YouTube SEO: How to Optimize Your Videos for Search

An illustration of a man sitting on the YouTube search bar.

When you take the time to create engaging video content, you want to ensure it reaches the maximum possible audience. The best way to do that is by optimizing your videos with YouTube SEO.

To learn more about how to properly optimize video content for your YouTube channel, read through our guide below with 15 tips to help your videos rank.

Let’s dive in.

 

What is YouTube SEO?

Before we go ahead, let us first understand what YouTube SEO actually is. 

YouTube SEO encompasses optimizing your channel, video playlists, meta data, video description and the videos themselves. You can optimize your YouTube videos for search both within and outside of YouTube.

A crucial element of YouTube SEO is using the influence of your video’s text in the form of transcripts, closed captions and subtitles.

 

The Logic Behind the YouTube Algorithm

Unlike Google, that uses backlinks and other parameters to evaluate the quality of content, YouTube has no such luxury so you have to rely on audience retention.

Five important YouTube ranking factors are:

  1. Video comments
  2. Number of subscribers after watching the video
  3. Number of shares on the social media platform
  4. Click-through rate (CTR)
  5. Video length

Audience engagement is one of several ranking signals that YouTube uses in its algorithm.

 

How to Rank Your YouTube Videos

Ready to help your YouTube videos start ranking on page one of search results? Here are 15 tips to help you ramp up your YouTube marketing efforts.

 

1. YouTube Keyword Research 

The process begins with the first step of generating a big list of potential keywords. The next step, find the best keyword from your list. How? Let’s understand this. 

YouTube Search

The easiest way to do this is to use YouTube’s search suggest feature. All you have to do is just type a word or phrase in YouTube’s search bar and YouTube will provide you a cluster of keywords related to what you typed in. How do you know if these keywords are most popular?

Be sure of this as these are the terms that people have actually typed into YouTube. So, there is no need to doubt if they are popular or not, just relax. If YouTube has recommended this list to you, they are 1000% popular.

Video Tags

Alternatively, an easy tip is to look for a popular video in your niche and use the same keywords this video is optimized around. Pay attention to the keywords used in its title, description, and video tags. Easy right?

To see a video’s tags, try a Chrome extension like TubeBuddy.

A screenshot of TubeBuddy's YouTube extension showing video tags.

YouTube Traffic Source

YouTube search reports can also help you find some excellent keywords from your YouTube Traffic Source. 

This report shows all the keywords that YouTube users have searched for to find your videos, this makes it an excellent source. You may find that you know most of the keywords already, however, you may also get to know a lot of keywords that you were not aware of earlier.

The second obvious step is finding the best keyword from the list created. It is advised to target low-competition keywords. 

This strategy works best for a channel that does not have many subscribers because going after competitive keywords in this case will bury your video in search results. Hence, a better strategy would be to go for keywords that do not have much competition. 

Most views on YouTube videos come from the YouTube platform only, but you can get 3-5 times more views in Google if you optimize your YouTube videos around the keywords that already have video results in Google.

A screenshot of YouTube video results in Google.

As you probably know, keyword optimization is a key component of YouTube SEO. So, if a video has thousands of views, chances are, that video is optimized around a popular keyword.

 

2. YouTube Video Optimization

The simple tip is if YouTube understands that you reference your target keyword in your videos, they will “notice” it. 

And because you are actually mentioning the keyword that your video is optimized around, YouTube will easily comprehend that your video is regarding that term.

Your video title should be a minimum of 5 words, try including your keywords without stuffing. Your video description helps YouTube and Google understand the context of your videos and helps rank your videos higher.

Here’s how Visme has done this for a video targeting the keyword types of infographics.

A screenshot of the YouTube description in the video editor.

Some easy tips for video description: 

  • Include your keywords in the first 25 words of the video description
  • Make the video description at minimum of 200 words
  • Include your keyword at least 2-4 times without stuffing

Tags may not be super important but do not ignore tags.

Some easy tips to use tags for your videos:

  • Keep the first tag an exact target keyword 
  • Include different variations of your keyword or phrase 
  • Make the few tags other topics that your video covers 

 

3. Increase Comments on Your Videos

One good way to increase your video rank and popularity is to get your viewers to leave comments. How can you do that? 

End your video with a question to get some response and discussion started. If your video gets a lot of comments, it tells YouTube that it is a popular video. 

Another thing that you can do is getting more subscribers. It is one of the algorithms used to rank videos.  For YouTube, it holds great value for ranking your video. It has more value than one-time comments because subscribing means they will watch your content regularly. 

So, when talking to your audience focus on getting more subscribers than just asking them to comment or like.

 

4. Focus on Your Video Quality 

It makes all the sense as your viewers are with you to watch your video, so offer them the best quality. Increasing video quality will help you increase your search performance. 

We’re not asking you to get a world-class studio, but with a small investment, and training you can increase the quality of your videos. You can shoot good videos with their mobile phone (try using it with a tripod) with proper lighting. 

All you need is lights directly on the video subject. And don’t forget the microphone. Trust me with a small investment of $100 to $200 you can create amazing videos. You will certainly witness improvement in your video ranking.

 

5. Design an Eye-Catching Thumbnail

Thumbnails can also have an impact on your SEO. Maybe not directly, but they certainly impact your clicks, which indirectly means better SEO. 

A thumbnail makes a person decide if they would like to watch a video. Hence, make sure your Thumbnail is impactful and give a clue to the audience what your video is all about, thereby intriguing interest and hence clicks.

You can easily design an eye-catching thumbnail that makes users want to click over to your videos with Visme. Start with a template like the one below.

A purple and white YouTube thumbnail template available in Visme.

Customize this template and make it your own!Edit and Download

6. Add Captions to Your Video

Adding captions to your video content is important for a couple of reasons – both for accessibility as well as to reach a wider audience.

Not everyone can hear your video and not everyone wants to watch video content with the sound on.

Make sure to add captions with a transcript of your video’s audio. The transcript is essentially automatically keyword-optimized for your topic, making it very useful for YouTube SEO.

After transcribing your video, consider using that transcript for boosting SEO by creating useful, shareable content. Some uses for video transcripts include:

  • Blogs/Articles
  • Infographics/Factsheets
  • Whitepapers
  • Website copy

 

7. Build Links to Your YouTube Channel

Keep in mind that for the best results for YouTube SEO you need to get links to both your YouTube channel and your individual videos. 

These inbound channel links help YouTube identify that you are an authority in your niche.

 

8. Promote Your YouTube Channel

This one is pretty self-explanatory. YouTube is a social channel, so to maximize YouTube SEO, you need to share your videos on as many social media channels as possible (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or even Quora). 

Facebook can help you drive loads of traffic if you include an engaging description including keywords. Cross-posting your YouTube videos on different social media platforms is a robust and most workable strategy for maximum visibility and SEO.

The value of sharing on social media is far greater than just the views. When you share on social media, you will also be working to build links to your channel and grow your social presence strong. It is a double whammy!

If you’re looking to document a better multi-channel marketing strategy, you can use a marketing plan template like the one below.

A social media marketing plan template available in Visme.

Customize this template and make it your own!Edit and Download

9. Try Email Marketing

Using email marketing you can send out an email to as many people and get countless eyeballs on your content. All of this is important for good YouTube SEO.

Take a look at this example of Visme sharing a YouTube video in an email newsletter to see how you can take advantage of this tactic.

A screenshot of Visme's email newsletter sharing a YouTube video.

 

10. Embed Your Videos

It is a good strategy to embed your YouTube videos in blog posts and landing pages. 

This serves two purposes. First, it gets your video in front of a wider audience. Second, it will increase your viewer engagement.

Visme tries to include a YouTube video in nearly every article published, embedded in a cute little video player like you see below.

 

11. Keep an Eye on Competitors

It’s important to keep a watch on your competition to see what they are doing. In your research, you might find what keywords other competitors in your niche are using. Use those keywords in your own videos and keep a tab on how your videos are performing.

 

12. Use YouTube for Keyword Research

Google is an important platform to find keywords, but using YouTube is another fantastic platform to find great keywords. Use YouTube’s search bar to auto generate the most popular keywords. 

Start typing “YouTube SEO, ” for example, and take a look at the suggestions the search box is offering. These suggestions are actual phrases that people use for searching, so it’s a smart strategy to use them for your own videos too.

A screenshot of how YouTube search results can be used for keyword research.

 

13. Increase Your YouTube Video Watch Time

Watch time is an important YouTube metric. When your video watch time is higher, this means that people are liking what you are showing.

This lets YouTube’s algorithm know that you’re producing high-quality videos, giving the platform a bigger incentive to show your content to a wider audience.

 

14. Review Your YouTube Analytics

YouTube provides a host of handy reports that you can use to easily analyze how your videos are performing. Refer to the engagement tab to see how many minutes people are spending on your videos.

Your watch time report is useful for tracking fluctuations in your user engagement. If your watch time increases or drops, you may want to examine what might have happened.

A screenshot of YouTube analytics.

You can also measure overall user engagement using YouTube engagement reports. YouTube offers nine engagement reports to help you quantify your overall performance. 

For instance, the subscribers report shows you how many subscribers you have gained or lost. And the share report monitors how much your videos have been shared using the Share button on YouTube. 

Take a look at each of the reports regularly to keep a tab on your YouTube SEO.

 

15. Create Engaging Intros and Outros

One last idea for ramping up your YouTube SEO is ensuring you’ve got engaging intros and outros to all of your YouTube videos.

Your intro should grab attention and reel your viewer into watching the rest of the video. Your outro should help lead viewers to your other video content, keeping more people on your channel for longer.

Find an outro template that you can customize and add to the end of your YouTube video. Here’s an example of what this could look like below.

A YouTube video outro template available in Visme.

Customize this template and make it your own!Edit and Download

Start Optimizing Your YouTube Videos 

If strategically done, YouTube SEO can be easy and doesn’t require much technical knowhow. Apart from optimizing your titles, descriptions and tags, the most important part is engaging the audience. 

Focus on creating content that provides value to viewers and keeps them hooked. If your videos have a unique value proposition, and work on your video content that stands, your videos can easily become very popular on YouTube.

Start creating your own social media videos, and don’t forget to subscribe to Visme’s YouTube channel as well!

The post YouTube SEO: How to Optimize Your Videos for Search first appeared on Visual Learning Center by Visme.

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