YouTube SEO

YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google. With 2.3 billion monthly active users and 70% of views driven by the algorithm, your content needs to stand out. Don’t sleep on YouTube SEO! YouTube is a video platform you can’t afford to ignore. Keep YouTube SEO in the center of your Search Engine Optimization process of your digital marketing strategy. Here’s why:

Competition’s fierce

Over 500 hours of video are uploaded every minute, and only 10% of the most popular videos grab 79% of views. Optimize your title, description, and tags to rise above the noise.

Keywords matter

90% of top-ranked videos include their target keyword in the title. Research what people are searching for and weave those golden nuggets into your content naturally.

Engagement is key

Videos with higher watch times and audience retention get a major algorithm boost. Keep viewers hooked with captivating edits, calls to action, and maybe even a dash of humor.

YouTube SEO isn’t just about ticking boxes. It’s about creating high-quality content that people love to watch and engage with. Optimize strategically, deliver value, and watch your channel soar!

Let’s walk through the basics of YouTube SEO and how to rank your videos higher.

YouTube SEO Guide to Best practices

What is YouTube SEO?

YouTube SEO refers to the process of optimizing your videos and channels to rank higher in YouTube’s search results. By including relevant keywords in titles, descriptions, tags and metadata, you can help YouTube understand what your video is about. The higher your videos rank for searched terms, the more views they will get from search and suggested videos.

Key Factors in YouTube SEO

Keyword Research

Just like traditional SEO, keywords are the cornerstone of YouTube SEO. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner, YouTube’s Search Suggest feature, or specialized tools like TubeBuddy and vidIQ for finding popular, relevant keyword research.

Compelling Titles and Descriptions

Your video titles and descriptions should be clear, engaging, and keyword-rich. They tell YouTube and viewers what your content is about. Keep titles concise yet descriptive, and use descriptions to expand on the title, incorporating keywords naturally.

Thumbnail Optimization

Your thumbnail is the first thing viewers notice. Make it visually appealing and reflective of your content. A custom thumbnail that stands out can significantly improve your click-through rate.

Your video’s first impression! Ditch the blurry selfie and craft a vibrant, eye-catching image that screams “click me!”

Video Quality and Engagement

YouTube favors videos that keep viewers on the platform longer. Focus on creating high-quality, engaging content that encourages viewers to watch more, like, comment, and share.

Views, likes, comments – they’re YouTube’s gold stars.

Tags and Categories

Use tags wisely to describe your video’s content and context. Categories help YouTube understand where to classify your content, making it more likely to be shown to interested viewers.

Closed Captions and Subtitles

These not only make your content accessible to a wider audience, including those with hearing impairments, but they also provide additional text that YouTube can index.

YouTube SEO Tools To Use

TubeBuddy: A browser extension offering keyword research, video SEO, and more.

vidIQ: Provides insights, research tools, and guidance to improve your YouTube presence.

Google Trends: Great for comparing keywords and understanding search patterns.

YouTube Analytics: Invaluable for understanding your audience and how they interact with your content.

YouTube SEO with Chapters

What are YouTube chapters?

Chapters allow you to split a long video into separate sections that viewers can click on to skip around the video.

Chapters appear as a list of timestamps below the video progress bar.

Benefits for Chapters for SEO

Chapters can help keep viewers watching more of your content by letting them easily skip to the sections they want. Higher watch time signals to YouTube that your content is engaging.

Chapters also allow you to add more keyword opportunities throughout the video.

Optimizing chapters for SEO

  • Do keyword research first to identify topics and keywords you want to target.
  • Create chapters divided into logical sections based on those topics. Name the chapters using target keywords.
  • Put the primary keyword in the first chapter name as that will be the most prominent.
  • Include related keywords and long-tail versions in other chapter names.
  • Keep chapter titles succinct and compelling so viewers want to click on them.
  • Have each chapter focus on a specific sub-topic and keyword to enhance relevance.
  • Use chapters to split very long videos into smaller chunks that can rank individually.

Adding relevant chapters is an easy way to improve video SEO and user experience. Chapters both help rank your content and keep viewers watching more of your video.

Benefits of YouTube SEO

Increased Video Views

By ranking higher in YouTube search results, properly optimized videos can drive significantly more views. Appearing on the first page for relevant searches can increase your impressions and views.

More Subscribers

When people find your videos through search, they are more likely to subscribe if they find your content valuable. YouTube SEO helps surface your videos so you can turn searchers into loyal subscribers.

Improved Watch Time

Videos that rank well and show up in suggested videos tend to have higher audience retention and watch time. This signals to YouTube that your content is engaging.

Higher Ad Revenue

For creators monetizing videos with ads, higher views directly translate to increased revenue. YouTube SEO leads to more impressions and money earned.

Brand Awareness

Ranking YouTube videos for branded keywords can get your brandname and content in front of people actively searching for topics related to your business.

Authority and Trust

A YouTube channel with well-optimized videos can establish expertise and authority around certain topics. This trust can lead viewers to other products/services you offer.

YouTube SEO Best Practices for Adding Keywords

  • Research target keywords first using tools like Google Keyword Planner. Identify keyword variations and search volume data.
  • Include the primary keyword in the title, ideally toward the beginning. Keep it natural – don’t overstuff.
  • Have the keyword appear organically several times in the description. Focus on writing useful, engaging descriptions.
  • Include related secondary keywords and long-tail versions in the description and tags.
  • Add a keyword callout in the first 5-10 seconds of your video. Verbally say it or show it on screen.
  • Use captions and transcription services to get the keywords into your video text content.
  • Place keywords in on-screen text, overlays and graphics if relevant. Don’t obstruct the video.
  • Repeat the keyword verbally in a natural way 2-3 times throughout the video. Don’t force it.
  • Use YouTube cards and end screens with keyword-optimized text. Link to other relevant videos.
  • Check the keyword placement by searching for your own video. See if the rankings improve over time.

What are YouTube Shorts?

YouTube Shorts are short-form vertical videos, up to 60 seconds long, that are created specifically for mobile users on YouTube. Introduced in 2020, Shorts aim to compete with popular short video apps like TikTok and Instagram Reels.

How Shorts Work

YouTube Shorts have several key features:

  • Vertical video format optimized for smartphones
  • 15-60 seconds long
  • Access to vast YouTube music library for use in Shorts
  • Basic editing tools like speed controls, timers and countdowns
  • Ability to string multiple clips together into one Short
  • Add text captions, filters, stickers and other enhancements

Optimizing Shorts for YouTube SEO

While Shorts are a new format, many best practices for YouTube SEO apply:

  • Include target keyword in title and description
  • Leverage trends and challenges using hashtags
  • Use eye-catching custom thumbnails
  • Encourage viewers to comment, like, share
  • Use captions for accessibility
  • Analyze performance data in YouTube Studio

The short length requires tighter messaging. Focus on quickly hooking viewers and expressing a central theme or idea. Trending sounds, hashtags and memes can help Shorts get discovered.

YouTube SEO Example

Let’s look at an example. Imagine you have a cooking channel. You decide to make a video about “Healthy Breakfast Ideas.” Here’s how you might approach YouTube SEO:

Keyword Research: Use TubeBuddy to find popular keywords like “easy breakfast recipes,” “healthy breakfast options,” and “quick breakfast ideas.”

Title and Description: Title your video “5 Healthy Breakfast Ideas – Quick & Easy Recipes!” and use the description to detail what each recipe involves, incorporating your keywords.

Thumbnail: Create a bright, eye-catching thumbnail showing a glimpse of the finished breakfast dishes.

Quality Content: Ensure your video is well-edited, engaging, and offers value, like unique recipes or nutrition tips.

Tags and Categories: Tag your video with related keywords and place it in the “How-to & Style” category.

How to get in YouTube’s Recommended Section?

  • Optimize your titles, descriptions, and tags using relevant keywords so the YouTube algorithm understands the topic of your content. This will help surface it for related searches.
  • Earn high engagement metrics like comments, likes, shares, and watch time. Videos that keep viewers watching and interacting fare better with the algorithm.
  • Closely monitor your click-through rate (CTR) from impressions and tweak the thumbnail if needed to improve CTR. Higher CTRs signal relevancy.
  • Include links to other top-performing videos on your channel through end screens and cards. This interlinking allows YouTube to recommend related videos together.
  • Stay active and consistent in uploading videos. The algorithm favors channels that post new content frequently.
  • Leverage trends and seasonality by creating evergreen content around topics and events gaining search volume. Ride the wave of rising searches.
  • Collaborate with other YouTubers to tap into their fanbases. Cross-promote videos for increased reach.
  • Promote your videos externally through social media, blogs, email newsletters, etc. More external traffic helps YouTube see the demand.
  • Analyze your audience retention reports in YouTube Studio to see when viewers drop off. Fix issues with pacing or content quality.

Giving viewers a positive experience from start to finish is key. Optimize based on analytics while providing value through your videos.

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