YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, behind Google. In essence, it has massive potential for marketing. Optimising your business’s appearance for YouTube can pay notable dividends.
What Is YouTube SEO?
YouTube SEO is the process of improving your standings in YouTube’s organic search results by optimizing your videos and channel. Some of the basic and most effective ways of doing this includes optimizing the meta descriptions, video descriptions and video titles while adding closed captioning and targeting the right keywords.
YouTube has over 2 billion active monthly users and this gives you plenty of opportunities to have your content viewed by your target audience. There is hardly a more effective way of boosting your rankings, collecting more YouTube subscribers and improving your brand affinity.
YouTube SEO functions very much the same as SEO for the rest of your web site. It has an algorithm that determines how high your videos rank in on the platform for their keywords. Some of the factors considered in determining this ranking include:
- Video engagement
- How many videos specific users watch on your YouTube channel
- Video Descriptions
- Meta Descriptions
How soon after your video is posted do subscribers watch your videos
It pays to learn more about how this algorithm works and you can learn more about YouTube’s algorithm by reviewing the article we have written on the topic.
Because YouTube is no under the ownership of Google, your videos are indexed in the Google Search engines as soon as they are uploaded. Unlike SEO used on your website, Google’s crawlers do not need to crawl your videos. But this doesn’t mean you have a guarantee that your videos will work well. It is an important point to optimize your videos.
Why Is YouTube SEO Important?
You may think that you can rely on top-quality content to make the splash once it has been posted. But if you want your YouTube channel to form a powerful piece of your digital marketing strategy, optimization is key.
Search engine bots deal with text descriptions to know what they are indexing. This means that just posting a video is not going to do anything for your rankings. You will need to consider the Videos, titles, tags, descriptions, transcripts and captions if you hope to improve your chances of high rankings.
The first and foremost task will be to carefully carry out your keyword research. This is because you will need the right keywords if you hope to strike a good connection in your niche. This begins with choosing the right keywords. But how does this happen?
YouTube Search Suggestions
A good way to begin will be by paying attention to the suggestions you can find on YouTube. All that you have to do is type in the core keyword you are looking for and you’ll get all the suggestions that you need.
Another good way to accomplish this is with the ahrefs’ free YouTube tool. This provides you with the volume of each keyword you need. If you found some very interesting ideas from the YouTube search suggestions, we recommend you double check them with this handy tool.
While you are considering which keywords are the best for your needs, there is another factor to consider — keyword difficulty. The most simple and straight-forward way of testing the difficulty of your YouTube keywords is by using the Google Search operators. It’s simple just use — site:youtube.com and your keyword.
This will provide you with an exact number of videos that are connected to this particular keyword.
The smaller the number the lower the difficulty of your keyword. This search can be narrowed down even more by using site:youtube.com intitle: and then your keyword. This will give you the number of YouTube videos that contain your keyword in their TITLE.
If you want to outrank your competition, you need to know how many channels are making content similar to your own. Researching your competitor’s keywords is a good way to know what they are targeting and what their YouTube rankings are. To see your primary competition, simply enter your choice of keyword into the YouTube search query bar and hit search. You will then see the top-ranking videos associated with that search term. You can then see all the channels as well.
Now you can begin classifying the keywords you have as titles, descriptions, and tags. You will then begin honing in on the best keyword strategies for you.
Optimize Video Keywords for Google Search
Don’t forget that YouTube is the second most popular search engine on the market — right after Google. Oddly enough, there are certain keywords used on Google that will show YouTube video results before they show contextual ones.
Therefore, you need to find these types of keywords and begin building your digital marketing strategy around them. If you already have a website for your business, you can use your YouTube content to boost the SEO for your primary online presence.
Optimize Title, Description and YouTube Tags
Now you have made a list of the keywords you are planning on targeting. The next step is to begin using these in the right places across your YouTube channel. Begin with your video descriptions, titles and YouTube tags. Don’t go overboard because keyword stuffing can be as bad as not using any keywords at all. It is essential to maintain a natural flow.
Optimizing Your Title
Don’t make the title of your videos too long. This is because more than 70% of the people using YouTube are using it on their mobile devices and an especially long title will not be fully displayed. Try to keep your title at about 60 characters. Don’t forget to use your keywords in the title as well.
Another important tip? Keep your keyword within the first 5 words of your title.
Consider reading up on the best YouTube practices on creating your title. A good title is one that provokes curiosity and generates interest among its users. This will play an important role in improving your CTR (Click Through Rate), this is a powerful factor for YouTube Rankings.
Bonus tip – The thumbnail is the deciding factor for many YouTube users and also has a significant impact on your CTR. This point has been mentioned as a bonus tip because it allows you to apply your own understanding of your target audience to make it completely unique. The title is important, but you won’t have as much liberty to change things around as many of your competitors will be using the exact same keywords. But with the thumbnail, you can select your own custom-made thumbnail. Just make sure you have optimized it properly.
The good thing is that there are not nearly as many limitations to selecting the best thumbnail, customize it anyway you would like. If you choose well, you will be able to greatly increase your click through rate.
Pay Attention to Your Description
The users who will be sitting your videos will rarely pay much attention to the description you have chosen. Nevertheless, this aspect of your video is very important in making sure that YouTube understands the context of your videos. The better YouTube understands your videos, the more they will be able to help you with correct relevancy.
Here are the most important pointers in writing out a good description for your videos.
Include your focus keyword in the first sentence or the first line.
- The description should contain at least 250 words, but you can write more if you need to.
- Make sure you include your target keyword as well as your supporting keywords in the description. Just be sure to keep things natural.
- Make sure you have included your focus keyword between 2 – 4 times throughout the description.
- Avoid keyword stuffing. Make sure these important words are included naturally.
Tags are another way that YouTube will get a better understanding of what you are including in your videos. The only problem is that tags are not shared publicly on YouTube. So, how will you know what your competitors are sharing?
Never fear! Here is a website called TagsYouTube. All you have to do is enter the URL for the YouTube video in question and you will be presented with all the tags used in that video. You can then select the ones that are most applicable to you and copy paste them to your video description.
You will not want to flood your tags with every keyword imaginable and also make sure that these tags are not too long. Best practices say go for a limit of 8 to 10 tags, even though YouTube allows for you to use a total of 500 characters in your tag section.
Create Top-Notch Content
You have probably heard the maxim “content is king” a gazillion times by now. But this is just as true now as it was when you first heard it. Creating quality relevant content is essential if you hope to come out on top of the YouTube SEO scene.
Basically, videos that keep people entertained on YouTube will be ranked higher. For this reason, you will want to focus on your audience retention and watch time. These are two of the most important factors that affect ranking on YouTube.
Because there are a host of different industries and different practices to follow when gauging the quality of your content it is hard to make a blanket statement that will apply ubiquitously in every situation.
Nevertheless, there are some best practices that apply in just about every niche and industry:
- Create a clever intro for all your YouTube video channels
- Focus on delivering value. This is more important than marketing your product or service
- High-resolution videos with clear audio are always the best.
- Keep your audience engaged throughout the entire video
- Pay special attention to the early seconds of your video
- Include subtitles
- Add ‘i’ buttons to videos if you feel it makes sense to do so.
- Don’t blatantly copy competitors. It pays to be unique.
- Use interesting infographics within your videos to help users understand your concepts easily.
Bonus tip — if yo0u are marketing a specific product or service, take time to build an understanding of the process of the buyer and their persona. Use a step-by-step step process to illustrate the process whereby a buyer will choose the product you offer. This will give you a far better understanding of how to make your options standout from the competition.
Adjust Video Length
For this point, YouTube SEO works much in the same way as Google SEO. Just like longer articles tend to perform better with Google SEO, longer videos also tend to work better in YouTube SEO.
But the last thing you want to do is stretch the length of your videos for the sheer point of having a longer video. For one, this will frustrate your dedicated viewer and if done in excess you stand to lose traction in your market. The idea of a longer video is one that is in depth.
So, create longer videos with greater value rather than videos seeking to get in good with YouTube SEO.
It has been said that “Content is King — but engagement is Queen and This lady rules the house”.
This means that if you are not able to make your videos the talk of the niche, you are not making the desired impact. This is because all the important engagements like comments, likes, shares and subscribe are also important ranking factors in YouTube.
This being said, you are looking to encourage your YouTube audience to engage with your content. This is how it is done:
- Give clear calls to actions at the end of the video
- Apply elite YouTube Video Tools to create a unique experience.
- Encourage the audience to like, share and subscribe to your channel.
- Turning “ON” your bell icon notifies them whenever new videos are published.
- Invite them to share their opinions and views in the comment section
- Take the time to respond to all queries and suggestions when possible
Optimize your YouTube Channel
You should provide all the relevant information about you and your brand to your audience.
Write an Informative Channel Description
A carefully crafted description of your videos and content will allow your viewers to better understand what you are trying to accomplish with your videos. Don’t forget to include those keywords as much as possible.
There is no ideal length for this, but it is always best to keep things short and impactful. Most people are going to skip those long descriptions.
Playlists are another good way to hold your audience’s attention because the next video begins to play as soon as the current one has finished.
Promotion – The off-page YouTube SEO
Now we have covered the most important aspects of setting up a successful YouTube channel that will achieve higher rankings. But this is not the end. Now you must take the word to other YouTube channels and social media platforms.
Here are some great ways to attract more users to your videos.
- Create a shorter version of a video and use it as a teaser trailer on other social media platforms. This is easy to do with the most simplistic video editing software.
- Embed videos inside blog posts.
- Promote videos on relevant discussions on Reddit or Quora.
- Link your video to guest posts on high authority sites.
Even with all the tips and pointers here, it is essential that the content you create is high value and fully engaging. Videos with poor content will not last long on YouTube and in the long run you will lack the audience participation and engagement that is truly what your channel needs.
If this happens, your competitors will take the lead and begin gaining traction to reach those top-spots. So, gear yourself toward creating greater content, implement these important SEO pointers and prepare to dominate YouTube SEO.