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Why is the Thumbnail and Title so important for YouTube SEO?

If you don't like analytics or you are more of a creative genius, you probably struggle with YouTube SEO. Well, let's make it a little bit easier for you. The thumbnail and your title are the most important SEO parts. And we will explain to you exactly why in this blog article.


Here's what we'll cover:


YouTube SEO Thumbnail and title


Importance of Thumbnail & Title


Thumbnail & Title are the first things viewers see. These two will make or break your video as they determine if a viewer clicks on your thumbnail or title to watch your video.


So if we are talking about a funnel, the start is your thumbnail and title - not your content.


Thumbnail and title will make or break your video

If your thumbnail and/or title aren't competing enough, for viewers to click on, this will influence the reach of your video drastically.


Even if your video is amazing, and your SEO is spot on. If people aren't attracted to watch your video instead of the video of others......you will not grow.


So basically Thumbnail & Title are extremely important. Great inspiration is Mr Beast, but also find what others are doing within your niche. Look at videos they created on similar topics and how they performed but also what their best performing videos are and what kind of thumbnails they used.


How to get your SEO right for your YouTube video


To nail your SEO with your thumbnail & title you just need to make sure that you check the following steps:


  1. The content of your video is represented in your thumbnail.

  2. Your thumbnail is engaged and shows emotion.

  3. Your thumbnail contains your main target keyword (this doesn't always have to be the case, some niches or videos work better with no title in the video).

  4. Your title starts with a hook, mostly an emotional one..

  5. Your title has your long-tail keyword and keyword in it (preferably two or three).

  6. Your title fits your thumbnail and they complement each other.

  7. Your title and thumbnail are allowed to be almost clickbait.

  8. Never make a title or thumbnail that is clickbait. Meaning the content of your video is not represented in your title or thumbnail. YouTube will know this based on your WTR - watch time retention - within the first two hours and will not push your video anymore.

That's it, the far most important part of letting your SEO work for you. To take it a step further, make sure that your subtitles are correct and that your keywords are regularly addressed in your video and so as well in your subtitles.


The performance of your video in the first 3-6 hours will determine how long and how far YouTube will push your video.

Professional tip: always have at least two or preferably three thumbnails (and titles) ready when you publish a video. Watch your CTR in the first hour with every video. You will get a sense when a thumbnail is or is not working. When your CTR is lower than with other videos, change your thumbnail and or title.


The performance of your video in the first 3-6 hours will determine how long and how far YouTube will push your video.


And never forget the main focus of YouTube, keeping their viewers as long as possible on their platform....and never ever forget the AI of YouTube her algorithms (yes algorithms, she has several). The algorithms of YouTube scan and analyse every frame of your video, every word that has been said, the title, the thumbnails, the metadata of your video, the playlists you selected, the data of those playlists etc.


We know this can be a bit overwhelming, just take a look at what we can do for you and your channel below.


How we can help you and your YouTube channel?


First it would be a great start to take a look at our free downloads here and make sure you subscribe to our newsletter at the bottom of our homepage. We share in-depth knowledge weekly in our e-mails and on our blog, but we also organise free masterclasses. Which we announce via our e-mails.


To become more experienced yourself, we have some great online courses that teach you all the ins and outs of how to run a successful YouTube channel. If you only want to focus on content creation we have our special services which we customise to your preferences and our specialities and skills.

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