YouTube has been around since 2005, but only in the mid-2010s have companies started leveraging the platform properly as an effective marketing tool. Video marketing has become more and more popular, but there are still many marketers who don’t realize the full potential of YouTube as an advertising channel or the power of YouTube SEO.
After all, video ads on YouTube have one of the highest engagement rates of any online platform, so it makes sense to put your videos in front of your customers in places where they’re actively searching for products and services like yours. If you’re interested in making YouTube profitable for your business, then it’s important to understand the basics of search engine optimization (SEO).
You’ll need to optimize your videos and channel for search engines to help them show up in relevant searches and encourage viewers to subscribe to your channel. Successful YouTube videos are usually those that rank well on Google, Bing, and other search engines. While ranking high on these platforms may seem like an impossible feat, using the right SEO techniques can make all the difference in traffic YouTube pays per view
If you haven’t hopped on the YouTube train yet, take these 10 tips into consideration when creating your first few videos so that you can optimize your channel’s performance and start seeing results sooner rather than later.
- 1. Keyword Research
- 2. Segmentation
- 3. Channel Intro
- 4. Add Accurate Closed Captions
- 5. Add a Transcript to the Description of Your Video
- 6. Create Tags, Descriptions, and Titles with Optimum Keyword Usage
- 7. Use Hashtags in Your Video Descriptions to Improve YouTube Search Results
- 8. Make a Strong Thumbnail
- 9. Put the User Experience First
- 10. Track Analytics
- YouTube SEO Tips Conclusion
1. Keyword Research
Before you even start creating your video, you need to do your keyword research. This will help you determine what people are searching for on YouTube, and how you can optimize your videos to rank for those keywords.
To start, head over to the YouTube Keyword Planner tool and enter in a couple of seed keywords related to your topic. The planner will then give you a list of related keywords, as well as their monthly search volume.
Choose the keywords that are most relevant to your video and that have a decent amount of monthly searches. These will be the keywords that you’ll want to target in your video title, description, and tags.
Segmenting your audience is one of the keys to success on YouTube. By understanding who your target audience is, you can create content that appeals directly to them. This, in turn, will help you attract more viewers and subscribers.
- Figure out your target audience and make sure to target them specifically in your videos.
- Do your research and figure out what keywords are most relevant to different audiences.
- Use those particular keywords throughout a video aimed at different audiences, including in the title, description, and tags.
- Optimize your thumbnail image and title for click-through rates.
- Create transcripts of your videos and optimize them for both search engines and viewers with disabilities.
- Promote your videos on social media and other channels using different demographics to get more views.
- Analyze your video analytics regularly to figure out what’s working and what isn’t so that you can adjust accordingly.
3. Channel Intro
Your channel intro is one of the first things new viewers will see when they come to your channel, so you want to make sure it’s engaging and informative. Here are a few important SEO writing tips:
- Keep it short and sweet- viewers have short attention spans and you want to make sure you can hold their attention.
- Use keywords- make sure your intro includes relevant keywords so that your channel can be easily found by viewers who are searching for topics related to your business.
- Be creative- use engaging visuals and audio to grab attention and give viewers a taste of what they can expect from your channel.
4. Add Accurate Closed Captions
Your videos’ captions are automatically generated by YouTube by transcribing them. But not all YouTube videos have accurate auto-subtitles, which results in captions that are frequently unpleasant and difficult to understand.
Spam is punished by Google, while it rewards useful search results. “Automatically generated gibberish” is a term that is used to define spam, and it perfectly describes the majority of auto-captions. You run the risk of having your YouTube channel flagged as spam and losing search ranking by employing erroneous captions.
You should accurately add closed captions via an SRT file to your YouTube videos in order to counter the negative effects of auto-captions on your SEO strategy. Videos cannot be seen by search engines, but they can crawl text. To ensure that Google can find your video, make sure that your captions are packed with relevant keywords.
5. Add a Transcript to the Description of Your Video
The ideal place to show your transcript on YouTube is in the video description. A transcript for a 10-minute video with a lot of conversation can typically fit within the description field’s 5,000-character limit. If the transcript is not enough or you want to include other significant information in the description, such as a call-to-action, you can include a short form of the same with a link that takes you to the full version on a different web page.
Keyword-rich transcripts remain as the suggested best practices since they can help your video rank for related terms and show up as a “suggested video” even though there is no association between descriptions optimized for a certain keyword and the rankings for that term.
6. Create Tags, Descriptions, and Titles with Optimum Keyword Usage
After selecting a strong keyword, you must make sure that the texts related to your video are optimized for that term. For instance, be sure to optimize the title, descriptions, and tags for the term “makeup tutorial” if you upload videos regarding makeup tutorials.
Remember that keyword stuffing—the practice of excessively employing keywords and variations of keywords in an attempt to game the system—is recognized as bad practice by search engines. That is not worth your time. Otherwise, you risk being penalized for writing for people rather than machines.
After conducting keyword research and selecting your keywords, naturally include them in the following fields:
It can include 5,000 characters, although based on your device, it downscales at roughly 120 characters. Given that more than half of buyers are affected by product videos, it is critical for e-commerce websites to incorporate a link to your product. To make it clickable, don’t forget to include the HTTP://.
The title can fit 100 characters but is truncated at 70, thus the most crucial details and the keyword should be near the beginning. Use persuading words to get people to click, such as “tips,” “how-to,” “advice,” or numbered lists.
About 500 characters should do it, but don’t overkill. To ensure that your video matches a long-tail keyword term precisely, enclose sentences in double quotations (“). Consider changing the tags on your video to “iPhone tutorial” rather than “iPhone” and “tutorial.” Always add tags in the order of relevance and keep the user in mind.
7. Use Hashtags in Your Video Descriptions to Improve YouTube Search Results
Users can now search for information that answers their queries across several websites using hashtags on social media. You may use hashtags in your YouTube videos’ descriptions and titles to help users locate your content when they perform a specific hashtag search.
Since they draw attention to significant trends, tags in particular help advance search. When a hashtag is used in a video’s description, it first appears above the title before becoming a hyperlink.
Also, pay attention to where you add your videos’ hashtags. If you include a hashtag in the title, it won’t appear next to the video’s description.
8. Make a Strong Thumbnail
The click-through rate is significantly affected by the selection of the video thumbnail image. Make use of 16:9 photos that are of good quality and contrast. The most effective shots are close-ups of the face. YouTube users have the option to select which frame will be the thumbnail for their video. You can choose from 3 screenshots that YouTube will offer to you, but you can also pick a different frame from the video or submit your photo.
If you’re lacking inspiration for photos, look online for resources that have YouTube video-specific thumbnail layouts. Make sure nothing in your thumbnail is blocked by YouTube’s overlay of the video duration, which is visible in the lower corner.
Do not forget that Google utilizes image recognition to exclude specific images, including the YouTube logo, automatically. The ideal image is one that effectively conveys your goal term visually; doing so will increase your visibility in pertinent results.
Further Reading: The Best 14 Thumbnail Makers for YouTube
9. Put the User Experience First
Strong correlations exist between engagement measures like comments, likes, shares, and subscriptions and higher ranks. Google is primarily interested in the reactions that readers have to your material because it is what keeps visitors on their site. Try to entice viewers to share, like, or comment on your videos to increase engagement. Also, spend the time necessary to reply to messages and comments from viewers.
Youtube Watch Time
As you can expect, keeping track of your watch time is crucial. Watch time is the amount of time spent watching a video (not the percent watched). For instance, a three-minute clip with a 50 percent completion rate will score higher than one with a 100 percent completion rate. With a teaser, you should capture your audience’s attention within the first 15 seconds.
Be careful to mention something interesting and relevant while generating the titles for your videos. You could be tempted to use the most popular phrase or term in your title, but resist the urge. As an alternative, address the user’s query in your title and include the search keyword in the description.
Session Watch Time
Another crucial indicator of user involvement is session watch time. YouTube gives videos credit for how they affect a user’s entire viewing experience. Videos that support YouTube’s desire for increased user engagement are given preference. Contrary to popular belief, videos that are intended to drive traffic to your website will instead harm your SEO because they divert visitors from YouTube.
Expanding Subscriber Base
Within the first week that your video is launched, subscribers might create a lot of watch time. In the first week, you should try to increase user experience and engagement as much as you can. Posting frequently will let your followers know when to look for fresh videos.
Playlists that are specific, brief, and subcategorized can significantly improve user experience and engagement. By sharing a link to the playlist rather than just one video, it is very simple to share numerous videos at once.
Further Reading: The Top 11 Must-Know YouTube Tricks for Marketers
10. Track Analytics
Monitoring your analytics is the only method to determine whether your YouTube SEO approach is effective. Metrics may show you where your videos are succeeding and where they may need some improvement. You may track your progress using the various analytics data provided by YouTube.
Among the various analytics, you may monitor following are the ones that every YouTuber should be familiar with:
The sum of the viewing minutes for each of your videos is known as “watch time.” This measure is important because YouTube prioritizes channels and videos with long watch times in their search results since long view periods are a strong sign of engagement.
Card Click-Through Rate
While watching your video, cards are preformatted notifications that nudge viewers to take action. You can make your card calls to action, duration, and placement better by looking at the click-through rates for your cards.
Further Reading: YouTube Cards: What They Are and How to Best Leverage Them
Click-Through Rate for Impressions
The impressions click-through rate calculates the proportion of viewers who watch your video after viewing it on their homepage, recommended videos, or trending topics. After you release your video, impression click-through rates frequently increase and then decrease, but it’s still crucial to monitor this measure because it can help you improve your thumbnails.
The expected number of persons who watch your videos over an extended period is known as unique viewers. This measure can be used to gauge engagement and determine the size of your audience.
YouTube SEO Tips Conclusion
These YouTube SEO tips can come in handy if you wish to leverage YouTube to its fullest potential. Make a note of them and ensure that you follow these tips for your YouTube optimization strategy.
Further Reading: Video Marketing SEO: 11 Ways to Optimize Your Video for Search
Hero photo by Oberon Copeland on Unsplash
Piyush Shah is a 6 figure affiliate marketer and has helped grow multiple businesses from nothing to making insane business figures. He is currently working as Head of SEO at Dukaan.