Despite its age (it’s pushing 20 years old), YouTube remains one of the most popular online platforms, and it’s a digital marketing goldmine. 

With 2.49 billion monthly users, YouTube is the second-most popular social media channel, and it’s the second-most visited website in the world. 

Yet, all that popularity means there’s a boatload of competition for every audience

To say the platform is oversaturated is an understatement, and you need a way to improve your visibility if you want anyone to see your videos. 

Using Semrush for your YouTube channel is one of the best ways to:

  • Find topic ideas that matter to your target audience 
  • Analyze competitors so that your videos stand out 
  • Improve your YouTube SEO so that your videos rank for relevant searches 

You’ll also be able to track your video’s performance on YouTube’s internal ranking system to ensure you’re getting the results you want. 

In this article, we’ll teach you how to use Semrush to improve your YouTube SEO for better rankings and more views – so stick around to learn more. 

What’s YouTube SEO?

While YouTube is a video sharing platform, it’s also a search engine, and its algorithm shares some similarities with Google. 

So, if you’ve ever run a search engine optimization (SEO) campaign on Google before, you’ll feel right at home. 

Just like Google, YouTube uses a series of ranking factors to determine which videos A) most closely match the user’s search intent and B) come from trusted, high-quality creators. 

The good news is YouTube has far fewer ranking factors than Google, which is thought to have over 200. 

Here’s a look at the most important ranking factors in YouTube’s search algorithm:

  • Relevance. The keywords you use in your video titles, descriptions, and tags let the algorithm know what your video is about. It matches this information with user searches to display videos that align with what the user is looking for (an example would be a user searching for ‘funny cats’ and videos that contain that keyword in the title, description, and tags showing up). 
  • Intent. The algorithm also wants to satisfy the user’s search intent, which refers to the type of video they’re looking for. For example, if a user searches for ‘best drones 2024,’ YouTube will bring up drone review videos – as it’s clear they’re looking for drone reviews and product comparisons (you can learn more about the different types of search intent in our LearningHub). 
  • Engagement. Videos that receive lots of engagement receive priority in YouTube’s search rankings. That means the more likes, comments, and shares a video has – the more likely it is to rank higher in YouTube’s search results (and recommended videos). 
  • Quality. Lastly, YouTube wants to rank high-quality videos at the top of its results. Certain signals signify that a creator makes quality content, such as consistent viewership, a strong subscriber base, and positive engagement. 

Using Semrush for Better YouTube SEO 

Now that you’re familiar with YouTube’s search algorithm let’s learn how you can use Semrush’s tools to propel your videos to the top of the search results.

In particular, we’re going to use two tools you can find in Semrush’s App Store, which are:

  1. Keyword Analytics for YouTube 
  2. Rank Tracker for YouTube 

Both of these tools are built from the ground up to work with YouTube’s ranking system, and they’ll be your secret weapons for outranking competitors. 

Conduct YouTube keyword research to brainstorm topic ideas 

Beginner YouTubers often make the mistake of creating whatever they want and hoping there’s an audience for it. 

While that approach works for passionate content creators who aren’t concerned with generating millions of views, it’s not very effective for marketing purposes. 

That’s why we’re going to use Keyword Analytics for YouTube to uncover relevant topic ideas that your audience is searching for right now

The tool is completely free to try, and it’s split into three functionalities:

  • Keyword research. This tool helps you find keywords that matter to your target audience. 
  • Fast-growing keywords. Uncover emerging trends and the keywords that are growing the most. 
  • Top videos. Find the most popular videos on YouTube, including the most popular videos for your keywords. 

All three functions are useful, but we’ll stick with keyword research for now. 

Simply enter a broad term related to your niche, and the tool will provide a list of popular, relevant keywords (including their weekly search volume). 

More importantly, you can see each keyword’s competitive rate, which represents the level of competition (and how hard it will be to rank for the keyword). 

Ideally, you want to find keywords that have decent weekly search volume and relatively low competitive rates. 

In the example provided, you could base a video around the keyword ‘Investing for Beginners’ since it has a few weekly searches and a low competitive rate.  

Pro tip: To get a better idea of a keyword’s search intent (and the most popular video type for it), enter the keyword you choose into the Top Videos feature to view the top videos currently ranking for it. For instance, the videos currently ranking for ‘Investing for Beginners’ follow the how-to format, so you could either follow suit or do something different to stand out. 

Track keyword rankings to master YouTube SEO 

Without a way to track your video’s keyword rankings on YouTube, you’re effectively shooting in the dark. 

That’s where Rank Tracker for YouTube comes into the picture. It’s the quickest and easiest way to track the search rankings for your videos. 

You can import your keywords from YouTube Studio or Semrush’s Keyword Manager into the tool.

Once that’s done, the tool’s Overview tab will show you:

  • The average ranking for each video 
  • A pie chart representing keyword distribution for ‘top 3,’ ‘top 10,’ and ‘top 20’ rankings
  • Keywords that have gained rankings, lost rankings, or stayed the same 

Also, the Keywords tab lets you view all the keywords you targeted for specific videos. 

Rank Tracker is your homebase for monitoring your YouTube SEO efforts. If your videos aren’t gaining traction, it’s a sign you need to go back to the drawing board and try something different. 

Try Semrush for Better YouTube SEO and Google Campaigns 

That’s how you can use two tools from Semrush to improve your visibility on YouTube. 

Videos are more popular than articles, and they drive more engagement, which is why video advertising is a must for businesses today. 

Besides the tools for YouTube, Semrush’s offerings will take your Google SEO campaigns to the next level – so don’t wait to try out our exclusive extended 14-day free trial of Semrush Pro.  

The standard free trial only lasts 7 days, so be sure to go through our special link to enjoy an extra week of Semrush’s exceptional tools for free.