An SEO Guide on Optimizing Videos for YouTube Search

Red and white play button

Many people think of Yahoo, Bing, Google, and other search engines depending on their target location when it comes to SEO. They often forget to prioritize optimization for YouTube, the second most visited platform worldwide, according to the global traffic rankings by Alexa.

Many digital marketing agencies don’t give YouTube SEO enough thought, which is why they rarely add them to the marketing strategy of clients to help them achieve desired results. Rocket Driver, the leading white-label SEO reseller agency, wants to highlight the importance of YouTube SEO to help agencies help their clients reap the many benefits it offers in a world where audio-visual culture holds immense significance.

Why YouTube?

YouTube fans watch a lot of videos—the last count was over 4.5 billion hours monthly. Regardless of age, background, education level, profession, ethnicity, economic background, interests, and other factors, YouTube is watched by almost every household for several hours every day. Whether it’s on TV or smart devices, YouTube has become one of the most important mediums in the lives of many people across the globe.

Person browsing videos on YouTube using a tablet

Unlocking the potential within the platform means your clients can help businesses access millions of viewers daily. The opportunity comes in the form of a new channel where brands can post videos along with content that’s generally helpful.

Consequently, the overall online presence increases significantly. You can help your clients capture more attention, nurture an audience that’s loyal and highly engaged, and garner better social media content integration. There’s also ample opportunity to benefit from the inherent benefit of improved search engine rankings.

What is YouTube SEO?

SEO involves optimizing content, be it videos, content, or anything else that enables it to rank higher in the search engine results pages, AKA SERPs. In a nutshell, YouTube SEO refers to the process of optimizing videos for the YouTube channel to increase rankings in the search queries of the platform.

Whenever anyone posts a query on a search engine, including YouTube, the displayed results are impacted by many factors. It could include the relevance of content to the terms the user used for searching and the video or website’s authority.

The trust factor and popularity of a website, therefore, effects where the content shows up on the SERPs. An algorithm called ‘PageRank’ ranks videos on YouTube for all search terms while looking at factors like the number of links in a video or how authoritative every site that has been linked to the video is.

TOP can help to optimize video content for better rankings, improved engagement, and more. Top refers to ‘Targeting, Optimizing, and Promoting’ videos. The first step involves keyword research, understanding the intent of searchers, and creating videos. The next step is to optimize tags, titles, and descriptions to create a branded presence. Lastly, it’s all about building embeds and links to get real engagement views on the videos.

When done correctly, YouTube SEO helps increase video views, brand awareness, and website traffic, which, in turn, boosts revenue.

YouTube and Google: the ranking game

SERPs in Google contain more than just articles. Users can find ranked images, videos, books, and more. The more variety and volume of content is created, the more the chances it has of being picked and ranked higher increases for related search terms in Google SERPs.

Being owned by Google, YouTube provides an excellent chance of increasing organic visibility. All you need to do is to embed the video on the client’s website and spend more time optimizing the video content on YouTube.

Google wants you to know that only embedding the videos isn’t enough to improve the SERPs ranking. But incorporating useful videos creatively within the content significantly increases the chances of a visitor staying longer on the page. It can eventually lead to a boost in niche authority and, therefore, an improvement in organic rankings.  

YouTube recently cited Audience Retention as one of the most important factors affecting rankings. This involves the average viewing duration for different time frames before people exit the channel. Increase in subscribers after watching a video, comments, shares, thumbs down or up, and click-through rates also affect ranking.

When visitors find any content informative, they’re most likely to visit again. Over time, Google rewards engaging and authoritative websites. Now that you’ve got a better understanding of how YouTube SEO works, here are some tips to help your clients get the most out of their presence on the platform.

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Tip #1- Use target keywords in the video’s filename

 A video’s title is among the top things people notice when they search for them online. It’s the title that often determines if the viewer will click to watch the video, so make sure it’s clear, concise, and compelling.

Identify the right keywords and place them in the video file before uploading them. While YouTube cannot watch the video to determine its relevance to the targeted keyword, it can read the filename. When the title closely matches the query of the searcher, it may help the video rank better for the term. But only if the terms fit into the title naturally and explain what the video is about.

HubSpot recommends keeping the titles short, under sixty characters, so they aren’t cut off in the SERPs. The most important thing to remember is that Google’s and YouTube’s algorithm considers the quality of the video. So essentially, the audio and visual quality both need to be fantastic to improve engagement.

Tip #2- Consider video description optimization

The current official character limit for descriptions on YouTube is 1000. You’re free to use all that space, but don’t forget that YouTube surfers want to watch videos, not read lengthy essays.

The video’s description can make or break clicks, so make sure to include keywords and keep them crisp. Also, front-load the description with CTAs, important information, or links because after 1000 characters, the rest of the description can only be viewed when users click on the ‘show more’ button.

Transcribing the video is another great way to optimize the video itself. It’s excellent for engaging people who cannot hear or prefer watching videos without the volume. You can also place target keywords in the transcription and provide links to your client’s other social media platforms.  

Tip #3- Choose thumbnails that grab instant attention

Thumbnails are the main image views are going to see when scrolling through the SERPs. The thumbnail used must stand out to capture the attention of the intended viewer among the sea of other videos.

While YouTube auto-generates thumbnails, you can upload a custom thumbnail if your client’s account is verified. You can edit the images to make them stand out from the rest of the videos in the same category.

Experts recommend using commonly supported image formats, such as GIF, PNG, JPG, or BMP. Don’t forget the 2 MB limit, but try using a high-resolution image of 720p x 1280p for the best results.

Tip #4- Include video tags

Just like Instagram hashtags, you can also use tags on YouTube to help your client’s target audience find their content. Keywords and other valuable phrases can be tagged according to the company name, location, industry, services or products offered, or more. These tags help skyrocket views of videos since users not subscribed to the channel can also watch the content when they search for anything using the relevant keywords.

Need help with improved YouTube SEO?

Outsource to to see the difference our white-label marketing solutions can make for your clients looking to excel in this digital era? Our white-label services include content marketing, social media,  SMS marketing SEO, web design, reputation management, and other digital marketing solutions.  

We’ve got a team of experts who can help your agency create custom strategies to fit your client’s unique business. If you’re ready to reap all the benefits, book a one-on-one demo with Tom Lombardi to experience how partnering with us can help you drive success. Book now!

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