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Look To YouTube For The Future Of SEO

Mark Simmonds

Digital Marketing Executive

Author Image: Mark Simmonds
youtube seo
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SEO is Vital For Online Success

It doesn’t matter whether you are a multinational retailer with an e-commerce catalogue spanning thousands of products or a self-employed tradesperson working within a specific local area, SEO & SEO YouTube is vital for online success.

search engine optimisation

Some businesses choose to undertake their SEO activities in-house, some employ third-party specialists and a few simply bury their head in the sand and hope that their website will somehow magically optimise itself. Achieving and maintaining a page one ranking on Google should result in higher website traffic, which in turn means increased enquiries, sales and ultimately, profits.

Of course, competitors are keen to attract that traffic to their own websites, and are working on boosting their own rankings all the time.

With so much at stake for businesses of all sizes, the ostrich approach to SEO isn’t something to be recommended, and to be fair, most serious business owners do make concerted efforts to improve their website’s rankings on Google.

Can YouTube Tell Us The Future of SEO?

When it comes to video content, however, burying your head in the sand seems to be much more prevalent, with a huge proportion of website owners choosing to do little or nothing about this incredibly important medium.

youtube seo

In this article, we look at the numbers behind YouTube’s phenomenal growth and examine just why YouTube is so important, before looking at exactly how to SEO on YouTube, to help you achieve the best possible exposure for your video content. You’ll learn how to optimise your YouTube videos so that they have the best possible chance of ranking highly, on both YouTube and Google.

How Popular Is YouTube?

The scale of YouTube is truly mind-boggling. Every day, over 500 million hours of video are consumed via YouTube. Over 300 hours of video content is uploaded every minute. That’s 432,000 hours of fresh content uploaded each and every day – with the volume increasing month on month.

The Rise of Video Content

Back in the early 1960s, TV viewing reached a critical mass, and became a mainstream activity, sidelining radio. Now, it seems that a similar seismic shift is happening, with viewing habits changing dramatically. People no longer want to be constrained by fixed programming schedules, preferring to consume what they want, when they want, via the Internet.

video content is improving

Blog content and online articles are still popular, of course, but people are increasingly choosing video content over text content. It’s estimated that by 2021, just a couple of short years away, more than 80% of all internet traffic will be video.

The 2nd Largest Search Engine

If you asked the average person to name all of the search engines that they can think of, they would probably mention Google, Bing and Yahoo at best…with very few people even considering YouTube to be a search engine.

In fact, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, behind Google. The only difference between YouTube and other search engines is that YouTube exclusively handles video content.

hours of content uploaded to youtube

Hours of content uploaded to YouTube every minute – Pex.com

When you rethink your impression of YouTube in this way, you start to see just how important it is and why it’s so critical to start thinking about YouTube SEO, if you want to stay ahead of the game.

Mixing Traditional SEO With YouTube SEO

For business owners, it’s important to understand how SEO relates to video content? If you produce some decent videos and upload them to YouTube, isn’t that enough?

Sure – making some valuable video content is certainly worthwhile, but it’s only half the story. You wouldn’t produce an amazing piece of written content without thinking about SEO, would you?

The same goes for YouTube videos, and it might come as a surprise to learn that there are some areas of overlap between traditional SEO and YouTube SEO. Tapping into existing SEO knowledge and applying it to YouTube can really give you a lead over your competition, especially when combined with some YouTube-specific insights and techniques.

How To Optimise For Search on YouTube

Within this article, our focus is on how to implement some key YouTube SEO techniques to turbo-boost the traffic that your online videos generate. If you’d like to learn more about how to produce effective and engaging content for YouTube, we recommend the following resources:

If you’d prefer to let the experts help you to create quality video content for YouTube, contact us at KIJO for a no-obligation chat about what we could achieve together.

The Best Video Length for Videos on YouTube

Just as Google favours long-form content in its algorithms, so longer video length seems to be a ranking feature within YouTube. Striving for longer content shouldn’t be an excuse for lazy editing or rambling presentation, however, so always keep your content focused and to the point.

uploading to youtube

It pays to plan ahead and to prepare an outline of what you want to cover in your video. Videos don’t necessarily have to be fully scripted and meticulously staged, but they do need to have continuity, an engaging tone and focus. 

How To Create An Engaging YouTube Title?

Content titles are super important on Google, and likewise, on YouTube, it pays to take care of your video’s title. Describe your video accurately and clearly, ensuring that your main keyword is included. Even the most casual user of YouTube will quickly notice that the platform is dominated by videos with titles that lean towards clickbait.

how to create an engaging youtube title

Titles such as Double your phone’s battery life for free or OMG Weight Loss Secret Revealed are good examples of clickbait titles, but there are many more, across all video genres. Outrageous clickbait titles aren’t recommended, but titles that are compelling and that work hard to encourage viewers to watch are obviously the aim.

Optimising Your YouTube Video Description

The text-based description that you add to your video should be seen in the same light as the meta description of a web page. You have up to 5,000 words to play with for the description, yet so many video creators fail to exploit this SEO opportunity, providing the flimsiest of descriptions, with no keywords added.

For each of your videos, make sure that you provide a comprehensive description, with the most important information at the start, and with your keywords spread throughout.

Keyword stuffing is as much of a no-no on Youtube as it is anywhere else, so always act professionally on this. Bear in mind that the video description field could be truncated, so aim to get your key message and description within the first 200 characters or so, then use the rest of the available space to expand on that.

How To Guide: Keyword Research For Your Videos

On the subject of keywords, proper research is as important on Youtube as it is on Google. One simple place to start your research is Youtube’s search suggest tool – simply type in the start of a relevant phrase and make a note of the suggestions that Youtube makes. These are all potential options for your keyword list.

Just as with Google, the sweet spot in terms of SEO is to find high traffic, low competition keywords. To find the figures for each keyword, you’ll need to use a third-party YouTube SEO tool, since YouTube’s own keyword tool has long since been pulled from the platform, to be merged in with Google’s Adwords keyword tool.  

youtube keyword research tooll

Tools like the vidIQ Chrome extension and KeywordTool.io are worth exploring, and there are many more tools available. This research will prove to be valuable, but marketers also need to be aware of the fact that YouTube is geared heavily towards Trends. That means that to get the most out of YouTube, you need to understand how you can tap into trends that are relevant to your brand, or your products or services. It may also mean that competition for certain keywords could be high.

Whilst Google has long abandoned meta keywords as a ranking factor for text-based content, using keywords as tags on YouTube videos is still relevant. Again, do your research and use tags to optimise your videos, but always stay sensible and avoid stuffing.

optimising tags for youtube videos

We’ve spoken about the importance of keyword research for YouTube videos, and about crafting your title, description and tags to optimise the video.

Don’t forget to also mention those keywords in the audio of your video – whilst YouTube might not scan the audio content currently, it’s only a matter of time before this becomes a key ranking factor, so adopting this technique now will certainly stand you in good stead for the future. You should also use the keyword in the actual filename of the video upload.

Don’t Forget Google!

One of the most fundamental SEO tips for YouTube videos is to remember that you are optimising for both YouTube and Google. According to Search Engine Watch, YouTube gets 16% of its traffic from Google, and conversely, 2 out of every 100 clicks from Google goes to a YouTube video.

youtube videos on google search pages

Google’s stated aim is to deliver the content that is most likely to solve a searcher’s problem or answer their question, and it’s clear that video offers a highly engaging way to do just that. People often prefer to watch a demonstration of something, rather than reading a set of instructions. Presenting information in a visual format makes it easier to digest, whether that is a ‘how-to’ video explaining a power tool, or an inspiration video showcasing how someone might use a particular range of cosmetics, for example.

The Reason Google Loves YouTube

Google knows all of this, and also understands that engagement and retention are much higher through video than through other formats. That makes video a more lucrative channel for content producers, and for Google itself. Video content is generally perceived as being valuable enough to tolerate advertising, which is why Google and other search engines are so keen to include video in search results.

It makes sense to try to ensure that any video you upload to YouTube has the best possible chance of appearing on Google’s first page results. Obviously, getting on to page one of Google is every SEO expert’s holy grail, but with video, there’s a little secret that could really boost your chances…

The Hidden Secret

That secret is that Google only shows videos in the search results for certain keywords. Try it out, and you’ll soon see for yourself. Search for ‘how to lay a patio’, for example, and you’ll see videos included in the first page results.

how to play patio google search results

Now search for ‘sciatica symptoms’, and you’ll see that there are no video results included on page one. What this means is that Google is making a decision about what type of content is most appropriate for each search.

google search pages for different search terms

Clearly, Google believes that people who type in ‘how to’ queries are likely to be willing to watch a video that answers their questions, but people who search for medical issues are likely to want text-based content to meet their needs.  

Research around video results on Google suggests that there are a handful of categories where Google is likely to favour videos in its search results:

Tutorials and explainer videos

Reviews of products and services

Fun or cute topics

Sports, hobbies and pastimes

Tapping into one of these types of content really boosts the chances of your video being featured in Google’s organic search results, so it really pays to optimise with this in mind.

Of course, Google is keen to add video to its homepage for a very good reason – click-through rates are much higher for videos than for other content types. If you’re lucky enough to get your videos featured in Google’s search results, the traffic that this drives should be phenomenal.

Optimising Your YouTube Page

Having optimised each individual video, it’s time to look at your YouTube channel. A professional looking channel page, with your keywords in the description, will help convince your audience that you are an authority in your field who is well worth subscribing to.

youtube banner example

Pay attention to video thumbnails, your channel icon, and your channel banner, and be sure to test it across multiple devices and screen resolutions. Vlogging Guides has a great infographic to help you optimise your channel page.

Just as with traditional SEO, the devil is in the detail, and a well-produced channel page, with an engaging description, smart graphics and good use of keywords will help you to move up the rankings within YouTube.

If Google’s Paying Attention, So Should You!

Back in 2006, Google bought YouTube in a deal worth $1.65 billion. Given that fact, it’s perhaps surprising that it has taken so long for YouTube to become so important for SEO, and for a video to start to dominate online content. With more and more video formats becoming widespread, such as live streaming, virtual reality and 360 videos, the opportunities to exploit video are growing exponentially.

With Google’s traditional search and advertising revenues coming under pressure, the search engine is now looking to YouTube as its next big growth channel.  Fail to act on that insight, and you risk relegating your website, and your business, to the backwaters of the internet.

The barriers to entry with video content are low to non-existent, so with a little effort in terms of YouTube SEO, 2018 could very definitely be the year that your online efforts really start to pay dividends. There was a time in the not too distant past when predictions of smartphone domination were questioned by some industry figures. Even the most optimistic of those early predictions have now been surpassed, and it looks just as likely that today’s predictions on the impact that YouTube will have on SEO will be just as revolutionary.

Call the KIJO team today for a chat about your Google & YouTube strategy

 

Further Reading…

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