Google is the largest search engine in the United States, but the second largest may surprise you. That’s right, it’s YouTube! Millions of people search for information and videos on YouTube every single day. This means if you’re making YouTube videos and you’re not optimizing your video for search, then you’re missing out on a lot of traffic.
What’s more important is that YouTube videos often come up in Google searches, which means optimizing your YouTube videos for search is doubly important!
If you have a YouTube channel, or are considering using YouTube videos to build awareness for your business, then this guide is for you.
How To Optimize YouTube Videos in 5 Steps
Step 1: Identify target keywords
The first step of any search engine optimization campaign is to identify the keywords you want to rank for. YouTube SEO is no different.
Ask yourself these questions when doing any kind of keyword research:
- What are our goals for SEO? (More YouTube subscribers, more leads, more sales, brand awareness)
- What do searchers want, and how does our content satisfy this?
- How many ways could a visitor possibly search for this video?
- Which keywords do we already rank for?
Use a tool like TubeBuddy, SEMRush, or AHrefs to get YouTube specific data. However, Google’s free Keyword Planner can get you data based on Google searches, and many views onYouTube come from Google searches.
Step 2: Create video content based on target keywords
It’s best to have SEO in mind when you’re making content rather than to try and optimize existing content. The reason is because you want to give the searchers the content they want. If the people who are searching for a particular term get the information they need from your video, then they’re more likely to engage. This can help you rank even better in both YouTube and Google search engine results pages (SERPs)
However, if you currently have video content made, identify the target keywords that are most relevant to the video. Ask these questions:
- Why would someone watch my video?
- What searches could my video satisfy?
Pro tip: don’t forget to caption your video and create a SRT file for those captions! This will make it easier for YouTube to know the content of your video.
Step 3: Write an attention-grabbing title with your main keyword in it.
Your title is going to be one of the first things people see when they get the search results. For this reason, the title needs to satisfy the conditions of the search. The searcher should look at the title and decide to click.
Use a title for your video that gets the attention of someone searching for your target keyword, and don’t forget to include the target keyword in the title! This will let someone know that your content will give them what they want.
Step 4: Use keywords in descriptions and tags.
This is more a technical consideration, particularly for the YouTube search engine, but using keywords in your description and tags will help YouTube decide which search terms should show your video. Using those keywords will also help the person reading the description or looking at the tags determine that the video is the right one they’re looking for.
Step 5: Use an eye-catching thumbnail (but not clickbait!)
Your thumbnail might not seem that relevant to SEO, but it is and here’s why: if more people who find your video via search click on it, then your video will rank better in the future. Use a thumbnail that will maximize your videos’ clickthrough rate (CTR) in the SERPs.
Best practices include using imagery that’s relevant to the search, putting prominent and easy-to-read text in the thumbnail, and using colors that make your video stand out.
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