YouTube is a never-ending library of video content. With an increasing number of content creators taking to YouTube, it can be tough to stand out from all the noise and get seen. Even if you do get noticed, it can be a challenge to maintain this interest. Considering that an average viewer is spoilt for choices, you may not get your second chance to a first impression. Thus, you have to pack in quite a punch right from the get-go.
YouTube SEO: An Overview
When you think of search engines, Google is the first to come to mind.
Similarly, it is hard to dissociate the idea of YouTube when you consider online videos. But what do these two have in common?
The answer is simple – search capabilities.
Both Google and YouTube follow a similar process. The user enters their query in the search field and presses Enter. In response, they receive a wide and extensive list of recommendations (in text or video formats) that are prioritized based on their relevance to the query. This list gets populated and rearranged, depending on user interaction.
It’s no secret that YouTube is hands down, the most powerful video hosting platform. However, the above comparison presents YouTube in a new light.
Dare we say, it presents YouTube as a search engine?
Given how Google and YouTube go neck and neck in their respective domains, the above statement does hold to a great extent. And where there is a SERP (Search Engine Result Page), you will have SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
In a nutshell, YouTube SEO could be the magic mantra to get your videos seen!
YouTube SEO plays a crucial role in manipulating the search results to bypass the gatekeepers. When you optimize your content over YouTube, you can rank higher inside and outside of the platform.
The result – more followers, brand credibility, and increased traffic, eventually translating into higher growth potential!
The Inner Workings Of The YouTube Search Engine
Without going deep into the technicalities, let’s take a look at the factors that govern YouTube SEO.
YouTube’s Search Engine relies on two main characteristics:
- The video’s discoverability; and
- Its engagement levels.
Thus, your YouTube SEO strategy must focus on these two aspects to drive better results.
How To Rank YouTube Videos?
Now that you understand the two core pillars acting as the foundation for YouTube SEO, you can pull on these strings in the following ways:
Start With Keyword Research
The keywords that you would use to score YouTube rankings would be quite different from those used to rank pages. For instance, on search engines like Google, you would find video keywords focusing mainly on the action than the solution. So while searching “Overnight Oats” may fetch you a list of blog suggestions, “How to Make Overnight Oats” would get you video recommendations.
This simple rule of thumb can grant you control over how to get ranking in Google with video!
At the same time, when you search for keywords that will work on YouTube, you do not have to invest in premium tools (unless, of course, you have that kind of a budget). You can start by looking up relevant keywords over YouTube and noting the suggestions. Pair the YouTube Suggest with Google Trends, and you get a winning strategy for keyword extraction!
Follow It Up With Keyword Intent
By locating keywords, you can carry out the task at the business end of YouTube SEO. Now, you may transition into the client end of YouTube SEO.
To achieve this effect, you need to adopt the psyche of your audience. Tap into their thought process to understand why they would search a particular thing, and what would be the variations to this search. Through this emotional connection, you will be successful in deciphering the keyword intent, that is, the thought behind the search.
Naturally, deducing keyword intent involves a good deal of brainstorming and innovation, but it is worth the effort. Once you have an idea of the intent, check if it aligns with your keyword strategy. Eliminate the ones that do not match and weed in the most potent ones.
Target And Retain Your Audience
If you want to be discovered, you need to be exactly where your audience is looking for you!
Start by profiling your ideal audience, which means you need to envision your most satisfied user. You could segment them based on their location, gender, age group, or any other demographic.
Say, you are creating fitness videos for men who want to get rock-hard abs. Naturally, you would want to target men who want to get fit. It would be foolish to target kids looking for animated funtertainment content or women looking for makeup tutorials. Put in the thought to develop video content that solely revolves around your target audience.
In addition to producing high-quality video content that is relevant to your target audience, you must also keep your viewers hooked right from the very first second since they hit the Play button. The final step for audience retention calls for welcoming the viewers as a part of your brand. Involve them in the entire process by listening and acting as per their feedback. Similarly, respond to comments and interact with people to make them feel heard.
This human element of YouTube SEO can go a long way in developing personal connections and heightening engagement.
Carry Out On-Page Optimization
On-Page optimization involves video metadata, which covers YouTube tags, titles, thumbnails, and descriptions. These elements contribute to the click-through-rates (CTR), both collectively and individually.
Utilize your findings from keyword research to enrich your titles, descriptions, and tags. In this way, you can make your videos available and searchable.
Further, the titles must be brief and to the point. Avoid crossing the 60 character mark, and keep it either witty, funny, or thought-provoking. They must be as unique and catchy as the entire premise of the video (but not at the cost of click-baiting your audiences!)
Finally, make a solid impression with a custom thumbnail. Your thumbnail should be a reflection of the content and encourage the user to click on your video.
Add In-Video Optimization
While YouTube tags take care of on-page YouTube SEO, features like closed captions and transcripts, help via in-video optimization. For starters, they make your videos user-friendly and neutral, as viewers from any country could watch your content in the settings of their preference. On the other hand, these video data files contain valuable information that can help YouTube gain a better understanding of your video content. Thus, these seemingly minor considerations can help you climb up the YouTube rankings.
Post, Promote, Repeat
When you publish a video, you have won a big chunk of the battle already! And now, you need to make it a habit.
Having a defined posting schedule can help ride the YouTube SEO wave. Naturally, before you commit to such a timetable, you must identify the best times to post the content. Monitor the response to your video for about 48 hours from the moment you publish it. Note down all the peaks.
Typically, post your content between 2 pm to 4 pm on Monday through Wednesday, 12 pm to 3 pm on Thursdays and Fridays, and 9 am to 11 am on Saturdays and Sunday for best results.
We now have an idea about how to get ranking in Google with video, so use it to your advantage and promote your YouTube video across multiple platforms.
Analyze And Optimize
Merely posting videos is not enough. It is equally crucial that you monitor its performance on YouTube. See tips to identify the primary KPIs that can help quantify video performance. YouTube Studio is an excellent tool for reporting and analysis.
Keep a tab on the metrics to determine the hits and misses and tailor your YouTube SEO strategy accordingly. This stage will be a constant learning process, so keep your campaign and yourself highly flexible to dynamic changes.
Increase Session Times
Here’s one of the biggest YouTube hacks – leave the audience craving for more. Sure, you can have a one-off video that helps you go viral. However, the chances of something that drastic happening is, unfortunately, quite low.
The trick to winning YouTube SEO lies in staying consistent. For constant and sustained engagement, you need to drip-feed information to your audiences. So hold off posting that 60-minute film, and go for publishing two episodes of 30 minutes each! Remember, YouTube wants to give cable TV and streaming service providers a stiff competition. Hence, if you are contributing to the platform’s goal of constant engagement, YouTube SEO will positively reward you.
Ranking On YouTube: See Tips And Tricks That Work
So far, you may have gathered a solid understanding of YouTube SEO. So now, let’s move on to the fun bit. Following are some of the greatest YouTube hacks to jump into the limelight:
- If you are yet to gain some traction on YouTube, build partnerships, and collaborate with famous YouTubers to establish yourself as a brand.
- Maintain visual consistency to gain recognition and score some branding points. At the same time, you may even build playlists and load them with keywords.
- Use your video description box for link building activities.
- Apart from making your videos share-worthy, make your videos shareable by embedding them.
- Encourage viewers to like, share, and subscribe to your content. Ask them to leave comments and kick-off discussions.
- Send your newsletters to connect with your viewers.
- Always prioritize your video content. Fortunately, videos are extremely versatile and you can use it in various ways to delight your audience.
It is easy to cover the technical aspect of YouTube SEO. All you need to do is identify the right set of keywords, optimize video data, add relevant cards, links, descriptions, etc. However, the engagement section is equally challenging. No formula can help you break this code.
Fortunately, if you are in for the long run, you will eventually find a way to engage, entertain, and reach the top!
Culled from invideo