Did you just debut as a YouTuber or have you been there for a while but your videos do not rank in the top of the YouTube search results? Welcome then to this macro post about YouTube SEO, where you will find 7 great thematic blocks focused on optimizing and positioning your videos and your YouTube channel and that you can put into practice right now. Let’s go there!
A Complete YouTube SEO guide to rank your videos on top of the YouTube search results
In this macro article, we will discuss advanced SEO tactics.
1. Make your YouTube channel a website
Conceive and build the main page of your YouTube channel as if it were the home page of a website. I am going to tell you in advance what its characteristics should be.
It is about transforming the homepage of your video channel into a web cover since it will be the one that receives the greatest number of links.
Most of the times people will link more to a YouTube channel than to their website. Why does that happen? Because all the videos will exist on the channel and, therefore, all the content is well collected and accessible.
1.1. Custom header
In addition to logically personalizing it, your header must bear your name or that of your brand, and the motto or slogan that transmits your message.
In the below image, I have put up the header with the Alltop9 logo and with the text Digital Marketing as the content will be related to that. Also, mentioned the other social platforms, brand as the main perspective.
1.2. The playlists will be your categories
So let’s make a web structure within YouTube. Thus, we will create themed playlists, which will become the equivalent of the categories of a blog.
By grouping your videos into playlists you will be multiplying the average duration of each user’s session, something that YouTube values a lot when it comes to positioning, and without even having to leave your channel. If after viewing your videos that user goes to another channel, well, even better, but what goes ahead, and on top benefits you in other parameters. Everything is adding up 😉
1.3. Featured videos posted above
We will select our best videos and we will post them on that cover since they will be the ones that will receive the most visits, will have the most time to play and will receive the most link juice.
In my case, recover hacked Facebook video is one of the most ranking videos with huger viewership. It’s been 4 years still this is of the videos which rank on the first position for almost all the rich keywords.
By highlighting and pinning a video, YouTube will automatically suggest that video to you while playing other videos. This will make it easier for the user to continue viewing the rest of your pieces and increase their session viewing time. Both things come in handy.
We will choose to fix those videos that attack the strongest keywords (usually the guides or tutorials) and we will place them above all. We can plan them so that they have the most interesting keywords within their category.
Below those videos would be the aforementioned playlists, which can also be positioned for powerful keywords related to the main theme of our channel.
When creating your playlists you must enter a text that talks about what is going to be offered. Take advantage of that description to target the audience of your channel and to attack possible “long-tail keywords”, since playlists are specific series within your general content and can easily rank for those keywords.
The playlists are going to be the standard-bearers of your production on YouTube.
1.4. Interlinking like a Chain
Within each category or playlist, we can even chain interlinking between the different videos. This will make it easier for people to jump from one video to another and from one subject to another, without leaving our channel. Just like the interlinking in a website blog post.
It’s pure SEO on-page within YouTube! This concept is what we would apply between our videos within each playlist. And between them, we could also do it.
Youtube seeks to offer more and more varied results, to give greater heterogeneity, just like Google does. Its search engines become more similar every day, which is not surprising considering that Google bought the video platform now more than ten years ago.
1.5. Description of your channel
In the section “More information about your channel” you have a space to include a descriptive text about it. Take advantage of the beginning of that description to include your motto and incorporate some keywords throughout the text to help your channel appear in the search results of users.
1.6. Channel Trailer
It is your audiovisual cover letter. A short video where the user can quickly see what your YouTube channel is about, who you are, what you offer and why you should subscribe.
Treating your YouTube channel as a website is a future. Well, it’s already the present.
2. Total viewing time is everything
If you want to learn how to position a video on YouTube, stay with this: the total viewing time is the main factor that YouTube takes into account when it comes to positioning the videos. The platform wants to become the new television and for that, it needs to have the greatest number of people hooked at all times. For this reason, it promotes and encourages the videos and channels that accumulate the most minutes viewed. For this, you must have a good video marketing strategy that allows you to maintain this factor over time.
You can check the metric of a total number of viewing minutes that each of your videos accumulates in the Analytics section of your channel’s dashboard.
2.1. Number of subscribers
There is debate about whether the channels with the largest number of subscribers receive advantages when it comes to positioning. It is whiting that bites its tail since logically the videos of the channels with many followers are seen more and that helps to the position. Harm, of course, does not harm, so we must try to win the more subscribers for the better results.
2.2. Full-length videos
How can we optimize this parameter? One way is to make videos the longer the better. Let’s see, it is not about taking time to occupy, but you should not worry at all if your video lasts longer than you thought or if instead of making a series of ten videos on the same topic you group them into one.
Increasingly, YouTube tends to position long videos better than short ones. I insist, as long as they add value. It does not serve to stare silently at the camera for an hour or fill the content of the video with straw that does not contribute anything.
Take a look, for example, if you search YouTube for the word “SEO” how long do the videos that appear in the top organic positions last: about 30 minutes, hour or more.
The results of keywords with strong competition almost always yield long-duration videos.
Youtube is interested in knowing the viewing time per session, that is, the time each user spends on his/her platform after having seen your video.
If after viewing your videos, a user continues to watch those of other channels, YouTube will reward you in your condition of “loyalty”. The downside is that there is no direct way for you to measure that session viewing time.
2.3. Withholding of hearing
In line with this point, we have another of the fundamental elements of SEO on YouTube: audience retention.
The absolute retention of the public is the amount of video as a percentage, that people see. The closer to 100%, logically, the better.
What ways are there to hook people to watch the full videos? This question leads us to directly analyze what I call …
2.4. The 15 seconds of gold
You must be very clear about the importance of the first 15 seconds of your video. It is the average time a user can endure to see if they are interested or not in what they are seeing.
You have to catch them from the beginning, so you have to put all the meat on the grill in that critical period that is the start of your video.
What do you have to offer in such a short space of time so that the viewer does not leave ?:
- Posing the problem or need that a certain group has (for example, “Are you a private teacher and you don’t have enough students?”, “Can’t make it to the end of the month?” …)
- Introduce yourself and try to convey your credibility, show that you know what you are talking about, either because you are a recognized brand or because you have worked a lot in that field.
- Advance that you are going to solve those problems in this video.
If you see in your statistics that people leave during the first few seconds of your video playing, you already know what may be failing. In YouTube Analytics you also have the option to see the relative audience retention. Take a few minutes to analyze the peaks and valleys presented by each of your videos.
That will make you see what people like the most about what you do and the least. In the next videos, make sure to keep this in mind and avoid what makes people run away, while you will enhance what has caused more interest.
You have to seek engagement with your audience and for that, nothing better than offering a satisfactory user experience. If you succeed, you will have come a long way for the good positioning of your videos.
2.5. The structure of the videos
To ensure that your videos are fully reproduced, which Youtube values, you must structure them very well to maintain their interest.
The beginning of the video, as I said before, must make it clear very soon what you are going to offer; development must meet those expectations, adding value, utility or entertainment; and the outcome must include a conclusion, a result, or a wink or surprise that you must always repeat to create the habit for the user to go all the way.
2.6. Keep the user’s attention
To keep the user’s attention alive, you have to “reset” it every so often. Let me explain: you have to avoid that your recording falls into monotony with constant changes of rhythm.
It varies from type of shot or focus, it goes for a few moments to black and white to emphasize something, it incorporates some sound effects, it makes some funny comment, it jumps out of the “script”, it surprises …
The more the dynamics of your video are similar to a roller coaster of emotions, the longer the viewer will remain glued to your screen.
This has a great result in terms of retaining audience, so put the XD batteries.
2.7. Be faithful to the dates with your audience
Another technique to increase the viewing time of your channel is to upload videos often.
As with fresh content on blogs, YouTube values the frequency of publication. Maybe a daily video is too much to ask, but at least once or twice a week is the least you can expect from someone who wants to be serious about this.
At the end of each video, include links to other works of yours and also to the generic link of your channel. You can do it with annotations or using the final screen. With this, you promote that user to follow on YouTube and also on your video network instead of going to another channel. You can reinforce this action by sending a live voice throughout the video to others of yours or through cards.
2.8. Links on your social networks and your blog
You can take advantage of your social networks and your blog or your website to spread your videos. Announcing to your followers or your users that you have published something new increases the probability that they will see and share it, thus exponentially increasing the viewing time.
You can even take advantage of linking your playlists, not just your videos. All feedback is little 😉
3. Choose the ideal video-keywords for YouTube and Google!
The choice of keywords for your video will be different from how you do it on your blog since many of the visualisations of your videos will come to you from YouTube’s suggestions to users.
To select which are the keywords of your video, start by investigating your niche. You have to keep in mind that something that has many searches on Google may have few on YouTube or vice versa.
Once you find some interesting keywords and with a minimally decent monthly search volume on YouTube (from 300 onwards), you should check if those «video keywords» also yield results on the first page of Google. If not, you will have a difficult time positioning yourself in the most used search engine in the world.
Every day, Google prioritizes YouTube videos in its results, even though it is in the “Everything” section and not in the “Videos” section.
In which cases does this occur? There is no official guide in this regard or anything similar, but it usually happens with searches where we ask Google what something is, how it is done, with tutorials, with reviews of products or services, and logically when we search for the word “ video ”plus“ whatever ”.
If you find some good keywords with which to upload your video to YouTube, you can capture traffic on this channel, but also directly on the first page of Google. A full-blown 2 × 1! It compensates the effort, right?
Let’s see some methods to achieve good video keywords.
3.1. Youtube search engine suggestions
The operation is like in Google. You type your keyword and then the bar shows you auto-suggested results. This is nothing other than the usual searches for your keyword that people do. In other words, information that is worth its weight in gold. Let’s say our keyword is “youtube SEO”:
One trick: put an underscore before your keyword and YouTube will tell you that other words are commonly used alongside yours.
3.2. Tubular Labs Competitor Videos
It is a freemium tool that allows you to know, in addition to countless things about your audience, what other channels your users watch when they are not on yours. There are many other tools which give a good amount of keywords. If you want that list, comment “Yes, I want the list of the tools” and I will provide them to the ones who are interested.
3.3. Spy on your competition’s tags
Tags help YouTube to better identify the subject of your videos and show them in the search results of users.
It is important to always include your name and the name of your channel as tags. Why? Well, doing this will make it easier for your videos to appear in the related videos on the right.
Let’s go with another cool SEO tactic on YouTube. Install the Chrome extension called Tags for Youtube, which is free.
Once you have it active, you go to the descriptions of those four videos that appeared in the first search positions of your keyword.
You will see that now, after the text, the tags of each of those videos will appear below. Choose a few of each and put them as labels for your video.
For what? You will be using tags that YouTube considers relevant to be well-positioned in the search results for your keyword.
There is another extension that offers you those same results, TubeBuddy Tags, but that also indicates the position in which that video ranks for that tag. With that information, see which videos are poorly optimized but rank well for a tag and add that tag to your video. A video that, of course, you will optimize better so that it positions itself above that other.
3.4. The names of your competitors as tags
Come on, more good tricks. Take the keyword of your video and see what results in YouTube gives you.
Now what you have to do is put as tags in your video the names of the four channels that appear in the first positions. What do we gain from this?
Well look, these videos have an egg of visits and when you do that there will be a good chance that yours will appear among their related and end up watching it. How cool, huh?
3.5. Youtube suggest to search tags
We continue! Now we go with the “autocomplete” function of YouTube. Enter your keyword in the search engine and you will see that it immediately shows you, just like Google does, some suggested results. From that list use some -you don’t need to put them all- as tags for your video.
Benefit from this? Using these results as labels can help your video have a more organic reach.
3.6. Google suggestions
Don’t go yet, there is still more. Do the same, but on Google. Related searches show you what people are looking for most about your keyword. Use some of them as tags for your video.
Thus, it is very likely that Google will show your video among the search results for that keyword. Thus we also gain traffic from outside YouTube.
3.7. Common sense and creativity in your tags
The last tactic for labels is … Your common sense and your mind are awake and creative. Save four or five labels to put what you think is ideal, for something that sets you apart, that is very “trendy” …
One of the few keyword search tools on the market specifically designed for YouTube.
When you enter a keyword, it shows you suggestions from other related keywords and information about each one, such as monthly searches and CPC. This helps us to know how much interest a certain topic arouses among YouTube users.
And not only that. What is most cool about this tool is that it shows the average duration of the video, as well as the number of “likes” and comments that each video ranked for a certain keyword register
If you click on a keyword suggestion, it details everything about that SERP on YouTube.
3.9. Youtube Analytics Stats
Nor do you need to leave YouTube to find good keywords. With little activity generated by your channel, the platform will show you statistics that include the keywords for which our videos are ranking naturally.
It is as simple as going to the dashboard of your channel and clicking on Analytics. Within the large drop-down menu, you will see Traffic sources and in turn, there, YouTube Search. And there you have the keywords for which you are positioning.
With that, you can optimize an existing video with some of those keywords that you did not think about at first, but that has come up on the go. Simply by adding that keyword as a tag and incorporating it into the description of the video, you will be able to give it a push so that it appears in the first positions of that keyword by which it had already started to upload by itself.
Another option is to create another video from scratch around that keyword. This second option is better since it will rank better if it is directed exclusively to that keyword than if it shares video with others.
Well, with all this we would already have our well-chosen video-keywords. Now let’s go with specific techniques to achieve engagement.
4. Human interaction in positioning on YouTube
Others call it social cues. For me, they are human interactions, which is what they are. You offer something and that something generates a reaction in others that, in the case of YouTube, can be expressed in different ways. The most common and valued is the comment on the videos.
4.1. The comments
Comments are something that YouTube likes because they imply that your video has interested the public. Someone takes the trouble to tell you something after watching your video. The platform likes this feedback, as it translates into residence time.
So, at the end of your videos, encourage people to comment on them, asking them questions, asking them for their opinion or sharing their experiences on the topic you have addressed.
An almost infallible trick is to make a contest or raffle whose participation requires leaving a comment on the video footer. Look at the outrage that I registered in a draw for a camera and microphone pack for YouTubers.
4.2. Respond to comments
In some cases doing it will always be impossible, but do everything you can, at least for the 24 hours following the video published. Give feedback a lot, because you establish a dialogue with your users. The more comments, more participation and better rankings for your videos. Keep it in mind.
In addition to the positioning factor, it is about taking care of your audience. If they bothered to leave you a comment, what less than you also do the same, right?
4.3. Likes and Dislikes DO NOT influence the positioning
You read it correctly. Whatever they say, the likes and dislikes are no longer positioned. Now, as all interaction with the user is good, welcome.
4.4. Ask them to subscribe to your channel
If a user subscribes to your channel after having seen a video of yours, Youtube understands that your content is of quality and deserves to be shown in good positions for searches for its keywords.
To promote subscriptions, nothing like ordering directly. Order it during or at the end of your video with a clear and direct call to action, written or from your voice.
If you add value, your users will have no problem subscribing, but don’t leave it to chance. Some people do it mechanically and others who can’t help but remind them of how happy they would make you subscribe and how happy they will be for all that you are going to offer XD.
4.5. Incite to share your videos on social networks
As with comments or subscription, ask your users to air your videos through their social networks.
Although they are “hidden” at the click of a button in the Share – Insert menu, YouTube makes it easier for your videos to be shared on the main social networks. The more they share, the better. As with Google, for YouTube, it will be an unequivocal sign that your content is liked and worth highlighting.
4.6. Promote the “favourites”
This option is in the “+ Add to” tab and is a factor that YouTube also takes into account. When the user clicks there, he gets the option to mark your video among his favourites or add it to the list of things he wants to see later.
5. Optimize the CTR of your YouTube videos
YouTube takes into account the CTR (Click Thouthg Ratio or ratio of clicks) when establishing its ranks. This means that if many people search for a keyword and click on a certain result more than others, that video will gain ranking.
We will now see different optimization strategies to achieve the best possible CTR in our videos and, therefore, better positioning in the YouTube rankings.
5.1. Video title
The title of your video should have at least five words. This will allow you to include your keyword in it. If it goes to the beginning of everything, best in the ranking.
Try to make it a magnetic title, with a hook, that arouses the curiosity of those who read it. Formulas such as “how to do something”, “what is something”, lists or selected things concerning a specific year, such as: “SEO ranking factors in 2020” work well.
Take the click-baiting and put an irresistible headline, one of those that the user is unable to not click.
Remember, on the other hand, to rename your video file using the keyword.
5.2. The description of the video
Do not neglect this point, as it is key. You must optimize the text of the video as if it were a blog article. It is what YouTube and Google are going to look to determine what your video is about.
The text must have a minimum of 250 words. Don’t be scared thinking that the only thing that matters on YouTube is the video and almost nobody reads the texts, which are there so hidden. It may be true that few read them, but among them are YouTube and Google!
Also, keep in mind that while they read the description, your video plays and you are gaining viewing time.
5.3. Note: DO NOT put a link at the top in the text
This technique serves to convert, but not to position, since if you put a link you send the user out, which increases your bounce rate and in turn decreases visits.
5.4. Keyword in the first paragraph
Make sure that your keyword appears in the first paragraph and then it is repeated sometime, but without falling into the keyword stuffing. You can use variations of your keyword.
5.5. Video content index
It is very useful for the user and increases navigability. It helps to position the video that includes an index with time links so that people go, clicking there, at the exact moment of the video when you say or do something in particular. It is like marking chapters within your video, neither more nor less. Besides, you can put other keywords in the sections of that index.
5.6. Custom and very eye-catching thumbnails
90% of the most popular YouTube videos have at least one thing in common: they wear custom masks and not the ones that the YouTube manager shows you by default. Little more needs to be said, therefore.
Work yourself an image that calls curiosity, that arouses emotions, with striking colours, large letters, attractive photos. Here you can do a “photobaiting” if you want 😉
You already know that including a beautiful girl in the image is always a sure value, but there are a thousand other ways to attract attention.
Keep in mind that in the search results, next to the thumbnail, the first 125 characters of your description always appear, so try to make a powerful idea appear there, which summarizes well and attractively the spirit of the theme of your video.
Besides, if you head the text with your keyword, it will make it bold and this will also help you position.
5.7. Transcribe your videos
Putting in the description of your videos a transcription of its content helps Youtube to classify the subject matter of it. And that will make your video appear in the suggested videos section, which will increase your visibility and views.
A tip: if you are going to put a transcript of your video on your blog, it should be different from the description. This way you avoid duplicate content and you can attack more related keywords.
5.8. Subtitles and annotations
Placing annotations and/or subtitling your videos in your same language or another or others is well considered by YouTube, since in this way you are making it available to a greater number of people (from people with hearing disabilities to users from different countries ).
5.9. The authority of your channel
This is so. A channel that has gained popularity and authority will have a much easier time positioning a video than if that same content is published in a newly created one.
Let’s see what we can do to cement that authority in our channel.
5.9.1. Your brand and your differential factor
You must define what will be your differential factor and what is the message that you are going to convey to your visitors. And from there start building your brand.
5.9.2. Animated logo
You must include in your videos an intro or trailer that includes your logo. If that logo is animated instead of a still image, in addition to giving an image of professionalism, it will allow you to reinforce your brand message if you add your slogan.
5.9.3. Link of your YouTube channel on your website
If you have a website, link to your YouTube channel from it. It benefits from gaining credibility.
5.9.4. Videos as answers
You can multiply the CTR of your videos by using a question and answer portals such as Quora or Yahoo Answers. It’s about looking for issues related to your video and providing it (as a link or embedded, if you allow it) as an answer. It is better to put some text before so that it does not seem that we are desperate to strain our video.
Here we return with common sense. If we contribute and do not spam directly, there is no problem.
6. Off-Page SEO for YouTube videos
500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. I repeat every minute. An atrocity. And the number continues to grow year after year. This means that the competition is more than voracious for any subject.
Thus, in addition to applying the guidelines we have seen so far, we must also promote our videos outside of Youtube and build their link building based on their keywords.
As with any other content, the more links your videos get, the better positioning they will have in Google searches. Let’s see how we can work the Off-Page SEO for our videos.
6.1. Ask them to subscribe to your channel on the networks
It is clear that social networks such as Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, among others, can help you publicise your YouTube videos. Almost everyone does it, but not everyone invites their followers from other networks to become a subscriber to their YouTube channel. Ask without fear.
Presumably, if they like you in one place, they will have no problem in following you in another.
6.2. Embed your videos on your blog or website
Including it in a post on your blog with which it is related can generate an important plus of reproductions of the video, not to mention the enrichment that it means for your publication.
The embedded ones are taken into account by YouTube to rank. Plus, they create a backlink, so embed as much as you can and encourage others to do so. From YouTube, it is very easy by giving the option “Insert”.
Besides, each embed generated code that can be customized in size and other variables.
It will also be a way to inform those who do not know that you have a YouTube channel.
6.3. Post your video in the news aggregators
Sneaking your video on the cover of aggregators is also another way to trigger reproductions. You just have to establish during the upload process that your content is a video.
7. YouTube SEO Bonus track
Here are some extra tips for doing SEO on Youtube.
7.1. In streaming, the power of a live
The possibility of doing live shows on YouTube is another asset to keep in mind since streaming videos generate a lot of interaction, views and reach.
Once finished, they stay as normal videos, but they retain that aura of extra quality for having been recorded in real-time.
7.2. Mention your keywords during your videos
Although you may find it hard to believe, YouTube “listens” to your videos and somehow records what you say on it. Therefore, listening to your keyword during the video helps you to know what exactly it is about and to determine what keywords you can rank for.
Presumably, mentioning your keyword is something you will do, but just in case, make sure you pronounce your keyword at least once or twice during the video. If you subtitle or transcribe it, you guarantee a minimum keyword density is applied.
Also, don’t go overboard to avoid over-optimisation. Keyword flow should be mentioned with common sense and naturalness.
7.3. Don’t get bogged down by the technical quality
Some defend that it is necessary to invest in quality equipment (expensive) to record videos, but I always say that the important thing is what the video provides. If you have to record it with your mobile, nowadays the image and sound quality of any smartphone can be more than enough. Of course, if it is pixelated or does not sound good, do not upload it because you will not get anything like that.
Over time, as you generate income, you can already consider acquiring a camera and a more “pro” microphone or even hire an editor to do special effects or cool montages for you.
Youtube, like you and me, loves to watch the videos in HD (in fact it highlights them), but, listen to me, the first thing is to advance, advance, advance. Don’t let the technical stagnate you.
7.4. Position your self-hosted videos
Is it possible to position videos uploaded to your server in Google instead of YouTube? It is possible, but the options are much smaller. Keep in mind that YouTube is owned by Google, so it is logical that your videos prevail in your results and not those of other platforms. As a fact: 82% of the videos that Google offers in its search results are from YouTube.
If you still think that it is worth investing efforts in fighting over that small piece of cake that remains, what you must do to opt to leave within the remaining 18% is to put the video as the main content of a page; transcribe it just below and use the Video Schema markup, among other possible actions.
7.5 Link the video in your email signature
A simple but effective way to publicise your videos is to include their link next to your email signature. Especially if you have many contacts and regularly carry out email marketing actions.
Your users will have direct access to good content and it will generate audience spikes that will help your videos appear in the suggested results of the first pages of YouTube users. You can also link directly to your channel instead of a specific video.
That is it! You are done with reading the guide. These are the most effective YouTube SEO tricks that work best in ranking the videos on top of the search results. Which ultimately leads to earning well. Now, it’s time for you to work them on. Try it out and if you get stuck somewhere do not hesitate to comment them here and get the best answers.