Top 5 Video SEO Myths YouTube “Experts” will Tell You

By | August 20, 2019


Everyone wants their videos
to perform well on YouTube and Search in Related
Videos, but some of the stuff that you are
hearing from other YouTube experts out there
is actually not just misleading but
downright wrong, and I want to set some of
them straight for you guys so that your content can perform
the way that it deserves. That’s coming up. Hey guys, my name
is Tim Schmoyer, and it’s Wednesday,
which means it’s time to give you guys some YouTube
tips like we do every week here at Video Creators. I read a lot of YouTube
blogs and websites and SEO blogs, some
of them very credible, but there are so
many YouTube experts out there who call
themselves experts but actually have never
built a channel themselves. They heard something or they
read something on reddit or they heard their friend say
one thing, and they take it and it just turns
into this stuff. And I’m going to give just
five of the top ones that frustrate me the most that
are just absolutely not true. If some of these experts
would just take a few minutes and actually read through
the YouTube Help section, they would see that these
things and other things just aren’t true. So let me give you the top
five that irritate me the most, and hopefully will
help you actually get the results on your channel
that you’re trying to get. Number one, I hear a
lot of them recommend that you should list
your tags at the end or somewhere in your video’s
description text area, and that is totally wrong. In fact, we talked a bit
like that like a year or two ago here, how YouTube
started cracking down on channels for spammy content
in the description area, which in the SEO world, this is
called keyword stuffing. And keyword stuffing
is a very 2008, ‘9-ish type of thing that
doesn’t really work anymore. The idea is, the more
keywords you stuff in there, then YouTube thinks, like,
well this video must absolutely definitely be
about this subject, because it says it 15 times. And, two, kind of
going along with it, they say repeat as
many different types of words that are
relevant for your video as possible in your
actual transcript so that when you upload your
captions file to your video on YouTube, that confirms for
Google that this video must definitely be
about this subject, because look at all
the related keywords that they’re actually
saying and putting into the captions
file on this video, and that doesn’t
work at all either. Now, yes, Google does index the
captions file for your videos, but it doesn’t influence how
high up in the search results it goes. It just kind of influences
the breadth of search results that could be applicable
for this video. So if you say a string
of some random words that no one else has
ever said before, you put that in your captions
file and put it to YouTube, and you search for
that query on YouTube, yes, your video will be the
only one that shows up for it. But who’s searching for that? Nobody, right? I have several
other videos that go into this in a lot more detail. I’ll link up to those below
if you want to dig into it, but it’s a myth, I promise. Number three, they
will tell you to buy a lot of views and subscribers
from different websites out there so that your
channel looks more credible. So if someone finds one
of your videos, and says, oh, this video
has 100,000 views, like, this must
be a great video, I should subscribe
to this channel, because look, it has
300,000 subscribers. But the problem with
that is, imagine what Google feels
about your video when you just sent
them– say, you pay for 100,000 views
on it, and all of them abandoned the video after
like 10 or 15 seconds. What do you think Google
thinks about your video? They’re not going to rank
that video very high, which sets a high quick
abandonment rate, and you’re not really
accumulating much watch time either, so you’re actually
shooting yourself in the foot and making a video that
could perform half decently, not be able to perform at all by
sending those types of signals to Google about this video. Number four, and I am surprised
how often I hear this one, and that is you should put your
keywords into your video file name before you upload it
to YouTube, because the file name is the very first piece
of information Google gets about your video, so put your
keywords in the file name, so it’s
topfivevideoseomyths.mp4. I remember when this myth
started at VidCon a few years ago, and it’s totally not true. YouTube, on their
official Help section, themselves says
that it’s not true. The response that I’ve
heard from YouTube is that the time that this
person was experimenting with file names–
keywords in the file names– at the same time
when YouTube rolled out a different algorithm
update, and so they thought there was a correlation,
but they are actually two separate things. The file names– the
keywords in the file name have nothing to do with
this other algorithm that changed and affected how
different videos perform. So that one is a total myth. And, number five,
sometimes you will hear people saying that
getting dislikes on your video can actually hurt how
it performs in Search, and that is not true. In fact, likes,
dislikes, shares– all those things in
general– YouTube doesn’t really weigh
them very heavily as far as how it’s going to
rank a video, because all those things can be gained
very easily by different people doing different things, and so
it doesn’t put a lot of stock into those signals. However, as far as
Google is concerned, a dislike is the same
as a like– a thumbs up, thumbs down– both of
them are forms of engagement, and that is what
YouTube is looking for. So if it’s a thumbs up, a
thumbs down, all YouTube cares about is that your video
enlisted some sort of reaction from the viewer. Now thumbs ups can
help your video in discoverability
from the perspective that if someone who has
a popular YouTube channel gives it a thumbs up, then
that video can possibly display in that
channel’s feed, and so people who subscribe
to them might see it in, like, the What to
Watch page of YouTube or other places like that, so
it can help discoverability, but it doesn’t actually
help it rank higher because it has a
lot of thumbs ups or help it rank poorer because
it has a lot of thumbs down. Overall, the way that you
should think about video SEO and discoverability
on YouTube is that, if you come across
something that just sounds like a quick little hack
that’s going to game the system and beat it and get to
the top with just one little twist, that’s not
how YouTube works anymore. The name of the
game here on YouTube is to make valuable
content for people, and if your content
is valuable to people, it pitches good value,
it hooks them well, it gets them watching the
video, and they find the value, they keep watching more. Those are the signals that
Google looks for the most, and that is what’s going to make
the biggest difference in how your video ranks and
performs on YouTube, even more than titles,
descriptions, tags, captions, thumbs up, thumbs down, all
these other little things. But all that said, I would
love to hear from you in the comments below about your
reaction to some of these five things, and if you
have found other things that you hear people say all
the time that you found just isn’t true, make sure you
call that out in the comments below as well. And the rest of you, make sure
you read those other things, because you will learn a lot
from those people down there, and I’m sure there’s
more than the five things that I’ve covered here that you
will learn from those people, so definitely go down
there and check it out. If this is your
first time here, I would love to have
you subscribe, because every week we help you
guys grow your YouTube channels and your audiences so that
your message can spread, reach people and
change their lives. That’s why this matters,
that’s what this is all about. So I give YouTube tips,
I give YouTube Q and A, we look at the updates that
are happening on YouTube and talk about links
for us at Creators and a lot more, all to help
you guys as YouTube creators grow your channel and
spread your message. That’s what this is all about. So thank you guys
for hanging out. Subscribe, and I will see
you guys again tomorrow. Bye.

100 thoughts on “Top 5 Video SEO Myths YouTube “Experts” will Tell You

  1. Greg's Garage Post author

    Wait a minute!!!!  You mean my practice of putting the tags "Pepperoni Flavored Ice Cream" aren't going to really help my search rankings for a welding video?  LOL!!!  Thanks for dispelling the big myths Tim.  I've got to send this to about 20 other creators who like to discuss (argue about) this type of thing.

    Reply
  2. Jenna no Manga Post author

    I don't know last time my daughter was sick so I search ma petite blasian Disney. And the video that came first was the one with Disney in the descritption box but I just wrote "we postponed Disney" it was not one of the Tokyo Disneyland video.

    Reply
  3. Two Piggies Post author

    Great tips! Thanks for taking the time to research and compile this video 😀

    Reply
  4. stunninglad1 Post author

    Great info there. Keeping tags as accurate to the video as possible is appreciated by the viewers. I'd even go as far as to say if a ten minute video features within it a 4 second clip of The Grand Canyon, but the rest of the video is about something totally different, omit Grand Canyon from the tags section.

    Reply
  5. Patrick Teaches the World Post author

    Thanks I am still new to having a channel, and I definitely heard a couple of those myths.

    Reply
  6. iPlague Network Post author

    Finally someone who tells it how it is. Nobody listens to me when I say that dislikes can turn out positive. But for the creator a like is always a better thing of course 🙂

    Reply
  7. CA Guns Post author

    Thanks for conforming this for us!! SEO and SEM are about quality of the content, not the hacks. Would you agree that views are more important than Subs? I'd rather have a high ratio of views per subs than having a high number of Subs with low views…

    Reply
  8. Pyrolysis Post author

    I've never heard of these false tips before. probably because Tim is the only source I go to for YouTube info.

    Reply
  9. Tom's Test Kitchen Post author

    Great advise Tim. The only thing I do is include the title of the video in the first sentence of my description. Since I do cooking videos I always include the ingredients list in the description as well.

    Reply
  10. nicekid76 Post author

    lol I like having cool file names just because it stays in my video manager… but that's just for myself

    Reply
  11. Jixelsquad Post author

    Was I the only one that tried to scroll up at 2:00 because the top of the video was cropped out

    Reply
  12. Clif Post author

    I remember when you covered at least some of these a while back. The one I see the most often is about SEO'ing your raw video file before uploading. I thought it was common knowledge at this point to not buy views (likes, etc.) on Fiverr.

    Reply
  13. C'est Chrissii Post author

    Well what about sub for sub? I heard you should sub for sub up until you receive your first 1k subscribers. Although I know that doesn't work.

    Reply
  14. RequiestaDeSilencia Post author

    The only thing I was doing was the filename and I think I'll keep that. Not for the SEO but so I can remember what I was doing in that particular let's play! 😛

    Reply
  15. SR HD Post author

    Great Info As Always! However, I have seen some viral videos with many millions of views and when you look at their description, they are stuffed to the brim with keywords! This is the only one that makes me think…Note: Some of these videos were from 2014 that I remember…

    Reply
  16. Jimsplosions Post author

    Cheers Tim good to see confirmation that some of these things were myths. However for smaller channels like mine, it seems impossible to make a dent in search rankings, so how does SEO play a part in discovery? Through related videos? It seems like youtube has a certain viewcount number before it starts promoting your videos to people outside your own subscriber base.

    Reply
  17. Samarion Post author

    God dammit.. I totally fell for the filename-myth. Thanks for setting this straight. 😉

    Reply
  18. izzy swan Post author

    Rub your computer with a cat before uploading a video it helps
    😉 ha ha

    Reply
  19. Cormac Games Post author

    Great video! would be very informative if I haven't been watching all your SEO related videos before watching this hehe 🙂
    you probably have a LOT of views from Norway by now hehe

    Reply
  20. Jonathan Goodman Post author

    Is producing a transcript one of your top five most important SEO things to do for your videos?

    I run another channel that's starting to get good subscription levels but I still have very limited time to work on the channel. Making a transcript takes time. So is it critical?

    If you've already talked about this previously in another video please just point me to it.

    Awesome point about the thumbs up and thumbs down having equal value of interaction.

    Reply
  21. Graphics Geeks Post author

    Yeah couldn't agree more. Keep it natural. Keep it sincere.

    However, one thing I do try to do though is take the time to write up my transcript and put it in the description and captions. I don't think Google views this as "gaming the system" – rather I am making sure that if I mumble something important people can check the transcript. 

    I don't know if it helps with the actual YouTube ranking. I'd be interested to know if that is the case? Although I wouldn't stop doing it either way.

    I also think other search engines and crawlers still use this transcript text, as they don't have access to all the metrics that Google has.

    Reply
  22. Sissi Over40 Post author

    Thank you for clearing those myth up Tim! While the file name may not have an effect for SEO it still gets searched for by YouTube as I had a situation were my file name of a video included the word: Botox. It's not possible to monetize a video that includes Botox and although my video wasn't actually about Botox (it was rather about how to get rid of wrinkles without Botox) and neither my title nor the description box or tags included the word Botox, I wasn't able to monetize that video simply because the file name included the word Botox. I ended up deleting the video, re-naming the file and uploading it again and was able to monetize. So they are definitely looking also into the file names.

    Reply
  23. WoM Post author

    Hmm I thought if a video has a ton of thumb downs, it could negatively impact its monetization

    Reply
  24. Erin Brooks Post author

    Such important info! I never understood description stuffing, I would think that would turn the viewer off too!

    Reply
  25. T³ Tips Tricks Tests Post author

    Another myth is "Use keyword combinations because you can rank high for them".
    Let's assume you made a speedpaint of lara croft. You may be able to get a high initial search rank for "tomb raider console gameplay" because not many other use this keyword combination.
    The problem is that by far most people who are searching for these keywords want to watch some kind of gameplay and not art. So your search result will already have a low click through rate (if you don't try to trick people by title and thumbnail) and even worse the few people who still click it will click right away. This results in low retention rates and thus in lower search ranks in the end.
    So the key is to use keyword combinations because they are relevant for your video.

    Reply
  26. James Rundle Post author

    Big thank you Tim. Your advice has transformed my Channel into a growing channel as opposed to a one going nowhere. Keep up the good work man.

    Reply
  27. Absolute Nails Post author

    I would really love to know if doing ur tags in other languages makes a difference. I go to a lot of trouble in doing this but would be interested if u think it works. If not ill stop doing it and save myself a lot of time!! Thanks

    Reply
  28. Random Considerations Post author

    Great video. You're pretty much the only "YouTube Expert" I put any faith in. I look forward to more great stuff.

    Reply
  29. Common Man Cocktails Post author

    Moral of the story: Hard work, effort and practice pays off more than gaming the system. There are no shortcuts. There are ways to look more professional and play to the strengths of the platform to help your channel shine more. But, you can't polish a turd.

    Reply
  30. Toaden Post author

    1. Keyword stuffing . . . interesting, I have done similar to this. Not to the point of just repeating tags, but sometimes I will put misspelling and other types of phasing in description. I have for the most part stopped doing that, but I should stop completely I suppose.

    I have heard the the file name rumor . . . I figured it no longer worked after so many changes in the algorithms

    That is good to know about the rating . . . I do tell ppl to just rate . . .

    At the conventions there are alot of things that just are not true . .. but about video in general. As you know it is all about storytelling . .. I'm sick of people saying it is all about the camera. I have seen ppl run a tutorial tips and tricks workshop at a Playlist live as part of the community unite panels . . they brought their DSLR gear and was telling people what lenses to buy . . . it just didn't make any sense to me.

    also people tell me I know what I know and am good at what I do because I went to school for video … . . Almost everything I learned is either from other people or from experimenting. School helps a lot with credibility and networking but as I tell people, school is only a step and in many cases, a start. School is not the end and does not be experience .. . school is great but it should not be regarded as the whole experience of your journey because it is not. With that said, I miss teaching 🙂

    Reply
  31. ELP Modelling Post author

    Fanastic video as always Tim. I've been scratching my head about how I can change my channel name to have the .com after it to coinside with the website that I've been trying to pair with Youtube, it's driving me mad! Please help 🙂

    Reply
  32. WinterCraft Post author

    What makes it funny is how you see youtubers with low subs uploading about youtube tricks and the videos don't even get many video views. lol.

    Reply
  33. Aspiration Post author

    Naming you export file the same as your YouTube video is a good idea, but not for SEO. It will help you find it on your PC or external Hard Drive. Sadly there are a lot of so-called YouTube experts.

    Reply
  34. Stephanie Carls Post author

    Thanks for putting this together! Great tips that I'm honestly tired of hearing – you put these to REST! 🙂

    Reply
  35. mickus Post author

    Hi Tim.
    Just to let you know, when you sign up to monetize YouTube state in the terms and conditions that creating views for personal gain ie. Buying view is against their policy and they may flag you if found out. Or possibly ban your account.

    Reply
  36. ElderWand8 Post author

    thanks video creators! i actually believed some of these. . . now i dont.

    Reply
  37. Carlos Pacheco Post author

    Can''t believe people still recommend any of these tactics!

    Reply
  38. Finchify Post author

    Super interesting that thumbs downs count equally as thumbs ups in engagement. I guess that's why highly controversial videos still go viral. Good to know!

    Reply
  39. Martín Bonari Post author

    I've been working on a couple of changes on my latest videos to improve my SEO… but I seem to have made more mistakes than gained views! Maybe it's also trial and error, isn't it?

    Reply
  40. George Paskalev Post author

    I'd like to add that not only is keyword stuffing (in any of the metadata components, not just the description box) against YouTube's rules, but they have become more and more strict about enforcing their policies against such practices over the summer. The amount of videos that I've seen removed for misleading metadata over the past few months in comparison to early 2015 has more than tripled.

    Reply
  41. Sami Luo Post author

    thank you haha some advice "experts" said i even didnt know.. never try that

    Reply
  42. Evan Carmichael Post author

    Thanks for always looking out for us Tim 🙂 #BTA40

    Reply
  43. Marlar House Post author

    Most informative and valuable video I've watched in weeks. Thank you, Tim!

    Reply
  44. Profile Booster Post author

    Tim is the YouTube go-to guy. Love everything he puts out. Great advice again. Will look to implement.

    Reply
  45. Nexz Post author

    Hey Tim. When it comes to watch time does it mean the percentage of the video viewed or how long a person watches your video? btw thanks for all the useful tips

    Reply
  46. HORROR ADDICTS Post author

    Very helpful video. One thing I've heard is that a video has to be between three and ten minutes to be rated high. Any validity to that?

    Reply
  47. Artur Post author

    Hey Tim. I like your Videos a lot and would like to say "Big Thank you" I am from germany and making Fun&Designvideos. Props to you 🙂

    Reply
  48. Scott Okamura Post author

    great video, but I would have liked to have heard what "SEO" means in the video.
    I had to stop the video at around 1 min. and search it on google. You mention 'search engine optimization' in the description, but you don't explicitly state that SEO = search engine optimization so I didn't realize that's what it meant at first glance.

    Reply
  49. vita da prof Post author

    Tim, I have a doubt about the caption file.
    If manually load subtitles I made with a subtitles software, google will still consider them like a transcript and index my words? I can have a better quality subs doing so, but I'm hesitating because of the ranking factor, even if small. Thanks !

    Reply
  50. hypnosis and Stress management Post author

    video is informative

    Reply
  51. Drum Lessons with Robin Watson Post author

    Tim, Love how real you are on camera. I gotta learn how to speak you like you in front of the camera! Thanks for the amazing info and delivery!

    Reply
  52. Leon Lush Post author

    Whew, I was worried coming into this because I consider myself pretty knowledgeable… fortunately, we are on the same page. Thanks for clarifying these myths Tim… I had wondered about a few of them!

    Reply
  53. Zac Linton Post author

    Tim,

    I have an important question. Does YOUTUBE give preferential treatment to channels and videos that are "advertising enabled?" From a business standpoint if YouTube's revenues are all ad based… it would seem that there would be heavy incentive for them to have this bias. Is there any evidence out there to support this theory? My channel doesn't have "in stream" ads mainly because I am not on youtube to make money but rather spread a message.

    Will my rankings suffer because of that?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  54. KeefCooks Post author

    Hi Tim, have a you made any videos about YouTube Channel Partners? I keep getting emails offering the unlikely prospect of massively increased earnings…

    Reply
  55. Recipe Archaeology Post author

    Great info, thanks!

    "Valuable content, for people" Yes!

    Reply
  56. Dave Dineen Post author

    #vita da prof +Scratchifier Comments, along with other types of engagement, are taking into consideration in ranking, but have a fairly low priority within the algorithm. As Tim pointed out, these can be gamed easily. @RGV Love

    Reply
  57. Going Nowhere Last Post author

    You just debunked a lot of the videos I've seen. My 6 videos I've made so far have a keyword section in the description hahaha! I'm glad I subscribed!

    Reply
  58. Twwjr Post author

    hey I have a really important question, I'm trying to be fully supportive of youtube gaming and just stick on youtube to promote and create content and stream so my question is. should I go with Youtube as my Partnership / Network over other 3rd party network? does youtube give benefits for more interaction through the YT platform?

    Reply
  59. nove hasanah Post author

    Thankyou Tim, I love this one.
    May I ask you…
    I dont understand why my channel analytics show that people wacth my videos less than 2 minutes. Any suggestion?

    Reply
  60. This Is Glamboy Post author

    i literally just got done watching a video telling me these things were needed to make your video popular. and now all of a sudden its not true. I just cant deal with peoples lies any more

    Reply
  61. Under My Hat Adventures Post author

    I know this is old but these myths are still out there because I just saw someone post all of these in a Facebook group I'm in.

    Reply
  62. Spike7839 Post author

    WASSSSSUUUUUUUP!!!!!! Thanks again for the excellent advice, I been taking notes on your videos, I just uploaded my first Daddy/daughter playtime video with my 3 year old yesterday, and i have a question for you that, in the course of my research, I have not been able to find an answer for.
    I was reading the YouTube policies in regards to "not clicking on your own videos"…which i had not thought of until i read that statement, which sounds like a cheater way to bring clicks and income to your video.
    Now here's the thing: I'm looking to make more Daddy/daughter playtime videos with my little princess, and she LOVES watching Kid'sTube, and watched our OWN video, like, 8 or 9 times since i uploaded it. But, YouTube says that i cant go clicking on my own video, as they can trace the click back to my IP Adress, so, will my daughter not be able to watch her own videos in our own home, on her tablet? Or will clicking on our own video become a breach of contract if clicked on from my laptop, which is where i uploaded it from? If i hafta make seperate videos of us for her to watch, and leave them UN-monetized, then thats fine, but i dont want her to accidently click on a monetized one and undo everything i have worked for. YouTube says that this offense could most likely result in me not being able to create another channel if i am found to be clicking on my own videos. Im NOT looking to scam the system, merely looking to make some side cash while having fun making wonderful memories with my little Lady. Your input is greatly appreciated my good sir, and sorry this message is so long.
    Too bad you dont get watch-time payment for long comments lmao thanks man!!!
    ~Spike~

    Reply
  63. ZC Films Post author

    If I have a brand new channel and I upload a video and optimize it well with keywords, will it rank in the search results even though I have a tiny channel?

    Reply
  64. Pavan Mehat Post author

    Love it! Correlation does NOT equal causation! 🙂

    Reply
  65. Frog - Tech - Tips Post author

    I still don't know how this works I more and more this is luck and good interesting content

    Reply
  66. Javier Mercedes Post author

    Captions take time, but I like adding them. If not for SEO than atleast for hearing impaired

    Reply
  67. My Review Post author

    Subscribe me press the bell and comment done I will do the same

    Reply
  68. PinkFoxxy Post author

    Wow i did heard of most things as well . So they all are wrong haha now i know

    Reply
  69. Mathias Dimarco Post author

    Thanks for your help, it's been a a lot of effort to grow my channel but who said it would be easy.

    Reply

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