YouTube search engine optimization is different than optimizing content for the search engines on your website in practice, though in principle it's very similar. YouTube is owned by Google, and if you've ever done a Google search for something then you've likely gotten a number of YouTube videos in the organic results. Google loves serving YouTube videos as part of the organic listings because, one it ensures that its users stay on a Google property in YouTube, but Google knows that people ensure consuming information by way of videos, so it helps to that end, as well.
Therefore, I like to make it a point whenever I'm creating a post on one of my websites to create a companion video to go with that post. That creates a mutually beneficial ranking situation for both the video as well as the page of my website, as well. But let's talk about how to both optimize your video itself as well as the YouTube settings and information for that video as well to get the most out of your video.
YouTube Search Engine Optimization
First and foremost, like any other search engine optimization, you want to start with good keyword research. This means making sure that it meets the four major requirements:
- Relevance - Decide what your video is about, then choose a keyword based on that. If you're ranking for a keyword which isn't relevant to the focus of your video, or even just isn't relevant enough, you'll have people disliking your video, giving negative social proof, and any good rankings you were enjoying will disappear.
- Volume - Search volume is important because you don't want to target a keyword if no one is searching for it. It's great to be ranking atop Google for the keywords you're targeting, but if there's no demand for it then it's still a waste of your time.
- Competition - Too much competition for a keyword means that it may be a perfect match for you in all other areas, but if you never have a chance of ranking well for it then it's a waste of your time again. You might think about going for a more long tailed keyword which less people are searching for but has far less competition because your competitors aren't going after it.
- Commercial Potential - This doesn't have to translate to dollars, but decide what you hope to achieve from your video. It may be turning viewers into paying customers, or it just may be to spread awareness of your brand, website, a new product, etc. Decide what your end goal is with this video, and make sure your keyword meets this final criteria as well as all the others.
Now put your keyword in the title of your video when you upload it to YouTube. I recommend that you even title the file itself by this keyword. If the keyword itself is awkward or isn't enough to stand alone as a title, then you can supplement it. You might think about putting in your business' name for a little extra branding, as well. So instead of "Puppy Care", you might title your video "Puppy Care - The Phoenix Dog Shelter".
YouTube gives you a space to put keyword tags below the video. You can put up to roughly 200 characters and as many keywords as will fit in under that cap. There's no harm in putting too many keywords, so make sure you target everything you can think of which could be relevant. LSI keywords are great to put in here, anything else you think people might search for to find your video. These keywords will also trigger your video to appear in the related section on the right of other videos which will net you addition views.
Make use of YouTube's annotations and more recently their "cards" feature which shows up on mobile devices (which annotations don't) for including links to your website. You can put a link or two in the description of the video, just keep in mind that only the first couple of lines show up in the description section unless someone clicks the "show more" tab, so you want to put your most important information on those first two tabs. Obviously remember to work your keyword in the description, as well.
The quality of your video itself is a major part of YouTube search engine optimization. YouTube wants to put the best content out in front of its users, and this extends to the videos themselves. YouTube can't differentiate between a good video and a bad video, but it prefers higher video quality because its users prefer better video quality. Shoot in HD if possible at at least 720p.
What YouTube can tell is what people think of your videos via the thumbs up and down stats. This is a user metric which is very important because if your ratio of unlikes to likes is heavily stacked in the former, then YouTube will drop your video deep down in its index. To get your like ratio back up, consider:
- Using a better microphone. Muffled or overly tinny/treble microphones which don't pick up enough frequencies can be annoying or downright grating on the ears. It doesn't matter how good your content is in that case, so knock that out first. There are plenty of cheap but well balanced microphones online.
- Don't sell too much. If you're constantly bombarding your viewers with annotations or cards which promote your brand, you'll lose their attention quickly. It's a give and take, and you have to make the first move by overdelivering with free and helpful information.
- Have good content. Having good content is the best way to garner thumbs ups, and Google will in turn reward you with a better ranking in the search engines.
Follow these YouTube search engine optimization tips to see your videos perform better in both search engines as well as within YouTube itself for your targeted search phrases.