If you’re a YouTuber, you must have heard about YouTube SEO. Are you executing these SEO tips to grow your channel?
You only know the basics but have you ever tried something advance that can help you increase YouTube ranking?
NOT yet, don’t worry, here is a well-cooked plan waiting for you.
If you want to learn how to rank your videos on YouTube as well as on Google. Then this guide is for you.
In this article, I’ve prepared a YouTube SEO tutorial that could help you to optimize your channel. You’ll also learn how to boost your user engagement, subscribers and grow your ranking on YouTube.
By the end of reading this guide, you’ll come to know how to optimize your YouTube channel for SEO.
Ok, let’s start with the basic.
- What is YouTube SEO?
- YouTube SEO: 25 Factors To Outrank Your Competitors Video Without Putting Efforts
- #1. Watch time
- #2. Video Quality
- #3. Title Tag
- #4. Description
- #5. Thumbnails
- #6. Social media shares
- #7. Video span time
- #8. Likes & dislikes
- #9. Video Tags
- #10. Keyword in your video file name
- #11. Number of views
- #12. YouTube backlinks
- #13. Video share diversity
- #14. Uploading frequency
- #15. Annotations
- #16. Ranked tag
- #17. Keyword density in tags
- #18. Active subscribers
- #19. Keyword in channel’s title
- #20. Channel age
- #21. CTR (click through rate)
- #22. Optimize playlist
- #23. Transcript
- #24. Focus keyword in your audio scripting
- #25. Video keyword
What is YouTube SEO?
In short, it’s a process for improving the video visibility, ranking and user engagement on YouTube.
By using these techniques you not only improve your rankings but also improve your YouTube earnings.
Google wants high-quality backlinks for good ranking but at the same time, YouTube considers user engagement for rankings.
What do you understand by User engagement?
User engagement is a key to get success on YouTube. It’s a measure of user behaviour which tells ‘how your videos making the users happy and how people are going to react.
Like Google, YouTube also prefers the user behaviour to measure the rankings.
‘User behaviour’ considers following terms on YouTube
- Watch time – How long people are watching your videos. Are they leaving your videos by just watching first 10 seconds? (Watch time is the most important ranking factor on YouTube )
- Are they sharing your videos on social media?
- Are they encouraging your videos?
- Are they leaving the positive comments and giving the thumbs up?
- Are they subscribing your videos after watching?
- Are they following you on social media?
If the answer to all above questions is positive. Means the user behaviour is positive. This indicates that you are in the right direction.
If you’re able to make the above things possible you’re done. You don’t need to take further steps.
So, the main purpose is to make your audience happy. Figure out what people really want and how you can make them happy.
SEO is not just taking care of search engine parameters. Instead, it also considers the user experience.
So, in my definition SEO is equal = Taking care of both [search engine + user behaviour].
Once you understand the formula, you’re no longer far from your success.
The one important thing is to see the participation of YouTube algorithms and audience. Who does participate more, User or algorithms?
The short answer is “User”
I don’t know what you think but I think that the only task that YouTube algorithm performed is, just serving the more relevant results to your audience. The rest of the task is performed by your audience.
Interesting? Isn’t it
Means you feed the query to YouTube algorithms which serves you the possible results and you complete the task by watching the desired results.
For instance, let’s take an example, suppose you search for ‘How to earn money from YouTube ’. This query received by YouTube bots. They scan their whole directory and collect possible results. At the end of the process, YouTube counter further collects all the necessary ranking signals (user interaction, watch time, comments, thumbs up and thumbs down etc.) produced by the audience and make decisions on the behalf of those activities.
In a nutshell, only the audience is responsible for your ranking. This is the whole recipe to optimize your YouTube videos for SEO.
But how do you make this possible? Don’t know? Keep reading…
Till now, when someone talks about SEO you always think of search engines like Google. But for your kind information, YouTube is the second largest search engine behind the Google.
I don’t think you should ignore this. Because each and every search engine have potential to roll your business towards the different audience. Which might lead to unbelievable sells and conversions for you.
So, you should never miss this chance.
Is there any difference between YouTube and Google SEO?
Yes, YouTube has its own search parameters which make the YouTube’s algorithms purely different from Google.
No one knows the exact parameters of search algorithms. But since Brian dean revealed the possible Google ranking factors, people have got to know more than 200 factors that Google considers for ranking.
But YouTube has a different perspective. Google considers backlinks as a ranking factor but on the other hand, there is no question of YouTube backlinks. Instead of backlinks, YouTube looks at user engagement.
Major similarities between YouTube SEO and Google SEO
|YouTube ranking factors||Google ranking factors|
|Video length||Content length|
|Watch time||Bounce rate/time spend on a web page|
|CTR depends on Title tag, position and video thumbnail||CTR depends on Title tag, Meta description and position|
|Quality of video||Quality of content|
YouTube SEO: 25 Factors To Outrank Your Competitors Video Without Putting Efforts
Here I’m going to list the top SEO factors that probably be the ranking parameters for YouTube.
#1. Watch time
How long time people spent watching your videos on YouTube is called watch time. This is the most effective element for analyzing your video and rank them accordingly. But like I said, Watch time is not the only factor to consider.
YouTube’s experts stated that earlier they used to consider the Video views to rank the videos. But they realized that a video having millions of views is never be dominated by new and fresh videos. Which could make the YouTube search results outdated. Finally, they found the solution that ‘watch time’ would be the important ranking factor instead of views.
Watch time significantly influence the rankings. In fact, MORE time people spend on your video also encourage YouTube to serve more quality ads. Resulting, more money.
YouTube has made some changes to encourage the audience to spend more time watching and sharing the videos.
They’ve changed the ‘video diversity feature’ which now help you find the relevant videos easily.
The concept has now changed from “more clicking and less watching” to “less clicking more watching”. It has significantly discouraged the concept of the number of views.
Now you know what the watch time is. It’s time to understand how you can increase your Watch time
But how do you entice people to continuously watch your videos? How you can grasp the attention of the audience.
If you want easy engagement, you must be required an emotional connection between your channel and audience.
You have only a few seconds to encourage your audience to keep watching your video.
The best practice to increase WATCH TIME is to initiate your video with an emotion. Once you’re able to keep your visitors watching up to 15 to 20 seconds. You can significantly increase your watch time.
The second tips to increase WATCH TIME is adept the simple principle given by Brian Dean. It is called PPP (Preview – Proof – Preview).
Preview – Tell your audience what is your video is all about
Proof – Tell your audience how much you know in particular field, show them your case studies or real statistics.
Preview – Share your whole information, research and study on that topic.
This was something that you could use to increase user retention/ WATCH TIME.
There are also some short tips to optimize your YouTube videos for WATCH TIME
- Emotion – (here emotion doesn’t mean that you start to cry in front of the camera. Instead, you must be looked super confident and dedicated to your work)
- Make your video clear and state forward
- Never use false click bait tactics to encourage your audience.
- Use the PPP method suggested by Brian Dean.
- Try to initiate your videos by providing something additional that can make your audience happy.
- Watch time also depends on how you are going to present your videos to the audience. You can even ask your audience to know, are they enjoying your videos or not.
#2. Video Quality
Brian Dean has analyzed 1.3 million YouTube videos to list out some YouTube SEO parameters. Video quality is also one of them.
He found that YouTube prefers 68.2% videos in HD on top. It means a high-quality video can easily outrank a low-quality video.
#3. Title Tag
A title tag is the first thing that appears on YouTube. It plays a vital role in YouTube ranking because it helps your audience to understand what your video is all about. If your title is not optimized you’ll get very less CTR (click through rate)
Why title tag is important on YouTube
- It influences your ranking on YouTube – if you get more clicks on your videos, YouTube will push your videos on top.
- Increase CTR
But how you can make your title tag more appealing.
Here is a few tip that you could use to make your Title Tag SEO optimized.
- Urgency: Use those words that serve the urgency to your audience. For example, include a deadline like that ‘harry up! Offer expires on Wednesday’. It encourages your audience to take immediate action. (Read more about TITLE TAG )
- Put your focus keyword at the starting of the title.
YouTube used to read your description while collecting the results regarding user’s query. But As per my knowledge, I think that YouTube doesn’t bother descriptions. Because now YouTube can hear your videos. So it worth optimizing your videos for audio rather than text.
But including a short and SEO optimized description could be beneficial if you want to get your videos on the first page of google.
You can optimize your description similar to Google Meta description. Put in some unique information like real studies, statistics. You can also include focus keywords along with LSI (Latent semantic indexing) keywords to boost your ranking on Google and YouTube as well.
There are a few advanced tips to use to optimize your description for YouTube and Google as well
- Use your focus keyword in the first paragraph
- There is no relation between the length of description and ranking. A short and well-optimization description can play well than lengthy description
These are the first preview of your video. Thumbnail and Title decide whether or not the user clicks the video.
That means it significantly influence your CTR.
Believe or not, when I studied it I found an amazing YouTube fact according to that, a perfect and simple thumbnail can increase CTR up to 154%.
Now, you might ask how to create a thumbnail that encourages the audience to click the videos. Ok, that’s not hard. Just analyze top results. You’ll get some idea.
If you want to possibly make your YouTube’s thumbnails stand out then you shouldn’t underestimate the power of thumbnail. You can create your thumbnail directly from your publishing control panel.
CHECK OUT: How to create video thumbnail
Include the following ingredients to make your thumbnail attractive and meaning full
- Your thumbnail should be clear. Never include too many images and text. Keep it short and good.
- Your thumbnail should be such so that it can explain the motive of the video.
- The best way to create actionable thumbnail is to `go to Twitter and Facebook and see which type of thumbnail is playing well in your industry. I mean getting the tons of shares and comments. Once you find some great thumbnails, tweak them a little bit and them your own. [Remember, never use their thumbnail instead use their type and style. That’s it ]
CHECK OUT: YouTube Thumbnail examples
This isn’t the new thing for you. You all know the power of social power. But do you know how they can influence your YouTube SEO.
If you want to increase your search rankings then share your content as fast as possible. Because it helps you increase the user engagement and YouTube views.
When I researched, I found that ‘If you share your content on social media very early and collects tons of shares or views, search engine push them on the top page temporary basis. Now, if your video or web page performs well then search engines assign that position for your results’.
This happens on a temporary basis. So if your social profile is powerful then you’ll definitely notice a boost in your video rankings.
#7. Video span time
According to YouTube creator blog, you can’t get the high user retention by just creating too small or too longer videos. For best results, do your own experiment and examine your optimal time.
Brian Dean, the founder of Backlinko.com found in his study that long videos have more potential to rank on YouTube. The avg. span time of top videos is the 14.5 minutes.
However, many experts say that creating videos at least 5 minutes could reflect good rankings. But it doesn’t mean that you create too long videos. Make them longer only if they worth otherwise, keep them short.
The best SEO practice to find the optimal length for YouTube videos is to do a search on YouTube by typing in your query. YouTube shows you the topics related to your query.
Analyze the video length of those top videos and set your benchmark. If you find lengthy videos on that topic that means it worth creating lengthy videos.
#8. Likes & dislikes
Likes and dislikes are work as a vote. This is the part of user retention. If you’re getting more likes on your videos which means your videos are doing well.
It is important to keep an eye on the ratio between likes to dislikes. If YouTube notices negative signals from here then it will significantly decrease your YouTube search visibility.
If you want positive results then create something helpful. This can organically encourage your audience to like your videos. You can also ask for likes.
In my study, I found that if you want your videos on top 10 positions than the ratio between likes to dislikes should be at least 87.27%. It means if 87 visitors out of 100 visitors like your video then it would be in top positions on YouTube.
If you want to reserve 1st position in YouTube then the ratio must be at least 92.54%.
#9. Video Tags
Tags help YouTube identify your video easily. YouTube has already introduced a new feature to manage your tags.
Tags also help YouTube to serve videos in the suggestion sidebar that improve user engagement which results in the increase in rankings.
By reading most of the popular blogs I found that including dozens of tags might help your videos to rank better on YouTube. It doesn’t mean that you include more tags than needed. Keep them limited.
Follow these SEO tips to optimize YouTube videos for tags
- Include your brand or channel name in tag
- Spread few keywords
- Use YouTube auto-suggestion to find some new tags
- There is no fixed limit to include tags. You can add as many as you want. But it doesn’t make sense. Include only related words.
#10. Keyword in your video file name
If you’ve never optimized your video file name then it could be the reason that’s why you are not ranking in the top on YouTube.
Once you’ve created and edited your video, you immediately willing to upload that on YouTube. But make sure you replace video file name (xyz.mov.005) with focus keyword (foucus_keyword.mp4).
#11. Number of views
Although, YouTube doesn’t bother the number of views. But it has been found that the number of YouTube views still matter.
However, there is no such thing as ‘YouTube backlinks’. But I think this is the best way to increase your views and rankings.
Although, YouTube doesn’t consider the backlinks as a ranking signal. But this is beneficial for newbie YouTubers.
Apart from sharing your videos on social media, you need to ask webmasters to embed your video in their article.
Let’s see what you need to exactly do.
First of all, head to Google and search for your niche blogs. For instance, if you’re willing to create your videos related to ‘product reviews’. Find out some good blogs that belong to your niche.
Now, check out those articles and try to create a video that makes that article great. Once you’ve created, it time to email those site’s owner to ask for including your video in their article. If any of them say yes. You’ve got a YouTube backlink.
By doing this, you’ll get some extra boost in video views and SEO.
Your video share should be diverse. I mean share your videos on the different-different media platform. Because if you share your videos on one social platform you might lose a ton of audience.
Send your videos to the diverse audience. Because it would give your channel more exposure and recognition.
Top social media platform to share your video content
- Facebook – Share any type of video.
- Instagram – share any type of video content, excluding pornography
- Quora – Embed series of videos related to question.
- Reddit – share videos related to entertainment and news
- Twitter – Share videos related to news updates and business
- Google+ – share any type of video
- Pinterest – share your affiliate product Reviews videos
- Digg- share videos related to technology, business and marketing.
- StumbleUpon – Listing videos (ex- top 10, amazing facts etc.)
- LinkedIn – Mostly for business news videos
#14. Uploading frequency
If you’re uploading videos frequently then it’s great. Because an active creator encourages YouTube crawlers to visit your channel again and again. It’s a good indication.
It also helps to draw audience toward your channel which indirectly influences your user engagement.
You can further encourage them to take a look at your channel playlist.
It could be new for beginners. But believe me, everyone uses annotations. If you’re not using them, start using.
YouTube annotations are those clickable buttons that you see on your video screen. They encourage visitors to engage with your content.
If you don’t know how to start with annotation. You can check out this guide to know the basics of annotation.
There is no doubt, annotations are important.
Benefits of using annotations on YouTube videos
- Make your video session more interactive
- Use spotlight annotations for better communication with the audience.
- Annotations make your videos powerful and actionable
- If you use subscribe button as an annotation then you would find an increase in subscribers.
- Increase user engagement
#16. Ranked tag
Sometimes you might have noticed that some of your video tags got ranked on YouTube. If that is the case then it’s great. You can take the benefits of these ranked tags to rank your other videos on YouTube.
First thing first, head to YouTube and types in any tag that you’ve used ever. If you find a good position of that tag. It means this is a ranked tag. Now, use the same tag in your other related videos. Once you’ve completed, you’ll find an increase in your rankings.
This is not so effective but still beneficial. Just put a little % of keyword and relevant words in the tags section.
#18. Active subscribers
More active subscribers = More engagement = Top rankings on YouTube
You have a million subscribers, but do you believe that most of the subscribers are dead? They don’t see your videos.
Rest of the subscribers are active subscribers. They are the real visitors who really watch, share and like your videos.
If you’ve 100 subscribers but getting only 10 -20 views after publishing a new video. That means you’ve very weak user interaction.
If you want to take advantage of those dead subscribers then you can alive them by just doing the following things
- Make video on Q&A session
- Run Giveaways
- Make a video after every 100 subscribers to let them know the how they are important to you.
#19. Keyword in channel’s title
Like Google, YouTube also considers keywords in channel’s name. These are sometimes called ‘channel keywords’.
Using keywords and phrases that best represent your channel.
Suppose your channel is about SEO tips then you can give that name to your channel. Because it best represents your channel’s specifications.
#20. Channel age
Older you are, more experience and trust you gain. Similarly, if your channel is old then YouTube will definitely refer you first than others.
#21. CTR (click through rate)
CTR is an indication of how much clicks you are getting out of the seen results. The more click you get, the YouTube prefer you more.
So, here the key is that you need to increase your CTR.
There are a few tips that you can use to increase video CTR on YouTube
- Optimize your Title tags
- Optimize your Thumbnails
- Put the focus keyword in title and description
#22. Optimize playlist
A playlist is like a heart of your channel. If you don’t optimize video playlist people don’t find your content.
This is not something that YouTube considers as a ranking signal. But it reduces the user experience which further decreases your rankings.
It’s a good idea to have a transcript of your video. Because it helps visitors to better understand the video.
It also helps to increase traffic from non-native countries. Because transcript includes your words of mouth. Everything you say will ultimately convert into text.
A deaf user can understand your wording easily and also like to consume more time on your videos.
Here is a guide to learn the benefits of having a transcript of YouTube videos.
#24. Focus keyword in your audio scripting
Like I said that both YouTube and Google now can hear your audio script. So make sure you optimize your audio scripting for SEO.
Once you create your audio script make sure you listen to your audio to include some potential statement to keep your audience in touch with you.
SPEAK YOUR FOCUS KEYWORD at the starting of the video to let YouTube know that you’re talking about the corresponding topic.
Prove yourself that you’re a good creator. If you’re using some slang words, you may lose trust in YouTube’s eye.
#25. Video keyword
If you’re doing video keyword research then you might get your videos to the top on YouTube and Google as well.
By using this SEO technique you can generate traffic from both YouTube and Google.
To get started, the first type of your keyword in google search bar and see the video results.
If you find video results, it’s time to move on the Google keyword planner tool and extract some other keyword ideas by extracting your earlier keyword.
You can read this guide to know how to use google keyword planner tool to do keyword research.
Once you’ve done, you’re ready to optimize your video for that keyword.
Now, you might be thinking that “I’ve been using these techniques since I started but nothing is happening”
This is because every single YouTuber is executing these same techniques. But the truth is that ‘you can’t expect overwhelming results by doing the same thing’.
What you suppose to do is that make your own plan, learn from these types of articles and execute. As you follow this path, you’ll end up with something that will work for you.
Collect some of the major SEO factors and work. You will get to know something different from others and successfully increase your ranking on YouTube.
Finally, I’ve finished this article that contains almost 25 YouTube SEO tips. If you follow this guide wisely you would be the next top YouTuber in your niche.
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What do you think? Which one is the most effective YouTube ranking factor? Give your suggestions in comment section