The Top 7 SEO Strategies to Optimize YouTube Videos [SEO at its Core]
Every minute 100+ hours of video are uploaded to YouTube.com, even crazier than that, is that every month we collectively spend more time watching videos than all of human history (over 350,000 years). With all this video watching you would expect it would be easy to upload a video and BOOM have it become viral and highly shared.
However, what most people don’t know is how rare virality really is. Most videos fall into what I call “the depths of YouTube” a place rarely visited where the sun doesn’t shine. This article is written to help you find the light and grow your channel and visits on what is now the world’s second most popular search engine.
Step 1: Quality:
This one should go without saying but make high quality videos WORTH SHARING. People’s attention spans online (especially on videos) is almost non existent. If your content doesn’t catch their attention and then hold that attention you’re finished before you even get started.
Step 2: Consistency
Much like TV shows and news channels, viewers and YouTube reward consistency. Have a schedule for posting videos and stick to that schedule. It helps your audience develop a routine and helps you create deadlines for yourself. Part of YouTube’s algorithm is strength of channel so the more consistent your viewership across the videos is, the better off you are.
Step 3: Titles and Tagging
YouTube can’t view and understand videos (yet), so it relies heavily on video titles and tags to index the content. Titles work similarly to Meta titles on regular web pages. You want to write them for the viewers not the search engine while sprinkling in the important keywords that you want you video to rank for.
Tags are a bit tricker, they are similar to the old Meta keywords on regular pages.The goal is to make relevant tags, quality over quantity as you want your viewing time to be high and irrelevant tags bring irrelevant views. YouTube has this to say about viewing time:
“Watch Time is an important metric to promote videos on YouTube. The algorithm for suggesting videos includes prioritizing videos that lead to a longer overall viewing session over those that receive more clicks.”
Step 4: High Quality Descriptions
Descriptions are often overlooked by SEOs since links within the description are NoFollow and pass no value. This however is a terrible mistake, video descriptions are a great place to further explain your video, provide social media links about yourself to the viewer, mention other videos that might be of value to the viewers, etc. Fill in your description and never underestimate the power of text on a YouTube video.
Step 5: Annotations
Annotations are a great feature for growing subscriber bases, views to other videos, social shares and more. You want to think strategically about what, where, and when you annotate. The best practices are simple:
- What? Annotate a link to something you were talking about in the video, a subscribe button, or any information you deem important.
- Where? Always make annotations on the corners of the video. You don’t want to take attention away from the video itself.
- When? If you’re having “Previous” and “Next” video buttons you can have them run the length of the video. Subscribe buttons are usually better served in the last 25% of a video since that means the viewer enjoyed the video to make it that far and is more likely to want to view more.
Step 6: Video Playlists
Playlists work great if your videos are some sort of web series. Chances are if a viewer likes one episode of the series they would love to see more, the problem is YouTube’s suggested videos don’t always display a channels series and if they do they’re usually not in order. Playlists create a view guide that makes it easy to go from video to video in order. The best part?! Playlists auto play the next video which can lead to huge improvements in view through rates.
Step 7: Rinse and Repeat
Now that you’ve done these steps for one of your videos keep at it! Like I mentioned in step 2 consistency is key, grow your number of videos and you’re channel will grow with it. Remember if people like and share your videos they’re always going to want more!