YouTube SEO- How To Better Rank Your Videos

Does your business have it's own YouTube channel? Many will answer no. YouTube is still seen by many in the business world, as an indie television station for millennial beauty vloggers & lifestyle gurus. If you've ever needed to know how to fix anything around the house, I can assure you there's a YouTube "How To" video about it. But if you're serious about your marketing strategy and are not using video as part of your marketing mix you're missing out on a large percentage of potential customers.

Did you know that including a video on your landing page has been shown to increase conversions by 80%? That's a huge margin! Not only is the video itself important, but you must also be sure to properly SEO your YouTube video as well in order for them to rank in YouTube searches. Perhaps you can't provide an instructional video or one that is particularly engaging about your business, consider the YouTube video a commercial that you can use across multiple platforms- from your website to social media pages. 

What To Consider When Optimizing Your Video

Keyword Planning 

Just as keywords are important in your written content, keyword placement plays a role in YouTube video optimization as well. As always, when figuring out what keywords to target, research needs to be done. You want to ensure you are using the phrases your desired viewers are utilizing to begin their search. 

In the above example, I wanted to know how to properly trim a dog's nails. All three of these results give me exactly what I am looking for. They make it clear in the title, and the description of the video reinforces that if I watch, I am going to get an answer to my query. 

To find the best keywords to use you can utilize any of your favorite keyword research tools such as Google Keyword Planner (if you have an Adwords account). Don't forget to test out the competition keywords to see what types of videos come up, as well. 

Where Do You Put These Keywords

Keyword placement for YouTube videos differs from keyword placement on your website, but the basics around it are fairly the same. 

Video Title
Video Description
Video Tags
Video Script

Often many publishers on YouTube neglect to create a script for their videos. This is a key opportunity to make your video more user-friendly. 

 Above is an example of how the YouTube transcript appears below the video.

Above is an example of how the YouTube transcript appears below the video.

Video Description

As shown in the first example, your video description is one of the first chances your YouTube video has to entice a user to click. Make it count. The first sentence in your description is what's shown in the search snippet. Using logic you could surmise that you should put your keyword towards the beginning of that first sentence to grab the user's attention. Make your description informative and engaging while including a call to action for searches to view. 

Remember not to keyword stuff your description. This practice is frowned upon on every level of SEO. Instead of constantly repeating "how to cut your dog's nails" try using synonyms such as "trim your pup's nails" or anything else that is relevant but not a direct reuse of your target keywords. 

 The Pet Collective Video Description

The Pet Collective Video Description

The description of your YouTube video is not only a space to talk about your current video. Use your video description to link to other popular videos on your channel, your social media accounts, as well as any URL you'd like the viewer to visit. In the Pet Collective video description, you can see they've also picked a relevant category for video as well as have linked to sources their viewers will likely enjoy. 

YouTube SEO Is Nothing If You Aren't Getting Views

You Get Out Of It What You Put In

Like many things in life, the effort you put into your YouTube video will likely be equal to the results you get. 

Not everyone has the budget to hire a professional videographer. You don't need to have A+ videos from the start, as long as they're engaging and informative that should be good enough. Although it doesn't hurt to invest in yourself. If you can't afford a good video camera or DSLR, consider a decent web camera. Technology these days is amazing and a web cam in today isn't the same low-quality as they were a few years ago. Do your research.

Video Distribution

YouTube measures your video popularity by its views. Not just the amount of people who have watched your video but the amount of time spent watching the video (known as watch time). It's cool that 50k people watched, but out of that 50 thousand views only 10% watched the video more than halfway through. 

Using YouTube Analytics you can view your stats such as engagement and watch time. If you find that not many people are viewing your video through, or that they aren't engaging you can determine that your method of the video is not useful to your audience and it's time to try something new. This error could be that you're not targeting the correct keywords. If someone is looking for reviews on exotic ice creams but your video is about Blue Bell and you've set an umbrella branch of keywords on all categories of ice creams then your video is a bit misleading to the searcher and they will soon jump off of your channel and onto another.

However, the problem may lie in the fact that you just simply aren't marketing your video. There are many ways to get more views on your YouTube video than simply SEO. Be Sure to:

  • Promote your video on social media
  • Embed new videos on your home pages and landing pages
  • Link to other videos in the video description

YouTube SEO and website SEO are quite similar. Just like with your website optimization it starts with a plan and ends with execution and trial and error. If you take these steps you're sure to see your videos begin to rise in the rankings of search engines. 

Anything that has worked for you but has not been covered in this post? Leave a comment below and let me know.