With video streaming services and social media platforms reporting large amounts of traffic, videos are slowly but surely moving front and center as the most popular form of online content. Plus, they are made more accessible by the widespread use of mobile devices and the growing average speed of Internet connectivity. Look no further than sites like Twitch and YouTube to understand how powerful videos can be at keeping people glued to their screens. As a matter of fact, according to YouTube, U.S. residents aged 18-34 watch more videos on mobile devices than they do on any TV broadcast or cable network. Bearing this in mind, performing video optimization has never been as important as it is today. To get more eyeballs looking at your videos, you must do your best to ensure that people can find your videos online and that they choose to watch your video over the vast pool of competition. Getting yourself noticed on YouTube can be quite a daunting challenge, but in this post, we’ve rounded up some of the best tools that can help you optimize your YouTube videos for SEO. Without further ado, let’s get started! One of the most crucial parts of producing videos is getting everything ready even before the camera starts rolling. The bulk of the work is actually done during the video pre-production or planning stage. After all, you can’t create a great video without laying out a plan first, right? Conducting keyword research Knowing what topics are popular and what colloquial terms are used most to find videos is imperative to the success of your digital video marketing strategy. By creating videos around a specific target keyword, you’ll have a much better chance of getting ranked higher on the YouTube SERP. YouTube autocomplete You’ve probably noticed that YouTube suggests certain keywords and phrases as you type a query into the search box: What makes the Autocomplete feature so great is that it’s free and only puts popular keywords forward. Basically, YouTube points out for you the terms people use most to find videos. From the standpoint of YouTube SEO, your videos should be optimized around these suggested keywords. Above you can see that YouTube suggests several other keywords along with the initial query. Each suggestion can be a great idea for a video topic, but they are awesome long-tail keywords as well. Besides being popular, long-tail keywords are also not very competitive, and, hence, are easier to get ranked for. Analyzing yours and your competitors’ channels You have enough on your plate managing your channel as it is, but the only way to know which direction to go or what you need to do to get better results is to scrutinize all of your channel’s existing data and compare it to that of your main rivals. Of course, there are also a number of tools that can help you dissect your channel and get to know everything about the channels you’re going up against. YouTube Analytics YouTube Analytics is the best place to learn what’s working on your channel and what’s not. This free, easy-to-use but comprehensive tool can tell you who watches your videos and what they like to watch, plus it can help you figure out which videos can produce more income. This solution enables you to perform a detailed analysis of your channel and each separate video, providing you with real-time reports, view count, ratio of likes and dislikes, as well as viewer demographics. YouTube Analytics offers three key report categories to work with: Revenue, Watch time, and Engagement — make sure to explore all of them for maximum results. On top of that, these categories are complemented by real-time and Overview sections. To take advantage of the tool, you must start uploading videos so that the system has some data to work with to boost your performance. Snagging competitor tags To dig a bit deeper into your competition, take a look at the tags they use to get their videos noticed by YouTube. Not only do tags help you get ranked for the target keyword, but they can also help you show up as a related video in YouTube’s sidebar when someone watches a video with a similar tag. Although tags are initially hidden on YouTube, they can be viewed through the page’s HTML code. To do this, right-click on the page and go to “View Page Source.” Then search for the word “keywords” on the page. Everything that goes after it is the video’s tags! But if HTML is not your cup of tea, there are plenty of tools that will help you out. TagsForYouTube YouTube decided to hide video tags from the public eye many years ago. With the free Tags for YouTube Chrome extension, YouTube tags are returned to their original position. To view what tags are attached to a video, simply click “show more” right under the description of the video. No sidebars, overlays or layers of data — bare tags only. It’s not a powerful tool regarding analytics, but it does save you the hassle of looking up tags via HTML. If you want to have a simple way of seeing just the tags of YouTube videos without any additional analytical information, this tool is exactly what you need. TagsYouTube Unlike the previous tool that simply allows you to spy on your competitors’ tags, this free solution can generate tag based on the target keyword. The free version of the TagsYouTube tool enables you to get a list of tags related to your target keyword, select the ones you like, and add them to the final list of tags. You can then add another keyword and add those tags to your final list of tags as well. Continue adding keywords until you get a list of tags you are happy with. Besides generating tags, this service also offers features such as Advanced Title, Description, Thumbnail Generator, as well as practical tips and advice on how to best optimize your videos for YouTube. RapidTags Just as the name suggests, this free tool can quickly generate tags. One of the great things about RapidTags is that you can apply a language filter as you perform a search to get tags for different localities. The workflow is pretty straightforward: enter your target query into the search box and the tool will generate relevant tags which you can then copy to YouTube. You can then further analyze the target query to find out its traffic details like how many views, likes, dislikes and comments it currently has. RapidTags also shows the estimated number of views and engagement signals — such as likes — required for your video to rank for the target query. Now that you’ve done all the preparatory work around your video and have recorded it, you need to add some finishing touches before it’s ready to go public. Creating a thumbnail Book covers and film posters give us an idea of what we can expect from a book or a movie, respectively. Video thumbnails serve the same purpose: they give people a rough understanding of what they’ll see in a video if they watch it. Therefore, before uploading your video to YouTube, create a high-quality custom thumbnail using a professional tool. Canva Canva is a leading graphic design tool that is perfect for creating beautiful thumbnails for YouTube videos. It’s easy to use, even if you’re not a designer. It should be noted that this tool is not exclusively used for creating thumbnails — Canva can also be engaged in a number of other design-related tasks such booklets, presentations, sales pitches and so forth. It offers over a million fonts, graphics, photos and templates for you to choose from, as well as the option to upload images from your collections. In terms of making thumbnails, Canva is packed with a plethora of free stock photos, backgrounds, texts, shapes, illustrations, and much more, making it a great solution. Moreover, you can use this tool free of charge on computers, Android and iOS devices, with the exception of several paid features and elements. FotoJet Another powerful free web graphic designer, photo editor, and collage maker tool is FotoJet. With this solution, creating amazing YouTube thumbnails is a walk in the park. What makes this graphic design tool stand out is the fact that it puts more focus on creating amazing thumbnails for YouTube — not just general design features. With more than 500 templates for collages, FotoJet is a great resource for producing various graphics for YouTube, including video thumbnails. The best part of this tool is the advanced thumbnail creator tool. It lets you make all sorts of fine adjustments to your creations — rotate images, add filters, crop or resize them. Also, similar to Canva, FotoJet’s drag-and-drop interface provides for an intuitive and hassle-free user experience.