When thinking of SEO, or search engine optimization, you may just associate it with Google. But, have you considered the value of YouTube SEO? In today’s digital age where video wins over text, consumers are taking to YouTube more than ever as a go-to source for information, how-tos, product reviews, and more. As a result, optimizing videos to improve your search rankings on YouTube is a great way to gain online exposure.
You may have heard of the feared and mystified YouTube algorithm, which is believed to be an unpredictable method of serving videos in results. While the ins and outs may not be known to the public, there are a lot of factors within your control that can help you improve your success with the YouTube SEO algorithm. Read on to learn how to maximize the success of your videos, and ultimately, your company, through search engine optimization on YouTube.
Before selecting a keyword, let’s discuss how they’re used. In order to get the most out of YouTube SEO, you’ll want to at least include your keyword in the following three places:
Placing your keyword in these three spots is a good start that sets your video up for success. However, many believe that including the keyword in the actual content of your video can go a long way towards improving your rankings as well. For this to be truly beneficial, setting up closed captions for your video that include the keyword is imperative. Closed captions allow YouTube to identify that your content is relevant, and should be displayed higher in search results.
As with traditional SEO, selecting the appropriate keyword to target on YouTube’s platform is critical. In fact, it’s so important that many would argue that your content should be created around the targeted keyword, rather than searching for a keyword to fit your video after it has been created.
Choosing an appropriate keyword doesn’t have to be a daunting task. In fact, it’s quite simple. Have a topic and related keyword in mind? Type it into YouTube’s search bar to see a list of popular search queries related to that term. This is a fantastic tool, as it shows you exactly what people are actually typing into the search bar. Jot down a few ideas and keep them in mind.
Next, learn from similar videos that are already performing successfully on YouTube. For example, let’s say you were going to create a video about “YouTube SEO.” Simply type this into the search bar and take a look at the top three results. What do these videos have in common? What keywords do they include in their titles, descriptions, and tags? Learning from videos that already work with YouTube’s algorithm goes a long way in helping you to improve your own video rankings.
Lastly, consider what keywords will allow your videos to show up in Google search results. Some searches don’t generate any videos, while others do. For example, when Googling “YouTube SEO”, you’ll see that three videos populate at the top of your search, giving you direct access to relevant content on YouTube. As you did for the top videos in YouTube’s search results, take a look at these top videos too for ideas to enhance your video’s rankings.
Once a keyword has been selected, it’s now time to plan for the appropriate video. To do so, consider the goal of users who type in your target keyword. For example, with the search “YouTube SEO”, what are people trying to learn? Do they want to know what it is? Why it matters? Or, as is the case, do people want to know how to use it to rank #1 in YouTube search results? Knowing the intent will ensure that you create a video that appropriately addresses it, leading to higher levels of retention.
Viewer retention is important for your success on YouTube. If YouTube sees that viewers drop off early on, it will assume the content you are delivering is irrelevant to the keyword. As a result, hook your audience in from the start to keep them watching all the way through by providing relevant content.
In addition, sometimes audience retention can be improved through your video editing. Including edits throughout your video will eliminate mistakes and minimize unnecessary down time, keeping your audience engaged. No matter the topic of your video, ensure you find creative ways to entertain your audience with interesting narratives. Even educational or instructional videos can be made livelier with a bit of personality.
YouTube provides creators with various tools to further enhance their videos’ success on the platform. In addition to some of the more obvious tools, like choosing your title, description, and tags, there are other items that must be utilized to enhance your YouTube SEO.
Video thumbnails are perhaps one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. The rest of your work will go to waste if you don’t first find a way to make people click. Instead of selecting a pre-generated thumbnail taken from the video itself, upload your own original image. Including large text to summarize the main topic, striking imagery, and the main subject of your video can all help draw viewers in.
Session watch time is also a critical component to YouTube SEO. YouTube is looking to see how long your viewers are staying on the platform as a whole. Therefore, you’ll want to make it easier for viewers to keep watching content on YouTube through tools like cards and end screens.
Cards allow you to include links throughout your video to other content on your channel. For example, if you have a video on YouTube SEO that mentions traditional SEO on Google, that may be an appropriate moment to include a link to another video on your channel focused on that topic.
Additionally, in the chance that a viewer has made it through all of your video, you can provide them with additional content through end cards. End cards link to and display the thumbnail of other videos on your channel. You can also include a link to allow viewers to subscribe to your channel. Again, the goal is to keep people on YouTube, because the higher your session time, the better you’ll rank in search results.
Finally, compiling your videos into playlists is another way to encourage your viewers to watch more. If possible, make a video series and organize your content into playlists. Once you have your audience hooked, they’ll keep watching the automatically cued-up videos in your playlists. This demonstrates to YouTube that you have relevant content that can extend session times. This helps your video appear in the “up next” spot, leading to more organic views.
Taking these first steps towards improving your YouTube SEO is a great start. But the work isn’t over yet. While these tips and tricks help maximize your chances for success, it’s up to you to encourage more video views. Many believe that the success of your video will be determined within the first 24-48 hours after posting your video, so getting eyes on it right away is a must.
Be sure to share your video across the internet. Share links to your video via social media, send email newsletters, add it to your website, and post it on relevant forums or other platforms where people are discussing similar content.
As you can see, mastering YouTube SEO is no simple task. While there are best practices to follow, you may find it to be more work than you bargained for. Not to worry – that’s where Frozen Fire comes in. Leave it up to the digital marketing experts with two decades of experience to get your videos ranking on YouTube.
For more information, and to learn how we can better meet your company’s needs, give us a call! We are here and ready to help you.
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