YouTube is a magical place, filled with videos of music covers, terrible pranks, crazy DIY projects and useful tutorials. The popular video hosting platform gives us access to an array of useful, interesting information. Let’s take a look at some stats.
Why are we throwing a bunch of numbers at you? It’s harder to get noticed on an extremely popular platform like YouTube. That’s why we’ve put together this post! We’re going to show you how to get more views for your videos using YouTube Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). It’s time to stand out from the crowd!
The key to getting discovered on YouTube is ranking in search. Search Engine Optimization is a relatively simple concept. A search engine like Google wants to show users the most relevant content based on the words they typed into the search box. To do that, it needs to understand what different websites and pages are about.
The search engine bots crawl websites, noting specific words and phrases. Every page is indexed. Then, when a you type in your search words, Google pulls up the most relevant pages and presents them to you.
Video is a little different. At the moment, bots can’t understand video or images. They interpret them by looking at the text around them, in the title, the tags, the description and the file name. That’s why, to rank in YouTube search, you need to optimize for all these factors.
Optimization starts with keyword research. Everything you write, from the title to the description, is built around those keywords.
A keyword is a word or phrase that you use when searching for something. Let’s say you need to build a chicken coop. The main keywords are “chicken coop.” By themselves they aren’t very descriptive. When you type them into YouTube, you get all sorts of results, from how to build one all the way to fully guided tours around other people’s coops.
To get better results, you’d have to use a longer descriptive phrase like “how to build a chicken coop.” That’s what’s called a ‘long tail’ keyword, and it gives more specific results. When you’re researching keywords, you want a selection of both short and long tail keywords.
To find these search phrases, you’ve got a few different research options.
YouTube’s own auto search feature can be quite a goldmine. It will show you the top terms around your potential keywords. Use this to build an initial list of potential short and long tail keywords you can use in the description and in the tags.
At the same time, you can use YouTube search to check what type of videos your competitors are making, and see what words they rank for. This can give you ideas about how you can position your videos better. If you want to dig even deeper, a tool like SEO Chat’s suggestion tool can show you a plethora of related results.
Once you’ve got a list of preliminary keywords, it’s time to check their performance. Browser extension TubeBuddy is a powerful weapon. This all-in-one tool was designed to help YouTube creators optimize their channels and gain exposure. It can help you manage various aspects of your channel, including keyword research and optimization.
You can use the Tag Explorer in the free version to learn about your keyword’s performance. If you opt for one of the paid versions, you’ll get more detailed results.
If you click on the “Historical” tab, you’ll find a graph of the historic search volume, and in the “Results” tab, you’ll see all the videos that rank for this keyword. From there you can use TubeBuddy’s Videolytics tool to see exactly what other tags your competitors used to rank their videos.
TubeBuddy is not the only tool that can help. VidIQ’s paid plans all include access to their powerful keyword research tool. Tools like TubeBuddy and VidIQ are a great way to test out keywords and discover new ones.
Still, ranking on YouTube isn’t the only way to get more views. YouTube results often show up on the first page of Google for certain searches like how-to videos and reviews. You can use the Google Keyword Planner to check the search volumes of various keywords.
This can be a useful way to gauge competition, and come up with new ideas. Ideally, you want to choose low-competition, high-volume words. Don’t be afraid to experiment with longer phrases. Like most high quality search engines, YouTube uses a semantic search and can infer meaning fairly well. Focus on creating a list of terms your ideal audience will actually search for, and then check their search volume.
While no-one knows the precise factors that influence the YouTube ranking system, we know it’s heavily affected by certain factors. To rank in search, you need to optimize for each one.
YouTube uses metadata to understand what your video is about. To rank, you’ll need to:
Just like regularly adding blog posts and fresh content to your website helps with SEO, if you want to rank in YouTube, you need to frequently upload high-quality videos to your channel.
High quality is one of those terms that’s easy to say, but hard to define. In this case, high quality means a video that your ideal audience will find useful. YouTube uses a few deciding factors to figure out just how good your video is.
YouTube assumes that high quality videos generate engagement. You can encourage viewers to subscribe, like, share and comment through an effective call to action at the end of each video. Engagement helps you build channel authority. That, in turn, makes it more likely that YouTube will show your video in search.
As a business, YouTube has one main goal. It wants to keep users on the platform as long as possible. The more videos they watch, the more ad revenue YouTube gets. That’s why these factors also matter.
YouTube rewards creators that keep viewers on the platform, so use your wiles to keep them there. Going outside and doing things is vastly overrated anyway.
The first 24 hours that your video is live are crucial for its future YouTube ranking. Throw everything you’ve got at promoting it.
Share it on all your social media channels. Write a blog post around the video and embed it near the top. Go on Quora, answer relevant questions thoughtfully and link to your video. Share it with your email list.
Having a consistent publishing schedule also helps, because your subscribers will know when to expect a new video from you.
Search engine optimization is half art, half science. You need to understand what YouTube wants so you can do your best to give it to them. YouTube profits from delivering the most relevant content to users. They want to give people what they want.
The YouTube ranking factors are linked to that business goal. By creating high quality content, doing your keyword research, optimizing the metadata, and encouraging viewers to actively engage with your videos, you help YouTube reach that goal and will reap the rewards.
Make sure you also check out our guide to video SEO for self-hosted videos to find out how you can also use your on-site video content to drive traffic from Google and support your broader SEO strategy.