The term SEO can conjure up a lot of expectations when it comes to digital marketing. Most likely you're imagining Google search results and SEO optimization of blog posts. Granted these are the two most widely known avenues when it comes to SEO. But there's A LOT more to SEO than just blog posts and search engine results. The world's second largest search engine, by far, is YouTube. Youtube is an incredibly valuable traffic source for a lot of brands. And honestly, it has the ability to be even more valuable than Google itself.
So if you use videos for your brand, either for social media marketing or as part of a larger video marketing strategy you need to make sure that you optimize your content for YouTube search. It really is one of the easiest ways to generate more traffic and improve the ROI of your campaigns. I mean, after all, who doesn't want that?
5 Ways TO Generate Search Traffic With YouTube SEO
Below you'll find a few simple but HIGHLY effective SEO tactics. Ones that you can use to optimize your video content and increase your traffic. Just like regular on-site SEO, video SEO is a cumulative things. That means the more you use it, the better your results will be!
1. Optimize your title and description.
This should be familiar, especially if you deal with SEO for Google. It's honestly the same concept. Think of it this way... everyday YouTube users watch a lot of videos (I'm talking almost five billion of them!). And with a total use base of more than 1.3 billion people, YouTube has an insanely amount of traffic. Which means it gives your brand the perfect opportunity to use video as a way to market your products AND connect with customers.
Just like Google search, YouTube SEO optimization begins with high-quality on-page content. On-page video optimization lets you do two things.
- It helps YouTube figure out what your video is about and determines which keywords it's most closely related to. This makes it easier to sort and rank your video within search results.
- It increases the change of your video showing up organically in Google search results for your top keywords. Seriously, go and search for something - you'll see a lot of Google search results for "how to" and informational keywords.
For YouTube, when it comes to key on-page ranking factors, what matters most are the video's title, description, and meta tags. The most important out of all of those is your video's title. The title will establish the video's topic, keyword, and theme.
Keep in mind that YouTube places a 100 character limit on video titles and the truncates video titles in search have a limit of 66 characters. Therefore it's incredibly important to cover your key themes at the beginning of your title for optimal visibility. This makes it so your subject matter is obvious right from the start - for both viewers AND YouTube's search algorithm.
Thankfully optimizing your video description for organic search is pretty straightforward. However, you need to make sure that your primary keyword at the beginning of the description, with secondary keywords, and variations of your main keyword throughout your copy.
But what about including multiple keywords?
If you choose to include several keywords, you need to make sure that it reads naturally. It should also offer a good description of what the viewer can expect from the video WITHOUT giving off a search engine content vibe.
You should also note that YouTube uses tags to sort and rank videos. And yes, even though tags are no longer public (YouTube removed them from the user interface several years ago due to abuse) content creators can still add tags to their videos as a way to improve search visibility.
There's also no reason to go overboard with tags.
Most of the time, you can get away with using 5-10 tags covering your main keywords. It's more than enough to give your YouTube's algorithm a better understanding of what your video is about. So if your video targets a specific niche with an uncompetitive keyword on-page optimization alone just might be enough to help you rank and generate traffic. But if it isn't, you can use the advanced tips below to further strengthen your video's SEO and rank for your target keywords.
2. Use Closed Captions To Your Advantage
The closed caption system on YouTube makes it a lot easier for those who are hearing impaired to enjoy your content. But it also gives them more information about your video because it converts audio content (typically spoken content) into words that YouTube uses to figure out your video's subject matter.
Closed captions is yet another tactic that perfectly plays into the search ranking factor. So whenever you add them to your videos it's a great way to increases the chances of your videos appearing for their target keywords AND beef up your YouTube SEO.
Thankfully adding closed captions to your YouTube videos is easy as pie.
- Go to the video manager
- Click the video you want to edit
- Choose "Subtitles/CC" option in the editing menu
From there, YouTube lets you manually add closed captions from your browser. You can even upload an existing subtitle file (in a variety of formats). Head over here for more info from YouTube on how to create closed captions and subtitles. It explains the entire process in a quick one-minute video.
3. Promote Your Video Everywhere
Since YouTube hosts all of the videos on its site, they have access to a much wider range of data points than Google. Unlike Google, YouTube doesn't rely on links, social activities, or other third-party metrics to asses the popularity and value of a page. This means that YouTube can quickly and easily determine the most popular video on ANY subject just by looking at its view count relative to similar videos.
When YouTube first launched, video views were its top ranking factor. Nowadays, views aren't the main factor when it comes to ranking video content. However, they are still an important part of your video standing out in a sea of other pieces with the same content/keyword. In YouTube's search results the most popular videos will be at the beginning and the less popular video content will be at the bottom.
The easiest way to increase your view count and create popularity for your video content is to promote and share it outside of YouTube.
Once you have your social presence, it's best to share your video content on Facebook and Twitter. Just make sure you link back to your YouTube video. You can even embed it as a way to increase traffic and help your video climb up the ranks. Which is perfect because a higher view count creates social proof. Essentially it shows viewers that your content isn't just helpful and engaging - but also popular.
4. Publish New Content Often
Creating and publishing new content is incredibly important. Every minute users upload more than 300 hours of video footage to YouTube. Because of all this content, YouTube's search engine algorithm gives new content a hefty boost when it comes to search visibility to drive traffic and assesses performance. This can last anywhere from 24 hours to three months. As a result, your video has a short time frame to be seen by your target audience. For more info check out Reverse Engineering the YouTube Algorithm.
The best way to use YouTube's love of fresh content works to your advantage when you split your video content into shorter, smaller pieces and upload it on a daily or weekly basis. This tactic is also perfect for enticing your viewers to subscribe to your channel so they can stay up to date.
But just like with Google, YouTube values relevance and freshness. So it's incredibly important to publish new content on a regular basis. Once you do you'll find that your content attracts more subscribers and generates a lot more traffic for your brand.
5. Create Killer Content
You don't need a lot of money to create awesome videos. Creating video content with a limited budget can work in your favor because it makes your content feel more personal, transparent, and honest. Below are a few basics of digital video content creation for smaller brands. Especially if you want to branch out into the video world without added costs of content production.
- use social media to promote your content
- determine an effective style and topic for your niche
- create content that leaves your viewers wanting more
- now who your target audience is and create content just for them
YouTube is a lot like other SEO tactics. The main difference is that you have to use their parameters as a guide. But thankfully YouTube makes it easy for you! Once you dive into the world of YouTube you can learn how to effectively grow your channel. If you have any questions or comments in regards to YouTube, let us know in the comments below. So we can discuss!