One of the simple but most common mistakes made when using YouTube for marketing is neglecting to think about and incorporate SEO strategies in you videos and channel.
Before filming or posting anything, keep in mind that YouTube is not only just a video search engine but it is also owned by Google.
Fortunately YouTube uses a much less complicated algorithm than Google, but it is still just as important when it comes to making your videos more widespread (both on and off YouTube). If you really want optimise your YouTube SEO, then utilizing your keywords is a must!
The following Ranking Factors are the ones you should prioritize when creating and uploading content:
- Video Titles
- Video and Channel Descriptions
- Subtitles, Closed Captions & Video Transcripts
Great video titles
When it comes to YouTube what you title your video is immediately going to influence the audience as to whether or not to give it a chance or skip over it completely.
If you want your title to be informative, attention-grabbing, and have a positive impact on your SEO rank then try and stick to the following general rules:
- Make sure you keyword(s), phrases, and the most important or relevant information is at the very beginning
- Paint a clear, simple picture of what the video is about
- Entice your audience by keeping your title punchy, informative, and engaging
- Aim to have no more than 10 words, or 50-60 characters (at most)
Video and channel descriptions are important for two key reasons: to drive audience engagement & views, and to boost your SEO.
Here are some of the key elements to be conscious of when writing your description:
- Your description should immediately provide the viewer with a URL, immediately followed by a call to action.
- The first 100 characters of the videos description have the biggest impact as it is usually the most visible. The first 1-2 sentences of this description are broadcast as the meta description for both Google and YouTube, and it is the only part of the description visible to the audience without them having to “read more”. Your description should immediately provide the viewer with a URL, followed by a call to action.
- The rest of the description should ideally be a few characters, 150 max
- If you want to expand on your call to action, you can also provide offers or related information
- Remember to actually write a brief summary of the video content (without giving too much away) that is full of your primary keywords, especially the ones used in the title.
- Nothing sours a persons interest faster than confusing and overly complicated sentences, so aim to write a brief that even a child could understand.
- Tags are a great and simple way to boost SEO without relying primarily on audience engagement.
- Your tags should be made up of your main keywords
- Be sure to put the most important keywords at the beginning
- Make sure all of the tags are relevant
- Try and use both long-tail and general keywords
- Aim to reach the max character limit if possible
Thumbnails act as an initial introduction to potential viewers who may be interested in your content, so it is important to have a thumbnail that is enticing and gives the right impression of your brand. When designing a thumbnail start by thinking about your brand identity, and find the type of imagery that best showcases it.
Getting someone to actually click on your video comes down to the thumbnail, so its important to remember quality over quantity! Find the line between being unique and standing out, and being visually offensive or tacky.
Colour and colour contrast plays a vital role in not only grabbing someone’s attention but also keeping it, especially with the relative size of YouTube’s thumbnails (the optimal size being 1280 x 720 pixels).
One of the best ways to successfully use YouTube for marketing actually tends to be by dialling back on the traditional ‘buyer/seller’ relationship, and instead focus on creating engaging content that addresses your audience’s needs.
Be sure to include expertise, entertainment, interaction, and customer engagement for the best results. Ideally, videos should provide information that is helpful, entertaining, and valuable.
If you already have a blog and find yourself struggling to come up with topics, a good trick is to produce those articles as videos.
Be aware that the purpose of your should be to provide content that draws people in with the intention of making the audience want more. This, in turn, makes it more likely for the viewer to want to share it with others.
Adding closed captions, subtitles, and/or a transcription to YouTube videos is one of the most underutilized and surprisingly beneficial SEO tactics. Not only does it help reach a wider audience, it also provides countless more opportunities to highlight important keywords.
Annotations are also a great tool for increasing brand awareness and conveying a message, but remember to keep it clean and minimal so it doesn’t undercut the rest of the video.