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8 Actionable Hacks to be Number 1 at YouTube SEO


In our previous post, we talked about how you can do Amazon SEO and land your product pages a first place on the search results. Well now, let’s talk about the second largest search engine in the world. Let’s tackle YouTube SEO and hacks you can do to be one of the results displayed on the first page after a search query.

Google isn’t the only search engine on the internet. And if you want to maximize the chances of making your presence known on the internet, YouTube is a good place to visit and share your insight on a couple of things.

Plus, by tapping into other search engines, you can boost your conversion opportunities as well as your search presence.

Ignoring other search engines means making shortcomings towards your business.

And that’s why we’ll talk about YouTube SEO — the search engine specifically for videos.

How to Nail YouTube SEO and Be at the Top of Search Results

It’s 2019. Do we need to express the impact and significance of videos. Visual content marketing is so much more celebrated, that it’s easily become the preferred method of communication — across social media platforms and even through email.

And even last year, a report HubSpot’s State of Inbound says 45% of marketers are investing more in YouTube over the course of the year — even more than any other marketing channel that is at their disposal.

So here’s how YouTube SEO works, and how you can optimize every channel and every video for easy finding.

#1 Use target keywords in the video file name

Similar to what you do when you’re writing to optimize textual content, you need to use an SEO tool to identify keywords that you would want your video to focus on. The keyword must be identified even before you upload it to YouTube.

YouTube doesn’t actually “watch” your videos the way your viewers would. That means they won’t see how relevant your video content is to the target keyword. The silver lining is that YouTube is capable of reading your video’s file name, plus the codes that come with it as it’s uploaded.

With that, replace the CAM_09062019.mp4 file name with the keyword you’ll be targeting.

#2 Target keywords also in the video title

When you search for videos both on Google and YouTube, titles are one of the first things our eyes are drawn to. Oftentimes, it’s what decides if the video gets a click or not. So in addition to having a compelling title, it must also be clear, concise, and yet descriptive.

So long as it fits naturally into a title, include your keyword. And of course,  keep it short. Limit your title characters to 60. Anything longer and Google truncates the length, leaving you with a title that’s cut off.

#3 Add tags that are related to your topic

Image Credit: Shopify

The official Creator Academy by YouTube highly suggests using tags so viewers know what your video is about. But this is not just informing your viewers, you’re also telling YouTube itself. The search engine makes use of tags to grasp the content and context of a video.

This way, YouTube can figure out how to associate your video with other similar videos. And these can expand how far your video content can reach. But always remember to choose your tags wisely. Avoid using irrelevant tags. Just because one tag looks kind of popular, doesn’t mean you should add it. Irrelevant tags ask for Google penalties.

So lead with your target keywords, and even use long-tail ones.

#4 Do some optimization on the video description

Let’s get these out of the way:

Using all that available space is great for including as many natural-sounding and relevant keywords as you can. But remember that your viewers are in your channel to watch a video and not a long article.

But if your video really does need a longer description, occupy the first two or three lines with the most important information — like your CTAs or any announcements you have regarding your business. After that, you can feel free to talk about whatever else you feel would need addressing. Add transcriptions of the video too, in case you have viewers who have to watch it without audio.

Don’t neglect this. A well-optimized description is what helps you appear in the suggested videos sidebar. It’s a great source of views for a lot of channels.

#5 Customize your video thumbnails

Through a list of video results displayed for your viewers, your video’s thumbnail is the main picture that viewers see. To be fair, it’s what shapes their perception of your video and creates first impressions. That means thumbnails matter to your click-through rates and the views you can receive.

90% of best performing YouTube videos have customized thumbnails.

Custom images for thumbnails should be:

#6 Fit your video into a category

After uploading a video, categorize it. You can find it by navigating to “Advanced settings.”

Choosing a category is good way to group your video with other similar content on YouTube. They end up being grouped into playlists. And through this, your video gets exposure, and you can attract more new viewers who can identify with your audience.

#7 SRT Files for closed captions or subtitles

This hack caters to the members of your audience who are viewing the video without audio. But like other textual elements we’ve discussed, subtitles and closed captions are ripe avenues for highlighting and including important keywords.

But in order to add closed captions or subtitles to your video, you need to upload a supported text transcript, or a time subtitles file.

#8 Cards and End Screens

As you watch videos on YouTube, you’ve probably noticed a small white circular icon with an “i” in the middle. There’s also a translucent bar in the video that asks you to subscribe. Those are identified as Cards.

Cards are described as “preformatted notifications that appear on desktop and mobile which you can set up to promote your brand and other videos on your channel,” according to YouTube’s Creator Academy.

Up to five cards can be included in a video and there are six types of cards you can choose from:

And as for end screens, they display identical information as cards. But the difference is that they don’t come out until the video is over. They’re also more visually detailed.

The Takeaway

If you thought YouTube was just for YouTubers and for people like PewDiePie, you’re wrong.

You can enter the fray too, and reap the benefits that come with video production. And it’s all thanks to your own determination and a sprinkle of YouTube SEO.

So work hard to make your videos valuable and helpful to people. And as the views roll in, offer your help some more by directing them towards your website. And don’t forget to ask people to subscribe, so they won’t miss out on your next project.

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