6 YouTube SEO Tips Based on Google’s Published Paper


YouTube’s advice engine is one of the most successful innovations Google has ever built. A fantastic 70 percent of watch time on YouTube is driven by way of YouTube’s personal suggestions.

Despite this, the SEO industry tends to cognizant of sayings like “YouTube is the world’s second-biggest seek engine,” and emphasize rating in YouTube seek effects or getting YouTube listings in Google search effects.

Especially surprising is the reality that YouTube has absolutely published a paper (The YouTube Video Recommendation Engine) describing how its advice engine works.

Yet this paper is hardly ever referenced with the aid of the search engine optimization industry.

This article will let you know what’s in that paper and how it ought to affect how you approach search engine marketing for YouTube.

1. Metadata

To nowadays, metadata remains a long way more critical for SEO on YouTube than it’s far for search effects in Google.

While YouTube can now create automated closed captions for films and its ability to extract data from the video has progressed dramatically over the years, you need to now not rely on those in case you want YouTube to endorse your video.

YouTube’s paper on the recommendation algorithm mentions that metadata is a vital supply of facts, even though the reality that metadata is frequently incomplete or even totally lacking is an impediment that their recommendation engine is designed to triumph over as well.

In Marketing We Trust Publish Definitive Google Analytics 4 Implementation  White Paper

To avoid forcing the recommendation engine to do too much work, ensure that each metadata field is populated with the right statistics with each video you upload:


Include your goal keyword inside the video identify, but make sure the identify additionally grabs attention and incites interest from users.

Attention-grabbing titles are arguably even extra important on YouTube than conventional search since the platform is predicated greater heavily on guidelines than seek consequences.


Include a full description that uses your keyword or a few variations on it, and ensure it is at the least 250 phrases lengthy.

The more useful statistics you include right here, the greater information YouTube has to paintings with, allowing you to capitalize at the long tail.

Include the fundamental points you will cowl inside the video and the number one questions that you’ll deal with.

Additionally, using descriptions related to other films, so long as it’s miles appropriate from the consumer attitude, may also help you turn up in the suggestions for those videos.


D tags depend on YouTube, not like the meta keyword tag for engines like google, that is completely defunct.

Include your primary keyword and any versions, associated topics that come up within the video, and other YouTubers you point out inside the video.


Include your video in playlists that feature associated content material, and recommend your playlists on the cease of your motion pictures.

If your playlists do nicely, your video can grow to retain users on YouTube longer, leading to your video showing up in suggestions.


Use an eye-catching thumbnail. Good thumbnails normally consist of some textual content to suggest the difficulty count and an eye-catching image that creates a right away emotional reaction.

Closed Captions

While YouTube’s automatic closed captions are reasonably accurate, they still frequently characteristic misinterpretations of your words. Whenever possible, offer a full transcript inside your metadata.


Use your keyword in your filename. This, in all likelihood, doesn’t have as an awful lot of impact as it as soon as it did. However, it really doesn’t harm whatever.

2. Video Data

The data within the video itself is becoming greater important every day.

The YouTube recommendation engine paper explicitly references the uncooked video circulate as a critical supply of information.

Because YouTube is already reading the audio and producing computerized transcripts, you must say your keyword within the video itself.

Reference the call and YouTube channel of any motion pictures you’re responding to inside the video as properly to increase the possibilities that you may show up of their video suggestions.

Eventually, it can end up extra essential to rely less at the “talking head” video style. Google has a Cloud Video Intelligence API, capable of identifying gadgets in the video.

Including movies or pics inside your films referencing your keywords and related topics will probably help enhance your video’s relevancy ratings in the future, assuming those technologies aren’t already in motion.

Keep your videos based well and no longer too “rambly” so that any algorithms at play could be more likely to research your video’s semantic content and context.

3. User Data

Needless to say, we don’t have direct control over consumer statistics, but we can’t understand how the advice engine works or how to optimize for it without know-how the function of personal facts.

The YouTube advice engine paper divides consumer records into classes:

Explicit: This includes liking films and subscribing to video channels.
Implicit: This consists of watch time, which the paper acknowledges doesn’t always imply that the consumer changed into happy with the video.
To optimize user records, it’s crucial to encourage explicit interactions together with liking and subscribing. However, it’s additionally vital to create films that lead to desirable implicit user data.

Audience retention, mainly relative target market retention, is something you ought to comply with intently.

Videos with poor relative target market retention have to be analyzed to determine why, and motion pictures with specifically negative retention should be removed so that they don’t harm your standard channel.

4. Understanding Co-Visitation

Here is where we begin stepping into the beef of YouTube’s recommendation engine.

The YouTube paper explains that a fundamental building block of the advice engine is its potential to map one video to a fixed of comparable motion pictures.

Importantly, similar videos are right here defined as movies that the consumer is more likely to observe (and presumably revel in) after seeing the initial video, instead of always having anything to do with the movies’ content being all that similar.

This mapping has completed the usage of a way referred to as co-visitation.

The co-visitation depend is definitely the wide variety of times any videos have been watched inside a given term, such as 24 hours.

To decide how associated two videos are, the co-visitation remember is then divided by a normalization function, including recognizing the candidate video.

In different phrases, if two videos have a high co-visitation, rely upon. Still, the candidate video is noticeably unpopular, the relatedness rating for the candidate video is considered high.

In exercise, the relatedness rating needs to be adjusted by using factoring in how the recommendation engine itself biases co-visitation, watch time, video metadata, etc.

Practically talking, what this means for us is that if you need your video to pick up site visitors from pointers, you need folks who watched any other video to also watch your video inside a brief time frame.

There are some of approaches to accomplish this:

Creating reaction movies within a short time after a preliminary video is created.
Publishing motion pictures on systems that still sent site visitors to another famous video.
Targeting keywords related to a particular video (as opposed to a broader concern depend).
Creating motion pictures that focus on a selected YouTuber.
Encouraging your visitors to look at your other films.

5. Factoring In-User Personalization

YouTube’s advice engine doesn’t surely propose movies with an excessive relatedness score. The suggestions are customized for each user and how this is done is discussed explicitly in the paper.

First, a seed set of videos is selected, together with movies that the person has watched, weighted by using factors, which includes watch time and whether or not they thumbed-up the video, and many others.

The motion pictures with the very best relatedness score would then honestly be decided on and protected within the suggestions for the simplest advice engine.

However, YouTube located that these tips had been genuinely too slender. The recommendations had been so comparable that the user might probably have discovered them anyway.

Instead, YouTube extended the guidelines to encompass films which had a high relatedness score for the one’s might-be preliminary pointers, and so on within a small number of iterations.

In other words, to show up as a cautioned video, you don’t always need to have an excessive co-visitation matter with the video in a query. You should make do by having a high co-visitation matter with a video that has an excessive co-visitation count number with the video in the query during-flip.

For this to ultimately work, but, your video will even want to rank high in the tips, as discussed in the next section.

6. Rankings: Video Quality, User Specificity & Diversification

YouTube’s recommendation engine doesn’t without a doubt rank motion pictures through which movies have the best relatedness score. Being in the pinnacle N relatedness rankings is definitely pass/fail. The ratings are decided by the usage of other factors.

The YouTube paper describes these elements as video pleasant, consumer specificity, and diversification.

Video Quality
Quality indicators consist of:

User ratings.
Upload time.
View rely upon.
The paper doesn’t point it out. However, session time has since emerged as the driving issue right here, wherein films that lead to the user spending more time on YouTube (no longer always on that YouTube video or channel) rank better.

User Specificity

These alerts improve motion pictures, which might be great healthy based on the consumer’s records. This is basically a relatedness score based totally on the person’s history, in preference to simply the query’s seed video.


Videos that are too similar are eliminated from the rankings so that users are supplied with an extra meaningful selection of options.

This is finished by limiting the variety of tips the usage of any specific seed video to choose candidates, or by using proscribing the wide variety of recommendations from a particular channel.


The YouTube advice engine is significant to how users interact with the platform.

Understand how YouTube works will dramatically improve your chances of doing well on the world’s most famous video web page.

Take in what we’ve mentioned here, don’t forget to give the paper itself a glance, and comprise this information into your advertising approach.


I have been working in the field of SEO and content marketing since 2014. I have worked with over 500 clients and more than 100 websites. I started blogging in 2012 and have now made my first steps into the world of freelancing. In my spare time, I like to read, cook or listen to music.