YouTube may have started out as a video sharing network where people can show off videos of their adorable pets or look for funny home videos and recorded TV shows, but now it has become more than that. As the leading provider of online videos not only in the United States but also in so many countries abroad, In 2012 YouTube became the second largest search engine website in the world. With about 65,000 videos uploaded daily, the network continues to grow—and so does the competition of those who wish to rank high in its video search results.
An Alternative Search Engine
People go to Google and all other search engines whenever they want to check some fact or find specific information. The online community has grown increasingly creative over the years though, and audiences are always looking for something new. It is therefore unsurprising that information dissemination has branched out from standard websites to images and to videos.
If you’re familiar with infographics, then you’ll know what infomovies are. These are short, audio-visual presentations of information about various subjects and topics. Since YouTube is the largest video storage and sharing website today, it made sense for infomovie makers to upload their videos here—eventually making YouTube a popular search engine for information seekers.
Competition on YouTube Rankings
Just like with Google and practically any other search engine, videos and channels are also competing for spots in the vide results page. During the past seven years since the website was first launched, millions of videos have already been uploaded and many more are being made. Each month that passes, the competition in YouTube search results grows tougher.
Thankfully though YouTube is not yet convoluted with so many algorithms yet. You don’t have to be a seasoned SEO to understand how this works. On the other hand, it doesn’t hurt to have the expertise of an ethical SEO company or at least a seasoned SEO in your disposal.
YouTube SEO Tips
Let’s get down to the basics. Just like any search engine, YouTube has several ranking factors to consider when it displays video search results. These are:
- clickthrough rate
- keywords (on titles, captions, tags and video file names)
- video responses
- inclusion in playlists
- channel authority
It only makes sense then for your optimization efforts to revolve around these ranking factors.
1. Utilize Keywords:
If it were an ordinary webpage, keywords would be inserted in an article or any other content: website information, meta tags, descriptions and titles, and image filenames and captions, among others. The same still applies to YouTube videos. You have to supply a title, description about the video, and your own channel’s profile page. In all these text fields, you can insert vital keywords that will help identify your video for exact-match or related keyword searches.
But of course, this is first and foremost a video sharing website. It is the content of the videos that matters the most. During the website’s earlier years, the ranking algorithm for the website was not yet developed enough to interpret video content and include it as a factor for determining results and rankings.
Today though, YouTube is using a speech-to-text technology that transcribes video voiceovers into captions (a feature in YouTube) and allows the site to understand the audio content of the video. If the speech-to-text process registers keywords, that would help bring your video to the fore.
2. Respond to Comments and Video Responses
Just like in a blog, interacting with your visitors is one way to invite them to come back to view your video and explore the rest of the videos in your channel. If you receive video responses, leave a comment for that individual. You can even give one of his videos a video response too—your own, of course. That’s another way to promote your other videos.
3. Campaign for Likes and Favorites
Maximize the social media aspect of YouTube
It doesn’t hurt to ask your friends for help to put your video on the top spot of the YouTube results page. You can easily ask them to click on like, favorite your videos or subscribe to your channel. After all, YouTube is still social media! In true SEO fashion, you can also include calls to action in your video description or insert them on the video itself.
4. Establish Your Channel’s Authority
YouTube has a tendency to include not just videos but authority channels as well. How do you become an authority? It’s going to take time and work, of course, but basically the elements of authority sites are quality videos and subscribers. If you these two build up your presence your popularity will increase—and along that, your channel authority. Of course, if your channel name/title is an exact-match, that can also help.
5. Apply Traditional SEO Techniques
Think about what SEO you’d normally do if you were optimizing a website or a blog. You’d update it regularly, post new content often, use social media for additional optimization, build links, create a profile page, and insert single and long-tail keywords, among others.
Do the same things for your YouTube channel. Think of it as your site with your videos as its content. What’s great here is you’d be optimizing your videos and channel not just for YouTube but for the major search engines as well.
Combine the social media capacity of YouTube with traditional SEO theories and strategies
- YouTube allows you to include clickable links directly on your video. The advantage here is if that video becomes viral, you will also be introducing your other videos to your numerous viewers. What’s more, you can also insert links that will lead to your external website, if you have one.
- Construct your own playlists and name them accordingly with keyword-rich titles. Needless to say, the titles need to be well-constructed and not just a jumble of keywords. These can double your keyword pull on video searches.
- If you’re going to do a voice-over, write down that script first to make sure your video content will include the single keyword or long-tail keyword you need to put in. If you don’t want to sound “scripted,” at least have an outline and indicate in which parts of your voice-over you can insert a keyword or two. Besides the SEO aspect, this strategy will also help you produce shorter but information-rich videos.
- If you want to put captions for your video, upload a transcript of your voiceover and let YouTube’s speech-to-text display the appropriate text in time with the narration. Not only is this more convenient than the captioning feature, but the text and all keywords therein will be indexed by the site.
- Post videos in HD format if possible.