Step #1: YouTube Keyword Research
The YouTube SEO process begins with video keyword research.
Here’s exactly how to find the right keywords for your YouTube videos:
First, generate a list of keywords ideas.
Your first step is to generate a big list of potential keywords. Then, in the next step, I’ll help you find the best keyword from your list.
Here’s how to find keywords for your YouTube Videos:
One of my favorite strategies is to use the YouTube’s Search Suggest feature.
All you need to do is head over to YouTube and pop in a word or phrase…
These suggested keywords are GREAT.
Because these are terms that people actually type into YouTube. So there’s no need to wonder if they’re popular or not. If YouTube suggests them to you, they 1000% are.
You can also go to a popular video in your niche… and copy the same keywords that video is optimized around.
As you probably know, keyword optimization is a KEY part of YouTube SEO. So if a video has lots and lots of views, chances are, that video is optimized around a popular keyword.
To execute this step, go to another channel in your niche.
Then, sort their videos by “Most Popular”
… and YouTube will hand you a bunch of keywords related to what you typed in:
Next, choose a video from the list. Obviously, you want to pick a video that you can create an awesome video around (more on that in step #2).
But in general, if the video is in your niche, it’ll work.
Finally, see which keywords that video is optimized around. This is easy.
Just check out the keywords that video uses in its title, description and video tags:
Second, find the best keyword from your list
Now that you’ve generated a list of keywords, it’s time to choose the best one from your list.
Specifically, you want to target low-competition keywords.
This is ESPECIALLY important if your channel doesn’t have that many subscribers. If you swing for the fences and go after competitive keywords, your video is gonna get buried in the search results.
Instead, you want to find keywords that don’t have a lot of competition.
How do you check?
All you need to do is:
Search for your keyword in Google: And check out the “About results” right under your search bar you’ll see this.
This number represents the total number of videos in YouTube about that topic. The higher this number, the more competitive a keyword is. So you want to target keywords that have a low “About results” number.
(How low should you go? Every industry is different. So I can’t give you a specific number to shoot for. Just focus on choosing keywords that have low competition for your niche)
For example, when I search for “YouTube SEO”, there are 10,700,000 results:
That’s a lot.
So if I was just starting out, I’d try a few other keywords, like “YouTube ranking factors”.
Bingo! That keyword only has 26,800 results.
And that means that this keyword MUCH less competitive.
Finally, a bonus tip: search for your keyword in Google.
Here’s the deal:
Most views on YouTube come from within YouTube’s platform.
But don’t stop there. Your video can get 2-5x more views if you can ALSO get it to rank in Google.
The trick is to optimize your videos around keywords that already have video resultsin Google.
You see, Google only includes videos in the search results for certain keywords.
Unlike a “normal” first page with 10 webpage results, for certain keywords Google reserves a good chunk of the first page for video results.
In general, Google tends to use video results for these types of keywords:
- How-to keywords (“how to make cold brew coffee”)
- Reviews (“beats by Dre review”)
- Tutorials (“Setting up WordPress”)
- Anything fitness or sports related (“Cardio kickboxing”)
- Funny videos (“Cute animals”)
Why is this important?
Well, let’s say you optimize your video around a keyword that doesn’t have any video results in Google. In that case, you’ll ONLY get traffic from people searching on YouTube.
But if you optimize for a video keyword, you’ll also get targeted traffic to your video directly from Google’s first page.
The question is:
How do you find these magical keywords?
All you need to do is search for one of the keywords you found in the last step.
Step #2: Publish a High-Retention Video
Here’s the truth:
If you want your videos to rank, you need to keep people watching.
The amount of your video that people watch is known as Audience Retention.
And YouTube has gone on the record saying: “Audience Retention” is a HUGE ranking factor.
In other words:
If your video keeps people on YouTube, YouTube will rank your video higher in the search results.
(After all, YouTube wants people to stay on the platform so they click on ads. And if you help them with that goal, they’ll promote your video).
The question is:
HOW do you create a video that keeps people engaged?
(Also known as a “High-Retention Video”)
The bottom line?
If your video stinks, it won’t rank…no matter how optimized it is for SEO.
That said, Audience Interaction is one of several ranking signals that YouTube uses in its algorithm.
So let me show you the 5 other important YouTube ranking factors:
If someone leaves a comment, it sends a strong message to YouTube that they probably enjoyed the video (or at least engaged with it).
In fact, when I recently analyzed 1.3 million YouTube search results, I found that comments STRONGLY correlated with ranking highly in the search results.
So make sure to encourage your viewers to comment on your video… and reply to comments that you get.
“Subscribes”After Watching a Video
If someone subscribes to your channel after watching your video that sends a HUGE signal that you have an amazing video.
The best way to get more subscribers on YouTube? Ask people to subscribe. Seriously, I’ve found that asking viewers to subscribe at the end of my videos significantly boosts my monthly subscribers numbers.
How many people share your video on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook?
Think about it this way: people don’t share bad videos, right? So when YouTube sees that people are spreading the word about your video, they think: “This must be an awesome piece of content!”. And they’ll give you a rankings boost.
(Also, social shares bring more people FROM those networks to YouTube… which they like).
When someone searches for your keyword in YouTube, which result do they click on?
Your video… or someone else’s?
As it turns out, YouTube pays VERY close attention to this user behavior. The percentage of people that click on your result is known as “click-through-rate” (CTR). Obviously, the higher your CTR, the better.
In other words, you want YouTube searchers to click on your result.
And YouTube notices that lots of people are clicking on your result, they think: “We need to rank this video higher up in the search results!”
On the other hand, if people are skipping over your result, they’ll drop your rankings.
The best way to boost your CTR? Create compelling thumbnails and titles.
Thumbs up/Thumbs down
Self explanatory 🙂
Like with text-based articles in Google, longer videos rank better.
I consistently see longer videos outperform shorter videos in YouTube and Google search.
And the data supports this. The YouTube ranking factors study that I mentioned earlier also found that longer videos have an edge over short videos (at least when it comes to YouTube SEO)
How long should your video be?
I wouldn’t worry about this too much. Just focus on creating the best video possible.
If it makes sense for your video to be 20+ minutes, go for it. Don’t worry about your video being too long. If it’s awesome, people WILL watch it.
Step #3: YouTube Video Optimization
Here’s how to extract the most SEO value from your video:
SAY Your Target Keyword
You’ve probably noticed that YouTube now automatically transcribes your videos. And they’re pretty darn accurate.
So if YouTube sees that you mention your target keyword in your video, they’ll “hear” it. And because you’re actually SAYING the keyword that your video is optimized around, YouTube will better understand that your video is about that term.
The title of your video should be at least 5 words long. That way, you can include your full keyword without keyword-stuffing.
Tip: Like with a blog post, you’ll get a slight video SEO boost by putting your keyword at the beginning of the title.
So if you were trying to rank for “surfing tutorial” you’d want a title like: “Surfing Tutorial: Learn How to Ride a Wave Today”.
Your video’s description is super important.
Your video description helps YouTube and Google understand the context of your video. And the better they understand your video, the higher you’ll rank (and the more often you’ll show up in the Suggested Video sidebar).
Here are the basic guidelines for the description:
- Include your keyword in the first 25 words
- Make the description at least 250 words
- Include your keyword 2-4 times
This SEO-optimized description helps tell Google and YouTube what your video is about without being spammy.
Tags aren’t super-important…but they help.
Here’s how I use video tags for videos:
- My first tag is my exact target keyword (Example: “HBOT Benefits”).
- I also include a few variations of that word or phrase (Example: “Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment Benefits”)
- Finally, I make a few of my tags other topics that my video covers (Example: “Oxygen & Health, Hyperbaric Oxygen’s Effects on Health ”)
In short: just include a few keywords to help YouTube and Google learn what your video is about.
Tip: Targeted tags not only help you rank for your target keyword…
…but get you to you show up more often as a related video in the sidebar area of YouTube.
So don’t be afraid to use the same tags that your competitors use. In fact, it’s a YouTube marketing best practice that has worked for YEARS.
When your video’s tags match a video that someone’s watching, you have a good chance of showing up in the Suggested Video section.
And that’s all there is to optimizing your video to rank in YouTube.
With that out of the way, it’s time for a step that many people skip over: video promotion.
We talked a lot about creating videos that maximize Audience Retention and user experience signals. Which is important.
But for YouTube to measure these signals, you need to get views on your video!
Here are some strategies you can use to get targeted views to your video:
Mention Your Video on Quora and Other Q&A Sites
Quora, forums and other Q&A sites are some of the most popular sites on the web (in fact, Quora is one of the most popular sites online).
But if you try to go in there and spam your blog content, you’re going to get banned. That’s why you want to link to YouTube videos.
And not only can you get a high quantity of views… but the views you get from Q&A sites are high-quality too.
(In other words, high-retention views)
Think about it:
You’re posting your video in a place where people are desperate for information on a given topic. So the people that watch your video will watch a good chunk of your video to help them learn more about that topic.
Embed Your Videos in Blog Posts
Whenever you write a blog post (on your site or as a guest post for another site), think to yourself:
“Where can I embed a YouTube video into this post?”
WAYS TO GET MORE VIEWS
1. Use “BOGY” Thumbnails
It’s no secret that your video thumbnail is HUGE.
According to YouTube, 9 out of 10 of the most-viewed videos on YouTube use a custom thumbnail.
Youtube themselves state, “Thumbnails are usually the first thing viewers see when they find one of your videos.”
The question is:
How do you create a thumbnail that stands out?
BOGY Thumbnails are thumbnails that use these four colors:
Why is this important?
Well, if you look around YouTube, you’ll notice that the site is mostly red, black and white.
And if your thumbnail also uses red, black and white… your video will blend in.
2. Copy This Proven Video Description Template
YouTube has confirmed that your video descriptions “let YouTube’s algorithms know what your videos are all about.”
With that, I have some good news:
I recently developed a YouTube description template that works GREAT.
Here it is:
Strong intro 2-3 sentences
Detailed Outline 2-3 words
Links to Website & Social
Now I’ll break down each section in detail.
First, you have the Strong Intro.
The first few lines of your description are SUPER important.
Specifically, you want to include your target keyword once in the first 1-2 sentences.
That’s because YouTube puts more weight on keywords early on in your description.
You also want to sell your video.
The first few lines of your description show up in YouTube search…and if that snippet is super compelling, more people will click on your result.
Plus, some people even read your description after they land on your video page.
So it’s important that the content above “Show more” really sells your video.
Next, you have the 150-word outline.
All you need to do here is outline what someone will learn from your video.
Don’t be afraid to get into the nitty-gritty details here. In fact, I recommend writing AT LEAST 150 words.
And make sure to use keywords that you want your video to rank for.
That way, YouTube can fully understand your video content.
Finally, you have your description links.
The goal here is to send people to your website and social media channels.
If you want to get more subscribers, I recommend adding a call-to-action to subscribe here too..
Which leads us to…
3. Boost Your Video Title CTR
Your title is a BIG part of your video’s success.
In fact, YouTube’s internal data has confirmed that your title can make or break your entire video.
With that, here’s exactly how to write video titles that get tons of clicks:
First, add brackets and parentheses to the end of your title.
An industry study by HubSpot found that adding brackets to a title increased clicks by 33%
Next, use a number in your title.
This number can be:
- The number of tips or strategies you’re going to cover
- The current year
- Number of steps in a how-to video
- The amount of weight someone lost (or lifted)
Or pretty much any number that makes sense for your video.
4. Get More “Suggested Video” Views
Over the last few years I’ve studied dozens of YouTube channels.
And I’ve noticed one consistent pattern:
Successful channels get lots of views from Suggested Video.
As a reminder, “Suggested Videos” are related videos that YouTube promotes next to the video you’re watching.
How can you get more views from Suggested Video?
Use the same tags as your competitors.
In fact, YouTube has stated that they use your video content metadata (like your title, description and tags) for Suggested Video rankings.
How do you use tags the right way?
The MVC Formula.
Here’s how it looks:
The MVC stands for: “Main Keyword”, “Variations” and “Category”.
I’ll break this down with a real-life example…
First, you have “Main Keyword”.
This is self-explanatory.
You want to use your main keyword as your first or second tag.
Next, we’ve got “Variations.”
Finally, include 1-2 tags that describe your video’s overall category.
These broad keywords are designed to help YouTube understand your video’s overall topic and category.
Here’s where you sprinkle in a few variations of your main keyword.
5. Share Videos On Quora, Reddit and Forums
Online communities are GREAT places to promote your YouTube videos.
That’s because people on these communities have burning questions…
…questions that your video can answer.
6. Improve Your Channel’s “Session Time”
Audience retention? Important.
Watch Time? VERY important.
But neither of these two metrics are as important as Session Time.
Session Time (also known as “Session Watch Time”) is the total amount of time someone spends on YouTube after watching your video.
And it’s one metric that YouTube cares A LOT about. In fact, YouTube has said, “The goals of YouTube’s search and discovery system are twofold: to help viewers find the videos they want to watch, and to maximize long-term viewer engagement”
7. Share Video Clips On Social Media
Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites want to keep people on their platforms.
(Just like YouTube)
THE END 😉 HOPE THIS HELPS A BIT