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Quick Guide to YouTube SEO for E-commerce and Digital Marketing

YouTube SEO Quick Guide Thumbnail

Quick Guide to YouTube SEO for E-commerce Businesses and Other Businesses Interested in Digital Marketing

So you’ve decided to start posting organic YouTube content, and you want to know the best way to get it in front of your customers.

You could pay to run YouTube ads, but this is probably not viable when you’re not going after direct sales. 

Instead, one of the best options is actually YouTube’s built-in search functionality. 

YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine, just behind Google itself. 

Even though they’re run by the same company, though, don’t think you can just port your Google SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) strategy over to YouTube. 

YouTube has some different rules and factors to take into consideration, which we’ll outline for your below. 

YouTube Has Many Different Algorithms 

While Google can be seen as having one “master” algorithm that determines which results it displays to any given person, YouTube actually has many different algorithms at play. 

Your YouTube feed, even when searching a specific term, is probably not going to look like anybody else’s

The two biggest ones are the search bar algorithm and the recommended video algorithms.

Unlike Google, most organic YouTube traffic actually comes from the recommended video algorithm, which is the list of videos you see to the right of whatever you’re watching on YouTube (or on suggestion cards after it ends). 

This means the way we optimise for YouTube SEO needs to be radically different from Google. 

Satisfaction is King

The number one ranking factor that determines how likely YouTube is to recommend a video to someone is a metric they dub “satisfaction”. 

In the past things like clicks, views or watch time was most important, but currently, satisfaction is regarded as the main metric the YouTube algorithm focuses on. 

Satisfaction is drawn from the surveys that occasionally pop up whilst watching YouTube videos, along with several “signals” of satisfaction such as likes and dislikes. 

The Recommended Video Algorithm

As we mentioned previously, recommended videos are the most powerful discovery tool on YouTube. 

How do we optimise for them, though, seeing as nobody’s using actual search terms?

YouTube’s recommended video algorithm is somewhat mysterious, but what we do know is that it uses several ranking factors to determine which video is shown.

Generally, it tries to recommend something that is both of personal interest to the watcher, and related to what they’re already watching. 

I.e. what they’ve watched in the past, and what they’re looking at right now. 

Other factors include related topics and the types of videos that are often watched together. 

How to Optimise for YouTube SEO 

Bearing all this in mind, how do we actually optimise for YouTube SEO? 

The first thing you want to do is consider the kinds of content your ideal customer is already watching. You’re much likely to have your videos recommended if the topic they’re about is adjacent to what they’re already watching. 

Secondly, you want to make sure your content is satisfying to watch. Go out of your way to make something really valuable to people, and it will pay off. Don’t be afraid to ask for likes too, but don’t be too pushy either.
Lastly, make sure your videos are related to one another to help YouTube “categorise” your channel.
It can be helpful to do videos in a series because this can also rank you in the recommended video feed for other parts of the series. 


YouTube SEO is a tricky field for sure, but the basic rules remain the same. 

Think about what people are searching for, and what they really want to watch, and make it. SEO should always be about pleasing people first and “robots” second, because all the robots are really trying to do is replicate this.
Organic traffic will follow as a natural consequence. 

It helps to do some basic research on the types of videos your brand has by looking at your target market’s current watching habits and extrapolating from that. 

If you enjoyed this article or found it helpful, check out more e-commerce marketing content on the inSyte blog or listen to the inSyte Podcast.

This article was brought to you by Syte.

We’re a specialist e-commerce digital marketing agency dedicated to driving up your bottom line.

If you need any help running your business’ search ads effectively, feel free to reach out with the form below or check out our case studies page to see what we’ve been able to do for our clients. 

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