Although most people in SEO focus on textual content, when we talk about content, we don’t just mean blog posts, but also podcasts and videos.
And, just like text content, YouTube videos, for example, are also great for SEO.
In this article, we’ll take you on a tour of the topic and show you how to optimize your YouTube videos for search engines.
People prefer to watch videos than read
We’re not saying this, research backs it up: in one survey, 59% of leads said they’d rather watch video than read text.
And really, a YouTube video has countless advantages.
As mentioned in our SEO guide, time on page is a very important ranking factor. And a long, difficult-to-digest text is much easier to deliver in video form than in written form, and users are more likely to accept it.
In fact, they can even help you achieve higher conversions, because when people see a long text of thousands of words, they’ll be more likely to skip reading it. While they watch the same thing, in a video about 9 minutes long, they just watch it and keep clicking because they are actually interested in the topic.
Before we get into the details, you should know that YouTube is also owned by Google, so their algorithms are very similar. In fact, YouTube searches have been combined with SERP searches to simplify the experience.
Tips for search engine optimisation of YouTube videos
So it’s worth using the basic SEO techniques and keywords that you want to appear in Google with. Of course, it is worth doing some keyword research.
#1 Keyword research
The keyword research is run by SEO experts using expensive software and then the list is filtered. However, you can also get a lot of useful information manually.
For example, let’s say you have an online shop selling premium coffee. Coffee will be your main keyword, of course, but what kind of videos are your potential customers interested in?
For example, making coffee. In fact, you can break it down even further – type it into YouTube’s search engine and you’ll get a bunch of long tail keywords that could be used in other ways:
#2 How to effectively write the title of your YouTube video?
The title can be the long tail keyword mentioned above, but you can refine it even further. The keywords most searched for are: why, review, how to, tutorial, demo, step by step, unboxing.
Studies by HubSpot have shown that if you use parentheses in the title of your videos, you can achieve up to 33% CTR improvement using this technique. Years are particularly good in this respect.
For example: these are the best exotic coffees [2022 unboxing]
#3 Description of YouTube videos
Keyword research not only helps you write the title of the video, but also the description.
In the description of the video, you should (within reason) use general search terms and keywords. However, care should be taken to ensure that the keyword density is around 3-4%.
It is very important that you pay special attention to the first lines of the description, since this is the description you will see, the rest can be accessed by clicking on the “More” button. Keywords should therefore be included in this 2-3 line section, which is visible by default.
#4 Use of timestamps
Here is a very important part. Many people don’t use the timestamp, but for longer videos it’s definitely worth setting the chapters. On the one hand, this greatly improves the user experience, and on the other hand, video chapters can be displayed in the search engine.
The chapters should be segmented so that each section covers a specific search intent.
For example, sticking with the exotic coffee unboxing example above, you could have:
- Coffee unboxing
- How to brew the perfect cup of coffee?
- Coffee review: consistency, texture, aroma
- Coffee tasting
- Final results: which is the best coffee?
We hope that this has given you the basic skills you need to get to grips with titling, writing and timestamping.
#5 Upload the YouTube video
Try to speak in an interesting, understandable way that answers all the questions the viewer might have. It is good to have a script, even an outline, at the beginning.
You don’t need a particularly good camera or expensive equipment to make your first videos, it’s the content that matters.
This chapter will not be discussed further, as it is not an integral part of SEO. But how to keep an audience is even more important.
#6 Keep the audience
For example, many people ban comments during a video for fear of negative commenters, trolls. However, note that each comment is feedback to YouTube that the user found your video interesting enough to take the time to comment. That means you evoke an emotion from the viewer.
It is also worth including messages encouraging people to subscribe and a simple CTA in the video. Some people (quite a few) like the videos, but simply forget to subscribe and need to be “called out” in a rude way.
It’s also important to invite them to share the video, and you should try to share your video on as many platforms as possible, as this is also an important ranking factor.
#7 Use of tags
Briggsby’s experts recommend using around 31-40 unique tags for YouTube videos to achieve the best results.
It is also worth noting that 2-3 word tags, rather than 1-word tags, produce the best results. For example: exotic coffee, Arabic coffee, Turkish coffee, etc.
The use of tags does not directly affect SEO, but it does affect video recommendations. That’s why it’s worth looking at what tags your competitors are using and incorporating them into your labels.
#8 Using the index image
Choosing the right index image is also important, as most books are bought on the basis of their cover. A thumbnail therefore has a big impact on click-through rates, and thus indirectly on viewership.
It is worth choosing a contrasting index image with a darker background. Also, it’s a good idea to include attention-grabbing CTAs (attention-grabbing, not impact-grabbing) on the index image to encourage users to click.
The index image should have a resolution of 1280×720 pixels, preferably with a 16:9 aspect ratio and a size not exceeding 2 MB.
#9 How long should your YouTube video be?
One more important thing to mention, which also affects SEO, is the length of the video. Because if the video is too long, it won’t be watched, so the algorithm will downrank it, and if it’s too short, you won’t be able to provide all the authentic information you want.
The video should preferably be no longer than 15 minutes, the optimal length is 4-6 minutes, but it is impossible to give a specific answer, as it depends on the topic.
+1 Playlist and closing screen elements
If you have thematic topics, you should definitely create a playlist, as well-optimised lists can appear in YouTube search results as well as recommended videos.
The same principles apply here as for the titles of YouTube videos.
At the end of the video, there are so-called end screens, which are also recommended to use, as they greatly increase the number of views and subscribers.
You can also place external links here, but you need to become a YouTube partner, which has strict conditions, such as having more than 1,000 subscribers or at least 4,000 hours of views in the last year.
So YouTube SEO is by no means easy, but it can greatly increase the number of viewers you can convert into customers and clients. If you need help, feel free to contact us!