YouTube and SEO: Improve Rankings For Your Videos

You’ve heard the saying: A picture is worth a thousand words.  With video, it’s worth tens of thousands, if not millions. Video has become one of the most important assets to have when it comes to online marketing. It is a great tool in engaging customers and promoting your brand or product. Video content presents the opportunity to grow your digital and social channels, educate your audience, and give you direct access to clients and customers. 

So, what’s the best platform to build a successful video content stream? YouTube! Whether you’re just starting out with video marketing or you’re looking for ways to improve your current SEO strategy in your video content, here’s a quick guide to fill you in on all you need to know about optimizing your videos for YouTube!

YouTube and SEO

You may or may not know this, but YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world and the first largest search engine for videos. YouTube is by far the most popular video platform on the planet. There are many ways to maximize your video content views and conversions using SEO for YouTube. 

Much like Google, YouTube has an intricate algorithm that determines how your videos will appear in YouTube rankings. Optimizing for YouTube can help increase important metrics like subscriber count, brand awareness, website visits and revenue. YouTube SEO is the application of optimization of your channel’s page, playlists, description and videos. It focuses on the number of viewers that your video reaches and how well the video is ranking for your keywords. So here are a few simple methods to boost your YouTube video rankings and increase its views.

Keyword Research and Targeted Keywords

When conducting SEO for your YouTube videos, it’s important to use targeted keywords. These should be words people are likely to search for when looking for a video similar to your own. An easy way to create a list of keywords to target is to use YouTube’s “auto-suggestion” in the search bar  – this will give you insight into the most common keywords viewers might be interested in or searching for in your area of interest.

In order to gauge whether a keyword is competitive and effective or not is to look at the current results on YouTube for that keyword.

Is that keyword listed in the title and spelled exactly the same?

How many subscribers does a channel have?

What are the current rankings of those videos?

Are the videos informational and provide the content people are searching for?

If the current ranked videos aren’t too competitive, this may be a great keyword to go after!

Now let’s review key steps on how to get your videos ranked on YouTube!

Optimizing Your YouTube Video
With Your Keyword

One of the most important points to remember is to produce content that people want to see and find! No matter how good your YouTube SEO is, your videos won’t rank if people don’t want to watch them. However, with your targeted keywords identified, this will help to create video content that align with the searcher’s needs. 

Here are a few steps to making sure your maximizing the use of targeted keywords during your video upload process:

Title: Include the keyword in the title of the video (ideally in the beginning). A great title will catch the attention of a viewer and can dictate whether or not they watch the video. Make sure the title is clear and concise, and above all else, includes the keyword.

Tags: Include targeted keywords in the video tags. But don’t overtag your video! Using too many tags can actually hurt your SEO. Be sure to only include the most relevant ones. A good rule of thumb is to include an exact match of the keyword as the first tag, and then a few variations of the keyword as well.

Description: Use your keywords in the description of the video. This is the text that appears below your video on YouTube. Make sure your description is interesting and informative. Start by including your keywords along with a short paragraph that tells viewers what your video is about. Always proofread to ensure there are no spelling or grammar errors.

Categorization: As you upload a video, you’ll have to choose a category. Selecting the right category is a crucial step in getting higher ranks on your videos. Categories help arrange your videos so they appear in different playlists and get more exposure to your target audience. 

Did You Know? You can also put your preferred targeted keyword into the file’s name first before uploading it to YouTube. YouTube doesn’t watch the video to determine its relevance to the keyword, but it can examine the file’s name and the code it comes with.

Audience Retention for YouTube SEO

You and YouTube want the same thing: to have viewers stay on the platform as long as possible! The best way to achieve that goal is to set your video content up for success. The more views and engagement on your videos, the more likely the algorithm will reward videos with longer watch time & audience retention. 

  • Watch Time: For the YouTube algorithm, watch time is king. If a viewer starts your video, and then clicks away before watching much, this can send a negative SEO signal to YouTube! Ideally, you want each and every viewer to watch as much of your video as possible. How do you get your viewers to stick around for the entire video? Besides making great content, there are two easy tricks that could often go overlooked!

    • Keep intros short (or remove altogether). – Although an intro may seem nice at the beginning of a video, that is often when viewers click off! Getting right into the meat of the content is a great way to ensure viewers know they’re in the right place, and you’re not wasting their time.
    • Hint at something that will be mentioned later in the video. – There’s nothing better than sparking some interest. If there’s something in particular you know your audience would love to hear, early on in the video mention that you’ll be talking about it later on! That’ll urge them to stick around until later.
  • Engagement: You should strive to encourage viewers to leave comments, questions or reply to comments in the comments section. The more engagement activity your videos have increases the chance of being ranked by the YouTube search engine.

  • Subscribers: Surely you’ve heard a YouTuber say “Like & Subscribe!” at the beginning or end of a video? Subscribers are live accounts of real viewers. You’ll want to design your video content to entice new subscribers to follow your YouTube channel. Closed accounts and spam subscribers will not be counted by YouTube algorithms.

Because YouTube is the second largest search engine, it’s not only important to develop, create and produce great video content, but to utilize YouTube SEO for several reasons. Because Google owns YouTube – good YouTube SEO will improve your video’s rank on Google! This also increases the chances of people being able to find, watch and share your videos. And, of course, it builds a larger and more engaged audience for your brand or services.

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