So you have finally decided to enter the universe of YouTube or maybe you are already in it and only wishing your YouTube channel were performing better, then you’ve crossed into the right article for YouTube optimization.
There are many search engines in the world but the best is Google, closely followed by YouTube. In other words, YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world.
The need and importance for video is growing every day and now is the perfect time to start a YouTube channel or learn how to optimize YouTube videos for SEO.
Before learning how to optimize YouTube channel for SEO we need to understand what YouTube is and how it functions. It must be noted that Google Search and YouTube use different algorithms to rank content.
Thus YouTube SEO is not Google SEO in that, one cannot follow the best practices of Google Search SEO and expect good results on YouTube.
Yes, there are a few similarities because, in the end, there is no SEO without the use of keywords. However, there are differences too when it comes to youtube optimization.
While Google Search SEO takes into consideration the quality and quantity of backlinks, YouTube prefers signals like watch time, likes, dislikes, and the number of subscribers.
What Is You Tube SEO?
YouTube SEO may be defined as the process of optimizing your YouTube channel and its videos to achieve a higher ranking in YouTube’s organic search results.
YouTube has over 2 billion logged-in users monthly which mean, opportunities are aplenty. Hence it is vital to do YouTube SEO correctly or at least, learn how to optimize YouTube videos for SEO.
YouTube optimization will include optimizing your video and meta descriptions, thumbnail, transcript, tags, links, CTAs, and other areas.
Easier said than done though for one must never forget how YouTube Algorithm Impact Search Results?
The basic function of the YouTube algorithm is to determine which videos will be recommended to users based on your video’s performance and user’s interests.
Certain factors will decide how potent your YouTube video is and if it can be shown to more YouTube users. The factors that decide your YouTube video rank are:
- Time users spend watching your video
- Users clicking on your video to watch it after seeing it
- User interaction with the video like comments and likes
- Is the video’s description and meta description matching the user’s query?
- user’s previously watched videos (channels and topics)
- The number of videos the user has watched from your channel
It may be argued that there are many other ways to push your videos in front of people without depending on the YouTube search engine.
However, it is still observed by many YouTube channel owners that more than 50% of their video views came through YouTube searches or recommendations.
This means the YouTube algorithm has an edge over other means of attracting viewers and subscribers. Hence it is only wise to learn how to optimize YouTube videos for SEO bearing in mind the potency of the YouTube search engine.
YouTube Optimization Tips
As a YouTuber, you’ll spend many hours recording videos, taking multiple shots, and using best editing practices to ensure perfection.
You might even spend tons of money on your video scriptwriter and video editor and get an amazing video. You are absolutely sure the video will impress YouTube users and make a video go viral. But nothing happened.
So what went wrong? How come all your efforts and money spent behind and well-designed video fail to achieve the desired result? How come nobody enjoyed, liked, or subscribed to your YouTube Channel?
The answer, is you’ve probably skipped YouTube optimization or done it wrong.
However, here are some Amazing YouTube Optimization Tips for Beginners that will make your YouTube Channel stand out in the crowd.
And yes, although it mentions for beginners, the fundamentals of how to optimize YouTube videos for SEO applies to all YouTube channels, big, small, or new.
1. Keyword Research
It is essential to do keyword research when deciding which topics you’d like to make videos for. This step not only ensures your content is optimized but also makes sure the content is on topics that people are interested in.
In other words, it all comes down to preparation and without keyword research, your dish lacks salt. However, it does not mean you should rush with keyword research.
There are many ways to do YouTube keyword research and the first method is to look at what keywords your competitors are using. Search for videos covering the same topic as yours and see what keywords they are using.
Another excellent way to start keyword research is to type the keywords on YouTube’s search bar and see what top suggestions it gives. These suggestions are vital because they happen to be the most popular search on YouTube.
YouTube keyword research can also be done using YouTube Keyword Research Tools like Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Ubersuggest.
Besides, there are also YouTube-specific tools like TubeBuddy, vidIQ, and YTCockpit that can help a lot in your keyword research.
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2. Understand Your Audience
Your keyword research will be as useful as your understanding of your audience. This is necessary because knowing what language your audience uses will let your target the keyword in that language and hence get ranked higher.
However, YouTube search is not limited to the audience language but also uses different terms than general Google searches.
For example, people search for ‘expert tips’ or ‘advice’ instead of ‘best practice’ on YouTube. That is, YouTube users are a bit casual in their keyword choice.
3. Use Keywords in Key Places
Once you have decided on your keywords you need to optimize your video for those keywords. That is, you need to use your keywords in key places.
Your title needs to clearly state what your video is about. it should not be mysterious, misleading (click-bait) or abstract. As an unclear title makes the user unlikely to click through and hence will affect your overall ranking.
Additionally, keywords must be included in your description as well. The keywords must be mentioned in the first 25 words of the description and a few more times later but in a natural way. The context provided helps the algorithm to serve your video at the right time.
It must be noted that while adding keywords to your description, it needs to be done creatively or naturally.
This is to prevent keyword stuffing into the description. Also remember to add your keywords to your video’s filename, in the tags and transcript of your video.
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4. Mention Your Keywords in Your Video
Make use of your keywords in your video that is, say the keywords in your video. Speaking your target keyword in your YouTube video is one of the best tips to make use of.
This is important because YouTube and Google no longer need a transcript to understand what you are saying in your video. Their algorithms have become smart enough to understand what’s being said and don’t need a transcript.
Including your keywords in the title, description, and transcript will increase your video ranking. It is highly recommended to say your keyword in the first two sentences of your video.
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5. Use Eye-Catching Thumbnail
The first impression is the last and hence it is essential to include an eye-catching thumbnail to ensure an increase in clicks and rankings.
Therefore it is necessary to use a high-quality image depicting the video topic. Also, make use of text but check if the fonts fit the video idea. Putting a shadow on the text gives it a professional look.
The colours are appealing but don’t go overboard. Text is best served in white, but a keyword can have a more attractive color to enhance the point.
Ultimately, you will need to experiment with your video thumbnail and check what works best for the video.
It must be mentioned that having an actual person in the thumbnail with a written title increases the CTR (click-through rate).
Also, a video with a human voice-over has a higher CTR and viewer retention. Apparently, a video with a human voice and presence is more attractive to Youtube users.
6. Use Tags Properly
It is wise to use keyword tags but overdoing can cause harm. This is because dozens of irrelevant phrases will not allow YouTube to understand what your video is really about and this will hurt your video SEO. So the best practice is to have only 5-8 targeted tags explaining your video’s topic or content.
You need to first ad the primary keyword followed by secondary keywords, common variations, and one or two long-tail keywords.
It must be noted that many Youtubers use single keywords for SEO. While in fact, they should be using long-tail keywords since that’s how people search content.
Another trick to gain ranking through the use of tags is to tag your videos with the names of other popular videos or accounts. The videos and accounts in question must be related to the content you are posting.
7. Create Long Videos
It is natural to think that shorter videos are the most popular videos on YouTube. However, YouTube gives more importance to longer videos.
Your videos need to be at least 10 minutes long to get a better ranking. However, not that this is not the absolute criteria for better ranking.
YouTube needs longer videos because it aims to keep its users engaged on YouTube for as long as possible. Besides, a long video means it can show more ads which consequently is a win-win for both, YouTube and monetized YouTubers.
8. Target Unanswered Questions
One of the best ways to ensure YouTube’s success is to produce content that the viewers are seeking. In other words, once you have determined your topic, search-related videos and go to user comments there.
There will be questions asked by people which have remained unanswered. Make a list of such questions and satisfy their need with your videos.
It is only obvious that if you give what people want, they will naturally watch your video till the end and also leave back comments, likes and share the video. Thus, your YouTube Channel’s success is completely dependent on people.
However, it must be noted that YouTube is also an inventor’s paradise and there can be topics that you’ve invented but haven’t got the due response.
Worry not for YouTube success is also a time game. Sometimes, it takes more than two years to get the required exposure as long as you are consistent with your posting.
Eventually, the growth catches pace as people understand become accustomed to something new.
9. Include Captions/Transcriptions
Having captions is another way to get your videos to rank in YouTube search. This is easy since YouTube already provides automatic captions for all your videos.
However, one must make sure of the accuracy of the caption relating to the channel content.
Captions are nothing but subtitles added to your YouTube video and can be done automatically or manually.
Generally, adding custom closed captioning is in comparison to auto-generated closed captioning since in most cases, the latter can create a whole lot of gibberish or unintended, laughable errors.
Yes, you can put in custom closed-captions but you’ll also have to edit it for any spelling or grammar error before uploading, or else it would make no difference one way or the other.
An accurate transcription not only helps with SEO but is also beneficial for engagement with the video. Some people prefer to watch videos on mute and this is where captions fill in the blanks.
10. Create Playlists
The numero-uno priority of YouTube is to keep people on the platform as long as possible. Hence, creating several videos is as important as creating various playlists for them.
By creating playlists, you guide your viewers through a sequence of progressive content that is in line with their tastes.
Creating a collection of related video content can guide viewers down the sales funnel. It can also be a powerful way to add more value to the YouTube channel and earn you more subscribers.
To achieve the best results, it is well-advised to add a link to the playlist URL in each video’s description as well as in the in-video content. Besides, the playlist can also be embedded in blog posts on your website.
11. Use YouTube Video Hashtags
In the digital world, hashtags do the talking. There’s a hashtag for practically everything and apparently, it’s a language in itself.
Major social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and even occasionally Facebook make use of hashtags. This is true for YouTube as well.
Like most hashtags, YouTube hashtags serve the purpose of category tagging and search. Hence using hashtags on YouTube will help people find your videos while simultaneously categorizing your content. Besides, YouTube hashtags have several added benefits too.
Using the hashtags lets YouTube understand what your video is about. The use of relevant keywords as video hashtags informs YouTube about your video.
This helps in showing your video in even more potential search results as well as the right viewer. Essentially, this SEO helps the algorithm to push your video to more viewers thereby getting you more subscribers and audience.
YouTube hashtags help in categorizing your videos without the need of creating various playlists. This is done by creating hashtag-based content or video series.
Thus users only need to search for a specific type of video and all your videos relating to the hashtag will show up as top search results.
It is also worth noting that by using hashtags there is a chance that your video may show up as a related video to other videos using the same hashtag. Consequently, your channel views and subscribers will grow.
12. Add YouTube End Screens and Cards
YouTube functions based on its algorithm which itself is a computerized system. It decides which videos people will see based on certain criteria.
In other words, the system is not based on coincidence but rather on how you use it. Therefore one must make use of all the SEO options that YouTube provides.
YouTube end screens and cards are two such SEO options that bear great potential for audience retention.
Simply put, YouTube Cards are notifications within your video that help in promoting your brand. A video can use a maximum of 5 cards for purposes other than brand promotion.
It can also be used for getting information from an audience, linking to your website, or receiving fan funding and donations.
However, the most common use of cards is to highlight another video or playlist. When used strategically, YouTube Cards will increase views on the channel.
Similarly, YouTube End screens are also an excellent way to offer more related content of your channel to your audience. Although end screens act the same way as cards, they only appear at the end of each video.
Thus, if a viewer has watched your entire video, then chances are they want more of it. By using the end screen you will be able to influence such an audience into becoming your subscribers.
In conclusion, YouTube optimization is essential for the success of your YouTube Channel. One must always bear in mind that it’s vital to maintain quality over quantity on this platform.
There is no form of SEO that can make a low-quality video click. All in all, the 12 Amazing YouTube Optimization Tips for Beginners should let your YouTube channel grow to greater heights and reach.
Meanwhile, you can always get in touch with the highly skilled YouTube SEO experts of OneCity and see your YouTube success dream become a reality.