We might think of YouTube as a social media platform, but it’s also a powerful search engine. As the second most popular search engine after Google, YouTube is known not only for entertaining millions daily, but for helping us answer burning questions and solve problems.  

If you want your podcast content to perform well on YouTube, it’s critical to ensure your videos are optimized to appear in search results. Without optimization, your videos might not be seen by or shown to a wider audience, limiting your podcast’s growth and potential. 

We’ll walk you through how to optimize your podcast for YouTube SEO so that you can give your videos the best chance at success. 

Pick Keywords to Focus on for Each Video

The most important part of optimizing your YouTube videos are keywords. Keywords are areas of focus or topics that you want your video to be an answer to. For example, if you made a podcast episode about how to start a spice garden for new gardeners, you’d probably want it to appear under the search results for “how to start a spice garden” and “how to start a spice garden for beginners.” Both “how to start a spice garden” and “how to start a spice garden for beginners” would be keywords to focus on for that particular video.

If you’re not sure which keywords to choose or need inspiration, the best place to look is on YouTube itself. Type in a topic into the search bar to see what keywords are autosuggested, as in, appear while you’re still typing into the search bar. This will give you an idea of what the most popular searches are at the moment.

The next step in your keyword research would be to pick a keyword and study the videos that appear on the first page of YouTube’s search results. You may find that there are a lot of great videos on that topic already, or you might find that there is very little existing content. Keywords that do not have a lot of great content underneath them are a fantastic place to get started—it’s typically easier to rank higher in search results for less popular keywords.

The more popular or crowded a keyword is with content, the more difficult it will be to stand out amongst the crowd. While it might be tempting to aim for the popular stuff, starting with more niche or specific keywords is a solid strategy, especially if you’re a newer channel. 

Rename Your Video File 

This is not only a good tip to help you better organize your files, it actually has SEO merit as well. Instead of uploading your file as FHSGFDX.mp4, rename the file to contain your main keyword, i.e., how-to-start-a-spice-garden-beginner.mp4. 

Make Your Content Accessible with Captions and Transcripts

Accessibility is always important and helps your content reach anyone, no matter if they’re using assistive technology or not. Tools like Headliner can help you make sure you include accurate captions and an easy-to-read transcript with each video. 

You can also add your video’s transcript to your description box. Avoid using certain characters in your description box, like ampersands and dashes, as those are not easily read by screen readers. 

Optimize Your Title and Description

Your title and description should reflect the keyword you’re trying to target. Going off of the spice garden example, the title could be “How to Make a Spice Garden | For Beginners.” Although titles can be up to 100 characters long, try to make your titles as succinct as you can for better results. 

An accurate, detailed description can help your content be more favored in YouTube’s search algorithm. Use keyword-rich language to describe what your video is about, include a transcript, and point viewers to relevant links to other content or what was discussed in the video. 

Don’t Forget About Tags 

Tags help both YouTube and Google determine what your video’s focus is so they can index it more accurately, so don’t skip putting them in. Choose tags that are actually relevant to what your video is about—don’t stuff irrelevant tags in the hope that it will get your video more views. 

For the spice garden video, some tag examples would be #spice garden tips, #spice garden podcast, #spice garden, #gardening tips, and #gardening for beginners. 

Monitor Your Content’s Retention

Retention measures the length of time your audience watched your video for. The higher your retention, the longer your audience stays engaged with your content, which helps signal to YouTube that your videos are worthy of ranking highly in search results. 

You can check your retention through YouTube’s built-in analytics suite and see the exact points where viewers drop off in each of your videos. When recording and editing, keep this data in mind to boost your SEO. 

Encourage Audience Engagement With CTAs

There’s a reason why most YouTubers sign off with, “like and subscribe.” Audience participation sends a signal to YouTube’s algorithm that helps it fare better in search. 

Encourage your audience to comment or otherwise interact with your videos and channel in a way that feels authentic to your brand—don’t make it too forced or cheesy. 

You can also use YouTube’s card and end screen features to direct your viewers to other videos or relevant information to keep them engaged with you for longer periods of time.  

Take Advantage of YouTube Shorts

YouTube Shorts, one of the newer features of YouTube’s platform, is a great way to bring people into your content ecosystem. Shorts, like TikTok, are short, 60-second vertical video clips that can be entertaining, informative, or both. 

For success on Shorts, try to upload content that highlights or complements the rest of your existing content. As is the case on any video platform and in any format, your Shorts should be engaging and as long as they need to be—too long and viewers will drop off or scroll past. 

Using newer features on a social media platform is generally a good idea. Shorts may help your account grow more quickly than not.