The 5 Steps to Winning YouTube SEO

Post Updated: 16.06.2021 14:32 BST

Is SEO important on YouTube?

You may feel like this is a daft question, but seriously, this is one we get asked quite often in the Digital Marketing industry. Simply put, without good knowledge of what users search as well as how and what to implement in order to match that search, we will get considerably less visibility on YouTube. This post looks at why YouTube SEO is important and the best ways in which to enhance your visibility on YouTube.

Why do we need video?

When thinking about video and YouTube SEO, we must remember that businesses need to be able to engage with their customers, and importantly do so on a human level. In the corporate package of branding, this intimacy can get lost. It can be easy for customers to lose sight of the humanity in a company – especially when they never have to meet you.

Video is a fantastic way of reaching these customers. You can present a set of faces of the company who are likeable and speak well, and use them to communicate your message. This is one of the best ways of consciously engaging customers rather than the more subtle approaches to marketing. Presenting information in a video format isn’t always appropriate, but it can serve well if your company has a reputation for being robotic, or has a need to appear welcoming.

YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine, after Google. Google also own YouTube, so there’s really no getting away from how important this website is and getting your YouTube SEO right. Just under a third of all time spent online is spent watching video, and three quarters of over-18 Anglophones watch online video. It should be noted that the proportion of time spent watching video for 18-34 year olds is much higher than for older age groups – though this is to be expected, it should be considered when targeting your video and developing your YouTube SEO.

Video is easy for the viewer. They do not generally need to read, scroll, or make sense of imagery; the video, done right, can deliver everything the customer could want with no effort on their part – aside from clicking play.

Reaching this vast market on YouTube means that your video needs to be searchable. But video, by its inherent nature, cannot be searched with a traditional keyboard. That’s where YouTube SEO comes in.

The steps to optimise a video for search are standard, as there is a standard format all video pages follow on YouTube.

The 5 Steps of Winning YouTube SEO

Step 1 – Tagging

Tagging is the first step in ranking your video. It will allow the video to be associated with keywords, and thus compete with other videos when those keywords are searched. Prominent keywords should be chosen that detail the video on multiple levels.

For example, they should address the content of the video at its most primary level, like ‘football’. Then details should be tagged, like ‘Chelsea’ and ‘Torres goal’. We would then tag for alternatives that are likely to come up. We have tools with which we can compare the popularity of tags and ensure that the best tags and their synonyms are applied to videos.

Step 2 – Title

Every video receives a title, but not every video gets found. The title needs to summarise the content of the video or deliver a consistency if in a series so users know what to expect when they click on it. There is little worse than mis-leading users with a vague or incorrect title and have them downvote your video (and then leave the page). You want to build credibility but you also want to build an audience, and this can only be done with a well-chosen title that follows the same principles of optimisation as with the tags.

Step 3 – Thumbnail

The thumbnail of a video is the small image that is presented beside the title when the video link appears in a search. The thumbnail is very important as, alongside the title, it allows users to judge the book by its cover. If your thumbnail and title don’t tell a coherent and enticing story, then you will not get the views the video deserves. We would choose an attractive thumbnail that is in-tune with the message and title of the video.

Step 4 – Video description

The description of a video is the secondary tool for user friendliness, telling them what they can find within the video and how they can proceed after viewing it. We should be looking to create an SEO optimised description that also functions as an informative and effective call to action. The description should include links and link descriptions to further content, and importantly to your main website and other social media channels. It should also cover any points not raised within the main video and answer any questions users may pose.

Step 5 – Transcriptions

Transcriptions run with a video, simply showing a typed representation of what’s happening within the video. This is usually just a direct copy of the talking, but can also include names of speakers, silences, laughter and other common audio. YouTube applies transcriptions automatically to videos, but these are often inaccurate and can ultimately damage your video’s standing on search engines for irrelevance. Manually writing and applying them instead will help with the video optimisation on search engines, look professional and simply give relevant text for the engines to work with.

Bonus Tip 6

For those of you that bothered to read this far, we have an extra snippet for you to consider. We can only do so much with a video externally; we can make our best efforts to get it found and entice people to click once it is, but the video itself needs to contribute too. Your video should end with a call to action, a direct link to your website or product so viewers can receive that marketing without hoping they read the description. This is something we can do with video annotations, and whilst these can be useful, they are considered a tacky afterthought and are not ideal for video quality.

At Digital Glue, we know how to work video. We can ensure that the money you invested in the video is not wasted with poor SEO. We can help build the audience of your channel and increase the flow of traffic between all your social media channels. We are a Birmingham based marketing consultancy. For more information, get in touch.

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