Today, YouTube is the second most visited site in the world after Google. And since YouTube is a search engine, videos need to be optimized just like regular web pages.
YouTube SEO promotion is a video optimization process that helps you improve your channel’s ranking for organic search results on YouTube.
When you optimize your video, you not only increase your YouTube rating, but also significantly increase the chances of being shown in Google search results and getting more traffic.
From the article you will learn:
Step 1: Do YouTube Keyword Research
1. Find targeted keywords
As with other points in SEO, video optimization begins with a thorough keyword research. At this step, you need to find the most relevant keywords for your niche and those that users usually use when looking for a product or service similar to yours.
To select keywords, use services such as KeywordTool, Ahrefs, Serpstat, Semrush and follow our key selection guide.
2. Analyze Search Trends
Another way to enrich your keyword list with targeted phrases and get an idea of the search trends in your area is to use the auto-complete feature on YouTube. This method is especially useful as it allows you to find the keywords that people type in your YouTube search.
You can also watch the most popular videos similar to yours and copy the keywords for which they are optimized. In addition, with YouTube’s auto-complete feature, you can pick up a ton of ideas for future videos.
Auto-complete feature that tells you keywords
Google trends – Also a great tool for analyzing search trends and comparing keywords by popularity. In order for the tool to give you data on YouTube, you need to enter a query in the search bar, get the result and switch from the web search option to the YouTube search in the drop-down list: Google Trends: YouTube Trend Filter
In addition to providing an insight into trends in your niche, it also shows how the monthly number of search queries changes over time and measures the popularity of a keyword in a specific geolocation. Google Trends also comes in handy when you already have a list of keywords, and you want to compare them with each other in popularity.
Keyword comparison by popularity on Google Trends
3. Collect keywords for the video
You may have noticed that YouTube videos appear in the Google results list for specific keywords. 20-40% of YouTube traffic is generated from organic search. Therefore, SEO-optimization of YouTube videos by keywords can significantly increase your chances of ranking in organic Google search results.
The best way to collect these terms is to enter keywords in serpstat service or Ahrefs and check if any videos appear in the search results. So you can find keywords that are more likely to display your video in organic search.
Step 2: Optimize Video Metadata
Since Google and YouTube have implemented machine learning to recognize objects in their algorithms, YouTube can now identify objects in the video and immediately evaluate their relevance to a specific search query. Thus, the metadata of the video lost its weight a little, but this does not mean that they do not need to be optimized.
Metadata is very important, because it is precisely on them that users pay attention when they decide whether to watch a video or not. Moreover, it is recommended to download a video with already optimized metadata than to do it two days after it is shown – as the algorithm will already mark it as irrelevant and invaluable.
1. Create a name that contains the keys
An ideal title should include the keywords you want to rank by and summarize the theme of your video. Try to make it as bright as possible, but at the same time, do not promise or lie. You can also look at the names of competitors’ videos for inspiration.
As a rule, videos with keywords in the exact entry show themselves much better in terms of ranking. The explanation is simple – users see exactly what they wrote in the search bar, so these videos seem more relevant.
In addition, your name should not be longer than 60 characters – otherwise it will be cut off.
2. Optimize the description
Although video descriptions can be up to 1000 characters, the first 100 characters, or the first 2-3 lines are the most important. This is the text that users see before they click on “More.” Therefore, it is so important to place keywords, calls to action and links to social networks closer to the beginning of the description.
Another option is to include the transcript in the description. However, we do not recommend fully relying on YouTube’s automatic transcripts. Reread them carefully or use a type transcription service Transcribeme.
3. Create a custom video thumbnail
A video thumbnail is an image on a video preview. This is what users pay attention to first. Often people judge a book by its cover and decide by miniature whether to watch the video itself. Therefore, it is not recommended to choose a thumbnail from those that YouTube automatically generates – better create your own. It is also a good idea to add a title to your thumbnail – this way the video will be more informative. Note that the thumbnail title should not duplicate the text title.
To make the thumbnail look good on all devices, make sure that it meets the technical requirements:
1,280 × 720 pixels
video aspect ratio 16: 9,
format .jpg, .gif, .bmp or .png.
4. Add video tags
When you optimize video tags, users are more likely to see your videos in the search results for their queries. To understand what tags to add to the video, look at what competitors are using – install Tubebuddy and the tool will show you the specific tags for which the video is optimized.
Example tags for video
When you move on to optimization, it’s best to start with specific and more specific tags – such as “how to train a Labrador puppy”, and then add more general ones – for example, “dog training”. Remember to tag the people in your video with the name of your brand.
5. Add hashtags
Using hashtags is another way to increase video visibility. You need to add them to the video description and they will appear above its name. Due to the fact that hashtags have recently been added to the platform, some old videos may not be optimized with their help. So add them there too.
Hashtag example video
It is also important that the hashtags display the content that users expect to see after they enter the hashtag or click on it. YouTube limits the number of hashtags to 15 for a single video.
Step 3: Increase User Retention and Engagement
Since watch time and audience retention have become key ranking signals, YouTube ranks higher the videos that people watch longer. In addition, indicators of engagement are taken into account, for example, comments under a video increase its rating.
1. Optimize your viewing time
Analyze YouTube watch time reports – In them you will receive information about the average time of views, the average percentage of views and audience retention. These metrics will help you understand how involved users are and find flaws in your strategy.
If you see that the audience is not looking beyond the introduction, it may be too long.
To extend your session on the channel, consider distributing your other videos directly in the video or description. It’s also good to combine videos on similar topics into one playlist – they will automatically play every time someone watches a video from a series.
2. Encourage engagement
As well as viewing time, likes, subscriptions and comments increase the rating of your videos. To understand how to improve engagement, check out YouTube analytics again. It will help you see, for example, which videos bring followers, and from which people unsubscribe.
To motivate people to comment, ask them a direct question at the end of the video. It is important to answer questions in order to motivate users to continue the discussion.
Another strategy that is gaining popularity especially among bloggers is contests, during which viewers need to like the video, subscribe to the channel and write comments. Of course, many of them can unsubscribe immediately after the end of the contest, but still a large number of subscribers will increase your rating on YouTube.
3. Improve your video channel
One of the best options is to add interactivity to your videos with tips. These are elements into which you can embed images, text, and links to sites.
Screen hint examples
End savers Help redirect users to other videos and get extra viewing time. Add final screensavers for the last 15-20 seconds of a video, advertise a video, playlist or other channel and motivate users to subscribe.
Video splash screen example
Given the fact that 85% of Facebook videos watch without sound, this trend is also observed on YouTube. Therefore, subtitles in the video have become a necessity rather than a nice bonus. In addition, this is a great opportunity to make the video understandable to viewers with hearing impairments or people speaking another language.
Also pay attention to the quality of the video. HD videos are much more valued by viewers and YouTube – 68.2% of the videos on the first page of YouTube go in HD.
Step 4: Promote Your Videos
Although keyword search, metadata optimization, and greater user retention are very important, they’re unlikely to bring you revenue if you don’t see the videos. Content needs to be promoted.
In social networks
The first thing that comes to mind is social networks. In 2018, 500 million people watched videos on Facebook every day.
To understand what kind of videos go on social networks, use a monitoring tool – for example, Hootsuite, Mention or Brandwatch.
On the blog
Another effective YouTube promotion strategy is to embed the video in your blog posts. So you can get links and possibly rank in organic search results. Video + text content is always relevant.
On Q & A platforms and forums
The best places to promote YouTube videos are those where people are actively looking for answers. Therefore, consider posting videos on Q&A sites such as Quora. Find the question the video answers and post it at the end of the answer. Pay attention to post material relevant to the audience of the site.
In addition, consider adding videos to thematic communities or blogs as an answer to someone’s question in the comments.
In the newsletters
You can also add links to videos in the newsletter of subscribers. These people are already with you, and they are more likely to click on the link. If you want to notify them of an upcoming sale, you can add a video on how to use your product or tell why it is better than competitors.
Step 5: Analyze and optimize the video after its release
1. Analyze audience retention schedules
Go to YouTube analytics> select the video you want to optimize> audience retention:
Ahrefs YouTube Audience Retention Schedule
On the graph you will see the average viewing time and the percentage of people watching. If you click on a graph, you’ll see a graph of audience retention for a particular video.
Audience Retention Schedule
This graph records all views of every second of the watched video. The retention curve is shown as a percentage.
You can use the curve to reveal popular parts of the video. If you engage users well, you will see a progressive curve. You will also notice spikes in the curve – they are called true engagement.
Click on any of the bursts and go to the parts that attracted the most people. Try to understand why more people watched or revised these points and draw conclusions for the future: Bursts of true engagement
In the same way, analyze sharp drops on the curve – analyze why people leave at these points, and add YouTube Tips to these places.
2. Check if your videos met user searches
In YouTube studio, you can see the average viewing time for all the keywords for which you are ranking. If the keyword from the query resulted in a high average viewing time, you did an excellent job.
If your video isn’t really uploaded, the statistics will not lie either.
If your videos aren’t involving people well, but you still want to rank high for a particular keyword, you might want to re-shoot the video just for it.
Step 6: Use YouTube Channel SEO Tools
YouTube analytics provides such data:
Total channel performance and data for individual videos,
Habits of viewers, analytics of their demographics, source of traffic,
The updated version of the tool also has impressions, the ratio of clicks to impressions and unique viewers; comparing the performance of the last video with the previous one to track progress.
Rank tracker – Checks the rating of YouTube videos, helps with the search for keywords and their analysis.
With RankTracker you can:
set YouTube as your preferred search engine and track your rating there, as well as the video results on the search engine results page, Collect keywords using 23 search methods, including YouTube’s auto-complete feature, and compare them against each other for the most important SEO metrics, Keep track of which video keywords are ranked in organic search results,
immediately track keywords that are easy to rank using the YouTube Keyword Difficulty metric.
Hootsuite – a monitoring tool in social networks.
With Hootsuite you can:
Set up notifications about the mention of videos on social networks,
Link your YouTube account to Hootsuite to like and reply to comments right from the tool
Post videos from Hootsuite,
Watch analytics of video performance in social networks.
Canva – Helps you create thumbnails of videos and illustrations for YouTube.
Tubebuddy – An extension that will help manage the channel and optimize the video.
With TubeBuddy you can:
Monitor video statistics,
Track reposts on social networks,
Receive recommendations on SEO optimization on YouTube,
Watch all this data on all videos on Youtube to analyze competitors.
How to promote YouTube videos: cheat sheet
Do a keyword research on YouTube: find targeted keywords, analyze search trends, collect keys for the video.
Optimize the video metadata: create a name with keys, optimize the description, make a custom video thumbnail, add video tags and hashtags.
Increase user retention and engagement: optimize your viewing time, encourage engagement, add interactive tips and end-to-end screens.
Promote videos: on social networks, blog posts, question and answer services, thematic communities and newsletters.
Analyze and optimize your videos after they’re released: Analyze your audience’s retention schedules and see if your videos have met user searches.
Use the tools for SEO-promotion on YouTube: YouTube analytics, tools for monitoring social networks, tools for finding keywords, creating images and managing the channel.