Unless you’re a digital hermit, you’ve likely heard of YouTube. After all, the video-sharing platform has a whopping 2.29 billion active users – second only to Facebook’s monopoly – with a billion hours of content consumed every single day. You may not know how vital YouTube can be for your business, helping you reach more customers and build your brand.
Today, we’re going to show you how you can create and optimize video content that will help you establish a strong online presence. If you’re ready to start with YouTube SEO, our guide has everything you need to know.
How can YouTube help your business?
If you’re not producing video content, you’re missing out. According to Wyzowl’s 2021 Video Marketing Statistics:
- 86% of video marketers say video has helped increase website traffic
- 83% say video has increased the average session duration
- 94% say video has played a vital role in assisting users in understanding their products/services
- 78% say investing in the video has boosted their sales
And seeing as 86% of businesses use video in their marketing, this is a content form you can’t ignore.
Of course, this is the tricky part – if everyone is producing video, how can you ensure yours stands out? With 720,000 hours of new video being uploaded daily, how can you connect with your clients before competitors and be found in a sea of content?
This is where YouTube SEO comes in. YouTube isn’t just a platform – it’s a search engine. And just like any search engine, there are certain things you can do to improve your ranking and secure that top spot, meaning that when your client is searching for product reviews or content related to your niche, your brand is front and center.
How to optimise your YouTube video for maximum views
To get you started, we’ve briefly broken down critical aspects of the video-making and uploading process you need to know to appeal to the YouTube algorithm.
Like regular SEO, YouTube SEO is about creating content that meets people’s needs. With this at the center of your strategy and the best practices listed below, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the art of online video.
While videos you share on social media should be less than two minutes, lest you lose your viewer’s attention, the videos that perform best on YouTube tend to be longer, with most being between 10–16 minutes. This is because of watch time, one of YouTube’s algorithm’s most important ranking factors.
At the end of the day, you’ll want to ensure that your video length corresponds to your competitors and the content type. If someone is looking for a product review or a how-to guide, for example, they’ll expect a longer and more detailed video compared to explainer videos or promos.
As with all other types of SEO, keyword research is crucial for getting your content seen on YouTube.
To start, type a word/phrase related to your business into the search bar and you’ll see a range of suggestions that people commonly search for. These make great keywords! You can also study your competitors’ videos and other authorities in your niche, breaking down the keywords used (look at the title, description, and tags) or use the same keyword research tools you would start with SEO and PPC.
Once you have a selection to choose from, you’ll then need to select your primary keyword. Depending on the size of your existing audience and your channel’s establishment, you’ll probably want to go for one with less competition, as this will give you a greater chance to rank.
You’ll want to use your keywords in the video file name, title, description, and video itself.
Much like the title of a website, a video title is crucial to convince users to click. The balance here can be tricky: you want something interesting enough that viewers will choose to spend their valuable time watching your video without resorting to clickbait.
To rank highly, your title needs to match the phrases users are searching for, so ensure you include your keyword at the start. You’ll also want to keep things short and snappy – the highest-performing videos on YouTube tend to have an average of 47–48 characters.
Not only does your description help users understand what your video is all about, but it also helps search engines understand whether or not it meets a user’s needs.
As YouTube only displays the first couple of lines of your description (approximately 100 characters), you must keep your writing concise and include any calls to action first. Ensure your keyword appears in the first 25 words and appears a few more times throughout (2–4 is a good benchmark).
The description is also an excellent place to include your links: your channel, socials, and other important information.
Though tags may not be crucial to your ranking, they are an excellent way to tell YouTube what your video is about. Ensure you include your exact keyword, a few variations, and any topics covered in your video.
Beware of excess or irrelevant tagging, which can result in video suppression.
While your thumbnail isn’t a ranking signal, it is one of the driving forces that cause users to click on a video. It needs to stand out from all the rest.
Look at what your competitors are doing: is there a trend? How can you make yours more eye-catching?
A few things you’ll need to consider:
- Your thumbnail should reflect the content of the video – show the viewer the value they will get from watching
- Your thumbnails should be cohesive, as this can help viewers recognize your videos (and your brand) more easily
- Always use a custom thumbnail
Not only do subtitles make your videos more accessible for all users, but they can also boost your SEO. Your captions are crawlable, meaning that if you say your keyword, YouTube can easily determine whether your video matches a search.
YouTube can automatically generate closed captions for your videos, but it may be worth it to upload your transcript to make sure that they are 100% accurate.
This is the perfect place to include your call to action or encourage viewers to engage with more of your content. Here you can include links to other videos, your channel itself or your site.
This is another crucial ranking factor, as it shows YouTube that people like what you offer and find value in your videos.
The best way to do this is to simply ask – encourage your viewers to leave a like, comment, and share or subscribe if they enjoyed the video or found it helpful.
Ensure you share links to your video on your other social media platforms, as this is an easy way to attract people already interested in your offer.
If your video is on the longer side, you may find it helpful to break it down into smaller, bite-sized clips and publish these across your different platforms. This means you can get more mileage out of your content and reach a range of users.
Want to use the power of YouTube to give your business a boost? Get in touch with our SEO strategists today!