The world is astronomically shifting towards video content. From facts to recipes to history to business tips, there’s a video for almost every other thing. Why? Because it’s easier to visualise and consume than to read and consume. And where do you see nine out of these ten videos? YouTube. If you want information for free, Youtube is the place to go.
This brings us to the next point. The search bar that you see on top of YouTube is extremely powerful. As soon as you search for something, a whole chain of events start. You click on a video (probably the one ranking higher or one with the highest views), watch it, then go on to watch a second video in a list provided by YouTube and so on. You engage with a video in that form of likes and comments. Youtube takes note of all your behaviour and finally personalised your feed based on the channels you most interact with, the kind of videos you watch and might like.
But for videos to rank higher in the list, gain more views, subscribers, and appear in the list of recommended videos is where YouTube SEO comes into play. Your YouTube SEO efforts will determine the popularity and reach of your video. Of course, the first and most important factor will be the content and quality of your video.
13 YouTube SEO Strategies To Boost Ranking and Visibility of Your Videos
So, what can you do with the great videos you are making but not getting any views on? Let’s jump right into it. I have categorically divided the steps according to their sequence.
Step 1: Keyword Research
Before you begin your YouTube SEO journey, the first step is to find out what you want to create a video on. The keyword research process will give you a general idea of the kind of topics that you want to cover and then analyse them. You can either prepare a list of keywords beforehand or research on the kind of topics that your competitors are covering videos on. Then you must create something better than them.
1. Research The Topic
Here are some ways how you can find keywords.
- Go to the YouTube search bar. Type something that you want to make a video on and YouTube will give you a list of other popular keywords in a dropdown list. These are keywords that people have searched for on their own. This is made faster by YouTube’s autocomplete feature built into the search box of YouTube.
- It will be harder to rank for a video that has a high search volume. A higher search volume means more competition and chances are that pages with high followers and subscribers will rank higher for these videos. If you’re just starting then it might be better to start with a keyword that has low to medium search volume. You can use Ubersuggest which is a free tool to find out the search volume, SEO difficulty, paid difficulty, and so on.
- Remember that Google automatically indexes YouTube’s videos. So if your video does well on Youtube, chances are it will rank high in Google’s SERPs too. For this, Brian Dean has suggested a wonderful shortcut. He has found that when you search for tutorials in Google, especially ones that start with “how-to”, if there’s relevant and quality video content around it, Google might rank it in its top positions.
2. Compare on Google Trends
Although coming up with ideas on your own is the best practice, it doesn’t harm to know which one will work for YouTube. Google has a free tool called Google Trends for it which allows you to compare keywords to each other. There’s a “YouTube search” under the “web search” option which gives you YouTube-specific data in the form of percentages to help you get an idea of which one is searched for more.
3. Create Great Content
This is a pointer similar to both web SEO and YouTube SEO. SEO practices will only elevate and quicken the process of your video reaching its deserving fame only when the video is great. No matter the platform, content is still the king. Once you do your keyword research, conduct a competition analysis and analyse what kind of videos others in your niche have made. Research what factors are causing their videos to rank. After that, devise a strategy about how you can create something better or at least as good as them.
Step 2: YouTube In-Video Optimisation
Although I did say that great content is the first way to get yourselves noticed by your viewers, you can use some tricks in your videos to boost your YouTube SEO process.
4. Add Closed Captions To YouTube Videos
When you play a video on YouTube, you might have seen the option for auto-captions. While this makes your work easy, however, auto-captions are correct like only 70 percent of the time. Therefore, to avoid any embarrassing caption that you had not spoken verbally on your video, it is good to have closed captions.
Closed captions are subtitles displayed on YouTube videos to provide helpful information along with the audio.
Moreover, since search engines can only crawl text and not videos, you must provide a video transcription to your video. This will help crawlers to understand your message better. In fact, a video transcript is considered as a positive effort in YouTube’s ranking factors.
5. Offer Translated Subtitles in Multiple Languages
YouTube themselves have said that “…80% of views on YouTube come from outside of the United States. That’s huge, and a lot of that is non-English.”
“YouTube is localized in over 100 countries and can be accessed in 80 different languages.” Since the non-English audience base is so big, it holds value to make your videos easier for them to understand. You can translate the video transcript or subtitles in different languages in the same time-stamped format as your original transcript. This allows your videos to rank for keywords in foreign languages and reach a much wider and global audience.
Apart from the subtitles, YouTube also allows you to translate your title, tags, and meta description in various languages.
6. Youtube Cards
YouTube Cards are interactive cards that you see on Youtube in the form of an exclamation mark inside a circle on the top right corner of the video. This icon appears either in the middle or near the end of a video. It lets “creators share clickable links to relevant content throughout the video.” Clicking on this icon lets you choose from 5 of the following options. These 5 are also what cards can be used for –
- Watch another video or playlist
- Browse through another YouTube channel
- Answer polls
- Visit external links like blog articles
- Donate to a non-profit
How it helps with YouTube SEO is that with this option you can redirect your audience to more videos in your channel. However, don’t stuff too many cards. Add cards that are relevant to your video and will be more informative for the viewer.
Step 3: On-Page Video Optimisation
After your in-video optimisation, you need to step on to the next phase of YouTube SEO. Your on-page content will determine the look and feel of your video. This is also the section where if you play your cards well, can be a complete gamechanger.
7. Keyword Optimise The Video Title
The video’s title is akin to the first impression of the video. Make it clear, concise, and engaging. And MAKE SURE to add the target keyword in your title. Since YouTube allows 100 characters for its title, try to keep your target keyword close to the front.
For example- a video on cardio workout should have the keyword “cardio workout” in its title like “cardio workout at home”, “30-minute cardio workout for flat belly”, and so on.
Here again, make sure to conduct a competitor analysis to understand what you’ll be competing against and how your messaging can come off as better.
8. Write an SEO Optimised Description
A lot of people make the mistake of writing a short meta description. Don’t be a noob and make that mistake. The meta description is the space given by YouTube to you to explain your video in detail. But be careful to add important information like links to other videos, channels before the “show more” button.
Also, mind you that this section might not actually be read by your viewers but it will certainly be read by the search engine crawlers. So, utilise the 5000 characters space provided by YouTube to write the meta description.
9. Don’t Forget Tags
Tags can help your videos rank in the organic YouTube search results page or the ‘suggested’ videos column. Tags are alternative keywords and phrases which best describe your video apart from the targeted keyword.
Since the tags aren’t visible when you watch a video, you have to use a tool like the free vid IQ chrome extension. With the help of this, YouTube will suggest to you a list of related and relevant keywords and phrases. Selecting these will boost your YouTube SEO efforts by making your videos visible for the alternative phrases too.
10. Eye-Catching Thumbnail Image
Personally, I give equal importance to the title and the thumbnail image when I’m searching for a video. But this also depends on your niche.
For example, if you’re a relationship coach whose thumbnail images are mostly shots of his/her face, then the title will be more useful. However, if you’re making videos on deep-sea diving, your thumbnail image will be more important than the title.
Therefore, invest in quality pictures, camera, and editing tools or people with editing skills. The thumbnail image will determine whether a viewer will click on a video or not. This is so because this is like their only sneak peek to what might be behind the curtain, i.e the video. So, try to make it as appealing as possible.
11. Add Internal Links
Like you would do with your web SEO strategies, adding internal links to your videos is extremely beneficial for YouTube SEO. Add internal links of everywhere you want your viewers to redirect to. You can add links to your other social platforms, other videos in your channel, your blog page, and so on. Just make sure to do this above the fold so even those who don’t click on ‘show more’ might click on the lic[nks provided above the fold.
You should add these links in your meta description and you can use Youtube Cards (point 6) and End Screen to add links. Adding relevant internal links also shows search engine crawlers that you have knowledge in this area and this domain is your expertise. This makes it easier for your videos to rank higher.
Step 4: Post-Video Production
Once the video has been produced and published, now you need to make sure it reaches a wide audience.
12. Ask People To Engage With The Videos
You might have seen YouTubers doing this in the end or at the beginning of their video. They ask their viewers to like, share, comment, and subscribe to their channel and videos if they enjoy it. This is one way to remind the viewer to become a follower of the page if they find the content useful.
Another effective way is by throwing the gauntlet to the viewers. If it’s a skincare tutorial video, they’ll ask their viewers to share more tips in the comments section or let them know what worked for them or not.
YouTubers also ask viewers directly what kind of videos they would like to see more. Now, this does two things. It allows the viewer and audience to express their desire by engaging through comments. If someone agrees with it, they might like the comment. Secondly, it gives the video creator new ideas for their videos!
13. Share It On Other Platforms
Don’t limit your videos to your YouTube audience. Share it with the world. This is again a point which will illustrate the importance of having an engaging thumbnail image.
Share your videos on other platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and so on. To share, you’ll have to copy the video link on your other social pages. Once you copy the link, a thumbnail image will appear on its own which will be similar to one on YouTube. If it’s not engaging enough, people won’t click on it.
Another way to share your videos is by embedding the video and sharing it in Quora. You can answer a lot of questions on Quora by a written text as well as embedding your video in that answer.