Unlike optimising the text on web pages and blog posts, YouTube SEO requires a more comprehensive approach. YouTube’s search algorithm and its parent company Google’s takes into account a number of different factors to determine how well your video ranks. Using this knowledge to your advantage can help you grow an audience of people interested in your niche and build your online business.
One of the most important factors for the organic way to rank YouTube videos is how long users watch your videos. The platform knows that more time spent watching videos correlates with engagement and, ultimately, a higher search engine rank. This is why YouTube encourages you to get your viewers hooked by providing an engaging intro, making use of the ‘card’ feature to drive subscriber conversions, and so on.
Another important factor for ranking YouTube videos is how relevant they are to the keyword or search query. This is why YouTube’s search algorithm tries to match the most relevant content to the user. The best way to optimise your video for this is by conducting keyword research and then incorporating those keywords into the title, description and tags of your videos.
The most important place to include your keyword is the video title. Think of the video title as a headline that appears on a search results page, and aim to include your keyword within the first 25 words of the title. However, don’t overuse your keyword – this is known as keyword stuffing and can have a negative impact on your video rankings.
Your video description is the next important aspect for ranking YouTube videos. The search algorithm uses this to understand what your video is about, and it also uses it to decide how high to rank it. This is why writing an optimised video description is so important. A video that has a strong, clear and unique description is more likely to rank highly than a similar video with no description or a poor one.
Adding in a transcript of your video is a great way to further optimise it for YouTube searches. The platform is becoming increasingly able to transcribe video content automatically and, if you include your target keywords in the transcription – ideally early on and a few times – you may get an extra boost in rankings.
Another great tip is to add your keyword in the video file name of your upload. This is not something that many people do, but it’s a simple way to give your videos an extra boost in YouTube search engine rankings. Just be sure that your file name is descriptive enough and doesn’t exceed the maximum length for uploads.