Stories are the basis of our culture, they testify the experience and make the message easy to understand. And video storytelling is ideal for marketing your brand in the digital world.
YouTube is the most popular platform where you can create a channel and spread the word about your business thanks to videos. Just consider it is the second most-visited website in the world!
However, with over 500 hours of fresh videos uploaded every minute, it’s really tough to make your content popular. You understand YouTube ranking factors to gain visibility and make your videos be seen by your target users.
In this SEO guide for YouTube, I will give you some essential tips to give organic visibility to your videos, reach as many people as possible and start creating your community.
Youtube Seo: Setting Up The Channel
YouTube is a platform whose content visibility is built on an algorithmic basis, just like a search engine. Wherever there is one it is possible to do SEO: in this case, we can speak precisely of SEO for YouTube.
On the basis of the positioning of the videos, there are ranking factors that influence the result. Some are attributable to optimizations in the strict sense related to video and others to external factors that affect visibility.
Over one billion hours of videos are watched on YouTube every day with an average user spending 12 minutes and 43 seconds on the platform, according to SocialMediaToday recent research. It is therefore easy to understand the level of competition, the number of users that upload videos and the amount of daily uploads.
It is very important to be able to carve out your market niche right away, to become experts in a well-defined sector, with your buyer personas, your narrative style and with an established format. The basis of everything is authoritativeness, which with a channel focused in a specific market is relatively easier to reach.
Before getting to the more technical aspects related to SEO, the search for keywords and the optimization of the single video, it is important to improve, organize and optimize your YouTube channel. The channel becomes the business card for your audience and has the same value as the home page of your website.
Last year, I created a YouTube channel, in the gaming field (mostly for fun). In particular, I worked on the:
- profile picture
- channel trailer
Photo and Channel Description
First, create a cover photo of the right size (about 2560 x 1440 pixels), add a profile photo and create a description of the channel in the information section.
For this last point, be sure to write a summary content useful to users, optimized for SEO. From here, we can say that the whole SEO optimization process for YouTube begins.
Organize your videos in playlists. They are very useful to facilitate the navigation of your users who are looking for specific videos and to classify content into themes.
Thanks to these, it is also possible to allow the user to continue viewing your videos continuously and increase the viewing time: one of the ranking factors deemed relevant by the YouTube algorithm.
Finally, create a nice channel trailer, which describes your project, who you are, with a complete description that invites the user to subscribe.
The trailer should last a few seconds or minutes and in that time you must be able to present the goal of your channel and the utility that your videos can offer.
YouTube SEO: Keyword Research
Especially at the beginning, when your community has not yet developed and you need to make yourself as visible as possible to an audience that does not yet know you, it is very important to study well the words with which users search for videos on Youtube.
Good keyword research will allow you to have an advantage in terms of time and maximization of energy for the creation of videos and the channel.
Start working in the following way:
- Create a list of words with which you would like to position your videos and try, at least at the beginning, to focus on informative queries perhaps related also to the world of tutorials.
- Use the autocomplete tool of the YouTube search bar to see, based on a first keyword entered, what topics the search bar suggests to you. See the results of the desired query and analyze the competitors. Remember that you must always do better than they do!
- Use keyword research tools known as Google Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, Keyword.io. The latter has a section dedicated precisely to YouTube and able to give you a more precise view of the searches actually made. Thanks to these tools, you will have an idea of the average monthly searches that users do based on certain queries. Try to identify issues that can be positioned with a good balance between average monthly searches and competition.
- Study the SERPs and try to understand if the topic you want to deal with already has video results on the first page of Google, as a carousel and / or as an embed. Watch the competition in terms of indexed results and draw your conclusions.
The study of keywords, in addition to being useful for your video marketing strategy in general and the creation of video titles, can be a starting point for the management of playlists.
YouTube SEO: Upload a Video
After researching the keywords and after creating and editing your multimedia content, we move on to the real SEO optimization of the video. The two main aspects directly connected to positioning are title and description.
As John of https://johnnreviews.com/ says:
When it comes to YouTube videos, the title is the 2nd most important thing after video content.
As for the title of a blog article, also for YouTube it is recommended to enter the main keyword for which you want to obtain the positioning of the video, better if positioned at the beginning.
This, accompanied by a How-To style informative title, attracts the user’s attention more and helps to increase the CTR. Analyze competitors and create a strategic title that can differentiate themselves.
It is an important aspect for SEO.
I find it essential to add a complete description that summarizes the content of the video with the most salient points. The description should:
- give real information about the content of the video;
- be comprehensive and clear from the first paragraph;
- contain keywords and related as directly suggested by YouTube in its tooltip dedicated to this section. But don’t spam!
- contain a call to action such as “subscription to other social channels”, other videos, links for purchases, etc.
- contain a sort of temporary Table of Content in the form of a link – Timestamp – referring to the exact second of the video, in case the content was particularly long. This approach makes the video more usable.
The description is important, not only because it appears on the video page, but also in the YouTube SERP, with the listings of the other videos, based on a certain query.
The thumbnail, together with the title, is the most useful element to increase the percentage of clicks on the video. It is able to attract a lot of user attention and is crucial for obtaining a visit.
The thumbnail graphic triggers the processes of choice based on psychology, the use of colors, the image used, and more. Except for special situations, where it is not necessary, I always suggest creating a coordinated one with the colors of your channel and in line with your coordinated image.
In the tag field, it is still useful to add some keywords, separated by a comma, linked to the video.
But how many tags can be put? Personally, I add up to three tags. It seems that they can help position themselves in related videos.
It is well known that YouTube can interpret the content of each video uploaded.
Consequently, in addition to creating high-quality videos, it can be useful to name and dissect the topic of the video by citing, in the speech, the keywords found during the analysis phase.
YouTube Ranking Factors
As anticipated at the beginning of the article, there are several aspects that can be defined as almost on-page and therefore determine the ranking of a video. In addition to those listed above as title and description, there are others that are determined by user behavior on videos.
This is why your strategy must be precisely to make the videos as attractive as possible, interesting and capable of generating interaction and being shared and linked. Let’s see together what are the ranking factors that influence SEO on YouTube.
Longer videos generally rank better than shorter ones.
In my opinion, this is not so much related to the length of the video per se (the length does not always define the quality), but to the fact that users probably spend more time viewing the content. This affects the watch time accordingly. The data can be easily analyzed in your analytics.
Comments, Likes and Shares
Videos with more comments generate more interaction and interest and consequently affect the ranking. Having so many comments, likes and interactions helps to position and improves visibility on YouTube. Of course, the comments need to be answered by the creator. Shares also have a role related to ranking.
Take advantage of all these aspects to increase interactions: ask questions to get comments, encourage sharing, subscribe to the channel, watch other playlists. Use the last seconds of the final screen (there is a section dedicated to this) that allows you to add Youtube Cards, cards with links to the videos or a playlist you want to push.
As mentioned above, CTR is a very important factor in SEO for YouTube. The more click-through rate your video gets, the more push it will have on the platform’s various listing pages.
As can be easily guessed, the number of views affects the ranking.
Channel and Video Subscriptions
Again according to the analysis data, many subscriptions to the channel would lead to a better ranking level strength, but not in such a relevant way.
Getting subscriptions from the video instead could increase its visibility.
In this article, I have given you some tips to improve SEO on YouTube and eventually create an additional source of income.
The achievement of the result is naturally closely related to the niche of your channel, the quantity and above all the quality of your videos, the frequency of updates and how your videos breach the public and your community.
The tips given are however useful for creating a good working base and for actually understanding how and where to improve your content for better organic positioning of your videos.