How YouTube SEO Tactics Can Help Your Videos Rank

Ever wonder how a video ranks on the first page of YouTube results? It’s not too different to how websites rank on search engine results pages. If your videos aren’t getting the attention they deserve, the problem may be in your lack of optimization. Practicing YouTube SEO tactics can help your channel attract more viewers, subscribers, and overall traffic. 

Luckily, if you have a basic understanding of search engine optimization, YouTube SEO won’t be hard to pick up on. 

Launched just 15 years ago, YouTube has become one of the most popular sites in the world, boasting 1.9 billion users logging in every month.  As a marketer, this platform should be your best friend. Its possibilities are seemingly endless. 

Did you know that in 2020, Generation Z will make up 40 percent of consumers in the United States? It also happens that 89 percent of Gen Z-ers watch YouTube videos regularly. Think of all the young consumers you’d be reaching if you were utilizing the platform as part of your marketing strategy — if you haven’t tapped into this market yet, you need to. 

This is why YouTube SEO is so important to your business. You could be producing the best videos in your industry but if no one sees them, they’re not going to have any impact. To learn more about the steps you need to optimize your videos, check out our tips. 

Tip #1: Perform video keyword research. 

Much like regular SEO practices, you should start with keyword research. The difference here, however, is the method in which you perform that research. The great thing about YouTube is that it provides you with predictable results, giving you an insight into what people are already searching for. For example, if you click on the search bar and type in “search engine” a list of suggestions come up such as “search engine optimization”, “search engine optimization tutorials”, and “search engine marketing”.

This is helpful to you because it shows you exactly what people are looking for when they enter a search query. You don’t have to guess and predict what will work — YouTube is telling you what already does. Whatever your topic may be, type it and other related keywords into the search bar and take a look at what pops up. This will give you an idea as to what keywords popular or trending and what you should be trying to rank for. 

Tip #2: Publish quality content.

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: search engines reward quality content. When a user searches for something, they’re obviously looking for an answer. If your content is providing them with that answer, then the search engine has done their job and rewards you for the part you played by ranking you higher. 

When it comes to YouTube SEO, the rules are pretty similar. YouTube’s goal is to keep people on YouTube. If your videos are well-made, informative, entertaining, etc., people are going to continue watching. The more people that are clicking on your videos and actually watching them, as opposed to clicking away before finishing, the higher they will be ranked. If you keep people on their site, YouTube rewards you by increasing your position on the results page. Because of this, don’t be afraid to make longer videos if they’re necessary to your topic. Many “how to” or “guide” videos can run from 30 minutes to an hour long because it’s important to be thorough when teaching someone a new skill. 

However, be cognizant of the length of other top ranking YouTube videos surrounding your topic. Just as you would study the SERP for what types of content you should be creating for your topic, study the top results of YouTube videos surrounding your topic to optimize your YouTube SEO! If all of the top-ranking videos surrounding your topic are 4-5 minutes long, it may be smart to follow suit and make your video a similar length.

Tip #3: Create a catchy title that includes your target keyword. 

The title needs to catch the user’s attention, so make sure it’s catchy yet informative. You need to convey what the video is going to be about in a way that’s interesting enough that it makes them want to click on it. Words like “easy”, “fast”, and “for beginners” often catch the attention of the audience because they’re usually looking for the simplest way to do something. Including dates is also a good technique, such as “How to Rank on YouTube in 2020” as it shows the searchers that your content is up-to-date. 

Before you name yours, you should type your target keyword into the search bar and see what titles your competitors are using, as these will be the videos you’ll be going up against. You always want to include the keyword in the title to further emphasize it and let both users and YouTube know what the video is about. 

Tip #4: Provide a detailed description. 

A key aspect of YouTube SEO is providing the viewer with a detailed video description. You should write a summary of the video that includes your target keyword, as well as links to your other social media platforms or website. 

Additionally, the description is an opportunity to utilize a call-to-action, or an action you want the viewer to take. This could include subscribing to your channel, linking to your products or services, or suggesting another one of your videos. 

Tip #5: Write the transcript of your video yourself. 

The transcript is essentially the captions of the video, and they are included in the list of things YouTube includes when determining rankings. They are provided by YouTube but are often inaccurate, so it’s important to write them yourself. The video should include the target keyword already (because that’s what it’s about!) so this is another opportunity to include the keyword in the text. 

Tip #6: Tag your videos. 

Always utilize tags on your videos — these give further information about your video’s topic and help to prove relevance. This is comparable to adding your keyword throughout the metadata for written pieces of content; for YouTube SEO, tagging is another way to include the keyword and supporting keywords.. For example, if your piece of content is a makeup tutorial, you could include tags like “makeup tutorial”, “how to apply makeup”, or “daytime makeup look”. All of these keywords provide more detail that could grab a user’s attention and intrigue them enough to click on it. 

However, only tag your videos with tags that actually do represent the content of them, as plugging any random keyword will hurt your rankings. Again, just like search engines, YouTube wants to provide the viewers with the best content possible, so seeing a video about dogs pop up while someone is searching for cars makes for bad user experience. 

Expanding your SEO strategy

Because SEO is constantly evolving, it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest practices. Utilizing YouTube is a great way to market your business, so make sure you’re optimizing your videos and reaping all of the benefits possible. If you need more information on SEO, check out our free, downloadable SEO Guidebook for tips and techniques to help you improve.