The value of search engine optimization (SEO) with YouTube cannot be ignored because it is the biggest video website on the planet and getting traction there can lead to greater success elsewhere. In order to succeed at YouTube SEO, you will need to identify what topics people are searching for, know why YouTube ranks videos the way it does, and put what you learned into practice.
There is simply no denying the power of video content because it is so easily viewable and shareable. People can easily click play on a video and sit back to relax while the video does all of the work.
You will need to take certain steps to optimize your videos so you can have an advantage over those who are not optimizing their videos.
Know Your Target Keywords
Just as you would optimize your webpage by beginning with keyword research, the same will hold true for optimizing a video for YouTube’s search results. Doing this will make sure that you can create and optimize content that will actually be sought.
A lot of data can be gleaned just by looking at YouTube itself. Start with the search bar there and note that autosuggestions reflect genuine user queries.
When you enter a term relating to your area, you will see a list of trending keywords. Click on a suggestion to see which channels are already ranking.
When you visit a channel’s page, you will immediately see a section dedicated to their highest performing content. This is a good source of keyword inspiration because you can get ideas from videos proven to be hits.
After you pick the topic for your next video, you need further confirmation. You want to know if people are actively searching for the topic and also that YouTube is not already saturated with videos about it.
Check to make sure a keyword will not be too competitive by searching for it in Google. If you use the “site:” command, you can get an idea how many videos about that topic are on YouTube already.
When a search returns over 500K results, it is recommended that you start over. The last step will involve Google Keyword Planner.
The ideal number of average monthly searches in Google Keyword Planner is 1,000 or less. Now you need to understand the ranking factors for YouTube’s algorithm.
Knowing YouTube SEO Ranking Factors
You need to know that YouTube has two algorithms. One algorithm is the recommendation algorithm, which ranks content on YouTube’s homepage and suggested videos sections. The search algorithm ranks content in YouTube’s search results.
YouTube’s search algorithm prioritizes four factors when ranking videos in search results:
- Relevance: Include factors such as the title, hashtags, description, and video content itself.
- Engagement: Includes factors such as likes, subscribes, comments, turning on notifications, and watch time.
- Quality: Includes signals that can help determine which channels demonstrate expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness on a given topic.
- Personalization: YouTube tries to find the most relevant results for each user by taking into account a user’s search and watch history.
The algorithm prioritizes content from trusted authorities for searches related to news, politics, and medical or scientific information. With other categories, YouTube will be more likely to look at signals like relevance, freshness, or popularity.
You should not think about YouTube SEO like Google SEO. User interaction signals are not taken into account by Google’s algorithm.
People clicking on results Google surfaces is irrelevant to its algorithm. The goal is to serve the most relevant results, regardless of how many people visit those pages.
YouTube takes a whole swath of other factors into account, including did a person watch the whole way through? Did they like the video? Did they leave a comment? Did they subscribe to the channel? Did they turn on notifications? Did they watch even more of the channel’s videos?
All of these factors are strong ranking signals for YouTube’s search algorithm.
How to Put YouTube SEO Into Practice
YouTube lets you manually enter a title, description, and tags as well an optimal video thumbnail. Take advantage of all of these options. About the only thing you may want to delay on is adding your video to a playlist.
You should use keywords to focus on user intent and how those keywords match up with what the video content actually offers users. Avoid brand names in your titles, as those will be on the channel name anyway.
There will only be about 65-70 characters (including spaces) to say what’s important, so be sure to use that valuable real estate to capitalize. YouTube allows 100 characters with spaces, but titles will be truncated depending on where they are showing up.
The title is one of the first things users see when your video appears on a page. For that reason alone, the title can be incredibly important.
The description can contain many of the same keywords you are using in your title, but the description also gives the viewer the information about the video that could trigger them watching it. You should try to include one link in your description.
Keep your description as short as possible. As a general rule, around 300 characters is a good amount even though YouTube allows up to 5,000. You do not want to maximize the description space because lengthy descriptions and their accompanying videos are ignored.
When using hashtags, be sure you are limiting yourself to keywords that are actually relevant to your video. If you add irrelevant tags, it will only make people angry and result in lower rankings.
A thumbnail is simply an enticing picture, but it needs to be honest. Make sure the image relates to your video.
Do not pick any image that is too large or contains too many details. And do not try anything deceptive as it could again harm your rankings.
Playlists can get you expanded reach and visibility on your videos, and there is little-to-no pressure to get videos added to playlists. Optimization options appear directly after uploading a video.
YouTube can translate videos into other languages. While this option is not always needed, the instructions to translate are easy to follow when you are ready.
- Advanced Settings
YouTube’s advanced settings offer a variety of options for video optimizations, some of which are useful and others that are less so. Some of these options include:
Disabling all comments on a video can hurt your video’s visibility. Comments are a signal used by YouTube to determine relevancy, quality, and recency of videos. You want to make sure comments are allowed by selecting the option from the drop-down menu.
- Distribution Rights
Allowing embedding of your video is going to likely increase the rate at which it is shared and embedded since it gives users the best on-site experience. Anyone could add it to their website, including a news station or blogger.
- Age Restrictions
Most videos do not need age restrictions, but YouTube says “violence, disturbing imagery, nudity, sexually suggestive content, and portrayal of dangerous or illegal activities” may all be worth age restrictions. When age restriction is activated, all viewers must be signed into YouTube and over the age of 18.
YouTube has 15 different categories to choose from, and the default “Entertainment” tag is one of the safest and easiest options.
Kinds of YouTube SEO All Videos Should Have
Your YouTube videos need to include all of the following:
Clear Call-To-Action (CTA)
Interaction with a company does not have to end when the video does. Consider steps to learn more about the video, proceed to your website and learn more about the brand and what it has to offer, and potentially convert as a referral visitor from YouTube.
Transcriptions Are Valuable
This is especially valuable from the search engine perspective because search engines can scrawl written text, which they cannot do for the actual video content.
When you have YouTube content, it is capable of being shared widely and you should be able to do that easily. Consider every possible resource that could be used.
Understanding What Works on YouTube
A variety of signals that go into YouTube rankings and visibility. They include:
- Watch time: How long a viewer watches a video.
- Keywords: Illustrate relevance to a search query.
- Subscribers: A channel with hundred or thousands of subscribers is going to perform better than a channel with 15 subscribers. This is a behavioral signal signifying the channel is an authority on certain topics and trusted by others.
- Engagement: Likes, dislikes, and comments are all helpful signals that help YouTube, Google, and other search engines realize a video is worthy of more visibility.
- Video length: YouTube content shouldn’t be too long. Users should be interested in the content and watch it to get the real value from it.
An optimized YouTube video is one that is relevant to the user and/or their search query, includes relevant keywords, and engages users, compelling them to watch most, if not all, of the video. It also has a clear CTA, and includes at least one link that points to a relevant site for more information.
Social Media Marketing in Houston, TX
SERP Matrix handles social media marketing for individuals and companies all over the greater Houston area and many other areas of the United States. We regularly assist clients with such websites as Facebook, Google+, MySpace, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Reddit, Snapchat, Tumblr, Twitter, WhatsApp, Wikia, and YouTube.
Our video marketing services include brand videos, how-to videos, and testimonials. We can also assist with video distribution beyond YouTube so you can be confident that your videos are being seen.
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We back all of our work with an SEO services guarantee. We will meet or beat any guarantee offered by a comparable SEO firm.
Houston Social Media Marketing | SERP Matrix
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