6 YouTube SEO Tips Based on Google’s Published Paper

YouTube’s recommendation engine is one of the most successful improvements Google has ever constructed. A dazzling 70 percent of watch time on YouTube is driven by YouTube’s very own guidelines.

Despite this, the SEO industry tends to recognize sayings like “YouTube is the world’s 2nd biggest search engine” and emphasize ranking in YouTube Seek effects or getting YouTube listings in Google Seek results.

YouTube SEO: How to find the best traffic-generating keywords

Especially surprising is the reality that YouTube has sincerely posted a paper (The YouTube Video Recommendation Engine) describing how its recommendation engine works.

Yet this paper is hardly ever referenced utilizing the SEO industry.

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

1. Metadata

Nowadays, metadata remains far more essential for SEO on YouTube than seeking outcomes in Google.

While YouTube can now create automatic closed captions for motion pictures, and its capacity to extract information from the video has advanced dramatically over the years, you should not rely on these if you want YouTube to suggest your video.

YouTube’s paper on the recommendation algorithm mentions that metadata is a critical source of information. However, the reality that metadata is frequently incomplete or even completely lacking is an impediment that their advice engine is designed to triumph over as nicely.

To avoid forcing the advice engine to do an excessive amount of paintings, make sure that each metadata field is populated with the proper records with each video you upload:

Include your target keyword in the video title, but ensure the identity additionally grabs attention and incites interest from users.

Attention-grabbing titles are arguably even more critical on YouTube than conventional seek since the platform is predicated more closely on tips than search consequences.



Include a full description that uses your keyword or a few variants on it, and ensure it’s miles at least 250 words lengthy.

The more beneficial information you consist of right here, the more statistics YouTube has to paint with, permitting you to capitalize on the lengthy tail.

Include the predominant factors you will cover within the video and the number one you may deal with.

Additionally, using descriptions related to different movies, so long as it is suitable from the consumer angle, might also help you switch up within the suggestions for those films.

Unlike the meta keyword tag for SERPs, keyword tags depend on YouTube, which is defunct.

Include your number one keyword and any versions, related subjects that arise inside the video, and other YouTubers you mention in the video.



Include your video in playlists with related content, and propose your playlists at the top of your films.

If your playlists work properly, your video can grow to maintain customers on YouTube longer, mainly for your video showing up in hints.



Use an eye-catching thumbnail. Good thumbnails generally encompass a few texts to suggest the challenge count number and an eye-catching photograph that creates an immediate emotional response.
Closed Captions

While YouTube’s computerized closed captions are fairly correct, they often function as misinterpretations of your phrases. Whenever possible, offer a full transcript inside your metadata.


Use your keyword in your filename. This probably doesn’t have as many impacts because it did as soon as it did, but it surely doesn’t harm something.

2. Video Data

The records in the video itself are becoming more crucial every day.

The YouTube advice engine paper references the raw video move as a critical supply of facts.

You must say your keyword in the video because YouTube already reads the audio and produces electronic transcripts.

Reference the name and YouTube channel of any motion pictures you are responding to inside the video as nicely on the way to grow the probability that you’ll display their video hints.

Eventually, it may be extra important to rely, much less on the “speak my head” video style. Google has a Cloud Video Intelligence API capable of identifying items in the video.

Including films or pix within your movies referencing your key phrases and associated topics will probably assist in improving your video’s relevancy ratings in the future, assuming these technologies aren’t already in motion.

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

3. User Data

Needless to say, we don’t have direct manipulation over personal facts. Still, we can understand how the advice engine works or a way to optimize it without informing the function of user facts.

The YouTube advice engine paper divides personal facts into two categories:

Explicit: This includes liking films and subscribing to video channels.
Implicit: This consists of watch time, which the paper acknowledges doesn’t necessarily imply that the consumer became satisfied with the video.

To optimize consumer facts, it’s vital to inspire specific interactions, including liking and subscribing. However, it creates desirable implicit personal points.

Is vital audience retention, particularly relative target audience retention, something you should comply with intently.

Videos with poor relative target audience retention must be analyzed to determine why, and films with specifically terrible retention must be eliminated so they don’t harm your common channel.

4. Understanding Co-Visitation

Here is the thread getting into the meat of YouTube’s recommendation engine.

The YouTube paper explains that a significant construction block of the advice engine is its ability to map one video to a set of similar films.

Importantly, similar videos are described here as videos that the user is much more likely to look at (and possibly enjoy) after seeing the preliminary video instead of necessarily having something to do with the motion pictures’ content material being all that comparable.

This mapping has achieved the usage of a method referred to as co-visitation.

The co-visitation counted is the range of instances in which any two motion pictures have been each watched in a given term, for example, 24 hours.

The co-visitation matter is then divided through a normalization feature, including the candidate video’s popularity, to decide how associated videos are.

In other words, if videos have an excessive co-visitation, the candidate video is exceedingly unpopular, and the relatedness rating for the candidate video is considered high.

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

Practically speaking, this means that if you want your video to select up site visitors from hints, you want folks who watched any other video to also protect your video within a quick time frame.

There are some ways to accomplish this:

Creating response videos within a short time after an introductory video is completed.
Publishing motion pictures on structures that also sent visitors to any other favorite video.
Targeting keywords related to a particular video (instead of a broader challenge count).
Creating films that concentrate on a specific YouTuber.
Encouraging your viewers to look at your other motion pictures.

5. Factoring In-User Personalization

YouTube’s advice engine doesn’t explicitly advocate videos with a high relatedness score. The guidelines are personalized for every person, and the way this is completed is discussed explicitly inside the paper.

To begin, a seed set of motion pictures is selected, including films that the consumer has watched, weighted with the aid of elements which include watch time and whether or not they thumbed up the video, etc.

The videos with the best relatedness rating would then be decided on and covered inside the hints for the handiest recommendation engine.

However, YouTube discovered that those guidelines have been apparently too narrow. The suggestions have been so comparable that the person would, in all likelihood, have found them anyway.

Instead, YouTube expanded the guidelines to encompass movies with a high relatedness rating for those could-be preliminary suggestions and so forth inside several iterations.

In different phrases, you don’t always need an excessive co-visitation matter with the video in the query to reveal up as a counseled video. You ought to make do by having an excessive co-visitation depending on a video with a high co-visitation count with the video in consultation during the turn.

However, as discussed in the next section, your video may even need to rank high in the guidelines for this to be in the end paintings.

6. Rankings: Video Quality, User Specificity & Diversification

YouTube’s advice engine doesn’t honestly rank motion pictures with which motion pictures have the best relatedness score. Being within the top N relatedness ratings is truly bypass/fail. The scores are determined by the use of different factors.

The YouTube paper describes these factors as video excellence, person specificity, and diversification.
Video Quality

Quality indicators consist of:

User ratings.
Upload time.
View count number.

The paper doesn’t mention it. However, consultation time is the driving factor here, in which movies that lead to the person spending more time on YouTube (now not always on that YouTube video or channel) rank higher.

User Specificity

User Specificity

These alerts enhance movies, which are a perfect fit based on the consumer’s records. This is necessarily a relatedness score baskets the consumer’s documents, instead of merely the seed video in versity

Videos, too comparable, are eliminated from the scores to give customers more options.

This is executed by proscribing the number of guidelines using any unique seed video to pick out applicants or restricting the wide variety of tips from a selected channel.


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

Understanding YouTube works will dramatically enhance your chances on the sector’s most famous video website.

Take in what we’ve discussed here, don’t forget to glance at the paper itself, and incorporate this know-how into your advertising and marketing strategy.

More YouTube SEO Resources:

Google vs. YouTube Search: Why Video Rankings Differ
YouTube SEO from Basic to Advanced: How to Optimize Your Videos
Video search engine optimization for Universal Search: Tips, Tools & Techniques to Get Found


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.