Video marketing is one of the most effective ways to get more customers and website visitors. Video is getting more popular all the time and it’s often easier to rank videos in the search engines than other types of content. However, if you want your videos to succeed you need to follow certain guidelines.
Here are 7 areas to focus on that will improve your YouTube SEO:
- Title – Video titles are extremely important for SEO, both for Google and YouTube’s own search engine (which is actually the second-largest search engine in the world, next to Google itself). Make sure you use some of your main keywords in the title. In some cases, you may want to identify a strategic longtail keyword that’s not quite as competitive as a more popular one. For example, “How to Lose Weight,” aside from sounding rather generic, uses an extremely popular keyword term. Drilling down to a more specific topic such as “Best Carb Diet for 2018” makes it a little easier to rank.
- Description – One of the benefits of YouTube that many users don’t take advantage of is that you can create a very detailed and keyword-rich description. Insert as much information as you can in the description. Unlike the title, where you have to choose your primary keyword, here you can feel free to include many different expressions. On the other hand, also keep it readable and natural-sounding and not just a series of keyword phrases. The objective is to write for both the search engines and your viewers.
- Tags – Tags are another way to make it easy for the search engines to rank your videos. YouTube limits tags to a maximum of 500 characters. As with titles and descriptions, it’s helpful to think of longtail keywords for your tags. YouTube claims that 400 hours of content are uploaded to the site every minute. This makes it extremely difficult to rank for popular keywords. Remember also to keep your tags relevant to the actual content of your video. This also goes for your titles and descriptions. If you attempt to mislead viewers and search engines, your videos are likely to get flagged.
- Category – Choosing the most appropriate category for your videos is another way to improve YouTube SEO. In some cases, you have a choice between two or more categories. Think about your target audience, the goal of your video, and where you’re sending video traffic (e.g., landing page, website, Facebook page). Based on these criteria, pick the category that best fits your needs.
- File Name – Many video creators don’t realize that even your file names can be optimized for the search engines. Using a file name that contains a keyword sends a signal to YouTube that can help your video get a higher ranking. Since you have lots of competition in almost every niche, it’s worthwhile to look for every edge you can get.
- Thumbnail – The thumbnail is the static image people see before they actually start watching your video. This can have a major impact on whether or not people decide to click “play” or not. YouTube gives you a choice of thumbnails for your video. You can also upload a custom thumbnail as long as your YouTube account is verified. According to the Creator Academy, 90% of the top videos on YouTube have custom thumbnails. This tactic can help you get more views which, in turn, improves your ranking. It’s best to give some thought to your thumbnail even before you start making a video.
- Closed Captions – If you want to get into a more advanced YouTube SEO technique, you can add closed captions or subtitles to your videos. These features can broaden your potential audience to include the hearing-impaired and speakers of other languages. They also provide you with extra SEO power as these are more places where you can include keyword-rich text. YouTube makes it fairly easy to add subtitles and closed captions to your videos.
Using these strategies, especially when you combine them, can make a big difference to your results with video marketing. As competitive as YouTube is today, if you consistently apply these YouTube SEO tactics, you’ll have an advantage that can help you rank your videos better and get more viewers.
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