If you want to be a video SEO expert, there are some things you should know.
Video SEO doesn’t follow the same strategies as usual Google SEO. And everything you know about Google SEO tactics might not be useful for Video SEO. But we will cover all aspects of video SEO in this exhaustive post.
Like regular SEO, you need to discover the keywords first in Video SEO. But the search for video keywords is completely different from the process you usually use for discovering keywords for text-based blogs.
Reason #1: Search engines don’t yield any views, YouTube suggestions do. So, you need to rely on the suggestions that YouTube shows for a keyword when you enter it in the search bar.
We are not saying that you shouldn’t optimize your videos for Google Search and YouTube. But mostly, people only get 15-25% of their overall video traffic from search option.
The remaining 85-75% traffic comes from suggested videos. So suggestions are important.
Reason #2: The way people use Google and YouTube is not alike at all.
Consider this, a keyword bagging more than or around 100k monthly searches in Google such as home loan or life insurance may not be such a favorite with YouTube.
On the other hand, keywords like cute dogs, baby and dog, cute cats, etc may be a big favorite with YouTube but not with Google.
Now that you know the difference, let’s take a look at five different techniques for keyword research:
Youtube Suggest is a lot like Google Suggest. It’s pretty easy to use. Just mention/type a keyword in the search field and YouTube will automatically show you a list of suggestions.
YouTube Suggest is highly important and very effective. The suggestions tell you the exact keywords that people look for. Isn’t that great?
TubeBuddy Tags is a free extension and quite attractive. It shows you the exact tags that your competitors use, simplifying your keyword research.
The process is simple. Just install the extension on your Google Chrome Browser and open your competitor’s video. There, click on the tags option to see the tags your competitor used.
The green numbers show the Youtube search rank of the video.
Tubular Labs is a powerful freemium service. Why? Well, you can spy on your competitors’ channels with it. And, you can look for engaging keyword and topic ideas videos using it.
Here’s how you can use it:
As a result, you will get what content does your audience engage in when they are not watching your videos.
YTCockpit is highly under-utilized and is among the top keyword research tools developed specifically for YouTube.
Here is how you use it:
YTCockpit gives you basic information like search volume, cost per click, video length, number of likes, comments volume, etc. Moreover, when you click on a keyword suggestion, you will get an in-depth breakdown on YouTube SERP.
But it’s important to know that monthly searches in the program denote total amount of google searches. And impressions per week show the rough estimate of the number of people who view videos on the topic in Google’s ad network.
Competition analysis helps you devise better keywords so you can make better videos with a higher chance of success.
In case, your channel has bagged some traction, YouTube Analytics is your best bet for keyword discovery.
Actually, YouTube Analytics spits out keywords that you already rank for.
Now, you can see all the keywords that you rank for. Here’s what you can do with the keywords:
If there is a specific video that you made that also ranks for a keyword then you can optimize it using a keyword/term if it is not already optimized.
Using some on-page SEO tactics, you can propel right into the limelight with top notch results.
The second idea is straightforward and simple. Just create a new video with fresh content on the keyword instead of optimizing an older one.
Why? Because the new video will have a stronger chance of ranking better compared to the old video that’s partially optimized around a keyword.
Now that you know how to discover keywords, let’s take a look at how to produce high-quality videos.
The idea is simple.
How to rank in YouTube?
But ask yourself what awesome really means?
An awesome video is the one that makes you want to scream from the window that this video is downright fantastic.
In YouTube world, awesome has some metrics like:
If you keep these metrics in mind when creating videos, you will find your videos sitting on top of YouTube search results for sure.
Let’s look at these metrics one by one to understand how they influence the videos:
Total Watch Time is perhaps the number one ranking factor on YouTube that you need to care about.
What is it?
Total Watch Time (TWT) is the total volume of watch time minutes accrued by your video.
The metric is available among YouTube Analytics.
Optimizing for Total Watch Time
The first step to optimizing for total watch time is creating long videos. If you check for competitive keywords, you will find that top ranking videos are fairly long.
Then, produce videos that boost audience retention.
If you are serious about video SEO, audience retention is something you should pay attention to.
Audience retention is the duration of your video that is actually watched by viewers.
Obviously, high retention rates are better. So, you should focus on boosting your audience retention rates.
Tips on maximizing video’s audience retention:
Session Watch Time is defined as the time that viewers spend on YouTube’s platform after having seen a video. It’s considered highly significant.
On confirming this ranking factor, YouTube said, “We reward videos that keep people on YouTube.”
Sadly, there is no specific way to directly scale the Session Watch Time.
You can optimize it though and here are some tips:
Mentioning links at the end help the user find more related content instead of them just clicking away from your feed.
Actively ask for comments. People love passing on judgment, comments without thinking. So, you can use the opportunity and get more comments on your videos.
YouTube is a game of popularity so don’t be shy asking for people to like and support you through shares and subscriptions.
Ask the viewers to subscribe to you at the end of every script/video.
If you reply to comments, viewers who are commenting will feel encouraged to communicate with you. This translates into more engagement and higher rankings for your Youtube Channel and videos. Try to reply within 24 hours of receiving the comment.
Now that you know how to produce good quality videos, it’s time to move forward to keyword optimization.
Video SEO is a wide field and includes a lot of technical aspects.
The video has to be optimized and made relevant with apt keywords.
Here is how you can do it:
With your video title, you should focus on two simple goals:
You can just mention your target keyword in the title once and simplify the job. We will focus on optimizing your click-through rate later in this post.
YouTube videos look better with longer descriptions so we recommend 200+ word descriptions.
When you write longer descriptions, it gives YouTube a better and deeper understanding of what your video is all about.
This better understanding assists your video in becoming more searchable and be a suggested video on more searches on YouTube.
Tags aren’t as important as they were once upon a time but they are still relevant to YouTube. Use 5 tags that look legit for a video including a target keyword.
Keep in mind that Youtube understands the content of a video well. So, you can upload a transcript to help YouTube get the script right.
Make sure that you say your target keyword once or twice in your video and help YouTube understand the keywords.
A transcript assists YouTube completely understand the content and topic of your video.
Experienced YouTube professionals recommend that you use a transcript in your videos as it helps them appear in searches as a suggested video more.
YouTube sees CTR as a major ranking signal. If a number of people look for a keyword in YouTube and open your result then you will get a boost in rankings.
Here’s the simple way for optimizing your video for higher CTR
1. Compelling Title
Mention your target keyword in your title and dedicate the title to attracting more clicks.
Bonus Tip: Avoid clickbait titles because they work in short term but not in long-term. Audience retention will help you gain better rank on YouTube.
2. Eye-Catching Thumbnails.
Create a custom thumbnail for your videos that are eye-catching and attention-grabbing.
3. Attention-Grabbing Description
Descriptions are important to YouTube and it even shows the initial 125 characters of the description in search results. So, you have a great opportunity to create a compelling initial description.
Another Video SEO ranking factor that Video SEO experts should be concerned about is channel authority.
Your channel’s authority is important as it directly influences your videos’ performance on YouTube.
Basically, channels that have high authority and a strong community will have videos that will rank above same videos from new channels.
Tips for boosting your channel’s authority:
It is with channel’s branding and message that you answer the question, ‘what makes your channel different from all the other channels on YouTube?’
Your channel needs to answer this question to get more visitors flock to you. If you don’t tell visitors what sets you apart, you will lose them.
On posting a consistent message about what sets you apart, you will surely get more subscribers.
Before you design your channel’s branding and messaging, decide what type of audience are you catering to. Know what they are looking for and design your content around it. For instance, if you are catering to an audience looking for entertainment content, use such taglines and titles that project the entertainment image.
This is a simple but an effective measure.
Let’s look at some more actionable tips that help enhance channel’s branding and authority:
Ensure that you include your channel’s slogan in the header. Your animated logo is important for your channel. Channel Slogan helps you distribute your brand message which gets reinforced with every video you make.
Mention your slogan early in the about us page of your channel.
Bonus Tip: Sprinkle some keywords in your channel’s description.
Design such playlists that represent the content and theme of your channel.
Bonus Tip: Optimize all of your playlists for long tail keywords to make your playlists rank.
Try and get more subscribers to your channel since popularity is surely a parameter in Video SEO. Here are some tips on getting more subscribers:
The channel trailer is actually the channel’s pitch. Make sure that it’s visible as the first thing on your page with the header.
Potential subscribers want to know answers to these:
Traits of a great trailer:
Yes, we mentioned before but it is absolutely important.
Ask your viewers to click on the subscribe button at the end of every single one of your video.
If someone watched all of your videos and watched some more of your content then there is a strong chance that they will subscribe to more similar content. Sometimes, they just need the push. “Subscribe to this channel” is what often pushes them in the right direction.
Ensure that you add a Youtube Link to your website and all of your social media profiles.
Google sets aside some keywords for only video results.
Most professionals refer to these as “Video Keywords”.
There is a simple secret to ranking your videos on Google and that is through targeting Video Keywords.
Experienced professionals will tell you that if you try and optimize your video around a keyword which doesn’t have much on google including an already existing video in Google then the journey is going to be tough.
Look for your potential keyword in google and if you find at least a single video results in the top ten, that’s good then. If not, consider a different keyword then.
Bonus Tip: According to research, the top 3 results in Google receive more than 55% of all clicks. So keep looking for keywords that have a video result in the top 3 spots. Your video won’t receive the same amount of raffic if it ranks in the later positions.
The question is that once you have produced a great video, how do you get it to show up among top results on Google?
The answer is to create amazing, awe-inspiring videos and then optimize them. These parts, we have covered earlier. But after these, it’s all about getting the right amount and quality of backlinks. Videos work like any other page on the internet. With more high-quality backlinks, you will rank higher.
It’s worth considering that there are bloggers who post blogs on their own site instead of YouTube.
But the questions is whether you can get them to rank or not?
Yes. But it will be hard.
As a matter of fact, 82% of total video results in Google are straight from YouTube.
(We hope you know Google owns YouTube so the number shouldn’t be a surprise).
Here is how to rank self-hosted videos:
This denotes to Google that the video is main content on the page.
You can mention a simple but brief intro as well.
A video followed by a full transcript gets better understood by the search engines.
Bonus Tip: Ensure that your transcript is readable. Most people copy and paste but don’t do that. Instead, focus on making the experience easier for people. Concentrate on how you can keep people from skimming so they read the entire transcript to boost dwell time and minimize bounce rate.
Video Schema Markup is supported by both Google as well as Bing.
Here’s everything you need in general:
This Schema code can be manually setup but you can also host your videos with wistia to avoid the trouble.
We have discussed this before. YouTube experiences almost 400 hours of video upload every minute! Isn’t that crazy!
With so much competition, you definitely need promotion. Here are some tips:
As you publish your new videos, announce the release/launch to your email subscribers.
Ensure that your subscribers receive access to premium and high-quality content.
Bonus Tip: YouTube recommends videos on a viewer’s homepage based on his/her previous choices. These videos are picked based on the videos watched so you really need to optimize your videos for better appearance in suggested videos.
Here is how you can check if your video shows up in the homepage of different viewers:
If you made a high-quality and optimized video, there is a strong chance that it will show up in the home pages just a few days post the promo.
If your video has really great content then you will see it ranking in no time.
Social media is an advanced way of promoting your video content so be sure to share it on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc.
Bonus Tip: Campaign for subscriptions by asking your social media followers to subscribe to you.
Here are two ways how embedding helps your videos:
If you don’t have a lot of subscribers then embedding will surely help you garner more views.
Always place the next video on the end screen of your video as it helps boost your session watch time and keep the audiences engaged.
If you set a featured video, YouTube will automatically suggest your video among your other videos.
Look for a question that your video answers and then post your answer in text form. Finally, link your video there to help people file your video.
So, this was the exhaustive guide to expert video SEO. The tricks are fairly easy and while there is more to Video SEO, the tips and topics we discussed should give you a headstart.
Keywords are just as important to video SEO as they are to blog posts and website SEO. So, as a digital marketer, you should be well aware of the tricks and tips you can use to get more interesting and practical keywords. Youtube suggestions is an obvious choice but you can also use Tubebuddy tags, Tubular Labs Competitors videos, YT Cockpit, YouTube Analytics stats, etc to get more choices.
Once you have your keywords with you, you have two choices: Optimize an existing video or create a new one. You can add a keyword as a tag or create a new video around the keyword.
Once you have your priority keywords in order, you can move to the next stage: Creating magnificent videos. A magnificent video ranks high for audience retention, session time, watch time, engagement and click through rate.
Long, interesting videos with powerful and gripping initial 15 seconds will help you boost all the above-listed factors. Creating playlists will also help you boost session watch time. By encouraging likes, comments, shares and subscriptions, you can initiate higher user engagement.
Optimizing your video details using target keywords and uploading a transcript can also help you accelerate your SEO. Compelling titles, attention-grabbing description, attractive thumbnails are among tactics that help enhance click through rate. Digital marketers and channel owners should work on channel’s branding and messaging to amplify channel authority.
Channel owners and marketers should also devise strategies to trigger higher subscriptions like channel trailer, asking viewers to subscribe, linking channel from the site, etc.
Ranking videos in Google gets especially hard when you self-host the videos on your website. In this case, it’s best to assist google read the content better by presenting video as the chief content on a specific web page. You can further add a transcript to simplify understanding the content on the web page for Google. Video Schema helps videos rank in Google too.
In addition to the technical tasks, you need to actively partake in promotional strategies to help announce your video to the world. You can use your emailing list, social media, blog posts, existing videos, etc to introduce your new videos. You can also set a featured video and engage users on forums like quora to publish your video widely.
If you are really keen on getting better video SEO results, you should consider designing a strategy for your videos so you can easily utilize keywords in description and title. Following the above-listed actionable tips will surely help you land among the headliners on Google and Youtube.
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