Apply These SEO Best Practices to Start Ranking on YouTube
Video marketing is a great way to make an impression on your audience, and effective use of video has benefits for businesses in practically all verticals. It’s everyone’s dream to be the genius who creates that next viral hit, but what if no one is watching your video? Then what do you do? Just having watchable content isn’t enough. You need to follow many of the same SEO practices that are recommended for regular content marketing, while also adapt them to this specific medium. Do you know the tricky part? It’s that YouTube and Google’s “crawlers” (a generic term for any program used to automatically discover and scan websites by following links from one webpage to another) have yet to figure out how to actually watch and dissect a video. Here are some tips on how to better optimize your videos for improved exposure:
Start with Great Content
As with written content, all the video marketing acrobatics in the world won’t help if the content of your video stinks. Ensure that your content has an effective hook, and enough value and engagement to keep people watching. YouTube is more likely to rank based on watch time—the equivalent of a bounce rate—rather than on total clicks. If your video is clicked on, but not watched, then this is not helping your cause.
Write a catchy title—one that’s short, to-the-point, and contains a relevant keyword near the beginning. Most importantly, the title should convey everything it needs to in about seven or eight words, at most. It’s a challenge, but a well-thought-out title can spark interest and help with increased views. Also, when posting your video don’t settle for the automatic thumbnail image—ever. Design a custom thumbnail that catches the eye and that doesn’t catch your subject making an embarrassing face. Trust us on this.
Like we said, crawlers are unable to watch your video to recognize keywords or discern the topic it relates to, so tagging your video and including appropriate content is more important for SEO purposes than ever. Include suitable keywords in your tags—if they are keywords that produce video results on both Google and YouTube alike, even better.
Another way to get around the limitation of the crawlers is by effectively using the video description—treat it like you would a meta description, except where possible, include even more detail. Be sure to include each keyword at least once, as well as relevant information, and links back to your website and social media pages. If you want to go the extra mile, you can transcribe shorter videos in this box, though this can also be done using the closed caption feature.
Calls to Action
A great way to use annotations is as interactive calls-to-action at the end of your video. Remind people to subscribe to your channel (typically your YouTube channel’s primary conversion goal), follow you on social media, visit your website, or more with distinctive calls-to-action urging them to click where you want them to click. If you’re not applying this tried-and-tested SEO tactic in your video marketing strategy, then chances are, you’re missing out on a lot of what video has to offer.