YouTube SEO Checklist 2024: Boost Video Discoverability | Make Your Content Stand Out!

Latest updated youtube seo checklist

The main focus of this blog is to provide you with the most effective method for YouTube viewers to easily discover your videos. If you want to increase views, this blog will help you quickly improve your rankings in YouTube search results.

YouTube is the world’s leading video-sharing platform, with more than 2 billion logged-in users per month. This means that on average 120 million users are logged into the platform per day.

(Source: YouTube Stats Marketers) This means that on average 120 million users are logged into the platform per day. Because of this, YouTube represents a marketing window and an opportunity to generate profits.

Whether you use YouTube for your business or as a Youtuber, you need to optimize your channel and videos following a similar optimization process as the on-page optimization of your website’s articles.

The consequence of YouTube videos that aren’t well-optimized is that they don’t get views after they’re uploaded. This is often not due to a lack of quality or relevance, but because you haven’t implemented the right SEO for YouTube.

But don’t worry, here, with our YouTube SEO Best Practices Checklist, you will learn the right methodology to optimize your YouTube channel and how to get more views for your videos.

YouTube SEO Best practices are Applied on Two Levels:

  1. At channel Level
  2. At video level

YouTube SEO at Channel Level

The first step in this YouTube SEO Checklist is to get your brand information right. Whether you have a personal YouTube channel or a business one, your identity should be all over your channel.

This will increase your brand awareness in the YouTube community and increase your visibility.

Basic YouTube Channel Information

  1. You need to Sign in to YouTube Studio.
  2. Locate the left menu, and click on Customization, select the tab Basic information. There, you will see the options described below.
  1. Include your main keyword or brand name in your channel’s name:
    The name of your channel plays an important role in your audience finding your channel. It also helps the video search engine to show the content of your videos to the appropriate audience on the platform.
  2. Channel’s main description:
    Your main description should be consistent with the overall content of your channel. By maintaining this connection between your main description and your videos, you help the YouTube search engine understand the category you want your channel to rank in.
  3. Add the Languages to increase your video world coverage and exposure:
    Based on your business model, you should maintain a multilingual channel. Not only will your channel reach more people, but it will also contribute to your revenue. Even if your target audience is English-speaking, you should also consider other countries where English is spoken. For example, you can add English, English India and the Inglish United Kingdom to YouTube. You might think they are the same thing, but they are not. Like the Google search engine, the YouTube search engine is a geographically separated, indexed database. In simpler terms, YouTube results for “YouTube SEO” are not the same for the two countries. Moreover, these results are highly customized and take into account the user’s search history.
  4. External links for the channel in general:
    You should at least put the link to your main website there. Try not to use any other link that is not the link to your main site, unless you are trying something else with your channel.
  5. Main Banner links:
    Based on the links you added in step 4, you need to select the number of links to include in your main page banner image.
Basic youtube channel seo
Basic SEO for youtube

Branding YouTube Channel Information

  1. You need to Sign in to YouTube Studio.
  2. Find the left menu and click on Customization, select the Branding tab. There you will see the options described below.
  1. Profile picture:
    Following YouTube SEO Community Guidelines, Make sure the image is 98×98 pixels. Typically, a favicon is used that represents the main logo of your business. As a Youtuber, you want people to easily recognize your channel; in this case, add a profile picture that serves this purpose.
    How to change image profile for youtube channel
    Image rights: Google
  2. YouTube Banner image dimensions and best practices:
    The right size of a banner image is 2048×1152 pixels to start with, but you need to consider the best position for your brand name, tagline and notable creative elements. You can use Canva to create great banner images for free.
  3. YouTube Videos Watermark Implementation:
    Your watermark is usually your company’s logo. not mandatory, but commonly used. By having a watermark for your business, you also help protect your creatives and efforts. Watermarking your YouTube channel is a feature you should definitely use, as it also creates brand awareness and trustworthiness. We recommend that our clients keep this branding feature visible at all times.

Design YouTube Channel Settings

In this section of our YouTube SEO Checklist, you have the option of inserting up to 10 paragraphs. Use them wisely and make sure they are professionally laid out. You have the option to add an introductory video for visitors who are not subscribed to your channel, and another introductory video for your subscribed users.

  1. You need to Sign in to YouTube Studio.
  2. Locate the left menu, and click on Customization, select the tab Design. There, you will see the options described below.
Youtube channel design options configuration

Keywording Your Channel Youtube SEO Effort

The above settings are no less important than the next settings. For proper keyword implementation in your channel, you need to do easy-to-do keyword research for YouTube.

Don’t be intimidated by how keyword research sounds because there’s no reason it has to be complicated, and anyone who knows a little about using YouTube can learn good YouTube keyword research.

There are third-party tools to do keyword research for your channel. Platforms like Ahrefs, Semrush and other well-known ones offer this service for a fee. We don’t recommend using these tools because there’s no reason to.

The logic behind it is that these third-party tools use their own keyword databases to provide average results that are sometimes far from the real metric for a given keyword.

We will use the two best tools you can find to do good keyword research for your channel.

  1. Youtube
  2. Google

It can’t get any simpler than that, right?

How does keyword research use Youtube?

YouTube’s AutoSuggest feature is the tool you need here. Just go to the search bar and type in the title of your channel.

Keyword research using youtube autosuggest feature -
Youtube keyword research using the autosuggest feature of Youtube

Note that it is your title, not your keywords or key phrases. We don’t focus on keywords because we want to uncover all possible relevant keywords to your video topic. When those keywords come up, you need to list them and rank them by popularity.

When it comes to YouTube SEO, how can you tell the popularity of a keyword?

Channel tags for including on a youtube channel -
  • Step 1. Select the twenty more important keywords for your industry
  • Step 2. Search them on YouTube and check the results. Looking for the exact match in the titles of the results.
  • Step 3. Select the channels with more views and list them out.
  • Step 4. Create a free account on VidIQ, integrate your channel and open all the listed channels in different tabs on your browser.
  • Step 5. On the right, you will see all channel tags, select the ones you need and add them to your channel. Try to add 15-20 tags.

When fixing your YouTube SEO, never underestimate the power of your channel tags. These are important for getting your channel ranking better on the platform.

Keyword research using Google SERP?

Google is the PAPÁ of YouTube, you knew that, don’t you?

Given the strong relationship between Google and Youtube, people tend to think that they are the same thing or share the keyword database.

In fact, this is not the case as Youtube is an independent entity and is not tied to the Google keyword database. You need to check what works better for your channel.

Nonetheless, Youtube videos also show up in Google search results, but the keyword ranking of the Youtube platform is considered a different website and not a common index database.

Now, back to keyword research using Google.

Google also offers a great autocomplete feature. Like YouTube, the feature tries to predict your intended keyword by presenting other related keywords that people can find information on.

Google People Also Ask Feature

Google feature people also ask
Google feature People also ask

The core of Google’s “People Also Ask” feature is based on the frequency of search terms. That gives us enough information to decide whether or not we should include them in our channel tags.

Or whether or not we should create an entire video that answers the selected question. Have you run out of ideas for your new video?

The People Also Ask feature is your answer.

Top 10 Tips for using correctly YouTube channel tags

  • Try including one of your channel tags in the title of your videos
  • Use one or more channel tags in the name of your thumbnails
  • Include at least one tag in your channel description 4-6 channel tags should be in your video descriptions
  • Do not repeat your channel tags in your other video tags
  • Do not repeat the same channel tag twice
  • Avoid using numbers or special characters in your tags
  • Keep one language in your tags
  • Avoid too long phrases in your tags (max. 4 words)
  • Maintain the relationship between the channel tags and your business

Note that channel tags are not the same as video tags. Although they serve the same purpose, their impact on your channel’s visibility is different.

Difference between channel tags and video tags

The main difference is that channel tags work for many videos in your channel, while video tags work specifically for that tag. These tags play a role in how your channel is discovered by your audience when searching for a specific keyword that you previously used as a channel tag and a video tag, respectively.

Optimizing title and description for your channel

Similar to SEO for a website, Youtube titles and descriptions also need to be optimized. Unlike a website, the title and description can vary in length even though they serve the same purpose: They should let your visitors know what your channel or videos are about. The more engaging they are, the better your channel will perform.

Youtube video title best practices:

The title of your channel should be descriptive of what your videos and channel are about. Follow these easy-to-follow tips to have a great channel name or title.

5 Tips to create a great YouTube channel name

  1. Make memorable and easy to remember
  2. Focus on creating a title for unique target audiences
  3. Stay relevant
  4. Readability gets increases when using capitals
  5. Give some time to think about it better

👎Practices to avoid in your channel name

  • Using a generic name or random numbers.
  • Creating a name that is not connected to your industry.
  • Complicated words.
  • Ignoring to consider if the title is helping your channel or not.


Your channel description is important to increase your channel’s click-through rate (CTR) as it will show up in search results.

Take your channel description from good to GREAT with these 6 tips

  1. Let your audience knows why your channel will help them
  2. You have less than 2 seconds to earn the click, meaning that the first 100 characters are key. Start with the important facts
  3. Include keywords from your channel tags and other important keywords your audience is using to find videos on YouTube
  4. What type of video will your viewers find? Lists, statistics, how-tos, demos, reviews. Yes, declare this in your channel description
  5. Create a content posting calendar and let your audience know when the next video is coming
  6. The website address, Call to Action, Social Networks, all these should be declared in your channel description

👎Practices to avoid in your channel description

  • Clickbait type of description (People are smarter than 10 years ago)
  • Meaningless description.

SEO For YouTube at Video Level

There is an interesting case study by online advertising expert Briggsby that illustrates how important it is for you to follow this checklist. We don’t just come up with vague ideas on how to optimize your videos. Rather, we base our strategies on real facts.

Here you have the list of items we will teach you to optimize for your videos:

  • Video Title Optimization meaning
  • How to write good video descriptions
  • Choosing the right video tags
  • The power of using timestamps with YouTube videos
  • Why you should use automatically generated subtitles for your videos
  • Hashtags for YouTube Video Captions
  • The importance of YouTube video thumbnails

1. Video titles optimization importance

Using a keyword in your video titles will help your video rank better and faster in YouTube search results. But don’t force the keyword; you need to make it natural and easy to digest.

If you find that the keyword doesn’t fit properly, swap it out for a synonym, or create a variation of the title with titles with exact keywords, titles with synonymous titles, and partially matching keywords.

Try each of these variations for a month, and based on the analytics for your video, decide which one worked better and go with that one.

You can change the title of the video at any time. However, keep in mind that any change to the title will affect the video’s ranking. So be sure to make a note of this KPI and take it into account when choosing the final title.

Based on Briggsby, case study, the recommended length for YouTube video titles is 47-48 characters. This is not a rule, but a recommendation considering the videos that work best.

Best ranked videos on youtube based on title length
Image rights: Briggsby

As mentioned earlier, Titles play a role in CTR (Click Thru Rate). And they are also part of the magnet you have to drive more views to your channel. Don’t take your titles lightly if you want to have a well-performing YouTube channel.

👍 Best practices for YouTube video titles

  • Try to keep a keyword-rich title
  • Don’t use video titles longer than 48 characters
  • Focus on creating interesting video titles
  • Keep a 100% relationship between the video title and the video
  • Never underestimate the power of your video titles

How to write great video descriptions

There’s a secret hack you’re about to read for your video descriptions, but first, you need to understand that your video descriptions are not meant to be boring or copy and pasted words from your video content.

When you write descriptions for your videos, think of it as if you were writing an article for your website. But this time, you have the video as the basis for your wording. Keep your descriptions relevant to the video and think of them as a motivational review to keep viewers interested in the video.

The recommended length for your video descriptions is 300 – 400 words. These words need to be unique. Like any other good SEO article, it must include your video’s keyword and Latent Semantic Keywords, be synonymous, and have good readability.

Recommended youtube video description length.
Recommended Youtube video description length. image – Briggsby

It would be best if you split your video descriptions into the sections:

  1. Intro:
    Tell the viewers what they will find in the video. Things like what they will learn, what the video is about, motivational words, and a bit about who you are and why your video is different from others in the same category.
  2. An overview of the content of the video. You can highlight the main topics and the benefits of learning them. Don’t give too much away; keep the viewer interested.
  3. Your contact information is a must in your video descriptions. Things like social channels, websites, email, or phone numbers can work as call-to-actions (CTAs).

Using Keywords in YouTube video descriptions

Keywords are like magnets that draw search engines to ranking positions, but they must have strong relevance to the topic. Whether on a website or in your video descriptions, you need to choose the keywords to use.

Unlike the SEO of 15 years ago, today, you don’t want to insert keywords into your text without thinking about what they mean. If your video descriptions are 350 words long, you need to include the most important keywords 3-4 times in your video descriptions.

Using LSIs (Latent Semantic Keywords) in YouTube video descriptions

LSI keywords are not synonymous; they belong to the same topic as the main keyword but don’t even use synonyms of the main keywords. For example, create a short description with “digital marketing” as the main keyword:

The offers we find in digital marketing often refer to building an “online strategy” or “advertising” on foreign “online platforms”. If you are looking for a video tutorial to help you on your way…

The LSIs used are:

  • online strategy
  • advertising
  • online platforms

The example works perfectly to show you the relevance of using LSI in your video descriptions and blog posts for your website.

👍 Best practices for YouTube video descriptions

  • Always include your main keyword, LSIs and synonyms in your description.
  • Video descriptions should be around 300 – 400 words long.
  • Work on CTAs for the end of your video descriptions.
  • Include links to social media.
  • Descriptions should stay focused on the content of the video.

These practices will have a positive impact on the visibility of your videos on YouTube. But there are also some “don’ts” you should be aware of.

👎Practices to avoid for YouTube video descriptions

  • Copy and paste the text from the videotext you created.
  • Video description irrelevant to the video.
  • The video description is too short or too long.
  • Keywords not included in your video description.
  • A long block of text for your video description.
  • The video description is left blank.
  • The video description is stuffed with keywords.

Choosing the right video tags

Unlike channel tags, video tags play a role on a per-video basis. The correlation between these tags and the content of the video and the channel is critical.

It would be helpful to keep in mind that these tags act as flags that attract the attention of YouTube’s search engine algorithms when deciding which ranking positions your video should appear in.

There are other factors that come into play, but these video tags must be present when the algorithm is looking for them.

A good practice for video tags is to use 2-3 words and avoid too long phrases or meaningless tags.

How many video tags should I add to my videos?

There is a consensus on how many video tags you should use. The number is 300 characters for video tags. Vidiq and Briggsby have agreed on this.

Among the video tags, you should also include the main keyword of the video, the LSIs used, some synonyms and other keyword tags related to the topic. Avoid using irrelevant video tags, numbers, symbols, etc.

👍 Best practices for YouTube video tags

  • key correlation between your video tags and your video
  • Avoid going over 300 characters on your video tags
  • Don’t use too long keyword tags

The power of using timestamps on YouTube videos

Key Moments as Google calls them, Timestamp on September 17, 2019; these key moments in YouTube videos appear directly in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). They help Google page visitors find a specific moment in your videos, resulting in a better user experience and increasing your video SEO chances.

How to add timestamps on your YouTube videos

  • Step 1. Sign in to your YouTube channel.
  • Step 2. Find the video you want to add the timestamps.
  • Step 3. Click on EDIT VIDEO.
  • Step 4. In the “Description” box of the “Add details” page, add a list of timestamps and titles.
Search result video timestamp example 689x597 1 -
Examples of Google search results and YouTube videos with timestamps

Why use auto-generated subtitles for your videos

Of the millions of people who use YouTube every day, not all of them speak your language, right? Well, YouTube has solved this problem by adding the feature to automatically translate video comments for free.

This automatically generated text is then formatted as subtitles tied to the timestamp when the words were recorded. That alone should tell you something about the relevance of auto-generated subtitles.

But if you still don’t understand why here you have some golden nuggets.

  • Subtitles allow any person to understand your videos, regardless of their language
  • Text is indexed and parsed in index servers to be used in search results
  • Subtitles increase channel views, likes and subscribers
  • Your videos receive more comments
  • Subtitles help with ranking and visibility
  • Helps user experience

Hashtags for YouTube video description area

Hashtags are keywords preceded by the symbol “#”. You can add these hashtags to your video titles and descriptions.

They help declare the topic and category of your video. Based on YouTube, these hashtags improve the visibility of the video on the YouTube platform.–RrpPS3M

However, as with any other optimization process you work on, don’t overdo it and abuse the feature. As a rule of thumb, try not to use more than 3 hashtags on your video page.

It’s better to add them at the end of the text of your description. You can also add one in the title, but try to keep it relevant and keyword-related.

How to add hashtags to your videos

  • Step 1. Sign in to your YouTube channel.
  • Step 2. Find the video you want to add the hashtags too.
  • Step 3. Click on EDIT VIDEO.
  • Step 4. In the “Description” box or the title section of the video, add the hashtags (#hashtag #example).

👍 Best practices for YouTube video hashtags

  • Don’t use spaces.
  • Avoid using numbers.
  • Don’t use misleading words.
  • Avoid hateful words, sexual or vulgar words, etc.

The policy for hashtags on YouTube is strong, try to keep it under YouTube Community Guidelines.

The importance of YouTube video thumbnails

Video Thumbnails are the first anchor you use to attract viewers from search results. Once they find one of your videos, you need to attract viewers with high-quality and engaging video thumbnails.

90% of the best-performing videos on YouTube use custom video thumbnails.

How can I upload a customized video thumbnail?

  1. Log in to YouTube Studio.
  2. In the left menu, click on Content.
  3. Choose the video you want by clicking on its title or its thumbnail.
  4. You can choose the auto-generated thumbnail or upload your designed one.
  5. Click on Save.

The video thumbnail can be selected after you upload the video to the platform. You can also upload a custom image. It’s proven that using engaging thumbnails helps your videos get more views. Here are some good tips for creating video thumbnails.

10 tips for creating Video thumbnails

  • 1280×720 pixels is the right size for YouTube video thumbnails.
  • Make it appealing
  • The text in the image for the thumbnail should be direct and descriptive
  • Prefer people conveying emotions rather than objects
  • Use contrasting colours
  • The thumbnail must match the content of the video
  • Highlight your video thumbnails
  • Make the text large and easy to read
  • Use white colours (frames, text, etc.)
  • Best possible quality

YouTube Optimization Checklist’ Final words

All you need to do is apply the above steps to your channel and each of your videos.

Yes, this can be time-consuming. If you need help running an SEO campaign for your YouTube channel, please contact us at +357 99762835.