YouTube SEO Beginners Guide: 10 Best Practices for 2021

May 18, 2021 | Content, Guides, Social Media, Tips

Video, the web is all about Video and the OG of all of this is YouTube. It’s managed to defend against the constant barrage of attacks from social media giants like Facebook and they’ve now started to take that fight to Facebook with their “shorts” feature. Moving away from their traditional long form video and throwing yet another short video offering into the crowded market.

How does YouTube manage to stay on top? Creators, make money. YouTube found the happy medium awhile back where creators make decent money from their audience and that spurs them on to creating better content, which in turn brings in more audience.

If you’ve spoken to me at some point, I’ve mentioned the idea of starting a YouTube channel but to be successful it’s not something that should be taken light-hearted. YouTube is big business, and to make a splash you need to put in the work.

Notice I didn’t say you had to go out and drop 1000’s of dollars on new equipment. When it comes to any social media it is much better to just start. There will be a thousand reasons not to start. Everyone must start somewhere. Oh, and there are plenty of extremely successful channels recording everything on their phone.

With all that said here are 10 best practices to help you get your videos seen in 2021.

1. Keyword Research

YouTube is a search engine. Which means if you want to start building that audience then you must start playing the game. That means researching keywords. The easiest way is to head over to YouTube and start typing in industry-specific keywords into the search field.

For example, if you were creating a video on Content Marketing, you type that into the field and YouTube will show up some suggestions.

These suggestions are based on what people are searching so you can be sure that there is some traffic available.

Now with that first list created you can start going more specific to your video content. By adding in more keywords afterwards your start to get more results.

You keep doing this until you have a huge list that you can refine later.

2. Increase your watch time

Just like standard SEO time on site or in this case Watch Time tells the algorithm how well the video answers the viewer’s query.

So how do you increase watch time. In the first 10-15 seconds your video should entice the viewer by telling them exactly what’s in it. Another tactic that’s being used is to mention some added value that they will get at the end of the video.

3. Optimise your video like you would a blog post

Do you optimise your blog posts for search engines? If not, you really should! The same goes for YouTube videos.

  • Your video title. Place the main keyword in the title.
  • Your video description. This is like your H2 Tag. Mention your keywords but make it a natural sentence or paragraph. Keyword stuffing is out, it’s been out for a long time now.
  • You video tags. Add tags focusing on your keyword.

4. Get those comments

Encourage your viewers to drop a comment. Want to know how to do this well? Watcher a couple of well-known gamers. They are the kings of building a community and keeping them engaged.

Comments are important. It tells the YouTube algorithm that your content is amazing and worth commenting on. The more comments the better. On that note, make sure you reply to all those comments.

5. Say your target keyword in your video

YouTube makes and automatic script of your video to help with search results. So, make sure you squeeze some of those keywords into your video.

6. Promote your videos everywhere

Remember back at Tip #2 about increasing watch time. Get your following to watch your video share it everywhere from YouTube. You can always go back later and upload it natively to the other platforms but getting that watch time up is key.

7. Optimise the channel page.

You’ve been in such a hurry to get your video up, that you skipped through everything just so you could upload it. That’s great but now is the time to go back and spend some time optimising the channel page. Make it look good, describe what the channel is about in the description. There isn’t a lot you can do but putting some time in to it is going to be worth it.

8. The thumbnail

Remember when you were told “never to judge a book by its cover”. Well on YouTube the success of your initial videos while you are building that loyal following is based on your Thumbnail. Don’t just use a screenshot from the video, generated by YouTube.

Spend some time to create something that stands out, fits with your brand but also tells people what to expect in the video.

9. Be consistent

Yeah, I know this is what I say for all social media, but it’s so true. Post regularly and post often. Yes, there are accounts that get away with posting infrequently but stack the odds in your favour. The more you post the more people you reach the quicker your audience will grow.

Another biproduct of posting often is that your videos will get better organically without you noticing. What’s the saying? “You need to do something for 10,000 hours to become a pro”. You better get started.

10. Keep them watching

You’ve told people that at the end of the video you are going to give some added value or announce something which has piqued their curiosity. Here’s a bit of a pro tip. Mid way through the video tell your viewers what is coming up next. “In a minute I’m going to show you how I/we did xyz…” it’s simple but effective.


YouTube can be an amazing lead generator for your business or brand. It can also turn into an additional source of income depending on your business model.

The key to YouTube success is knowing your audience. Got a YouTube channel? DM us on Facebook on Instagram and we’ll take a look at what you are doing.