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13 proven YouTube video SEO tactics

13 proven YouTube video SEO tactics

Feeling a bit overwhelmed by the world of YouTube SEO?

We understand. Starting your channel can be challenging.

By diving into the realm of YouTube marketing and SEO, you can make your videos easier to find and broaden your channel’s audience.

Recent YouTube stats show that it’s the second-largest search engine globally, with video consumption reaching new heights.

Contrary to common belief, mastering YouTube SEO doesn’t demand a ton of technical expertise or questionable tactics.

In this article, we’ll explain what YouTube video SEO is, how it functions, and the best YouTube video SEO in 2024. We’ll also introduce you to effective YouTube SEO strategies and tools to help you thrive on the platform.

What does YouTube Video SEO mean?

YouTube videos SEO is the method of fine-tuning your videos and channel to achieve higher rankings in YouTube’s search results. It includes employing various strategies and techniques to draw in more organic traffic and present your content to your desired audience.

How Does YouTube Video SEO Work?

YouTube SEO follows a unique approach compared to traditional SEO.

While search engines can’t directly watch videos, they analyze the text elements surrounding them. These elements consist of closed captions, transcripts, titles, descriptions, and tags.

A crucial aspect of any YouTube Videos SEO strategy is integrating relevant keywords and phrases into these text components.

Furthermore, optimizing these elements, coupled with producing top-notch and captivating content, enhances the viewer experience. This, in turn, increases the likelihood of your video becoming popular.

When your audience responds positively to your content, YouTube’s algorithm is more inclined to elevate it in search results.

Strategies for YouTube SEO:

This section explores various SEO strategies to enhance the visibility of your videos in search results.

1- Conduct Keyword Research:

Begin by delving into topics that people are actively searching for. YouTube’s search bar is a valuable tool for identifying keywords that actual viewers are interested in. While the goal is not to copy existing keywords, they provide insights for exploring new topics and discovering additional keyword opportunities.

For instance, if you’re a fashion YouTuber planning a video on distressed jeans, observe related terms like “DIY” and “denim” suggested by the search bar. This exploration helps you uncover potential niche areas, such as specific tools or techniques (“scissors,” “knife,” “sandpaper”) or distinctive styles of distressed jeans (“big holes”). Narrowing down your video’s niche targets a more specific audience and reduces competition against established channels.

Another avenue for video SEO research is Google, as YouTube videos often appear in Google search results. Analyze the titles and thumbnails of videos that rank in Google searches for insights (more on this later). Additionally, Google’s Keyword Planner tool provides real-world search terms, even though it’s not directly related to video SEO.

The purpose of keyword research is to generate ideas and understand viewer preferences. Incorporating keywords and related terms into your content is an effective way to improve rankings compared to videos that neglect YouTube video SEO.

2. Incorporate Hashtags into Your Videos:

Utilizing hashtags is an effective method to increase the visibility of your videos. You can include relevant hashtags in your video titles and/or descriptions. Similar to other social media platforms, users can click on or search for hashtags on YouTube to discover content associated with specific topics.

Exercise caution regarding the number of hashtags used. Avoid excessive usage, as it may make your content appear spammy. Stick to 2-3 of the most pertinent terms, such as your company name, brand name, and the primary topic or keyword.

3. Build Playlists for Enhanced YouTube video SEO:

Playlists play a crucial role in retaining viewers on your channel for extended periods, contributing to increased overall watch time and potentially elevating your ranking in search results.

Structuring your content into playlists not only aids viewer navigation but also facilitates the discovery and sequential viewing of related videos.

Additionally, playlists provide valuable insights to YouTube about the theme and content of your channel, positively influencing your search visibility.

To optimize playlists for SEO, employ descriptive titles incorporating relevant keywords, add appropriate tags, and ensure regular updates.

4. Optimize Video Titles and Descriptions:

Crafting compelling titles and descriptions is crucial for the success of your video. These areas also provide excellent opportunities to incorporate relevant keywords.

How to Optimize YouTube Video Titles:

The ideal title length is around 75 characters, so choose your words judiciously. Consider these effective title formats:

Pose a question (“Why…” or “What is…”)

Create a listicle (“Top 5…” or “5 Reasons Why…”)

How-tos and tutorials (“How to…”)

Compare and contrast (“Ranking the 5…” or “Best to Worst…”)

It’s advisable to avoid clickbait headlines, as audiences are increasingly wary of such tactics.

How to Optimize YouTube Video Descriptions:

Descriptions play a significant role in YouTube Video SEO, offering 5,000 characters for utilization. Avoid keyword stuffing and focus on natural integration. Use the description to:

  • Provide a summary of your video incorporating the primary keyword
  • Include links to other relevant, keyword-specific videos on your channel
  • Add timestamps with relevant search terms
  • Include links to your website, social channels, or other promotions

Effective Examples:

  • Beardbrand seamlessly integrates multiple keywords in its description, including links to other videos for increased engagement.
  • Elgato strategically targets keywords for specific products, linking the YouTube channel to on-site purchases.
  • Food Wishes, with a simple yet effective description, ranks #1 for “Baklava recipe.”
  • JHS Pedals uses timestamps to integrate specific product-related keywords, enhancing viewer engagement.
  • SEMrush incorporates a keyword-rich description, timestamps, and links to valuable resources on their site.

5. Leverage YouTube Tags:

Utilizing YouTube tags is a subtle yet powerful aspect of YouTube SEO that may go unnoticed by your audience but plays a significant role in improving visibility and ranking.

However, it’s essential to avoid excessive tagging, as this can be counterproductive. The basic concept behind YouTube tags is to tag your videos with descriptive terms that help YouTube understand your content and recommend it to relevant viewers. For instance, tags like “DIY jean distressing” or “distressed jeans scissors” provide clarity.

While YouTube doesn’t specify an optimal number of tags, most channels find success with around five tags. If you’re curious about example tags or want to explore your competitors’ tags, it’s straightforward. Visit a video, view the page source (CTRL-U), and then search (CTRL-F) for “keywords” to unveil the tags.

6. Craft Engaging Thumbnails:

While thumbnails may not have a direct connection to video SEO, they play a crucial role in capturing viewers’ attention and encouraging clicks.

As a general guideline, consider the following best practices for YouTube thumbnails on most channels:

Use striking colors, either in the text or background.

Include bold text that emphasizes the video’s title or a key benefit.

Feature a person or some action in the thumbnail.

Thumbnails are essential for establishing your brand’s identity and adding a touch of professionalism to your channel. Even if you’re not skilled in design, you can create consistent and eye-catching thumbnails using user-friendly template tools like Canva, Bannersnack, and Visme.

7. Promote Your Content Across Networks:

Now, let’s delve into some non-technical YouTube Video SEO tips that can enhance video engagement both on and off the platform. Increasing clicks, views, and channel subscriptions send positive signals to the YouTube algorithm, improving overall visibility a key goal in your video SEO strategy.

Encourage Engagement In-Video:

Request comments, likes, and subscribers during your video without being obnoxious.

Include a call-to-action in your video, such as posing a question.

Add a call-to-action or question in the initial lines of your video description.

You don’t have to overly push for likes or comments; a casual mention at the beginning or end or an in-video prompt can suffice.

Share and Promote Beyond YouTube:

Guiding viewers to your YouTube content involves consistent promotion across various channels, including:

  • Embedding videos on your website or within blog posts.
  • Promoting video content to your email subscribers.
  • Sharing videos on social media platforms.

Social media is a powerful tool for video content. Businesses often share their latest videos on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Pinterest. Tools like Sprout’s social media publishing platform enable you to schedule and promote videos seamlessly. Additionally, Sprout’s integrated YouTube publishing lets you push content directly to YouTube without leaving the app.

8. Use Analytics to Identify Successful Strategies:

The final component of YouTube SEO involves analyzing your results. By delving into your YouTube analytics, you can evaluate your content’s performance, discerning what works well and what doesn’t from an SEO perspective.

Your YouTube dashboard provides insights into:

  • Keywords for which you rank.
  • Video types that perform best (e.g., how-tos or listicles).
  • Duration of your top-performing videos.
  • Videos generate the most traffic and off-platform engagement.

Understanding these metrics empowers you to steer your YouTube SEO strategy in the right direction. Your data serves as a compass, guiding you to explore new topics and keywords, completing the SEO cycle.

13 Proven YouTube SEO Tactics:

Here are 13 proven YouTube Video SEO tips:

1- Find Primary, Secondary, and Long-Tail Keywords:

Conduct comprehensive keyword research, categorizing into primary, secondary, and long-tail keywords. Primary keywords have higher search volume but face more competition, while secondary keywords are less competitive. Long-tail keywords are niche phrases related to primary and secondary keywords.

2- Boost Keyword Research with the YouTube Search Bar:

Enhance your keyword strategy by using the YouTube search bar to find related search terms. Assess the recency of top videos, considering potential success with newer content. Analyze competitors’ channel sizes compared to video views for insights into keyword popularity.

3- Add Keywords Strategically to Videos:

Incorporate keywords into file names, video titles, descriptions, tags, title cards, overlays, video chapters, and in-video scripts. Follow Google’s recommendation to place the target keyword close to the beginning of the title, description, and tags.

4- Use Captions:

Captions, beneficial for accessibility and user experience, allow the inclusion of important keywords. Add captions manually through text transcripts or timed subtitles files. Include keywords in the script to ensure their presence in captions.

5- Use Cards and End Screens:

YouTube cards and end screens enhance engagement and keep viewers interested, positively impacting SEO. Both features promote related videos, subscriptions, or popular playlists, contributing to longer viewer engagement.

6- Add Timestamps to Your Video:

YouTube timestamps improve content understanding, providing a stronger SEO ranking signal. Timestamps appear in Google search results, directing users to specific parts of your video for relevant information. Include timestamps in the video description and content itself for easy navigation.

7- Use Categories:

Categorize videos appropriately to signal YouTube about your content’s nature. YouTube uses categories to group videos into broader topics, aiding in content discovery and determining search result placements.

8- Include Custom Thumbnails:

Thumbnails impact click rates and, subsequently, YouTube SEO. Create custom thumbnails with accurate titles and visually appealing designs to stand out in search results. Follow YouTube’s guidelines for thumbnail resolution, format, and file size.

9- Embed Videos in Your Blog:

Cross-promote by embedding YouTube videos in blog posts, boosting SEO for both the YouTube channel and the blog. Ensure relevance between videos and blog content for effective cross-promotion.

10- Use Hashtags:

Incorporate hashtags in video titles and descriptions for discoverability. Select relevant keywords and consider including your brand name. Avoid overusing hashtags, as YouTube’s algorithm views excessive use as spammy.

11- Build Playlists:

Organize videos into keyword-optimized playlists to help YouTube understand your channel’s topics. Create playlists with specific themes, avoiding unrelated videos within a playlist.

12- Post and Edit Videos Consistently:

Regularly post and edit videos to signal YouTube’s algorithm about your active presence. Update older videos by modifying titles, descriptions, tags, or thumbnails to enhance discoverability.

13- Don’t Be Afraid to Rank Twice:

Unlike Google, YouTube allows targeting the same keyword multiple times without cannibalization issues. Videos from the same channel can rank for the same keyword on Google and YouTube without penalties.

These tactics collectively contribute to a robust YouTube Video SEO strategy, improving video visibility and engagement.

Ready to put your YouTube Video SEO knowledge into action?

Implementing SEO for YouTube doesn’t require advanced expertise. By adhering to the tips and principles mentioned earlier, you’ve gained a significant advantage in optimizing your videos for broader reach.

Keep in mind that video content is highly shareable on social media. Discover effective strategies and up-to-date insights on utilizing video to connect with and captivate your audience in our complimentary Social Media Toolkit.