What is SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. SEO is the process you go through to gain more visitors and views to a particular website/ channel through getting higher in the organic search results provided by a search engine, such as Google or Bing.
What is YouTube SEO?
YouTube SEO is Search Engine Optimization for YouTube. Like Google, YouTube is a search engine and will try to bring up the most relevant content based on what a person searches for. As with a search engine, you can also optimise your YouTube videos to help the site understand your video content, suitable audience and channel better.
YouTube needs to understand what your video is about in order to place it in the results of someone’s search. And like a Google search, it’s best to be on the first page as this will get you more engagement and organic views overall.
What can I do to Optimize my Videos?
If you don’t have a company YouTube channel but want to improve your website SEO, you can read our blog ‘Take One’s Guide to SEO’
But if you do have a YouTube channel and want to optimise your videos for higher search rankings, there are a few things to consider.
Add Tags to your Video
Firstly, you can add tags to your YouTube video under ‘basic info’ in the video settings. Tags help YouTube to understand what your video is about; if someone does a search which includes one of your tags, then your video is likely to appear.
Your tags should all be relevant to the video you are uploading, and it’s better to have a few relevant tags than to overstuff with lots of irrelevant tags.
It’s best to have a short snappy title that will catch your audience’s eye. But again it must be relevant to your video because if it isn’t, people will click off your video when they realise it wasn’t what they were looking for. That probably means they will be put off clicking on any more of your videos, plus the search engine may also detect that the content wasn’t suitable and downgrade your ranking.
Your title could also be a good place for you to put a keyword that you have and want to be found for. Adding a relevant keyword or phrase helps YouTube to more easily place you in front of your target audience.
Only the first 157 characters of your description will appear in a search and the beginning of your description is the most important part; it is a preview into what your video is about.
The viewer still has the option to click ‘read more’ to see the rest of your description. This is also a good place for you to put any further information about you or the video. Lots of people use it to put a link to their website and social media channels to try to drive more traffic.
Bear in mind that it’s not just people that read the description, YouTube does as well. YouTube uses what you put in your description, not only to figure out what your video is about but also to figure out what videos are similar to yours or are of the same genre. YouTube uses this information to know when to recommend your video and others. For example, if someone watches a video about how to set up a camera, YouTube will then recommend videos related to cameras.
By doing all of the above, you are making yourself more visible to your audience which means you should start to see an increase in views and engagement. So you aren’t just gaining brand awareness, you are also giving yourself an additional SEO boost.
There are a few other things that YouTube looks at to determine how relevant and useful your videos are to your audience, the more relevant YouTube thinks your video is, the higher they will put you in the search rankings.
YouTube tends to look at:
Audience retention and watch time, user interactions and click through rate.
Audience Retention and Watch Time.
Audience retention is quite simply the amount of time people spend watching your videos. The higher the watch time, the more time people have been spending on your channel. So if your channel has a high watch time then YouTube sees that people like your channel and therefore will give you a little boost in the search rankings. When making your videos we would recommend having a think about whether the content is going to add value to your audience or not; if it is then people are more likely to enjoy watching it but if not it may be better to reconsider the content!
Most people find it hard to get people to stay and watch a whole video, so the key is to hook people with an interesting intro. Keep your introductions short and simple, give them just enough information to understand what your video is going to be about. An article by ‘Wyzowl’ talks about why the first 5 seconds of a video is the most important.
Click Through Rate:
Click through rate is the number of clicks that your video gets. It is always good to have a high number of click-throughs to your content and your channel because then YouTube will see your channel as useful. A good way to attract people to your content is to give yourself a unique thumbnail that it stands out from other video thumbnails that may appear in the same search as you. People images are good, however, graphics that say what you’re talking about also work well.
However, if you have a high click-through rate but a low watch time on a video, YouTube will notice that your video isn’t relevant for that search and will put your video lower in the search ranking. So as we said before, it is always good to put your keywords in your title and description, though they must be relevant to your video to ensure that you are putting yourself in front of the right audience.
User interaction is the way that people are interacting with your videos. Whether it is through likes, comments or shares. YouTube tracks what interaction people make with videos, so you should encourage people to make a positive interaction with your video. There are a few things that you can do to make that easier.
For instance, we would always recommend making your videos shareable so that your audience can share the video with their social channels, putting you in front of more people. As well as this, you could add annotations, end cards and a watermark to your videos. They are all clickable overlays that you can add to your video to make it easier for people to interact with your videos.
An annotation is something you can add to your video that pops up with a message. Most people say something like “Give this video a like”.
An end card shows as a box at the end of your video, you can use this box to link to other videos, channels or websites, again something that Google likes to see.
A watermark is a little image that shows at the bottom of your video, it is a clickable overlay which most people us as another way for people to click subscribe; a good watermark would be your logo.
There are so many things you can do to help your videos get higher in the search rankings on YouTube. The main thing to take away from this blog is, the more you can help YouTube to understand your videos, the better.
We hope that this blog has been useful for you, and of course, if you have any questions please feel free to get in touch.