In Part One of The Online Video Creator Guide to Traffic, we learned how to create videos using the Skyscraper Technique to target your videos at already established niche audiences.
In this section, we will move beyond backlinking techniques and learn how to specifically optimize your video distribution using SEO tactics that make sure the right people find your videos on the world’s second largest, but often ignored, search engine - Youtube.
13 Youtube SEO Tips:
When it comes to search, Youtube does not work the same way as Google's search engine. Youtube cannot tell what the content of your video is separate form the tags and description of the video, amongst others. It is, however, a more social platform than Google search. Because of this, Youtube SEO can be split up into categories: Video Content and User Engagement.
Video Content SEO factors have those that the video creator / publisher has direct control over and those that are uncontrollable. Let's first focus on what you can control.
Tip #1 - Content Quality
We can not stress enough that the videos you make must be great. Youtube and Google is able to negatively rank content that is bad regardless of the keywords. It is not their business to present junk to their users.
You can make a video with a very narrow focus, demographic target and have it perform really well by not trying please everyone. Trust us - narrow is better. Read Part One to learn how to make great content with focus.
Tip #2 - Channel Authority
Just as in real life, the author of a piece of content needs to have, or at least appear to have, authority to be take seriously.
Anyone can search for your channel easily, and also easily search for a channel having to do with certain content. You have total control over your channel and the videos in it. It is important to foster your authority because this will increase ranking and views.
The better overall your channel is, the more subscribers you will gain and thus more views and higher ranking you will get.
Tip #3 - Title
The title of the video is one of, and perhaps the most important, factor when it comes to ranking your video. It is vital to include your keywords in the title and that those keywords are relevant to the content of the video. Do not just put in a click-bait title - that will ultimately not do you much good for ranking your video.
Consider less used, but more targeted long tail keywords. Use this great long tail keyword search step-by-step guide from Backlinko to help you find the best long tails for your content.
Tip #4 - Video Blended Results
Have you ever searched on Google and a short list of videos were the first to appear at top?
There are certain keywords you can add to your title and description to help get your video on this prime real estate. Typically this group is “How-to”, tutorial, and "open box" videos - when seeing something done is better than reading about it.
Include the following keywords in your title when possible: tutorial, review, test, what is—, how to—, demonstration, explanation, and (surprisingly) the word “video.”
Tip #5 - Description
A video’s description is important because it is the only place where you can describe what the video is about. It is also important because this is the main way Google ranks videos when searching on Google Search instead of directly on Youtube.
Put the most relevant information first since searchers often only see the first line before clicking. Make sure to include important keywords in the description because when people search for those words, the results will be in bold (see above) and thus will invite more viewers.
Tip #6 - Tags
Tags are the next most important SEO tool in Youtube. Put as many relevant tags as possible, without be obnoxious. Remember that tags are non-plural and plural sensitive. So if you are uploading a video about the Top Ten Cutest Puppies of 2015 (internet content we all like to watch), make sure to include “dog” and “dogs” (also “adorable”). This small difference impacts the search results.
Tip #7 - Transcription
Youtube can automatically transcribes your video into closed captioning. The big problem, however, is that this transcription can be highly inaccurate. Make sure to go through and correct mistakes Youtube auto-transcription makes in your videos closed caption. It may seem like a small detail, but this transcript is the longest body of text that (theoretically) outlines in detail what the content of your video is. Making sure it is accurate will impact positively viewer experience and SEO - make sure the keywords you used in the video appear in the transcript.
Youtube has a sort feature that can highlight your video if it has Closed Captions and this can increase your views.
User engagement SEO factors are dynamics that content creators / publishers do not have direct control over. However, you can have some influence.
Tip #8 - Views
Views are the most obvious deciding factor to boosting your video’s SEO. If it has been viewed a ton of time, that gives it credibility and with that credibility comes a higher ranking.
How to get views? Promote! Share on every social network, embed it in your site, ask your friends to spread it. Good old fashioned social media marketing. We covered this in Part One - it's the concept of backlinking.
It is important that your audience does not just click, but that they watch the whole video. Watching the entire video increases the quality of the viewership, which increases your rank. So that just another reason to make great content for your target audience - you want them to want to watch the WHOLE VIDEO.
You can see the Audience Rate under your channel’s video analytic.
The graph will even show you when, on average, your viewers stopped watching your video. In this case, 8 seconds in.
Tip #9 - Backlinks
Backlinks are used by Youtube as well as Google to rank videos. In order to increase your ranking, you must build inbound links in your channel as well as your videos. Getting people to your channel builds authority, as well as viewership and will build up the rankings of all of your videos. Adding outbound links to other useful content is a good idea too, so long as what you are linking to is relevant to your content.
Build links to your channel wherever possible. For more information on backlink building - read Part One.
Tip #10 - Social Network Shares
This one should be self explanatory - and Youtube makes it easy. There is a reason why most online video creators always ask their audience to “Like, Share, Comment and Subscribe” at the end of their videos. Also, there is evidence that Google is placing more weight on this factor than ever before when it comes to search.
It never hurts to ask your audience to share!
Tip #11 - Embedding
Make sure to enable embedding on each of your videos. Youtube Analytics tracks every time your video has been embedded and counts it as a user engagement signal - boosting your ranking.
Tip #12 - Comments
There is no real shortcut around gaining comments, or more importantly an active user base that is commenting.
Again, a good video creator knows to ask a question near the end of a video that viewers should respond to in the comments below. Responding to comments and engaging your viewers yourself is the only way to make sure that you build a lasting audience that will subscribe and keep coming back.
Tip #13 - Likes and Favorites
More Thumbs Up are better for your self esteem than Thumbs down, but any publicity is good publicity and Youtube factors in both as a User Engagement SEO factor.
Asking your audience to Favorite the video is also helpful. It ultimately depends on the quality of the video, however, to whether your audience will do it or not.
Now that you know how to optimize a Youtube video - go DO IT! If you didn't get enough from this article, try this great Brandon Gaille YouTube optimization post or this handing YouTube SEO infographic from SEO Hacker.
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