Video is the future. You may have heard this before and it’s true. Not only are people spending more and more time watching videos, search engines are also increasingly to prioritizing video content: It is estimated that by the end of 2020, half of all Google search results will be videos. And yet few have taken the necessary steps towards fully embracing and prioritizing YouTube SEO. This opens up an opportunity as, due to limited competition, ranking well with your videos on YouTube is (i) relatively simple and (ii) relatively easy to do if you work with good content and a solid structure.
It is worth mentioning that ranking well on YouTube searches will affect how your video ranks on Google, so by optimizing for one search engine you’ve hit the two most visited websites with one stone.
Like with any search engine, it’s not only important to rank highly for a keyword, but also to rank highly for the right keyword. Showing up at the top of search results matters little if nobody is searching for the phrase that you’re ranking well on. Thus, before actually optimizing your video, it is vital that you find the right keyword or search query for your video. In doing so, you must consider the following:
Tools you can use for this: There are a variety of keyword planners but a good free one is Google Keyword Planner. While it won’t tell you how many people searched for something on YouTube, it will tell you how many searched for something on Google which corresponds very well to how many people searched for it on YouTube.
Your title is instrumental in determining how you rank for certain phrases. Not only must your title always include the keyword or search query you are aiming to rank on, it must also contain this keyword at the beginning of the title. In general, make sure your titles are short and concise. Limit yourself to 60 characters. Further, don’t only write your title for the search engine bots, but also for the actual people you hope will click on your video (this does, in turn, help your rankings as well). It seems obvious but your title should be precise and interesting. Titles that start with a general topic and then specify perform well. This means changing a title like “YouTube SEO Guide” to “YouTube SEO Guide: How to Rank Your Videos #1.” This specification not only helps users, it also helps algorithms understand the content of your video.
Your video will also have a description that should include relevant search queries, keywords, and synonyms as well as relevant links. This means that if you make a video ranking the best antivirus programs, link to the downloads of the antivirus programs you’re rating. This is both helpful to viewers and to YouTube’s algorithm which can then better understand the content and context of your video.
You might be surprised to hear that YouTube has these as well, although they’re simply known as tags. For the greatest reach, you should use 5 to 8 relevant hashtags. Make sure that people are actually searching for the tag you are using and that the tag matches the content of the video and the keyword or queries you want to be found on. Unlike on most platforms, you want to focus on relatively popular hashtags due to the huge amount of traffic available and limited competition. If you are in one of the few fields where many are already optimizing their videos (like marketing and cooking), you can turn to less popular tags.
Cards are interactive elements that you can add to your videos to link to relevant videos, playlists, downloads, tutorials, etc. For example, when you are asking viewers to subscribe, use a card to provide a link where people can subscribe. In general, cards are very useful in supporting calls-to-action of all kinds. Cards help create structure and keep people watching.
YouTube’s algorithm rewards channels that keep visitors engaged and get viewers to watch more videos. This is measured not only by how much of your video people watch before leaving it, but also by whether people continue to watch another video after having watched your video. Even better if the second video they go to is one of yours. To get viewers hooked, have a memorable outro that contains the option to subscribe and encourages commenting. The outro should also link to relevant videos and playlists. This helps create structure and leads more people to continue spending time watching your videos.
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YouTube already has 2 billion users, a number that is steadily growing. As technology gets better and better, voice and video are becoming more prevalent. Now is your chance to hop onto YouTube as it is currently still undervalued. It’s currently at the sweet spot: You’ll have low competition, meaning great potential to rank well and be seen, as well as a huge reach because so many people are using it. This also means that unlike platforms like Facebook and Instagram, where organic growth has dwindled, organic growth still works to great success on YouTube. But if you want to go beyond organic, advertising is still an option that – due to the low competition – also works amazingly well. Grow your YouTube channel before it’s too late: The rewards are tremendous and all it takes is a few simple steps.
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