YouTube is more than just a platform for vloggers and funny home videos; it’s the second largest search engine behind its parent company, Google. Ranking high for YouTube SEO is essential to getting your video seen and promoting your brand. Here’s exactly how to rank for YouTube SEO:
- Do your keyword research.
Before you even start producing content, you need to do your research – keyword research that is. Not sure where to start? Luckily, YouTube can do a lot of your keyword research for you. Have a keyword in mind? Type it into the YouTube search bar and see what autocomplete comes up with. You now have a list of quality keywords that you know people are searching for.
Next, click through to a keyword you’re considering. Look at what types of videos rank there. If the ranked content is completely different from the video content you had in mind, you may want to consider an alternate keyword. Then, look at the number of videos that appear for that keyword. If you’re a brand that’s just trying to break into the niche, trying to rank for hyper-competitive keywords could be your downfall. It’s not that you won’t be able to rank; it will just take you considerably longer than aiming for less common words.
If a keyword looks like it could work for you, click on the videos that rank well and look at their tags. While tags are not the end-all-be-all for YouTube SEO, it can give you an idea of what other types of keywords and content could be a good investment. It’ll also let you know pretty quickly if you need to look into different keywords or adjust your focus.
Your own content can also be an excellent source of keywords if you’ve been around the platform awhile. Simply look at your most popular content and look at what keywords you used. Clearly people like this content, so creating similar content can be a great way to quickly rise through the ranks.
- Optimize your channel page.
Your channel page will be the landing site for anyone looking to learn more about your content and your brand. It’s also a great place to optimize for YouTube SEO. First and foremost, make it pretty. Having an incomplete or unaesthetic page is not only unprofessional; it’s driving viewers away. Page retention is a huge ranking factor for SEO (we’ll touch on this soon) so driving consumers away with an unappealing page is not the way to go.
Also obvious but often overlooked, make sure to actually fill out your about page. Don’t just fill it with corporate nonsense either. Fill it with useful information about your brand that’s sprinkled with the keywords you want to rank for. YouTube looks at your overall profile when ranking your content, so optimizing every crevice is vital for ranking well.
- Increase your audience retention.
As we mentioned above, retention time is essential to rising through the YouTube SEO rankings. Retention times are YouTube’s way of evaluating quality content. If a video has a 0% retention rate after the first 15 seconds, clearly something’s amiss with that video. On the other hand, if a video has maintained an almost 100% retention rate at the end of the video, YouTube takes that as a signal that people want to see this content. But how do you ensure that people watch most (if not all) of your video?
According to Backlinko, there are three steps to creating a high retention video. First, start with a summary of your information. Immediately let viewers know what they’re in for. Next, jump right into the content. Don’t beat around the bush or talk nonsensically for a minutes on end. Finally, preview what’s coming later in the video to give viewers something to look forward to for sticking around. Follow these rules when creating your video content, and watch your videos climb through the ranks.
- Encourage engagement.
Asking for likes and subscribes isn’t just a trope used by small-time channels. YouTube SEO algorithms place a notable amount of emphasis on how much engagement your video receives when ranking it. Likes, comments, and shares all help your video climb to the top. CTR (click through rate) is also strongly considered, so create compelling titles and thumbnails to get new viewers to click through to your video specifically. Higher CTR will help your video rank quickly, while being constantly overlooked for other videos will drop your video to the bottom of the page.
- Optimize your video.
Of course, you’ll want to optimize the actual videos you’re trying to rank. Put your keyword in the video title (preferably at the beginning). Your keyword should also appear in the tags and at least twice in the video description. Speaking of the description, use it! Add in keyword variations and interesting tidbits that viewers can learn from watching through your video. Add timestamps from your video if appropriate. Finally, make sure you have utilized the tag section of your videos. Fill it with keywords, keyword variations, and the keywords your competitors are using (It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book!)
- Promote your video.
You’ve done it! Created the perfect piece of content, optimized every corner of your video and page, and are ready to press publish. Once you upload, is that it? Are you finished? Absolutely not. The work has just begun. The easiest ways to get views and move through the ranks is to promote your content. Post your videos on your social channels. Embed them in your blogs. Utilize YouTube’s auto-playing playlists to draw in viewers from similar videos. Every quality view reflects on your retention time, which, as we’ve stated, reflects positively on your YouTube SEO ranking. So get sharing. The ball’s in your court now.
Would you like to learn more about adding YouTube SEO, or about any other video topic? Reach out to IDR for additional information and answers to all your questions. You’ll discover why we’re Orange County’s premier producer of TV commercials, infomercials, and online videos for a wide range of businesses, organizations, and brands.