While YouTube’s main claim is to be the most important online video platform, it also functions as a massive search engine. To help you reach the top of the YouTube rankings, we offer several SEO tips to make your videos as searchable, visible, and rankable as possible.
YouTube SEO Tips
Since YouTube functions much like a search engine, “YouTube SEO” can be described as a way to optimize your videos, so that they reach the top of search results. Here are some YouTube SEO optimization tips that can help you achieve that goal of getting more visitors and views.
1. Start with keyword research
Keywords aren’t just essential for getting to the top of Google rankings, because you need them to be seen on YouTube as well. With the right keywords in place, YouTube can tell what the topic of your video is, which helps the platform index the content and link it to any associated user searches.
Where does YouTube search for keywords? In various places, such as your video’s title, description, and tags. To find keywords that will attract the right visitors to your videos, start by using the YouTube search bar itself.
Use the YouTube search bar to enter the topic your video covers. As you start typing, you’ll notice several AutoComplete suggestions to help you quickly find what you’re looking for.
For example, if you type “online marketing”, the search bar will offer the following suggestions:
- Online marketing
- Online Marketing For Newbies
- Online Marketing Business
- Online Marketing Course
- Online Marketing Jobs Work From Home
- Online Marketing Strategy
By doing this, you can see the best keywords for your topic while also coming up with ideas for new content. Note that your results may differ depending on your settings, location, and previous search history.
Another way to research keywords on YouTube is to check out your competitor’s videos. However, not everyone in your niche will, because you want authorities who have the biggest audience and the most views, so you can see what they’re doing right.
When you find the best YouTube channels in your niche, pay attention to the terms they use in their most viewed videos. You can do this by clicking on the “Videos” tab of each channel and then clicking “Sort by” to select the most popular videos. While the keywords used in the title of a leading video are essential, look for the tags as well. Although they are invisible, you can view the tags by right-clicking on the video page to view its source code. Once there, search for “keywords” in the code, so you can see any tags that have helped improve its rankings.
Read: Tips to grow your TikTok followers
2. Choose the right keywords
After performing keyword research using YouTube’s search bar, tool, or looking at your competition, the next step is to choose the right keywords for your videos. Instead of just picking the most popular terms that most attract competition from big brands and influencers, your best bet is to lean on long tail keywords that are typically three or more words long.
What’s the benefit of choosing long tail keywords? They make it easier to climb the rankings because there is less competition. And as an added bonus, many long tail keywords tend to be more specific or descriptive, which can lead to higher conversions.
For example, instead of using “online marketing” as a keyword, you can lengthen it to “Facebook online marketing”. This narrows down the search term, eliminates some of the competition, and increases your chances of ranking higher for that specific topic. You can make it even more specific by choosing a long tail keyword like “Facebook Marketing Stories Online”.
When choosing your long tail keywords, it’s important to remember that they should be relevant to your video. If you pick a keyword that isn’t covered in your video, just in the hope of improving your rankings, viewers will quickly drop it. This will lead to YouTube penalizing you for lack of engagement, which will drop your rankings.
3. Aim for videos of at least 10 minutes
If you have an incredibly relevant video that’s short but filled with great content, don’t stretch it just because. But if you can, aim for in-depth videos that are at least 10 minutes long, as studies show the top five videos are typically just under 12 minutes long.
On the other hand, videos of less than 2 minutes tend to be at the bottom of the rankings.
Read: Tips for increasing Facebook engagement
4. Perfect your titles
With a few keywords in mind, it’s time to convert them into titles for your videos. What Makes a Good YouTube Title? Studies show that the shorter the title, the better the ranking, with the ideal length being around 48 characters. Besides being concise, your video titles should also include the exact keywords to match users’ search terms. If you can, place the keywords as close to the beginning of the title as possible.
What else should an optimized YouTube title contain? A description of what the user is about to see and something that motivates them to click on the video. Combine all of these factors and you should hit a home run with your titles every time.
5. Take the time to write descriptions
YouTube gives you up to 5,000 characters to write a video description. With it, you can convince a user to choose your video over others because the beginning of each description is shown in the search results. More importantly, the description helps YouTube’s algorithm determine the content of your video, which can have a significant impact on your rankings.
When writing a description, include keywords related to all the topics covered by the video. If the video is long, add time stamps to help users jump to different parts to view the specific information they were looking for. To encourage users to engage with your brand, include calls to action that invite them to subscribe to your channel or visit your website. You can also add hashtags to your description, but avoid including more than 15 because YouTube will ignore them.
6. Remember your labels
YouTube uses tags to help rank videos. The right tags help YouTube quickly identify the topic of a video to index it accordingly and recommend related videos that can increase your channel’s traffic even more.
When entering tags for your videos, aim for six to eight words. Even though there is room for 120 characters, you don’t want to overdo it as you might confuse the algorithm and cause your best efforts to fail.
Read: Best Social Media Optimization Tips
7. Use a descriptive file name
When uploading your video to YouTube, use a descriptive file name that includes the keyword. This will give the platform another clue about the video beyond the title, tags, and description.
For example, instead of uploading a video named VID_57632298.mp4, replace the name with a descriptive name with the keyword, such as facebook_online_marketing_tips.mp4.
8. Use transcripts and captions
Using transcripts and captions is a great way to help YouTube’s algorithm understand your content better, as it reads text and code versus images and videos. And while you might get favorable results from the algorithm, using transcripts and captions on your videos can also make them more user-friendly for those who can’t listen with audio at work or for people who have struggling to hear or process audio.
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