There’s a lot of talk about YouTube and video marketing these days. However, although people are certainly excited about getting on the YouTube train, most are still clueless on how to get their video seen by a substantial audience.
While there are many ways to promote your videos, including paid promotion, or virality through social media, I found YouTube SEO to be one of the most efficient promotion techniques.
That’s why in this article, I will explain what you can do to leverage the power of YouTube with better video SEO.
1) Knowing your keywords
A lot of articles talk about optimizing YouTube videos. But before it’s time to even think about that, you need to become clear on which keywords you need your videos to be optimized for. The question is: What are smart keywords to choose?
Many people choose very broad keywords when they start out on YouTube. The idea: If I target keywords that many people are looking for, I will be able to get more traffic.
While that logic isn’t faulty on its own, it’s missing one important fact. Using broad keywords also means you’re going to compete with thousands of videos that use the same keywords. And that means you’ll likely compete against big, established channels as well.
That’s why using broad keywords usually isn’t a good idea for smaller channels. Instead, it makes much more sense to go for “long tail keywords” – these are KWs that consist of more than one word and are therefore more specific.
One of the best ways to find good long tail keywords it to use a keyword finder like keywordtool.io or ubersuggest.io. These tools will spit out hundreds of popular long tail keywords about any topic. And not only that, these are actual KWs people are looking for on YouTube, which makes these tools really great. Here’s an example of what I found when I entered “Wonder Woman Movie” into Ubersuggest:
And I’ve instantly got a new video idea: “Wonder Woman Movie Good or Bad” could be a great keyword for a video, for example!
Now, here’s another important fact that you need to know when you are starting to optimize your YouTube SEO: It’s best to know your keywords before you make your videos. In fact, to be found in the YouTube search engine, you will have to base your content production on thorough keyword research. Trying to find good keyword matches after you have produced and uploaded a video usually won’t give good results. That doesn’t mean you can’t be successful that way, however, in that case you will probably have to rely more on other traffic sources like social media and YouTube’s browse features.
2) Optimizing your video
So you’ve done your keyword research, produced your video and uploaded it? Then it’s time to optimize your video for YouTube’s search engine. Many people still don’t do this properly, which is why you will have a big advantage if you do it.
The reason why you need to optimize your video is actually because YouTube isn’t clever enough to understand what your video is about (yet). By filling in the title, description and tags and captions, YouTube will get a much better idea of the content of your video.
So, how do you use these elements to full effect?
Obvious advice, but make sure you use your keywords in your title. Many people leave out keywords and opt for more clickbait-ey headlines. If you want to be found in the YouTube search engine, that is simply not a good strategy.
A lot of YouTubers ignore the YouTube description when it comes to optimisations and will only put in one or two sentences. That’s a real waste since YouTube searches your description for information about your video. That means adding relevant information into your description will make it more likely that YouTube will rank your video for your keywords.
Tags are an ideal place to not only add your keyword, but also to add all kinds of side keywords that are relevant as well. Let’s say you’re creating a video about your favorite TV series. Instead of just adding the name of series, you can also add the name of the characters you’re talking about, specific episodes you’re referencing and other vocabulary from the universe of the series.
Do you always add captions to your videos? If not, you should! Captions are a great way to let YouTube know more about the content of your video. Yes, YouTube reads your captions. And by the way, adding subtitles in languages other than the original can make your video rank in other countries as well.
What your success depends on
As lovely as it would be to add a few keywords and rank in position #1, it’s unfortunately not as simple as that. Yes, improving your YouTube on-page SEO is a great idea, but it is not the only ranking factor.
In fact, what YouTube cares about the most are factors such as engagement and watchtime. These are signals that tell YouTube that viewers really liked your video. If you can keep your viewers’ attention and get them to engage with your video (like, subscribe, comment, share), you’re much more likely to rank than if you can’t.
That means that the ultimate ranking factor on YouTube is still video quality. I don’t necessarily mean production quality (although that plays a role for sure), but the quality of your content and how it matches what your viewers expect.
All of this doesn’t mean that making your video SEO-friendly isn’t important – it means that in addition to making your video SEO-friendly, you’ll also need to make it viewer-friendly. At least if you want to achieve long-term success. But that should be a given, shouldn’t it?
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