YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world!
That’s right. 2nd largest!
It has around 1/3rd internet-using population as its users, which accounts for around 2 billion people. All these users watch around a billion hours of videos on YouTube daily. As astounding as the numbers might be, they clearly portray the fact that YouTube is a major platform today.
This is why a lot of people are on the lookout of using YouTube to become famous among an audience. Many have succeeded too!
But it’s not that easy. With so many people uploading videos every second on YouTube it is a herculean task to make sure your video is visible to your audience.
YouTube is flooding with thousands of videos over every knick-knack trivial concept. It is highly unlikely that the ‘unique idea’ in your head isn’t already there. And no one wants to go beyond the first few pages of YouTube result in the hunt for a video. In fact, they often find it on the first page.
So, if you wish for your YouTube videos to be visible on the first search page, you need to have more than just good content. You need YouTube SEO!
In this blog, we will be discussing YouTube SEO & how you can use a few tips to optimize your content according to it.
Here are a few tips you can put to use to make your YouTube content more SEO-friendly.
YouTube SEO tips to rank your video content better
1. The keyword is the ‘KEY’
Just like on Google, your keyword is highly important for your videos’ rankings on YouTube. A keyword is essentially a set of 3-6 words relevant to your video. Using the right keyword the right way, you can ensure your video ranks in the initial search results.
You should use the keyword at various places to rank better.
When you upload a video to YouTube, though its filename is not visible to the viewers, it can be easily read by YouTube. And if your Keyword is used in your filename, YouTube’s bot can track it & mark it as relevant to your niche. This helps in ranking your video better.
Your title is the first thing your viewer sees. Using your keyword in the title not just helps it rank, but also gives the viewer a clear idea of what the video is about. A report from Backlinko gives the correlation between the ranking of videos & the use of exact-match keyword in their title.
You can use your keyword in the description too. But make sure you don’t overuse it & that it doesn’t seem stuffed. Use it as naturally in the description as possible. The best way would be to use your keyword in the first sentence of the description.
Relevant tags help in categorizing the content of the video. Using the keyword in your tags can help your video rank better. The following graph represents the relation between the use of keyword in tags & the ranking of videos on YouTube.
How to Find Keywords?
There are a bunch of tools that you can use to find the right keywords for your videos. We’ll take an example to understand better.
Suppose that you make motivational videos, then your basic keyword is ‘motivation’ or ‘motivational video’, using the following tools, you can find other keywords.
Your simple ‘Google Search’ can go a long way in helping you get more keywords. Just go to the search bar & type your primary keyword. You’ll see a bunch of other similar keywords as suggestions, which you can use.
Similar to Google Search, you can also use YouTube’s search bar to find keywords. Just follow the same process as above for it.
Google Keyword Planner
Google Keyword Planner is an amazing tool in which you can choose to look for keywords. You can also view the statistics for each keyword. This will help you in understanding which keywords are more likely to help your videos grow.
Google Trends can help you observe the statistics of the use of a certain keyword by comparing it with another. The suggestions section can help you get more similar keywords.
2. Custom Thumbnail
Your first impression matters a lot on YouTube & you can ace it with a good thumbnail. Your thumbnail needs to stand out among the rest, to make the viewer want to check it. Though a still from your video can work, it’s better to have a custom thumbnail. In fact, 90% of the best performing videos have a custom thumbnail.
So, make sure you use a unique interesting custom thumbnail for your video. Make sure it conveys the message of what your video is about & looks interesting for the viewer to want to click on it.
You can use tools like Canva to generate a custom thumbnail for your videos. But remember, if you wish to upload a custom thumbnail on your video, your channel must be verified. You can verify your channel easily on YouTube.
3. Your video description
Your video’s description is an important part of it. It needs to be as amazing as your video is. Though the official limit for writing a description is 1000 characters, you have to use it wisely to write smart descriptions. You need to keep in mind that your viewer is here for the video, not a tale in the description, so you need to be very careful.
Your complete description is not visible initially under the video. Only the first 2-3 lines of it are visible over the ‘Show More’ button. So, you need to ensure that this part talks about the video in a way so as to compel the viewer to see the video.
Have a look at the description given below. MotivationHub used the initial space to talk about Jeff Bezos & the video, without giving anything away.
Once you click the ‘Show More’ button, you can see the complete description. You can use this part to talk about your channel. You can ask the viewers to subscribe to your channel in this part. Make sure to use this section wisely & not giveaway everything about the channel or the video.
The image below shows the complete description of the video. See how they used the complete space for a plethora of things including-
- Asking the viewers to subscribe
- The specifications of the video
4. Find the right length
The answer to the ‘What is the ideal length for a video?’ changes from channel to channel. Depending on your content, it will vary. Though some might tell you that lengthy videos don’t work, studies prove quite the opposite.
You just need to make sure that your video is rich in content & even if lengthy, gives value to the viewer. The viewer mustn’t feel like their time has been wasted after watching.
In this image, you can see that even though both long & short videos are available on the subject, the long ones have more views. The reason for this is that they are rich in content.
5. Keep an eye on your video analytics
Making good videos isn’t going to be enough. You should also know how well your videos are performing with your audience. This is why you need to observe your video analytics like watch-time report & audience retention from time to time. You can have a look at both these reports in the Analytics section in your channel’s creator studio.
Watch time is the amount of time a viewer spends on your video. If your watch-time is too less, it means that your videos aren’t engaging the viewer’s enough to stay till the end. You need to aim for the maximum watch-time.
In audience retention, you can watch the performance of all your videos, which ones are performing better & which ones are not. You can also see the average view duration for your videos. You can watch reports for individual videos too.
6. Magic of closed captions
Here’s a magic trick to help you rank better on YouTube.
‘Use Closed Captions.’
In case you don’t know what closed captions are, they are the subtitles that appear for a video when you click on the little ‘CC’ on the right side of the bar at the bottom.
Closed captions are supposed to help people who either don’t speak the language used in your videos or are hard of hearing. But you can use them to rank your videos on YouTube since search engines can crawl them. So, if you use your keyword in the videos and they appear in the closed captions, it can help your video rank better.
You can upload a supported transcript or a timed subtitle file. YouTube provides a feature that lets you upload captions automatically, but those captions are often inaccurate. So we would suggest you enter accurate captions personally to make sure they synchronize with the video’s script.
7. Encourage to take an action
You made a video & your viewers enjoyed it, now what?
Now, you ask them to act. You ask them to like your video, comment & share your videos. Also, you have to ask them to subscribe to your channel. Each of these factors can work almost miraculously in helping your videos’ ranking grow. We can prove it analytically.
More likes mean that a lot of people enjoyed your video, i.e. they found it useful. This means that your video is relevant to the topic & will be visible among the first few results for the specific keyword. The following graph shows the correlation between likes & video rankings.
Where likes display that viewers prefer your video, comments display that your videos keep the audience engaged. And greater engagement is rewarded with better ranking. Moreover, it gives you a chance to interact with your viewers & answer their queries wherever possible.
The more your viewers will share your video, the more views it will drive. And the more views a video gets, the better it will rank. This correlation is proven by the graph below. Videos with better views seem more relevant to the user’s queries & hence rank better.
Your subscribers are your loyal audience. They are the ones you should care the most about since they are a big reason behind your videos’ success. So, make sure to ask your viewers to subscribe. The more subscriptions a video drives, the better it will rank, as shown below. You can check the number of subscriptions your videos drove to understand what kind of content your viewers like more.
8. Categorize your videos
Just like tags, categorization helps in classifying your video as relevant to a certain category. This increases the chances of your video popping up in a user’s query. This way your video gets grouped with other matching content & is exposed to a greater audience that shows interest in content similar to yours.
You can categorize your video from the Advanced Setting option. Categorizing helps your videos in reaching more people of your targeted audience.
9. Share on social media
Social media has immense power today and you can harness it to rank better on YouTube. The more your videos will be shared on the internet, the better will be their chances to appear on the first page for a user query. The following graph verifies this correlation. YouTube also advises creators to generate more share-worthy content.
You can share your videos on a number of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Quora and even LinkedIn (if your video feels relevant enough for it). But ensure it doesn’t feel irrelevant in context to the platform.
For example, when sharing your video on Twitter, instead of sharing the complete video, share a teaser of it and share the link with it. Similarly, you can embed your videos in the Quora answers.
YouTube is the hub for amazing videos & if your content is good as is YouTube SEO friendly, it is bound to rank better. Following the above-given tips can pave way for ranking your videos better on YouTube. If the blog popped questions in your mind, do drop them below & we will get back to you ASAP. You can also write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org