10+ Tried-And-True YouTube SEO Tactics For Tangible Results
Whenever we talk about search engine optimization, the first thing that comes to mind is Google. Regardless of the kind of content we create, when it comes to ranking it in a search engine, the SEO tactics are developed with Google in mind, and YouTube SEO almost always falls by the wayside.
What most people forget to take into account is that, after Google, YouTube is the biggest search engine. The latest stats show that YouTube has 1.57 billion monthly users, which presents a large base for a potential audience for your content.
YouTube is also the top search engine for video content, which is the kind of content more and more people are inclined to consuming today. As of January 2018, it was found that on average 300 hours of videos are posted on the platform every minute. To set a goal, like I did once, to watch everything on YouTube is setting yourself up for a Sisyphean task.
It would take me 18,000 days to watch everything that’s been uploaded in one day. In the meantime, more and more content would be uploaded to the platform, and I will fall behind 300 hours every passing minute.
What does that mean for a YouTube content creator? The sheer volume of content that is uploaded to the platform increases a video’s likelihood of being lost among millions of cat videos, makeup tutorials, music videos, clips of the Ellen show, and DIYs. Thus, for content creators, neglecting YouTube SEO is a costly mistake they cannot afford to make.
If you are creating video content for YouTube and want to increase traffic on your channel, this YouTube SEO tutorial is for you. Keep on reading this step-wise YouTube SEO guide to strengthen your foundational knowledge on the topic and learn some tried-and-true YouTube SEO tips you absolutely cannot do without.
But isn’t SEO for YouTube the same as Google SEO?
The answer is no. Though keyword research is still a crucial element of YouTube SEO, these keywords don’t quite function the same way they do with the content on Google.
What does that mean? Well, when Google indexes your written content it finds if the search terms people are entering are present in your article or blog post. Incorporating these keywords into your content, thus, makes it easier for Google to find your article.
YouTube’s search engine functions slightly differently. It cannot identify if the keywords are built into your video content or not. Because the search engine cannot tell which content might be relevant to your audience based on the keywords and the tags you have used, there are different factors that it relies on to rank your videos and for YouTube SEO.
In this comprehensive YouTube SEO 2018 guide, I’ll cover everything from how to increase visibility and rankings for your video and ways to improve user engagement.
The fundamental thing you need to understand to optimize your YouTube videos is what factors are under your control as a publisher on the platform. Some of these factors include your video itself, title and description, tags, channel authority, and content delivery, among other things.
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Basics to get started with YouTube SEO
You have to bear in mind these basics of SEO on YouTube to be able to use various aspects of your content to your advantage and make money on YouTube.
Keyword research is key
Just as you do keyword research for Google, you have to find out what keywords are popular in your niche for YouTube SEO too. Though it’s not useful for YouTube indexing, it is a crucial part of your pre-content research.
Finding relevant keywords gives you an understanding of what videos are popular in your niche and what the audience might want to view. Before you plan and create your video content, find out if your viewers would be interested in what you are creating, and frame your content according to the most popular keywords.
The easiest way to research keywords for YouTube SEO is to type in a search query on YouTube search or Google search bar. YouTube Autocomplete will give you popular searches by completing the search terms. For instance, for digital marketing, autocomplete shows that the popular keywords are digital marketing tutorial for beginners, digital marketing course, digital marketing strategy, and digital marketing career, and so on.
When we enter a search term in Google, we usually get websites in the search results. However, for keywords containing terms such as ‘Tutorials’, ‘Songs/Movies’, ‘Watch’, ‘How to’, ‘Reviews’ and ‘Video’, among others, Google search results might also contain video content.
Compare the keywords
Once you find popular keywords, you can compare them to find out which one of them has gotten more search volume. ‘Google Trends’ is among the best tools for that. It has got a ‘YouTube Search’ option that gives you the search volume particularly for YouTube.
When you find out what keywords are popular in a certain niche, you can also compare similar keywords with the app’s ‘Compare’ feature to see how they have been performing in different parts of the world.
You can also see what videos are popular for those keywords and work on developing content on similar topics. The search volume combined with the detailed analytics about a certain keyword or niche gives invaluable insight into user intention, which if used correctly can make a huge difference in your channel’s YouTube SEO.
Create quality video content
When I mention quality video, it’s not video quality that I am referring to. While good camera work is also important, quality video content refers to the kind of videos that viewers would enjoy and engage with. The kind of videos that they might share or come back to for future viewing. Because all your YouTube SEO efforts eventually boil down to whether or not you have quality videos.
Here are a few things you need to bear in mind to create professional YouTube videos. While having high-tech equipment is ideal, not all of us can afford to shell out serious cash to purchase fancy camera equipment, especially if we are just starting out. So, even if it is your smartphone you are using to record your content, you can create some terrific YouTube videos.
Pay attention to the environment
The environment where you are shooting your video has to go your brand’s personality. If it’s professional videos you are shooting, say about Google or YouTube SEO or coding, you can do them in an office-like environment. You can use a bookshelf or a computer as a background.
However, if you are shooting, for instance, photography tutorials or skating vlogs, you are going to be shooting outside. In that case, there are a lot of variables that you need to pay attention to in order to reduce distractions.
Prepare the content
When it comes to preparing your content, needless to say, the way you do it depends on what your video idea is. If you are shooting motivational speeches or brand introduction videos, you might need to go with a script. Or not, just depends how comfortable you are in front of a camera.
If you are just starting out, you can prepare a script beforehand. Just practice enough so that it doesn’t look like you’re reading out a script. As you gradually get more comfortable with a camera, you can do unscripted videos too. If you are reading the script off of a teleprompter, there are some great teleprompter apps you can use, such as PromptSmart on the App Store and Teleprompter Pro.
However, if the proposition of talking to a camera scares you terribly, you can do interviews from time to time. Or place a person behind the camera that you can look at while you record the video. Talking to a real person will feel a lot more comfortable than talking to a piece of equipment. If finding a real person to help you is difficult, just pretend you are being interviewed by your favorite chat show hosts.
When you do multiple takes, the best thing to do is to document your mistakes so that you can review them later. For people that struggle with what to say when starting or ending videos, going with a consistent intro and outro for all their videos can take some of the anxiety out of the recording process.
Edit like a pro
Even if you are just a beginner at editing, there are some great editing apps that make the process a lot less daunting. FilmoraGo, Windows Movie Maker, VSDC, VivaVideo are some popular apps that can help you edit your YouTube videos like a pro. These apps are especially useful if you record with your smartphone and need to edit videos on the go.
If, however, you want to use advanced editing software for better YouTube SEO, Adobe Premiere Pro is a good option. As you learn gradually, you can also add graphics, play with the background scores, animate intros and outros and combine videos with stop-motion to make them look a lot more appealing.
How can I optimize my YouTube videos?
Once you have found what kinds of content are popular in your niche and developed content that is relevant to your audience and that they might enjoy, it’s time to work on getting eyes on your YouTube videos.
Remember the factors I said were essential to YouTube SEO. Well, in this section, I’ll go into detail in to the YouTube SEO tips to optimize these aspects of your content.
A snappy title for higher Click-Through rate
While you might have spent a lot of time creating the perfect video, given the options available to the audience the chances of them clicking on your video are not very good. That’s why you need a video title that people will want to click on. Your title has to hook potential audience without being too clickbait-y and hurting your credibility.
Coming up with a relevant title is where your keyword research comes in handy. Make sure you incorporate the keyword that you can rank for into your title. Find out what kind of titles your competitors are using for their videos and see how they have used the keywords. Try to make your title better than your competitors so that the viewers will click on your video and not theirs.
Though, YouTube allows you to have up to 100-character titles if your title is longer than 70 characters it might be truncated. So, come up with a snappy, relevant title containing the keyword phrase within 70 characters.
Let’s say you want to rank for the keyword ‘passive income’, you have to incorporate that search term into your video title, as has been done in the photo below.
A pithy description of your video
Your YouTube video description gives you an opportunity to give your readers the gist of what your video is all about. While on YouTube, people would just watch the video rather than read the description to find out more, YouTube video descriptions play an important role when your video appears on Google search results page and are crucial for better YouTube SEO.
Like you did with the title, make sure you mention the keyword in your video description. When the keywords are both in the video title and description, it increases your chances of appearing on the search results page and your video’s being clicked on. You can also input links, calls to action and bios into your description. A well-written description helps get your video featured on ‘YouTube suggested page’.
Your description should be around 300 to 500 words. But it’s not where you tell the viewers what happens in the entirety of the video. Just give them a taste of what’s to come and persuade them to click on the video.
Use the right tags
As long as they are relevant to your video, you can use as many tags as you like. The recommendation is that you use at least 10 tags, and make sure you incorporate your keyword into the tags.
Your viewers cannot view the tags on your video by default. There are chrome extensions you can download, such as Tags for YouTube or TubeBuddy to research the tags on your competitors’ videos. To use the TubeBuddy extension, for instance, just type your main keyword in the YouTube search bar and click on the top five ranked videos. Then clicking tags on TubeBuddy will allow you to view your competitors’ tags. You can then just copy these tags into your video.
Another way to find the best tags in your niche is by using YouTube Suggest. Use brand-specific tags to make sure your brand ranks high on YouTube.
It’s also suggested that you use the plural variants of the tags you use. A simple example is use ‘cat’ and ‘cats’. Another tip is to avoid stop words, as much as possible.
Captions for your videos
YouTube automatically creates captions for your videos. If you have seen those automatic captions, you know that YouTube’s algorithm isn’t very good at deciding whatever’s been said in those videos.
However, whoever’s been actively looking for ways to improve their YouTube SEO knows that video transcription is a great way to get your video ranked by the algorithm. It’s better to upload your transcription, of course, rather than letting YouTube do it by itself.
Think of your transcript as an extended description. Whenever you mention your keyword in the video, it comes into the transcription making it so much easier for YouTube’s search algorithm to find and index your video. This also gives you a competitive Youtube SEO advantage over transcription-less videos in terms of ranking your video higher in search results.
Apart from YouTube searches, transcribing your video also makes it more likely to come up on Google’s search results. Because YouTube is owned by Google, the data-sharing between the two platforms can help improve ranking for your YouTube videos, and adding a proper transcription to your video can be a great tool for that.
There are services, such as Castingwords, that can help you with creating an accurate transcription of all your YouTube videos.
A consistent YouTube Thumbnail
Think of your YouTube Thumbnail as your profile picture. You need a thumbnail for each and every one of your YouTube videos. This is an opportunity for you to make your video as appealing as possible on the first look to increase your video’s click-through rate.
A good thumbnail does two things. Firstly, it gives your viewers a brief idea of what they are going to spend the next few minutes of their life watching. Secondly, it attracts your viewers and makes them want to click on your video.
So, how do you create a good thumbnail?
A custom thumbnail is the way to go. That might, however, be a problem if your channel hasn’t been verified by YouTube.
To customize your thumbnail, incorporate graphics and text in to your professional-looking shots. Pay special attention to the lighting and make sure your thumbnail looks colorful so that it pops out among the other search results.
What you shouldn’t do when getting a thumbnail ready is shooting in an ill-lit, stuffy room or use dark and gloomy colors. Also don’t ever use any random still from the video as your thumbnail.
Look at the thumbnails in the photo above. All of the thumbnails have got some text in them that give the audience an idea about what’s to come. They look clean and minimal, and most importantly, the thumbnails are consistent with each other and with the brand the YouTuber Jenny Mustard is creating.
Check the stats on your YouTube videos
Your YouTube stats help you find out how your users are engaging with your video and give you valuable insight so that you can create more relevant videos.
YouTube SEO Analytics
There are some useful technical parameters that YouTube applies to help you monitor the performance of your videos. Keep updated with these stats; find out what they mean and how you can change various aspects of your YouTube SEO accordingly.
Click-Through Rate simply refers to how many times your video has been clicked on. All the aspects we talked about before from quality content to YouTube SEO hacks involving good titles and thumbnails are crucial to improving the CTR on your YouTube videos.
YouTube Engagement refers to how your audience engages with your videos. It constitutes the comments, likes and shares you get on your video. To improve the engagement, keep your viewers engaged until the end of the video. A call-to-action whereby you ask your viewers to subscribe to your channel can also help improve viewer engagement.
Watch Time, as is clear from the term, is the duration for which a viewer watches your video. Contrary to popular belief, making the videos too short doesn’t help with watch time. You might have to create longer videos for greater watch time.
Combine YouTube Analytics with your Google Analytics so that you can access more features and get more stats on performance. You can view the activity on your YouTube channel on the Google Analytics page by adding your Google Analytics embed code.
Third-Party analytics tools
Apart from YouTube and Google Analytics, other third-party tools can help you devise a more thorough YouTube SEO campaign. You can get metrics on comments, likes, rankings, view count and video replies. This metrics can help you with better content creation and content delivery.
It’s pretty clear that YouTube is only going to be bigger every passing day. Given the competition and the amount of content they produce, any YouTuber today, beginner or pro, needs to bear in mind YouTube SEO to improve their videos’ performance.
Apart from the aforementioned YouTube SEO tips and metrics, pay attention to carefully crafted intros and outros, include a snappy call-to-action and keep an eye on subscriber conversion data. Link your YouTube channel and share your videos on all your social media accounts. Use these YouTube optimization tactics to make your hard work count and produce tangible results.
Download PDF of this Guide For Free!!
[Make Money Online in 2018]
Rank All Your YouTube Videos
Here’s The YouTube SEO Guide!!