lot earlier. The keyword that you can add as tags in each of your Youtube videos? Well, you can do the same with your Youtube channel as a whole. Channels tags are great to optimize your Youtube channel for SEO.

Tags are channel keywords that can really boost Youtube discovery. They help the algorithm determine which other channels and videos to use for recommending your videos. You can add a lot so add as many relevant keywords as you can. They can be the general topics of your channel, the types of videos you will do, your channel name, etc. 

To add keyword tags to your channel, you need to open Youtube Studio. Then, on the left side bar, click on settings. Click on channel and then basic info. You will see a space where you can add a lot of keywords. Then just save. Again, even though my channel is pretty small, since I added channel tags, I have noticed an increase in subscribers and channel views.

4. Use different playlists

When I started my Youtube channel, I did not focus that much on books. Instead, I also vlogged about my daily life in New York City and did video hauls of my collaborations with Shein. So I just had a few playlists: books/what I read, hauls, travel vlogs and Harry Potter. Again, back then, I did not know how to optimize my Youtube channel for SEO. Even when I decided to focus solely on books, I did not change that.

Thus, despite a wide variety of book related videos, I had just one playlist to put them all in. Then, all my videos were under the search terms “What I read” because of that unique playlist they belonged to. Then, I decided to create one playlist per type of video I was doing: book hauls, reading wrap ups, reading challenges, book reviews, other book videos, etc. Since each playlist gets a title and a description, you get it, more keywords for your channel.

Furthermore, playlists are one of the best ways to get more views on your videos. After all, playlists automatically play every video in the playlist… which can lead to thousands of extra views every month.

How To Optimize Your Youtube Channel For SEO

5. Name your video files with keywords

Adding keywords to your video file names will help Youtube know what your video is about. Indeed, Youtube cannot watch your video. Even though it will pick up some spoken words, the more you help it with written keywords, the easier it is for it to find your video and understand what it is about.

Adding keywords to your file name will make your video more relevant to its keyword as a whole. YouTube can read your video’s file name and all the code that comes with it when it’s uploaded. That is why I always use the title of my Youtube videos as their file name too.

Leave nothing to chance. If you can add a keyword there, then add it. Keywords really are the key to helping you optimize your Youtube channel for SEO.

6. Say your target words in your videos

Youtube can pick up what you say in your videos. After all, its voice recognition software will try to add subtitles to your video based on what you say. Thus, not only should speak loud, clear and in an articulate way, but you should also say your keywords a few times in your video.

So if YouTube sees that you mention your target keyword in your video, they’ll “hear” it. And because you’re actually saying the keyword that your video is optimized around, YouTube will better understand that your video is about that term.

7. Optimize video description and title

Your title is like the headline of your video, the name of your movie. It is the first thing, along side the thumbnail, that people will see when they find your video. Thus, it needs to clearly state what it is about in a few words. It must also include your keywords, which is basically what your video is about. You may also be smart about it and add more keywords.

For example, when I post a book haul video, of course “book haul” will be in the title. I may also add something like “So many more books” or if I know a book I bought is trending in Youtube at the moment, I may add that to the title too. For example, Crown of Phoenix by Nick Pau Preto had just come out in France and was being talked about quite a lot by French Booktubers. So I added the French title in my wrap up and book haul videos that talked about it.

Then, that video was ranking quite high for that particular keyword. Way to optimize your Youtube video for SEO.

You can add up to 5000 characters to your description so make use of it and add keywords, sum up what the video is about, list the books you talk about (if you are a booktuber). You may also link previous videos you mention or relevant videos. Even better if they are previous book hauls, because again, repeat keywords. An optimized description helps you show up in the suggested videos sidebar, which is a significant source of views for most channels

8. Use all 500 characters in the video tags

Another way to optimize your Youtube channel for SEO, beyond channel tags are video tags. Tags are descriptive keywords that will help viewers find your content. Although your title, thumbnail and description are very important for video discovery, tags are super helpful too. They repeat keywords and inform Youtube of what your video is about.

That way, YouTube figures out how to associate your video with similar videos, which can broaden your content’s reach. But choose your tags wisely. Just make sure the keywords are relevant to your channel, video and description content. Use both short-tail and long-ail keywords. Long-tail keywords usually are less competitive and get you to rank higher.

Not only will it help Youtube know what you are about, but also Google. Since your video can be found on Google as well.

9. Built back links for your Youtube channel and videos

Ranking in search engine is partly based on authority, which you can increase through back links. Back links are just when one site links to another. Backlinks allow you to increase traffic via off-site SEO; you can do this through link building.

Your video’s backlink should be trustworthy, popular, and highly valued for it to drive traffic to your website. While adding links to your YouTube channel isn’t necessary backlinking, but it is a form of link building! You can add links to your video description towards related videos.

Or you can embed your videos in relevant blog post on your blog. Or simply link to your videos. It is also a good idea to share your video on other social media channel you may use such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. More links and more chances the link gets picked up by Google or that people discover your channel.

10. Add closed captions and subtitles

The point of optimizing your Youtube channel for SEO is to ensure the algorithm finds your channel and videos. Keyword send signals on what your content is about, which will help rank in search results for such queries and recommend your channel alongside other relevant videos.

Although Youtube can pick up what you talk about and transcribe automatically, it is not always accurate. Most of the time, you will need to work on subtitles yourself. Subtitles and closed captions can boost YouTube search optimization by highlighting important keywords.

You can either write a transcript of your video or let Youtube do it automatically and amend later on. I recommend transcribing first and letting Youtube synchronise with your voice. It usually is a faster process.

If you can, you may also add subtitles in other languages. Even though my Booktube audience is mostly French speaking, I figured offering English subtitles might just broaden my audience. Or get my videos found if those French viewers search in English terms.

11. Add cards and end screens to your videos

Adding cards and end screens are best practice to optimize your Youtube channel for SEO.

Cards are the little “i” at the top right of a video where you can suggest a related video in another video. Basically, it is encouraging viewers to check out another video of yours, thus increasing user retention and chances to get new subscribers. You can add up to five cards to your video.

End screens display similar information as cards, but as you may have guessed, they don’t display until a video is over. They are a bit more visually detailed in nature. What I did is adding a ten second image at the end of each video upon editing them. Then, I set up the end card to start exactly when that image shows up, displaying my most recent upload as well as channel icon to encourage people to subscribe.

Both cards and end screens are here to increase user retention and encourage users to carry on watching your content. User retention, watching time and engagement are important factors for Youtube ranking, so the more you give users to stay on your channel, the better.

12. Upload a striking and clear thumbnail

Last but not least to optimize your Youtube channel for SEO is to upload a clear, visually pleasing and informative thumbnail so that people know exactly what the video is about just looking at your thumbnail. A good thumbnail will impact the number of clicks and views your video receives.

Although you can let Youtube generate a thumbnail for your video, it is always better to design one yourself. You must also have a verified Youtube channel to have access to customized thumbnails.

That is for all my tips to optimize your Youtube channel for SEO and increase your videos chances to rank higher in search results. My Youtube channel is very small and very niche too. I do not have thousands of subscribers, just a few hundreds. But, when I started to apply all those tips to optimize my Youtube channel for SEO, I did notice a subscriber and view increase. So they do work.

What are your top tips to optimize your Youtube channel for SEO? Are you on Youtube? What are your videos about? What changes did you make to improve views and discovery?

Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope you liked this post.

See you soon,



  1. July 13, 2020 / 11:36 am

    These are really so helpful info for my youTube channel. I really appreciate your thoughts and ways that you’ve mentioned in this post. Thanks for this SEO tips.

  2. August 1, 2020 / 9:57 pm

    wtf so many things i didnt even know existed ive done a few of them now but theres so much to think of now! thanks!

  3. August 12, 2020 / 5:55 am

    This post is SO helpful! Thank you R x

  4. September 11, 2020 / 8:29 am

    Off topic tho but i just went through your instagram and i must i love your dressing sense…

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