Optimising your YouTube videos for search
The vast majority of corporate companies are now using YouTube to host their videos. This is because it’s easy, the second largest search engine and importantly it’s free, so doesn’t need to be factored into your yearly budget.
As many companies are now using the platform as their main video hosting outlet, there is a growing need to improve YouTube video SEO in order to stay visible and ahead of the game.
The first game is to understand the multiple different criteria the YouTube algorithm looks at when it’s time to rank your videos:
- How often the video has been viewed
- How long someone views the video
- How often the video appears in a person’s playlist
- The number of positive rankings/comments
- The number of subscribers the creator has
- How often the video is added to a playlist
- How often the video was embedded across the web
These are all things that are mainly out of your immediate control. But the quality of your videos will aid in all the above criteria. Beyond these however are the things you should always do for every video. If you’re actively working on your SEO across your website, a lot of these will look familiar.
The very basic of YouTube video SEO – keywords. Just as with traditional pieces of content on your site, you want to be able to tell search bots what your content is about. The trick here though is to pick keywords that are different from the norm. Companies in the same sector will have similar keywords, so the goal is to find slight differentiators that set you apart from the others. Specific keywords should be used across your SEO strategy – finding their way into titles, descriptions, and tags.
Have a catchy title
Viewers are more inclined to click on a video that has a catchy title as it stands out from all the other videos in the search results. Alongside a catchy title however, you should also include your keywords – preferably towards the beginning of the title.
Create a thorough description
Descriptions always seem to be overlooked, but they play a very important role in telling search bots exactly what the video is about. Although search bots are very intelligent, they cannot actually watch your video, so the content within the description and content within the page allow YouTube to determine the content of the video. Unlike meta descriptions, which you use across your webpages; video descriptions are where you can add the most text and you are not limited to how much text you use. As always, make sure to use your keywords.
You can also include a transcript of the video within the description. It’s an excellent way to include relevant, keyword-rich content that will help both your optimisation efforts and viewers. Results videos for instance can become quite confusing with financial details being discussed and transcripts provide another outlet for users to gather more information.
Tags really matter when it comes to video. Usage of important key phrases and keywords as simply another way of letting bots know how your video should be categorised. This allows YouTube to group videos as related and creates another avenue of finding your videos.
The easiest way to index and allow search bots to know you have a video on your site is through sitemaps. Your sitemap should always include video links. Alternatively, you can create a video specific sitemap, which would be preferable if you have a large video library on your site. Google’s explanation on how to add video content to sitemaps can be found here.
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