12 YouTube SEO Tips for Your Business Channel in 2021

Many businesses make the mistake of overlooking YouTube when it comes to SEO and marketing. This is despite the fact that YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world after Google.


Simply put, if your business is not making the most of YouTube, your target audience might be getting snapped up by more YouTube-savvy competitors.


Alongside successfully running and growing our own YouTube channel, for years our clients have trusted us to produce YouTube content for them to upload and share. So if you want to improve your ranking and performance on YouTube, use these 12 tips to optimise your YouTube SEO strategy.

1. Plan your video content with seo in mind.

The goal of any search engine is to direct users towards relevant, valuable and engaging content that satisfies the wants and needs of the searcher. So before anything else, make sure your content is up to scratch.


Use this content checklist for every video you create:

  • Does this video provide educational and/or entertainment value to the viewer?
  • Is the content relevant to the keywords/search terms you’re targeting?
  • Have you included strong calls to action (CTAs) that will inspire people to engage, share and subscribe?
  • Do you say your keyword/keyphrase out loud? (YouTube can listen to what’s being said in a video)

2. Record & upload for the best Video Quality.

Filming process

YouTube wants to direct viewers towards high-quality videos to impress them and keep them on the site. So it’s no wonder that high-quality videos tend to perform the best.


YouTube allows you to upload videos for viewing in HD and even 4K quality. Note that higher resolutions can take longer to process, so your video may initially only be available in Standard Definition. Because of this, you may want to upload your video as unlisted and make it public after high-resolution processing is complete.


To get the best video quality, consider investing in professional filming equipment or services.

3. Before uploading, rename your video file.

It surprised us to learn that even the name of your video file can have an impact on your YouTube content’s SEO.


YouTube’s algorithm can’t actually sit and watch your video to work out what it’s about, and what searches it should show up in. Instead, it reads through data such as the video title, description – and video file name. Unlike the first two, the video file name cannot be changed after you upload it.


So before you upload any video to YouTube, double check the file name and change it to something that includes relevant keywords you want to rank in searches for.

4. YouTube Thumbnails - go custom when you can.

Thumbnail Example from Blueprint Film

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


Here are the technical requirements you need to know:

  • 2MB limit
  • 1280 x 720 resolution
  • Aim for a 16:9 aspect ratio

Your thumbnail should work with the title to encourage viewers to watch. For this, use a relevant, eye-catching image with large, easy-to-read text. We recommend limiting text to 2-4 words. When it comes to formatting, capitalised words in bolded fonts are the easiest to read.


You want to make sure your thumbnails look varied while also conveying consistent branding. To do this, we include our logo and use the same font for each of our thumbnails. Read more tips for video thumbnails here.

5. Optimise video titles for seo.

The most important thing is to include your target keyword in your video title. Ideally, put it at the start of the title for a better chance at ranking for that keyword. Another tip is to keep your description to around 20-70 characters. This will ensure that your title will be displayed in full on YouTube search results pages.


At the same time, your video titles should be descriptive, intriguing and accurate. You want users to know what your video is about and inspire them to click on it. Avoid using clickbait. This leads to lower user retention, which in turn leads to a lower ranking.

6. Craft youtube SEO-friendly descriptions.

The first few lines should provide an overview of the video and what it offers to viewers, using your target keywords and keyword synonyms. Be detailed and specific about its contents.


As for the rest of the description – use this for general information about your channel and business. Provide links to your website as well as key videos/playlists and your social accounts.

7. the secret to YouTube Hashtags.

As for most social media platforms, hashtags on YouTube helps to expand the reach of your content. They are another way to help YouTube understand what your video is about and show it to the right people.


The first three hashtags will appear above the title of your video for users to click on and browse.


Don’t go for irrelevant tags to try to broaden your reach – YouTube might penalise you for it. Neither should you add more than 15 hashtags. Otherwise, YouTube will ignore all your hashtags.

screenshot of YouTube video with hashtags

8. Don't forget to add tags and categories.

YouTube uses tags and categories to understand the content and context of your video and rank it accordingly. This is another way to group your video with similar video content and gain more exposure.


On the video editing screen, scroll to the bottom and click on ‘Show More’ to choose your category and add tags. Only one category can be added. Also, the tags for each video cannot go over 500 characters in total.


Is there a category and/or a set of tags that apply to most videos on your channel? Here’s a tip to save time. On YouTube Studio, go to ‘Settings’ then ‘Upload defaults’. Scroll down to add a default list of tags, then go on the ‘Advanced settings’ tab to set a default category. Youtube will then automatically apply these to every video you upload.


Just remember to add specific relevant tags for each video, and change the default category if it doesn’t match the upload.

9. Add captions to your youtube videos.

Captions ensure accessibility. This way, more people can watch and engage with your content. Plus, captions show viewers that you care about inclusivity. YouTube can also scan a video’s transcript for keywords – helping you to rank higher.


What’s the best way to add captions? YouTube’s auto-translate feature uses speech recognition technology to automatically create and publish captions for your video. But don’t rely on this. The results are never perfect. Instead, take the time to review the automatic captions and edit the output for accuracy.

YouTube end screen settings screenshot

Here are the other ways you can add captions:

  • Upload a subtitle and caption file.
  • Auto-sync: enter the words in the video or upload a transcript file and assign timings
  • Manual: type or paste a transcript

10. build YouTube Playlists for seo.

Playlists also rank in YouTube search results pages. They, too, can be optimised for SEO. Include relevant keywords in your playlist titles and descriptions, whilst also clearly conveying what your playlists are about.

image showing YouTube playlists

To get the most out of playlists, use them to showcase the different topics or kinds of content on your channel. For example, the Blueprint Film YouTube channel has playlists covering the different sectors we work with, our showreels, drone reels, and more.


Are you struggling to come up with playlist ideas? Start with a playlist of recent uploads or your most popular videos.

11. Stay Active on your Youtube channel.

If you want to improve your YouTube SEO, it’s not enough to post each video and move on to the next one. YouTube’s algorithm favours content with high levels of engagement.


Interact with comments on your videos to encourage further engagement. Like and reply to comments, post your own and pin the best one to the top of the comments sections. These interactions are doubly beneficial as they also solidify your brand-consumer relationships.

12. Keep an eye on the analytics tab.

screenshot of YouTube channel analytics

Want to monitor whether and how your YouTube SEO efforts are working?


Use YouTube’s video and channel analytics reports to learn about your audience and performance. There’s lots of information to explore, but here’s some data we’d recommend focusing on for YouTube SEO:


  • Channel overview – see what videos are performing best (and which could do with further optimisation).
  • Traffic source: YouTube search – shows the YouTube search terms that viewers used to get to your content. (Do they match your target keywords?)
  • Audience geographies, age and gender – tells you the demographics of your viewership. (Do they line up with your target demographic?)

Stay tuned for more tips and guides to YouTube and other social media platforms – subscribe to our newsletter to get our best content delivered straight to your inbox! If you found these tips useful, share this article with friends and coworkers.


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Gemma Laws

Gemma joined the Blueprint Film team in 2021 as our marketing coordinator. She takes care of our social media, email marketing and advertising campaigns. Her strengths lie in following trends, conducting research and writing compelling copy.

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