26 Nov 2018

How to Optimize Videos for YouTube Search Results in 2020


The Backdrop: How Do I Get My YouTube Video to Come Up First?

  1. How Long Do People Watch Your Videos For?
  2. Rank Your Video on YouTube By Acing Keyword Matching
  3. Focus on Descriptions That Are Keyword-Rich + Title Length
  4. The Length of Your Videos Matters
  5. Use the Right Keyword Tags to Get More YouTube Subscribers


A search engine that’s used by a billion people, but isn’t usually seen as one. YouTube users spend a collective billion hours a day on the internet surfing videos!

YouTube’s rise has been meteoric, even if we’re being modest. And it’s every brand’s dream to create viral content that attracts 100s of millions of views.

concept illustration of a YouTube video

While there are countless articles out there talking about how to create viral content, the truth is, it’s very hard to replicate the exact circumstances that lead to a video going viral.

That being said, there is a way to win at YouTube—but it doesn’t involve chasing a flash in the pan. YouTube SEO is about being in it for the long haul.

With the right practices, you’ll successfully rank your video on YouTube and get more YouTube subscribers. What are those practices? We’re glad you asked.

The Backdrop: How Do I Get My YouTube Video to Come Up First?

Just like Google’s, YouTube’s search algorithm is always evolving. Video ranking in 2020 won’t be remotely similar to how video ranking was done just a few years ago.

What is video ranking? It’s the position your video shows up in when someone searches keywords that target its content.

While the obvious one is how many views your video has, that’s a bit of a chicken and egg problem. What’s great, though, is there are a ton of other metrics YouTube has been using recently.

1. How Long Do People Watch Your Videos For?


phone screen displaying the YouTube icon with a home office setting in the background

The rankings for video watch times and video views are highly correlated. However, even if you don’t have a ton of views, but the people who do watch your videos watch them from beginning to end, you’re much more likely to be ranked higher by the algorithm.

Let’s say you have a video on your channel that covers makeup trends that are going to be big in 2020. If another channel has the same content, but your videos are being watched all the way through, while theirs are abandoned halfway, it’s much more likely yours will be the ones that show up higher.

2. Rank Your Video on YouTube By Acing Keyword Matching

The Google SEO experts are probably shaking their heads at this, but unlike Google today, keyword matching is still hugely important for YouTube. Videos that match the keyword a user searched for exactly are much more likely to show up for them than a partial keyword match is.

It’s important to think like people search. If you’re making Mukbang videos these days, type it into to YouTube and pay close attention to the suggestions that show up. In this case, the second most searched suggestion is Mukbang ASMR. Not only is this a great video idea, it’s also a keyword that should be present exactly in this order in your title!

Can descriptions help you cover more keywords? You read our mind!

3. Focus on Descriptions That Are Keyword-Rich + Title Length

It’s generally best practice to make sure that your descriptions are as rich with keywords as possible while still sounding organic. Remember, content is king! You can’t just stuff keywords in and expect the algorithm not to penalize you.

The ideal length of a description is 250–350 words. At the same time, shorter titles generally do a lot better than long-winded ones. So try not to cross 50 characters if you can when choosing a title for your videos.

4. The Length of Your Videos Matters

YouTube homepage displaying the ‘home’ and ‘trending’ bars

There’s pretty definitive research now on which video lengths are ranking best in YouTube’s search today and in the near future. The magic number seems to be between 10–16 minutes. Don’t fret if you’re above or below, though.

Rank your YouTube videos

As always, it’s important to consider what type of video you’re making. If you spend 15 minutes making a promo for your new product, and people stop watching just two minutes in, that’s really bad for your ranking and your views.

At the same time, it’s also important to make sure the video isn’t too short. Users hate clicking on YouTube videos only to find that they’re over in a minute. It wastes time, and videos shorter than two minutes are proven to rank a lot lower.

5. Use the Right Keyword Tags to Get More YouTube Subscribers


concept illustration of how to create backlinks on YouTube and rank your video

This is another one that’s a vestige of the past for Google, but YouTube still uses. However, they don’t work in the way you might expect. YouTube lets you assign keyword tags to each video you upload. While they affect ranking a little bit, that’s not what’s important.

Think of them like barnacle SEO but for YouTube. Keyword tags are hugely relevant to whether your video will show up in a person’s recommended tab. And because most users leave autoplay on, if you use the right keyword tags, there’s a very high likelihood that you can use a more popular YouTuber’s video as a launchpad for your own content.

How should you use these tags? We recommend that you have between 30–40 unique tags, and each be a 2–3 word phrase. As for what keywords you should use, it really depends on the video. If your video is about trying on different makeup brands, try keywords for those brands, for example.


How do I get my YouTube video to come up first?

“How can I get more YouTube subscribers?”

“How do I get my YouTube video to come up first?”

“How can I rank my video on YouTube?”

If you’re still unsure about what it takes to build a killer YouTube following, we can help you out! Search Berg is one of the leading small business SEO service providers in the United States. We recently completed our 15,000th SEO project and have a bevy of happy customers who are ranking higher on video sites than they ever imagined. We have a highly experienced team of SEO experts who always stay up to date with the latest SEO trends.

Get in touch with us and we’ll help transform your website and brand’s presence online. Our SEO experts have unique insights into how to optimize videos for YouTube search results.

Whether you’ve been struggling to rank your video on YouTube, tap into new demographics, or create backlinks on Youtube, our SEO specialists will help you kick things off in the right direction!

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