In today’s digital age, YouTube is a powerful tool that businesses can use to reach a broad audience with their marketing message. However, simply creating a YouTube channel is not enough to ensure that potential customers will see your videos.
You need to put some effort into YouTube SEO if you want your videos to rank well in search engine results. Let’s explore how you can optimize your videos and what a successful YouTube SEO strategy looks like.
What is a YouTube SEO Strategy?
Your business needs a video strategy. There’s no getting around it. Videos are essential to any modern marketing plan, and YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine.
To rank well in YouTube search, you need to optimize your videos for both YouTube’s search algorithm and the search engine algorithms of the websites where your videos are embedded. This can be a lot of work, but investing in your video SEO is worth it.
That’s why your business needs a YouTube SEO strategy. In short, a YouTube SEO strategy is a plan to optimize your videos so that they rank high in YouTube’s search results. But there’s more to it than that.
A successful YouTube SEO strategy must also consider the fact that YouTube is a social platform. That means your videos need to be engaging, and they need to encourage viewers to share them.
How does YouTube SEO work?
When it comes to search engine optimization (SEO), YouTube is often an afterthought.
In reality, YouTube SEO is just as important as any other form of SEO. After all, if your videos can’t be found on YouTube, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to reach a global audience.
YouTube SEO works by increasing the visibility of your channel and your videos. Just like with traditional SEO, many factors contribute to your overall ranking, including the quality and keyword relevance of your content, the number of views and likes your videos receive, and the number of subscribers you have.
The good news is that YouTube SEO is not nearly as complex as SEO for other search engines. If you understand the basics of SEO, you’re already well on your way to optimizing your YouTube videos for top search rankings.
Use Keywords for Maximum Exposure
The keywords you choose for your videos must be relevant to the content of your video. Irrelevant keywords will not only fail to attract viewers but could also result in your video being flagged for spam.
Try to choose keywords that are specific and descriptive. The more specific and descriptive your keywords are, the more likely they are to result in targeted views from people who are actually interested in your video content.
Additionally, don’t stuff your keywords. In other words, don’t include so many keywords in your title, description, or tags that it becomes difficult to read or sounds unnatural. A few carefully chosen keywords are much more effective than a long list of keywords that don’t really say anything about your video.
Use a Hook in Your Video Title
A hook is a catchy phrase or sentence that entices viewers to click on your video. Your video titles are one of the most important aspects of your videos. Not only do they need to be interesting and attention-grabbing, but they also need to be search engine optimized (SEO) so that your videos appear in relevant search results.
Keep it short and sweet.
Your hook should be short, sweet, and to the point. You want viewers to quickly understand what your video is about and why they should watch it.
Get creative with your hook, and have fun with it! This is your chance to be catchy and clever, so make the most of it.
Test your hooks
As with anything, it’s important to test different hooks to see what works best for your videos. Try out different hooks and see which ones perform the best in click-through rates and other engagement metrics.
Using a hook in your video title is a smart way to optimize your videos for SEO and increase your chances of ranking in search results. Create a compelling hook that will help your videos stand out from the competition.
Add a Video Description
Adding a video description is one of the basic steps you can take to improve your YouTube SEO and score some rankings in search results.
Your video description should be 50-100 words long and include your target keywords for the video. You want to make sure your keywords are included in the first 25 words of your description, as that is the section of the description that is most likely to be read by YouTube users.
In addition to including your target keywords, your video description should also be keyword rich, informative, and engaging. You want to give your audience a reason to watch your video, so make sure your description is compelling.
Here’s how a compelling video description works:
- Use natural language and avoid keyword stuffing
- Write for humans, not machines
- Keep it concise
- Use actionable language
- Incorporate additional keywords
- Use rich descriptions
- Optimize your video file
Edit the File Name
To ensure your videos are found in YouTube searches, you need to do two things: optimize your titles and descriptions, and choose the right keywords.
But there’s one more thing you need to do to make sure your videos are found…
…and that’s to edit the file name.
Yes, you read that right. The file name is an important part of YouTube SEO.
When you upload a video to YouTube, the site automatically assigns it a generic file name. For example, if you upload a video called “How to Make a Breakfast Smoothie,” YouTube might assign it the file name “yt1234.mp4.”
This isn’t helpful for two reasons.
First, it’s not descriptive. No one is going to search for “yt1234.mp4” on YouTube (or anywhere else).
Second, and more importantly, the file name has no keywords in it. So even if someone searches for “breakfast smoothie recipe,” your video won’t come up in the results if the file name doesn’t contain those keywords.
That’s why editing the file name is important before you upload your video to YouTube.
Here’s how to do it:
- Save your video to your computer.
- Locate where you saved the file.
- Right-click on it and select “Rename.”
- Enter a new, descriptive, keyword-rich file name. For example, if your video is about making a breakfast smoothie, you might name the file “breakfast-smoothie-recipe.mp4.”
- Upload the video to YouTube.
Use End Screens and Cards
Cards and end screens are a great way to do this. They are annotations that appear at the end of a video and can include links to other videos or websites.
Here are some tips for using end screens and cards to improve your YouTube SEO:
- Use keywords in your end screen and card annotations. Your video will come up in search results for those keywords.
- Make sure your end screen and card annotations are relevant to your video. If they are not, people will click away from your video, hurting your ranking.
- Use high-quality visuals in your end screen and card annotations to stand out in search results.
- Keep your end screen and card annotations short and to the point. People will not watch a video if the annotations are too long.
- Use calls to action in your end screen and card annotations. This will encourage people to watch your video and take the desired action.
By following these tips, you can improve your YouTube SEO and get your video seen by more people. So, start using end screens and cards today!
Focus on User Engagement
By now, you’ve likely heard that customer engagement is a ranking factor for YouTube videos. And it makes sense when you speculate – if people actively engage with your videos, it signals to YouTube that your content is worth watching.
So how can you increase user engagement on your YouTube channel? Here are a few strategies:
1. Use attention-grabbing thumbnails
Your thumbnail appears in the search results and on your channel page, so it needs to be eye-catching and representative of the video’s content. Consider what would make you want to click on a video, and design your thumbnail accordingly.
2. Optimize your titles and descriptions
Just like your thumbnail, your title and description need to be optimized to entice viewers to watch your video. Write clear headlines that are to the point, and include relevant keywords so that your videos appear in search results.
3. Create transcripts of your videos
YouTube’s search algorithm can’t watch videos, so it relies on the text around your videos – including the transcript – to understand what your video is about. By including a video transcript, you’re giving YouTube more information to work with and help your video show up in relevant searches.
4. Engage with commenters
The comments section of your videos is a great place to interact with your viewers and build a community around your channel. Respond to comments, start conversations, and ask questions to encourage people to keep coming back to your videos.
5. Use annotations and cards
Annotations and cards keep viewers engaged with your videos. Use them to promote other videos on your channel, link to external websites, or include calls to action. Don’t use too many, as this can overwhelm viewers.
These strategies will allow you to increase user engagement on your YouTube channel and improve your chances of ranking high in search results.
Use Captivating Thumbnails
As a marketer, your success on YouTube depends on two key factors: the quality of your videos and how easy you are to find. The YouTube algorithm uses engagement signals to determine which videos are shown in search results and Related Videos.
The thumbnail is the first and most important of all the engagement signals. A great thumbnail can encourage someone to click on your video, even if they don’t know anything about your channel. Here are some tips for creating captivating thumbnails to help you score top search rankings on YouTube.
1. Use high-quality imagery
The first step in creating a great thumbnail is to use high-quality imagery. Your thumbnail should be clear and sharp, with bright colors that pop. If you’re using text, keep it legible and easy to read. The thumbnail must look professional and enticing.
2. Keep it relevant
Keep your thumbnail relevant to the content of your video, and avoid click-baiting. If your video is about a particular topic, your thumbnail should reflect that. Don’t try to be too clever or misleading with your thumbnail, as this will only result in low click-through rates, and you’ll lose your credibility.
3. Use a call to action
Your thumbnail should include a call to action that encourages viewers to click on your video. This could be something as simple as “Watch Now” or “Learn More.” Be sure to keep your call to action short and to the point.
4. Make it unique
Use colors and imagery unique to your brand and will help you stand out in the search results.
5. Keep testing
As with all marketing campaigns, you should test different thumbnails to see which ones perform the best. Try different colors, images, and calls to action to see what works best for your videos. A/B testing can fine-tune your thumbnails for maximum engagement.
Following these tips will help you create captivating thumbnails that will score you top search rankings on YouTube. Remember, the thumbnail is the first and most crucial engagement signal, so make sure you invest the time and effort into creating great ones.
Closed Captions Must be Accurate
As the number of people consuming online video continues to grow, so does the demand for accurate closed captions. Closed captions must be accurate to ensure that people who are deaf or hard of hearing can understand the video content.
Closed captioning is also important for people who are not native English speakers. This is because closed captions provide a written record of the audio track, which makes it easier for people to follow along and understand the video.
Keep these tips in mind when creating accurate closed captions:
- Your text should match the audio exactly. This includes everything from the speakers’ names to the actual words they are saying.
- Use proper grammar and capitalization. Be considerate about capitalization and grammar since not everyone is a native English speaker.
- Timing is everything. Make sure that the text appears on the screen simultaneously while the audio is being spoken.
- Keep it readable. Use a font size and color that is easy to read.
- Make sure the text is visible against the background. Use a high-contrast color for the text to stand out against the background.
- Use proper sentence structure. This includes using complete sentences and avoiding sentence fragments.
- Avoid abbreviations. Not everyone is familiar with abbreviations, so it’s best to avoid them altogether.
- Use proper punctuation. This includes proper capitalization, periods, question marks, and exclamation points.
Creating accurate and readable closed captions will ensure everyone can enjoy your videos.
Offer Multilingual Subtitles
We’ve all been there – you’re watching a video on YouTube, and it’s in a language you don’t understand. Or, even worse, it’s in a language you think you understand, but you can’t quite follow what’s going on. If only there were subtitles in your language!
Luckily, YouTube offers a built-in way to create subtitles for your videos, and it’s not too difficult to do. In this post, we’ll walk you through how to add subtitles to your YouTube videos using the YouTube Subtitles and CC feature.
First, open up the YouTube video editor by going to the Video Manager and selecting the Edit button to add subtitles.
Once you’re in the editor, select the Subtitles/CC tab at the top.
From here, you have two options:
- If you already have a transcript of your video in a text file, you can upload it by clicking the Add new subtitles or CC button and selecting the Upload a File option. YouTube will automatically match the transcript to the audio in your video.
- If you don’t have a transcript, not to worry – you can create subtitles or closed captions from scratch. Click the Add new subtitles or CC button and select the Transcribe and auto-sync option. Then, start typing out your transcript in the box that appears. As you type, YouTube will automatically match the text to the audio in your video.
Once you’ve added your subtitles or closed captions, you can edit them by clicking on the timestamps next to each line of text. You can also change the font, color, and size of your subtitles by clicking the gear icon in the top-right corner and selecting the desired option from the drop-down menu.
Finally, don’t forget to click the Publish button in the top-right corner to save your changes.
That’s it! You’ve now successfully added subtitles or closed captions to your YouTube video.
Focus on Your Analytics
YouTube receives over 2.1 billion visitors per month. Of those visitors, 80% say they take some sort of action after watching a video on YouTube, such as subscribing to a channel, visiting a website, or making a purchase.
That means there’s a massive opportunity for businesses to use YouTube as a way to reach and engage their target audiences. But how do you make sure the right people are seeing your videos?
Here are some key things to look at when analyzing your YouTube analytics:
- Audience retention: How long do people stay engaged with your videos?
- Demographics: What are your viewers’ gender, ages, and locations?
- Engagement: How often are people liking, commenting, and sharing your videos?
- Traffic sources: Where are these people coming from when they watch your videos?
- Subscribers: How many people are subscribing to your channel?
- Views: How many people are regularly watching your videos?
- Watch time: How long are people watching your videos?
As a YouTube creator, tracking your analytics and using that data to improve your channel is important. By understanding your analytics, you can better understand your audience, figure out what content is working, and make informed decisions about your YouTube channel and content strategy.
Optimize Your Description, Title, and Tags
With several hundreds of hours of video uploaded on YouTube every minute, competition for attention is stiff. Businesses need to optimize their videos rigorously for YouTube if they want to be discovered.
The first step in optimizing your YouTube videos is to create a compelling title. Your title should be clear and concise and include keywords that accurately describe your video content. Keep in mind that YouTube users typically look for informative and entertaining videos, so make sure your title reflects that.
Once you have an optimized title, it’s time to write a description of your video. This is your chance to describe your video content further and explain why viewers should watch your video. In your description, be sure to include relevant keywords, as this will help YouTube understand what your video is about. Include a quick call to action, such as “click here to learn more.”
Finally, don’t forget to include tags for your video. Tags are essentially keywords that describe your video, and they help YouTube understand what your video is about. When tagging your video, be sure to use relevant keywords that accurately describe your video content.
Focus on Videos and Channel Promotion
Even the best content on the internet would be lost without effective promotion. To stand out on YouTube, you must have great videos and effectively promote your channel. Here’s how:
- Create great content: This may seem obvious, but it’s important to remember that YouTube is all about videos. Make high-quality videos and provide value to your viewers.
- Promote your channel: To get views on your videos, you need to promote your channel. You can do this by sharing your videos on social media, writing blog posts about your channel, and even paying for ads.
- Engage with your viewers: YouTube is a community, so be sure to interact with your viewers. Answer questions, respond to comments, and engage in discussion to build a loyal following.
- Be consistent: Upload new videos regularly, so your viewers know when to expect new content. If you can’t be consistent, schedule your videos in advance, so your viewers always know when to expect new content.
Just remember to focus on creating great videos and promoting your channel, and you’ll be on your way to YouTube success!
Release During High-Retention Period
A high retention period is when viewers are more likely to watch a video until the end. YouTube calculates retention rate by taking the percentage of viewers who watch a video for at least half its total length.
But why is it important?
Releasing during a high retention period means that your video is more likely to be seen by viewers who will watch it until the end. This is beneficial for two reasons:
- Viewers who watch until the end are more likely to engage with your video and your brand.
- Viewers who watch until the end are more likely to take action, whether that’s visiting your website, subscribing to your channel, or making a purchase.
Encourage your community to watch your videos during high retention periods by giving them a heads-up when a new video will be released. This will help ensure that as many people see your video as possible and that it has a high chance of being watched until the end.
Keep Improving Production Quality
If you’ve been paying attention to YouTube over the past few years, you’ve undoubtedly noticed that the production values of many popular channels have increased dramatically. This trend will continue as YouTubers seek to produce higher-quality content to attract the attention of an ever-growing crowd.
As a YouTuber, it’s important to keep an eye on this trend and continually strive to improve the production quality of your own videos. Here are a few tips to help you do just that:
1. Shoot in Higher Resolution
Most modern smartphones and DSLR cameras can shoot in Full HD (1920 x 1080), so there’s no excuse for shooting in lower resolutions like 480p or 720p.
Shooting in a higher resolution gives your videos a sharper, more polished look, and it will also make your video content more enjoyable to watch on larger screens like TVs and computer monitors.
2. Use a Dedicated Microphone
Use a dedicated microphone rather than the built-in microphone on your camera or smartphone. Dedicated microphones usually produce much clearer audio than built-in microphones, so your viewers can hear you more clearly and easily.
There are a variety of different types of microphones available, so you’ll need to figure out which one is best for your needs. If you’re just starting out, a simple lapel microphone or handheld microphone should do the trick.
3. Use Better Lighting
Lighting is another important aspect of video production, and it’s one that many people overlook. If you’re shooting your videos in a dim or poorly lit room, it will show in the final product. Your videos will look dark, grainy, and unprofessional.
To avoid this, shoot your videos in a well-lit room or outdoors in natural light. If you’re shooting indoors, you can use lamps, overhead lights, or even natural light coming in from windows. The light should be bright enough and evenly distributed so that it doesn’t create unwanted shadows.
4. Invest in Some Basic Video Editing Software
If you want to take your YouTube videos to the next level, you should invest in some basic video editing software. This will allow you to add text, transitions, and special effects to your videos, making them look more professional and polished.
There are a variety of different video editing software programs available, both for Mac and PC. If you’re just starting out, try a free program like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker. Once you get more comfortable with video editing, you can upgrade to a more robust program like Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro.
5. Keep Practicing
The more videos you shoot, the better you’ll become at things like framing shots, setting up lights, and editing footage.
So give yourself a break if your first few videos don’t look as good as you want them to. Just keep at it and keep working to improve. With enough practice, you’ll eventually be able to produce videos that look and sound professional.
As you create and optimize your videos, keep in mind that YouTube SEO is key to getting found in search. Use the strategies in this article to ensure your videos are ranked in search results and seen by your target audience. In addition to using these strategies, make sure to create high-quality, engaging content that your audience will want to watch.