In this post I’m going to provide you with some easy to follow tips for improving your YouTube SEO. I’m going to describe what changes you can and should be making to rank your YouTube videos for maximum traffic, views, subscribers, and interaction.
When it comes to ranking videos on YouTube, there are a number of factors that come into play. Just like with any other search engine, YouTube uses algorithms to determine which videos are most relevant to a user’s query. While the specifics of YouTube’s algorithms are kept secret, there are some basic optimization tips that can help your video rank higher in searches.
Note: For several years I’ve used Tubebuddy to optimize all my videos. It integrates with my YouTube dashboard. It saves time and effort, and provides me with the prompts and checklists to ensure I’ve covered all of what follows.
What is YouTube SEO?
YouTube is the second biggest search engine after Google, and Google owns YouTube. Video marketing is HUGE and is growing bigger but if you want your videos to be found among the millions that exist they need to be optimised for searches. Just as we have to fine tune our websites for SEO purposes, we also have to ensure our videos are checked and tweaked to exploit every chance of being found and viewed.
YouTube SEO then is simply the processes of optimising videos so that they have the best possible chance of being found. Found, not just in the search results but also in the list of suggested videos that YouTube shows you when you’ve viewed another video.
YouTube Videos – Keyword Titles
There isn’t room in this post to go into a description of keywords and phrases. I’m going to assume you’ve found your chosen keyword. However, if you want a tool that helps you with keyword research then try Long Tail Pro. I use it every week and have foundsome rich pickings using it.
Anyway, I presume you know to which search terms you want your video to appear in the search results. For the purpose of this post let’s assume you’ve made one about horse riding for beginners. Perhaps you’ve chosen the title ‘Horse Riding Tips For Beginners‘ because that’s a keyword phrase that your target keyword phrase. You get the general idea. So your keyword phrase should be used three times:
- It should be the name of your video filename before you upload to YouTube.
- It should be at the start of your video title in the editing area.
- It should be repeated at the start of your text description.
YouTube SEO – Video Description
So you’ve named your video by using your keyword first followed by other key terms to a maximum of 100 characters. Next, add the description. You have 5,000 characters for this so use as much as you can. Repeat the keyword title and then give a full and accurate description. Treat this description with the same diligence and attention to detail as you would any blog post or article.
Proofread it for any spelling, grammatical, or punctuation errors. Be sure to include any links to your author or business sites but don’t over do the links. Remember that Google looks for content that is relevant, useful, and original.
YouTube SEO – Video Tags
Once your description is complete add the relevant tags. Don’t be tempted to add tags that are not relevant to your content. You aren’t going to attract more traffic by adding irrelevant tags. Also, by effectively spamming your tag area you risk having your account suspended if you use this and other underhand techniques. You have a total of 500 characters to fill up in the tag section so use it wisely.
YouTube SEO – End Screens and Cards
End Screens are often overlooked by those in a rush to simply upload their videos and hope for the best. End screens are those small hyperlinked images that appear near the end of a video, about 20 seconds from the end. You can add several of these if you wish. The options are:
- Video or playlist – yours, or someone else’s
- Subscription link for your channel
- A link to another channel that you want to promote
- A link to an approved websites
An approved website is one that Google/YouTube have identified as belonging to you. This might have been verified through Google Webmasters site. If you need any help with that, post a comment below. Cards are those little icons that appear throughout the videos in my channel.
Look at the white circle containing an ‘i’ in the top right hand corner of the videos. Click that and you’ll see the cards I’ve added to this video. There may be one or several linking to approved websites. Like End Screens they could also link to playlists, videos, subscription links, or channels. So, to summarise so far, you’ve added nice long title, a full description, relevant tags, end screens, and cards.
How else can you improve YouTube SEO?
- Add the video to a playlist
- Share it on social media with relevant hashtags
- Encourage others to share it
- Respond promptly to comments
- Encourage interaction in the comments
- Be responsive and friendly, even to negative criticism
- Share your video in relevant forums, Facebook pages, etc
When sharing in forums etc respect the rules and don’t argue if your video is deleted. The site’s owners have their rules and it’s best to abide by them.
Finally, don’t forget YouTube’s own free tuition on developing a channel. It takes a while to work through each lesson but there is much to be learned from it.