youtube backlinks

How to Build a Youtube Backlinks Strategy

People are now watching one billion hours of videos on YouTube every day. We’ve all fallen down the YouTube “rabbit hole,” losing hours of time after intending to watch a single video. But did you know that YouTube backlinks can give you as a serious boost in the search rankings?

Many people are still ignoring the incredible link building strategies waiting on YouTube. It’s easy to consider YouTube as “just video marketing” or a good place for “brand exposure.” Unfortunately, this means they’re missing out on a massive link building opportunity.

Luckily, this post will cover everything you need to know about YouTube backlinks. Let’s get started.

Building Links on YouTube

Building links on YouTube can seem complicated at first glance. But with a little practice, you’ll be a pro in no time. Here’s how to get started:

Keyword Research

By now, you probably know that anything in SEO begins with keyword research. And YouTube SEO is no different.

Your aim is to look for keywords that have results from YouTube on the first page of Google. These are known as Video Keywords.

In general, the search engine will use video results for the following keywords:

  • Funny videos (“Charlie bit my finger”)
  • Sports and fitness related (“Tae Kwon Do videos”)
  • Tutorials (“How to curl your hair with a straightener”)
  • Reviews (“Hostgator review”)
  • How-to keywords (“How to train a puppy”)

Why is this so important?

If you optimize your video around keywords that don’t have any video results within Google, you’ll only be getting traffic from people who search on YouTube. But if you optimize your video for Video Keywords, you can snag a whole lot of targeted traffic to your videos straight from the first page of Google.

How do you Find Video Keywords?

The first step is to simply look for keywords in your chosen niche. Then you can see if those keywords have video results on Google.

Next, you need to check if enough people are searching for that particular keyword. Look for one that’s getting at least 300 searches a month, which will mean it would also be getting plenty of searches within YouTube.

The goal is to get that video to rank well in Google so that those 300 people searching for your keyword will choose your video. That will mean that your video will be getting high-quality traffic which can be passed on to your website.

Create the Best Possible Video

The more effort you put into creating your videos, the more you’ll get out of them. If your videos stink, they won’t rank- regardless of how well you optimize them for SEO.

YouTube judges the quality of your videos based on how many people are interacting with them.

These metrics include:

  • Video retention (how many people watch)
  • Comments (how many people are engaging)
  • Subscribing after watching (a signal that your video is useful)
  • Shares (on social media sites)
  • Favorites (people adding it to “watch later” or favoriting it)
  • Thumbs up/down

Longer videos rank the best on YouTube. If you have something interesting to say, don’t worry about it being too long. Aim for at least five minutes.

Upload with YouTube SEO

Here’s how to make the most of YouTube backlinks with your video:


Use your keyword in your video’s filename. For example, if you’re aiming to rank for “meal prep recipes,” you’ll name your YouTube video meal_prep_recipes_video.mp4.


This should be at least five words long. That way you can use your full keyword while avoiding keyword stuffing. Put your keywords at the beginning of your title for a slight SEO boost.


This is hugely important. YouTube and Google can’t yet “listen” to your videos, which is why they rely on this description. They use it to determine the content of your videos.

Put your YouTube backlinks to your site at the very top of your video. This will maximize your click-through rate.

Make sure you include your keyword within the first 30 words of your description. Aim to include your keyword at least 4-5 times, and write at least 250 words for your description. This will tell YouTube and Google what your video is about without looking like spam.


Tags also help show Google and YouTube what your videos are about. They help you rank for your keywords, and help you show up as a related video in the sidebar on the right-hand side.

Using Annotations for YouTube Backlinks

Another place you can use backlinks for your website? In the YouTube Annotations.

These are little boxes that pop up while a viewer is watching your video. Use a compelling call-to-action and add your website, and you’re likely to see a huge increase in visitors for that page.

It’s often a good idea for the presenter to draw attention to the annotation when it pops up. Tell your viewers what the link is for, and let them know why they should click on it.

Using YouTube Cards for Backlinks

These are different from annotations in a big way: They work on mobile devices. This can make a massive difference to your clickthrough rate since so many people use their smartphones and tablets to watch YouTube videos.

Walmart uses YouTube cards incredibly well. They use a little “i” icon (for information) in the top right corner of their videos. When you click on that button, a “more info” button appears. These clickable links lead to the landing pages on the Walmart website for the items shown in the video.

If you do this well, with compelling images and links leading back to your site, you’re likely to see a massive increase in your visitors for those pages.

Wrapping Up

Ready to get started with your YouTube backlinking strategy? It doesn’t need to be complicated. Simply create an interesting video, choose the right keywords, use SEO effectively, and make the most of annotations and cards.

Have you been making the most of the backlinking opportunities available on YouTube? Get in touch to learn how we can help you get high-quality backlinks for your website.