International marketing

YouTube and Video SEO for a Global Audience

YouTube and Video SEO for a Global Audience
Laura James
Written by
Laura James
Laura James
Written by
Laura James
Laura James
Reviewed by
Updated on
June 11, 2024

The power of video content is undeniable, especially when it comes to engaging with audiences in a global marketplace. Videos are a brilliant way for businesses to connect with customers, build brand awareness, and drive sales – in fact, YouTube is the 3rd best platform for ROI from selling directly on the platform.

To make the most of video content in a global market, it’s essential to optimize your video content for international audiences. In this article, we will discuss the process and provide some actionable tips, both for YouTube and your website.

What is International SEO?

International SEO involves the optimization of your website and its content to suit global search engines like Google, Bing, Baidu, and Yandex, enabling you to reach a broader international audience. Additionally, the same optimization principles can be applied to other platforms like video hosting sites, social networks, and platforms such as YouTube, ensuring that your content is suitable and visible to your whole target market.

The process of international SEO requires adapting your content to different languages, cultures, and search behaviors while also considering the relevant keywords and the cultural differences in their usage. International SEO is crucial for businesses that seek to expand their reach beyond the local market. By optimizing your website and video content for different languages and cultures, you’re able to attract new customers and increase brand visibility globally.

Why Multilingual Video for a Global Audience?

Video has become the preferred medium for online content consumption. According to Hubspot, 91% of businesses use video as a marketing tool, and 78% of people watch videos online every week. Video content allows you to convey complex information in a concise and engaging manner, making it an ideal tool for businesses to communicate their products and services to a global audience.

Moreover, video content has a higher engagement rate compared to other forms of content, such as text or images. According to another report by HubSpot, video content receives 1200% more shares on social media than text and images combined. This makes video content an ideal tool for businesses hoping to increase their brand visibility and reach a global audience.

Why Use YouTube for Serving and Growing a Multinational Audience?

YouTube is an essential platform for businesses to connect with their target audience and drive sales in a global marketplace. The following are reasons why brands should use YouTube for serving and growing a multinational audience:

Massive Reach: With over 2.5 billion monthly active users, YouTube is a global platform that is available in over 100 countries and supports over 80 languages, making it an ideal platform for businesses seeking to expand their reach beyond the local market.

Diverse User Base: YouTube has a vast user base with different demographics and interests, making it easier for businesses to reach their target audience. The platform’s users are not limited to a particular age group or gender, making it an excellent option for businesses to reach a broader audience.

High Engagement: YouTube’s platform promotes engagement and community building through likes, subscribers, comments, sharing, tagging, and more.

Localization: YouTube supports multilingual video content, making it easier for businesses to create and share videos in different languages and cultures. Additionally, YouTube has built-in features such as auto-translation and subtitles, making it easier to provide localized content for all your viewers.

Analytics: YouTube Analytics is quite impressive at providing valuable insights into your video performance, helping you to identify the target audience’s behavior and preferences. These insights can be used to optimize your video content for a global audience, ensuring that it’s always relevant and engaging.

How to Find an International Audience for Your Videos?

The first step to reaching an international audience is to understand their preferences and behaviors. Conducting research and identifying the key cultural differences is vital. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

Identify Which Markets Are Already Interested

Using YouTube and Google Analytics, you can easily discover which additional markets are already consuming your content. This can help you prioritize which to target first.

To find out which countries your viewers are from on YouTube, go to YouTube Studio, select “Analytics,” then “Audience” and look at the “Top Geographies” report.

Once you have a list of interested markets, you can then cross-reference that with the countries you’re targeting on your other marketing channels, like your website and socials.

Research the Market

Before creating any new video content, or editing existing uploads, research the target market’s language, culture, and demographics. This will help you understand the preferences and behavior of the target audience, enabling you to brainstorm content ideas, and create relevant and engaging video content suitable for each market.

There may be subtle and not-so-subtle differences to consider, such as how they like to be sold to, CTAs to use, what constitutes a trust signal, and names of items shown or discussed in video content (for example, in Germany a cell phone is referred to as a ‘handy,’ and in the UK it’s called a ‘mobile’).

Understanding these distinctions and adapting your content marketing strategy accordingly can be the difference between success and failure in a particular market.

Optimizing Video Content for International Audiences

Once you have identified your target market and optimized your video content for different languages and cultures, the next step is to optimize your video for international audiences. Here are a few tips to help you optimize your video content for a global audience:

Choose the Right Keywords

Keyword research is a crucial part of any SEO strategy and it applies to Video SEO, too. You’ll want to know that you’re creating content people are actually looking for. If you’re familiar with keyword research for international websites then the process is essentially the same, but applied to Youtube. If you’re not familiar, I’d definitely recommend reading about international keyword research first.

Video Title and Description

The video title and description are the first things that a viewer sees when searching for content. It’s essential to optimize your video title and description for all target languages to get the best reach. Use relevant keywords and phrases that resonate with each audience, making it easier for them to find and enjoy your content.

Adding Title and Description in Multiple Languages

When you upload a video to YouTube, you should set a title and description in your channel’s main language. However, you can also upload a title and description for each language relevant to your business, here’s how.

  1. From YouTube studio, navigate to ‘Subtitles’ in the left-hand menu
  2. Select the video
  3. Pick the language you want to add a title and description for
  4. Select ‘add’ under “title and description”
  5. Type in the title and description for your video in the chosen language
  6. Hit “Publish” to save the changes you made
  7. Repeat steps these for each language you want to add a title and description for
  8. Once you’ve added titles and descriptions for all languages, viewers who speak those languages will see the right title and description when they watch your video 🎉

Add Subtitles and/or Dubs

Subtitles and dubbing not only help to improve accessibility but also increase engagement and viewer retention. Moreover, subtitles make it easier for non-native speakers to understand the video content, leading to increased engagement and conversion rates.

Stats Showing Why You Should Add Captions to Your Videos

  • Around 80% of viewers are more likely to watch an entire video that has captions.
  • Captions are used to help YouTube rank videos when users search for a topic.
  • One study saw a 7.32% increase in viewers after adding subtitles to videos.

YouTube Multi-language Audio (Dubbing)

A new feature for 2023 is multi-language audio tracks or dubs, which allow brands to not only display text in a viewer’s preferred language but speak to them in it, too. The feature is set to be incredibly effective and well-adopted, with an average of two million hours of dubbed video watched daily on YouTube in January 2023 alone.

Here’s how to add a dub/multi-language audio track to your video:

  1. Sign in to your YouTube Studio account on your computer.
  2. Click on “Subtitles” from the left menu.
  3. Select the video you want to add audio tracks to.
  4. Click “Add language” and choose the language you want to add.
  5. Click “Add” under the “Audio” section.
  6. Select the audio file you want to upload. The file should be in a supported audio-only format and roughly the same length as your video.
  7. When you’re ready, click “Publish” to upload your audio track.

Incorporate Localized Call-to-Action (CTA)

A call-to-action (CTA) is a vital component of any video content, encouraging viewers to take action. You can insert a CTA in your video description, display or speak it within the video, or link it if you’re part of the YouTube Partner Program. However, the CTA must be relevant and localized for the target audience. Use language and terminology that resonates with the intended users, making it easier for them to take action. You can have a different CTA for each market by uploading video descriptions in different languages, having multiple audio tracks that speak directly to each target audience, or by ensuring the right CTA is displayed in the relevant subtitles.

Optimize Video Tags

Video tags are another optimization feature to consider. Officially, tags have little influence over ranking, but creators have found that they help YouTube to understand the video content. Think of them in the same way as meta keywords (although these have long been superfluous, for Google at least).

Use relevant tags that are specific to the target language and culture. Only translate the most important tags, as you have limited space and don’t want to appear spammy.

Consider Timezones When It Comes to Publishing

Now, there’s no option to schedule a video to go live at different times, but you can still take into account when would be best for the biggest proportion of your target audience. Consider which time zones fit or are closest to the majority of your viewer base and use that to schedule when your video goes live.

There may also be cultural differences as well as public and religious holidays to consider. Make sure you understand your viewers well to get them at the right moment!

Tools and Services That Help With Video Localization

  • Speechify: Text-to-speech software that can help you quickly get quality, natural-sounding audio dubs. Simply upload a translated transcript. There is a free and paid version.
  • Tubebuddy: I always advocate for human or close-to-human translation for SEO, but you can use Tubebuddy’s auto-translation feature for tags, titles, and descriptions. Try to get a native speaker to check it for you, though!
  • Ahrefs Keyword Explorer: There are other ways of doing multi-lingual keyword research, but the Ahrefs tool is my favorite. You can select to check YouTube search volume specifically, as well as check different markets and languages.


The power of video content in the global marketplace is undeniable and is poised to continue as a game-changer for businesses seeking to connect with all relevant markets. With the right strategies, tools, and creativity, businesses can grow and captivate their global audience, expand their brand’s reach, and establish themselves as leaders in even the most competitive markets.

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