Top 10 Simple YouTube SEO Tips
You can combine your SEO and video strategies to help you straightforwardly strengthen your marketing.
Doing this will not only increase your video watch time, but it will also grab your customers’ attention and help you learn more about things like YouTube remarketing. Here are eight steps to improve YouTube SEO to increase traffic and video views.
Choose your keywords wisely
The SERPs are getting more and more competitive every month. New competitors, new products, new services—everyone is vying for the top spot. Therefore, finding ways to diversify yourself and your products is crucial.
Do your keyword research, and unless you can compete with really competitive terms, choose keywords that can increase your sales but are less competitive.
You can use the same keyword research tools as PPC or SEO, such as
- WordStream’s free keyword tool
- Google Keyword Planner.
- Moz or Semrush.
- Google Search – Search suggestions, people also ask, related searches, and more!
Use keywords in video titles
Understanding your audience’s search intent is the first step. We know that the most common types of search intent include informational, commercial, navigational, and transactional. Therefore, matching your video content to your customers’ intent is very important to make your video visible in search results.
Second, make sure you understand why you are creating YouTube videos and who your primary audience is. For example, if you want to showcase product reviews, use the product name in the video title and description.
It sounds simple enough, but there are a lot of YouTube channels that miss this step, and their videos show up poorly in Google and YouTube search results.
Below is an example of how competitive the term “Dell Computer Review” is. This term is something people might search for when thinking about a product.
The videos come from YouTube, but also other sites and blogs around the web.
Include keywords in video files
Super easy, but YouTube may use this as a ranking factor when showing your video in search results.
If you upload the filename with the target keyword in it, your video will have a better chance of ranking – and a better chance of getting more search volume.
When uploading a new video, you can see the filename. YouTube uses this to ensure videos are relevant, so make sure to update your filename before uploading!
Optimize your YouTube video descriptions
One of the most important ranking factors for YouTube SEO is making sure you have solid, optimized video descriptions.
YouTube re-evaluates the video whenever you change or update any YouTube video elements, including the video description, subtitles, closed captions, and the video thumbnail. This can be good or bad…so you must do it right the first time!
YouTube recommends that you put your most important keywords in the first few sentences of your description and that your description should not exceed 200 words. Broadly speaking – make your description useful. If it doesn’t help the user – delete it.
You can see below that the keywords I typed into Google are in bold in the description of the video that’s shown. This is how YouTube tells me the video is related to the video description.
Youtube has some great resources on Youtube Creator Studio that are always updated with current information. It has a handy list that guides you through the steps described in a successful video:
- Include video overviews in natural language, not just keyword streams.
- Insert the most important keyword at the beginning of the description.
- Choose 1-2 main words to describe your video and highlight them in your description and title.
- Use keyword tools such as Google Trends and Google Ads Keyword Planner to identify popular keywords and their synonyms. Including these terms can help you maximize search traffic.
- Omit irrelevant words from your description, as this creates a poor viewing experience and may violate Google’s policies.
Use video tags to drive YouTube search results
Across social media, Youhashtags (#) are now used to help users find content that answers their questions across a range of platforms. You can add hashtags to your YouTube video description and title to help viewers find your video when they search for a specific hashtag.
Hashtags are especially helpful in driving searches because they make key trends more visible. After adding a hashtag to the video description, it will appear above the video title and then become a hyperlink.
It’s also important to remember where you include your video hashtags here. If you add a hashtag to the video title, the hashtag in the description will not appear in the video title.
Select video category
If a user is searching for a specific video with advanced options, they can select Search to display videos from the selected category. When uploading a video, it’s important to associate the video with a category so you have a better chance of being found by users.
YouTube has a variety of categories to choose from, so you should be able to find the right one for your YouTube video. You can choose a category option when uploading a video.
Customize Your Thumbnails
Thumbnails can help or hinder your YouTube videos. When people look at YouTube search results, they are the first things people notice. Strong thumbnails can lead to higher watch time, which can have a big impact on YouTube rankings.
Create something that grabs people’s attention and stands out from the crowd, so your videos will get noticed. For example, these thumbnails are just taken from the video itself and are probably most relevant to grab the user’s attention.
Creating custom thumbnails is the best way to see the results – showing people your video content and how it will benefit them is the real key to success.
Add subtitles and closed captions
Using subtitles and closed captions are the last tip for YouTube search success.
Video captions are designed to convey video dialogue for viewers who do not understand the language of the video, while closed captions are intended for viewers who cannot hear the audio.
Both subtitle and closed captioning files contain the text spoken in the video, such as a transcript. The file will also contain timecodes for when each bit of text should be displayed over the video to match speech or other visual elements. See YouTube’s supported file formats here.
Another benefit of having a transcript of your video is that it can be indexed by a wide range of search engines, just like a blog.
On the video upload screen, you can choose the file and video language. There are many very good guides on how to create SRT files for your videos. This is the one I use a lot!
Use these YouTube SEO tips to rank higher
If you’re looking to promote your business on YouTube, use these YouTube SEO tips to help increase your video traffic and watch time:
- Choose your keywords wisely
- Include keywords in video titles
- Include keywords in video files
- Refine your description
- Use video tags
- Select video category
- Use prominent thumbnails
- Add subtitles and closed captions
Finally, do your research like any other content. Focus on creating evergreen videos that you can build upon to enhance your content portfolio. The more useful content you provide your users, the more searches for your business and YouTube channel!