It’s a known fact that Google is one of the most popular search engines. But that in no way means it is the only effective search engine around. If you want your business to grow, if you want to tap into an audience that is beyond what Google will give you, you need to understand the efficacy of other search engines too. Today, we will discuss YouTube which is the second largest search engine in the world (first being Google, YouTube’s parent company).
Here are a few stats that will help you understand why YouTube is so big. The total number of people who use YouTube is a whopping 1,300,000,000. Almost 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. YouTube gets over 30 million visitors per day. Almost 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every single day. All of this just means that you cannot ignore YouTube and would want to get your videos high up on the YouTube SERPs.
Here are the top 20 SEO strategies for YouTube:
Identify proper video keywords
This maybe a little different from how keywords appear on Google. Often, we notice that YouTube has keywords starting with ‘how to’. You can use Google to search for keywords in your area or niche and see how it works. Try using Google Keyword Planner to check the number of monthly searches your keywords get.
Use accurate closed captions for your videos
If you upload videos with inaccurate captions, there is a risk that you may be labelled as spam and may lose search rank for your whole YouTube channel. So, it is better to add accurate closed captions to your YouTube videos. You can use the automated transcript and then manually clean up errors or send your videos to an expert video transcription service. Closed captions lead to higher search rank, better user engagement and even make your videos accessible to viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Choose the correct video title
When you choose a title for the videos, ensure that you include your focus keyword in it. It looks great if you can solve a problem with your title. Your titles need to be clear enough for your viewers to understand what benefits they will get by spending time watching the video.
Put in a transcript in video description
The video description is a key spot for search engines to crawl and index your video. You may naturally take an effort to make sure that your transcript is keyword-optimized for your topic which also helps for YouTube SEO.
Make the most of your tags
Tagging is a great SEO feature that YouTube provides. It lets you enter relevant keywords so that your videos get more views. You have to ensure that your tags are very relevant to your topic.
Translate video transcript, offer subtitles
Considering that a lot of views on YouTube are from non English viewers, it is good to provide subtitles in other languages to reach out to a larger audience. When you do this, search engines will index your translated caption files and include your video in search results in those languages. You have more chances of ranking higher for non-English keywords because the competition is lesser.
It is pretty clear that the more comments you get, the more popular your videos look. In fact, comments are a popular metrics that YouTube uses to decide what people like the most. You can see to it that you conclude your video with a question and in turn get a discussion started for more comments.
Use your target keyword
It is essential that your targeted keyword appear in the title, tags and description of your transcript. This is because YouTube uses your transcript and captions to rank your video accordingly. You can try YouTube’s Search Suggest to find a keyword.
Ask people to subscribe
You obviously know how important subscriptions are a YouTube. It is not enough to have likes or comments since they may be a one-time thing, subscribing means people will see your content regularly. Instead of asking people to like, comment, and subscribe all at once, you can focus on asking them to subscribe.
Use a powerful thumbnail
As a YouTuber, you get to choose which frame to display as the video thumbnail. Choosing the right video thumbnail image makes a seminal difference in click-through rate. It helps to choose an image that is a good visual representation of your target keyword.
Upscale your production value
Quality matters everywhere. If you offer videos that are of good quality, with a proper focus on good production, you are likely to experience a spike in search performance. Using smartphones to record is fine but you can invest in some additions like a good tripod, a backdrop, proper lights, good quality microphone etc.
Opt for SEO Embed
Google prioritizes video in search results only if your video has the appropriate metadata. The SEO embed allows you to inject all your video metadata like transcript, title, description, thumbnail etc to the top of your page so that Google can crawl and index your video properly.
Edit your filename
This is an important step so that the name reflects your title or your focus keyword. For example, your default file name may be something like “20190513.mp4.” You can rename it to use your focus keyword “how_to_make_good_coffee.mp4” and this will tell the viewers what the video is exactly going to be about.
Look at user engagement
Aspects like watch time, session watch time, user intention, increasing subscriber base etc are all important metrics to show how viewers respond to your video. YouTube likes to focus on how a video adds to a user’s overall viewing session. There is a lot of importance to whether a viewer left after watching a particular video or watched two more after that. When preparing titles for videos, ensure you put in something compelling and relevant. YouTube provides several handy reports that wll help you understand and analyse how your videos are performing.
It helps to use pertinent, short, subcategorized playlists with about four to six videos to boost user engagement. You can just share a link to the playlist instead of adding links to multiple videos. It’s a very useful way to reach out to people by making the viewing process easy for them.
Share via social media and emails
The importance and reach of social media cannot be overstated in today’ day and age. To optimise your YouTube visibility and SEO, you have to share your videos on every social media platform available be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Quora etc. Once you share on social media, you will be able to build links to your channel and grow your presence in general. You can also send out an email to your list and grab more eyeballs.
Collaborate with other channels
Making collab videos is a great way to gain results. You have to select cannels that do not necessarily work in your niche but compliment you well. If you have a cooking channel, you could collaborate with a channel about baking. Make sure you get a link to your channel in the collab videos.
Get Yourself some interviews
Another great way of getting featured is acquiring interviews on a YouTube channel. There are some channels that specialize in interviews and many that conduct interviews on a regular basis. You can look at them for more visibility from audience that you may not have. These channels often have a big number of subscribers.
Work on your content
It goes without saying that despite all other strategies, if your content is not good enough, nothing will work well. Content is after all the king today. You have to make sure that you offer something good for people to keep coming back to your videos.
Decide on your video length
If you are wondering what could be the perfect size for videos, the answer is there is no perfect size. You have to see what works for you and your niche. The size of your video depends on what kind of content you have. You can make a long video if the content requires that. However, making extremely long or extremely short videos for no reason may not really work.
If you have good content ideas for videos that keep people engaged or help them with something, you are most likely to get good views. You can then direct this traffic to your website. While most business focus on making their presence felt via Facebook which has made it extremely cluttered, YouTube is not a preferred option for small businesses. This means you can make the most of it since there is space here.
What are you waiting for? Try your hand at YouTube now!
Atul is Founder & CEO at Xenia Consulting. He has over 22 years of experience in marketing, across corporates as well as SME,start-ups. Over the last 5 years, he has gained significant expertise and has helped several companies drive growth leveraging digital marketing