SEO of videos is a topic that comes up more and more often. Clearly “classic” SEO of web pages is increasingly done because companies have realized that being on the first page of Google was extremely favorable to their business. SEO experts however do not yet have the upper hand, as the SEO of video is less common. The purpose of this article is to give you all the good practices so that you can position your videos in the top search results on YouTube as well as on Google. For people who already know SEO, you will soon realize that the basic principles are the same.
YouTube in the figures
To better understand the value of SEO on Youtube and to inspire you to make every effort possible to improve your SEO positioning, here are some figures:
- YouTube is the second most used search engine just after Google.
- More than half of YouTube traffic comes from mobile devices.
- In January 2016, 400 hours worth of videos are uploaded to YouTube every hour.
- In 2013, YouTube totaled $3 billion worth in monthly searches.
- In 2016, the number of searches on YouTube was more than the number of searches on Yahoo and Bing combined.
- YouTube reaches more adults age 18 to 35 than any of classic television chain.
Finally, YouTube was bought by Google in 2006 and is now integrated into its universal searches.
To learn more about YouTube statistics, here is a great article by Webrankinfo.
Why optimize SEO on YouTube?
As I said just before, Google made the acquisition of YouTube in 2006 and seeks to highlight this acquisition for maximum profitability. This implies that YouTube videos are to be shown on Google. Most of the time, these video results even occupy the top positions.
In the case of a “newborn” website that has very little domain authority and therefore very little confidence on Google’s end, YouTube can really allow it to take off sooner as the social network has all the credibility needed to position yourself in the top search results and thus improve your SEO.
You understand that the competition is tough on the most viewed video search engine on the planet. Good news, the number of Internet users making the effort to optimize their videos is low but is increasing day by day.
More good news, 20 research results are published on the front page of YouTube against only 10 for the search engine Google. This means you have more chance of positioning yourself on the front page of YouTube than you do on the front page of Google. This is one more reason to start your Youtube SEO now.
What to optimize to be first on YouTube?
As you must you know, the principle of video SEO on YouTube is not very far from good SEO practices on Google. Robots are not (yet) able to play videos or read images, so they base their searches off of measurable data.
They’re still here? Yes, you will still and always need to deal with keywords until the day when robots will be able to understand and analyze what is said in these videos.
Keyword research is an essential step to position your videos on the right queries. So now the question is: how to find the right query?
In September 2014, YouTube stopped giving access to its YouTube Keyword Tool to encourage more users to have a YouTube Adwords account. Although this tool was very convenient, there is another free way to find keywords that interest us on YouTube.
Start typing queries that you are interested in on YouTube, if other suggestions are proposed this means that it is a keyword searched. For example, if I know I want to upload a video about dogs, I type “dog”:
You can also use the classic Google keyword planning tool that will give you a good idea of search queries. While it is not the appropriate tool for videos, you should know that the planning tool is very relevant insofar as YouTube videos also appear on Google.
Google Trends is also a good way to monitor trends and may also give you keyword hints and ideas.
You can also subscribe to a YouTube Adwords account to do further research on the keywords that interest you.
Do not hesitate to explore the search results already on the application you are targeting to see if the first page is very competitive or not. To find out, simply observe whether these results meet the best practices that we give in this article.
Note that even if there is less competition on YouTube than on Google, it will always be easier (and often more relevant) to target long tail keywords. Do not hesitate to choose an expression of 3 words or more.
Once you have determined what your keywords are, you must insert them in several places:
- In the title of the video (I told you it was very similar to SEO of a website)
- In the description of the video
- In the video tags
- In the name of the video when downloading
- In the comments of your video before downloading
We’ll talk more about optimizing the title and description below:
Optimization of title and description tags
Just like for the SEO of website pages, the title of your YouTube video should include one or two keywords and it should be catchy. Feel free to follow the example of the first results on Youtube to get an idea of what it is that can better position your video.
For the description, it’s a little more complicated and certain rules apply. Your description must be a minimum of 200 words and the lexical field used is varied. As for optimizing the description of the video on-page, avoid overloading it 20 times with the same keyword in 5 sentences. We try to make it natural and tempt the user to learn more. Another very important thing, your description must be unique! Google does not like duplicate content, and neither does YouTube. So avoid copying the same description for each of your videos. Your videos are not identical; and the description should not be the same either.
A trick to have unique and relevant content is to transcribe your video in the description. The lexical field will be varied and content with necessarily deal with the subject of your video.
Like the textual content (and we can not repeat enough that you need your texts ideally to be at least 500 words), robots can assess videos with a “respectable” length. Obviously a 15-second video will probably not have the same value as a 20-minute video. It is commonly accepted among videos SEO specialists that the minimum length of a video should be 1 minute. Of course, feel free to make a 5-minute video if you have the material to do so.
Originally, the number of clicks that the video received was very important but users quickly abused this metric. YouTube now takes into account more qualitative information for SEO, such as:
- The number of comments
- The time users spend watching the video
- The number of likes that the video recieves
- The shares that the video generates
- The number of times your video is embedded on other sites
Playlists let you give more context to YouTube on the subject of your video and your related topics as they are treated. To give the largest signal to YouTube that lets you position yourself, feel free to insert your video in a playlist at the time of the launch. You can even create your own playlist, with the same name as your video; this will allow you to enhance the credibility of your video.
Optimize the thumbnail
Although it is extremely tempting easier to choose Youtube’s suggested video thumbnail when uploading your video, I strongly advise against it. YouTube takes a random screenshot of your video, which usually showcases neither you nor your video. However, click-through rate remains important (as for SEO on Google), so you want to ensure you have a thumbnail that instills confidence and makes you users want to click on your video.
Make your videos dynamic using annotations
You’ve certainly seen annotations appear on YouTube videos. YouTubers use them to highlight a product, another video, or to clarify a word that you don’t understand. They also allow you to convert your visitors more easily, especially those that you want to follow you; they can go on your website, purchases a product etc. YouTube rewards your ability to engage viewers who watch your videos. Annotations are a great way to boost the commitment rate.
To learn more about using annotations on YouTube, click here.
Another way to maximize the textual content of your video is to add subtitles. As I said earlier, YouTube cannot read your videos; adding subtitles can be a way to adding words to your videos. The subtitles also allow YouTube to present your content to an international audience. If this interests your business, feel free to add them.
As we have already said, YouTube rewards interaction between you and your users. If you are lucky enough to have comments, reply to everyone who took the time to speak to you and ask you questions.
Optimize your YouTube channel
Your video is hosted on YouTube and connected to your YouTube channel page. If your channel is not credible in the eyes of YouTube because it is not optimized, your video will definitely lose a lot of its clout in terms of SEO. You must therefore also optimize your Youtube channel. Here are some tips:
Linking all social profiles on your YouTube channel: LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter. This will highlight your video’s visibility, which gives further evidence to YouTube that it has an interest in putting your video forward in its search results.
Follow other channels in your area of business. YouTube now being a property of Google, the social network works the same way: by theme. If you follow the channels that are in your industry, it adds credibility to your channel
Remember the “About” section, this is yet another way to insert the keywords you are targeting.
Share your videos
Video sharing is very important because it increases the number of views and thus adds credibility to your video. Find groups or pages similar to your industry and publish them. This will allow you to quickly increase the number of views and click-through rate (if you have chosen the relevant groups).
I’ve repeated throughout this article: YouTube SEO is similar to Google SEO, acquiring links is not an option if you want to better position your videos. You can contact bloggers to publish your videos, share them on forms in your field, link your videos to your site etc.
Note, however, that with proper optimization of your videos and a good relay on social networks, it is possible that you don’t need at all to acquire links for your videos.
So you have all the tools you need to fully optimize the SEO of your videos on YouTube. Do not hesitate to put your website link in the description of your video, it will help your website in addition to serving as a working reputation. In the same way that you put your website link in the video description, publish your video on your site!