1. Identify your target keywords for better YouTube video ranking
Like Google, YouTube algorithms use keywords to understand, classify, and distribute web content. So, before you get into the YouTube SEO minutiae, the first thing you should do is research potential target keywords to find the words that resonate the most with your audience.
Clearly defined long-tail keywords are easier to classify than generic phrases. For example, you will get more views and interactions if you optimize your video for “New York’s Best Boutique Hotels” instead of “New York Hotels”.
These long-tail keywords should be slightly different in format than their Google counterparts. Terms like “tutorial”, “review”, “practical guide”, etc., are commonly used when searching for videos, while more formal terms like “best practices” tend to be less popular.
By using carefully researched keywords in your video content, you increase the chances that your videos will appear on the front page of YouTube, and thus in front of potential customers.
2. Include your main keywords in the video title for better YouTube video ranking
When composing a title for your video, you should consider two things:
First, it is both descriptive and attractive. Viewers and the YouTube algorithm should be able to understand the purpose of your video without reading the accompanying description.
Second, that your main keywords be included somewhere in the title, where it is more natural. In addition to helping YouTube rank your video, this will also enhance your ranking potential.
3. Write an informative description for better YouTube video ranking
Any video uploaded to YouTube must be supported by a concise description of the content in question.
You’ll need to include both the main keywords you want to target and a handful of appropriate variations in the synopsis. According to the YouTube Academy, this helps the site’s algorithm understand the purpose of your video and put it in context, while making it easier for viewers to find it by searching.
To provide more orientation to the viewer, we recommend adding the names of anyone who appears in the video, along with a detailed list of topics discussed, links to related videos, and anything else that enhances the viewing experience.
4. Structure your video content
Like written content, the way your video content is structured has a profound effect on your ability to retain viewers and ultimately improve yourvideo ranking.
The trick is to open with a strong introduction that, while informative, doesn’t reveal everything in the first minute. Most of your video should be broken into clearly defined sections, guiding viewers through each point in turn. Fill things out with a concise description of the broader discussion, culminating in a verbal call to action that encourages them to consume related pieces of video content.
5. Enter your target keyword
The algorithms of Google and YouTube are now sophisticated enough to process the spoken word without having to refer to a transcript. What this means for video marketers is that verbalizing your main keywords over the course of your video can actually help you improve your YouTube ranking.
Chances are, you probably will anyway. However, it’s worth considering, especially if your primary keyword is rather niche.
6. Add a link to your site
One of the simplest ways to improve your YouTube video ranking is to include a link to your website in the description of all your videos. It should appear relatively early in the text. Alternatively, it could be featured on a separate line to help you stand out.
In addition to driving traffic to your website, this will increase the SEO strength of your domain by demonstrating the breadth of your content and the reach of your services or products.
Additionally, you should include links to third-party sources referenced during your videos in the description box. In addition to anything else, this shows that your information is based on empirical evidence, giving your voice an additional air of authority.
7. Use the appropriate YouTube tags
YouTube allows you to add tags to your videos. Like tags in written content, they help search engine algorithms understand the purpose of your videos and rank them accordingly, ensuring that it only appears during relevant searches.
Opinions differ on the optimal way to format tags on YouTube. The same is true of the number of labels to include. However, we recommend using 5-10 tags per video (to avoid spamming your lists with superfluous keywords and confusing YouTube algorithm), opting for long-tail keywords instead of single-word phrases to enhance your potential classification in key areas.
8. Choose the correct thumbnail
It is essential to choose the correct thumbnail, the image that appears next to your video on the YouTube search results page. Best practice suggests using a colorful, high-resolution image that reflects the content of the video itself and stands out from the crowd. Also, it may be helpful to include both your video title and an image of a human being in your thumbnail.
Statistics suggest that images that meet these guidelines improve click-through rates, which, in turn, reinforces your video marketing strategy.
9. Embed your videos
Always embed the videos you upload on your website. This helps to advertise your content to those who, while familiar with your products or services, do not necessarily know about your presence on YouTube. The result is more views and better engagement.
To really drive traffic to your YouTube channel, you’ll want to make sure that your video content appears on search results pages on the site. This type of “content search” is useful as a way to display the full range of relevant content (blogs, videos, white papers, case studies, and everything in between) to visitors, in addition to the services or products it provides.
You should also allow third parties to post your videos on their sites. That way, you can extend your network without having to lift a finger.
10. Interact with your audience
If there is something that the Internet is not lacking, it is the comments. And while the toxicity of the “comment culture” is a concern to some, professionally, comments provide the perfect opportunity to engage with your audience.
Thanking viewers for taking time out of their day to express their opinion about your products or services may be the most common form of interaction you have with your audience, but you should also spend time answering their questions. Helping them understand a specific topic could be the difference between someone becoming a full-fledged customer and choosing to take their business elsewhere.
11. Prioritize long videos
You may think that it is more profitable and beneficial for your overall ranking to create short 5 minute videos instead of longer pieces of content.
However, Backlinko’s research in 2017 found that longer videos perform significantly better – the average length of a video on the YouTube homepage in 14 minutes, 50 seconds.
So if you are considering investing heavily in YouTube as part of your broader marketing strategy, prioritize quality over quantity.
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