SEO for YouTube, Or How To Optimize Videos for the Platform
SeoExplode.com recommends that creating and uploading videos on YouTube is definitely a good move, since YouTube is one of the biggest search engines around, right next to mama Google. But how exactly do you optimize your videos so they will be surfaced more frequently by the video giant? We will be exploring the many ways you can do this in today’s blog.
Creating videos with impact
For more than a decade now, videos have moved from being a component of online entertainment to being a tool for almost any kind of intent. Whether you want to educate the masses or promote a new brand, video is there, and remains just as available as images and text. Its popularity as a medium for telling stories continues to increase each year, which is why YouTube “isn’t just YouTube-“ it’s a place to get some serious branding and marketing work done, and this isn’t going to change any time soon.
Why is video so effective as a branding tool?
The foremost reason perhaps is convenience. With a well-made video, all people have to do is to consume the information. They don’t have to read much, and the pacing of the information as well as how much information is coming is determined solely by the person who made and uploaded the video in the first place. Even countries with slow Internet can now access videos at lower resolution, making global marketing campaigns even more tenable nowadays.
But herein lies the rub: with the rising popularity of video, a lot the small and big boys are joining the sandbox. With technologies that literally allow people to send out videos to the Web in minutes, digital marketers have to be more creative with their content and more strategic with their YouTube SEO.
YouTube SEO Guidelines
Getting to the top involves work – real work – but the good news here is that as long as you know the best practices, you are going to eventually see positive results with your efforts in using video to help your digital marketing efforts.
Here are some pro tips to help you get started:
- Keywords – The title of the video should be creative, engaging, and at the same time, it should have the target keywords that will match the target queries.
The main focus should be on user intent and what people would naturally be thinking when they looking or videos. Forget about adding too many additional keywords (like brand names) as these extraneous details will be on the channels’ information, anyway. The important thing is to make the video title as attractive as possible to viewers by giving what they want (user intent) while maintaining the engagement level high.
YouTube allows only 100 characters maximum with spaces, but there will be truncations sometimes, depending on where the video title appears. The title is that important because it’s the only text that people will see, right next to the visual thumbnail, which doesn’t really count toward SEO in a technical manner.
- Video description – While it’s true that viewers don’t really read video descriptions all the time, Google and YouTube do, and it’s imperative that you construct a useful description that targets the right keywords and at the same time, provides a powerful and engaging message to the viewer.
There is no need to be sale-sy or too promotional with the video description because this will probably hurt your efforts. Instead, focus on being as informative as possible, so people would actually learn something after reading the video’s description.
Make sure that you include at least one link to a relevant page or website, as this is a quality backlink to your main business website. Make sure that whatever link you add to the video description is relevant – don’t drown the description with purely promotional links.
The basic potent formula for writing an effective video description would be:
- Keep the character count to about 300 characters only, and this includes the spaces. I you can do less, opt for a shorter description.
- The description itself should be around two to three sentences long only.
- You need to add one very high quality and relevant link to boost the description’s usefulness.
- Tagging – YouTube’s video tagging system is quite mature and the system knows how to quickly reduce the visibility of videos that tag but do not deliver. It’s important that you only add tags that are really relevant to your content; don’t try to overdo it. These tags also have a more technical function – they help Google and YouTube understand what your video content is all about (this is called context-building) and in the long term, using the proper tags will benefit your channel.
- The thumbnail – The video thumbnail’s main purpose is to entice the viewer to click your video instead of others. Too much text is going to reduce its effectiveness. A word or two that are perfectly placed will reap dividends. But then again, it is imperative that you remain truthful to your viewers.
Provide a thumbnail that is enticing but at the same time truthful to what you want to show in the actual video. It’s alright to experiment with different kinds of visual representation.
Actually, switching thumbnails and testing different kinds of layouts is a good idea. It won’t hurt to look at what other channels are doing, too.
If a channel that is similar to yours is booming with clicks and views, check out what they’re doing and try to apply their principles to your video content. Remember: you can ‘steal genius’ and as long as you are generating your own content, there’s nothing wrong with learning from the ones who are successful now.
- Translations – YouTube offers a translation service to its users. Use this feature if you wish to tap territories that don’t speak your native language. Otherwise, if you are just using English, select English as the default language of your videos so they will be listed under English moving forward.
- Metadata – According to the paper “The YouTube Video Recommendation Engine,” incomplete or fragmented metadata can affect how the search engine and video search capabilities of YouTube can index and surface new videos.
Do not rely on the automated closed captions as YouTube does not depend on these for extracting data from videos. The metadata is still more important. While it’s true that to some degree, closed captions can provide data, if the search engine has to work too hard just to find out what your video is all about, that will not bode well for your channel at all.
- Playlists – Create playlists that feature related content from your channel and be sure to include a link to the relevant playlist on the description of your videos. When a playlist helps keep users stay longer on the video platform, YouTube rewards those channels and videos and this is a step in the right direction if you want YouTube to surface more of your video content when users perform topical searches. It’s also possible that your videos will begin to show up more frequently in “recommended videos” or “similar videos,” and you can’t argue that this will definitely boost your views.