YouTube SEO Best Practices: How To Rank Videos On YouTube

By Salt

YouTube can be a powerful source of organic traffic for an eCommerce business. It has more than 2.6 billion monthly active users. Only Google has more visitors globally. YouTube is a great tool you can use to grow your online business. So it’s important to know how to optimize your content for the platform.

But YouTube SEO doesn’t work in the same way as Google SEO. Taking Google SEO best practices and applying them to your YouTube content won’t work. While there are similarities between the two, Google Search and YouTube use different algorithms to rank content. It might seem difficult to get exposure on YouTube. But there are strategies that can help your content to rank higher. In this article, we’ll discuss essential YouTube SEO hacks you should know. 

First, the basics:

What is YouTube SEO?

YouTube SEO simply refers to optimizing your YouTube channel and videos to rank higher in YouTube searches. It helps to tell the YouTube algorithm what your channel/ video is about, rank it for relevant keywords, and to recommend it to YouTube users.

Why is YouTube SEO important that brands are increasingly embracing it as part of their overall SEO marketing strategy? 

When done well, YouTube SEO can help to boost your YouTube ranking, improve organic traffic to your website, and increase brand visibility. Other benefits of YouTube SEO include:

  • Higher engagement rates
  • Greater brand reach
  • Competitive advantage, enables you to establish your brand as an authority 
  • Increased revenue through the YouTube monetization program
  • Building an online community for the brand

But you can only enjoy these benefits if you master YouTube SEO.

How Does YouTube SEO Work?

If you’re familiar with website SEO, then you already have an idea of how YouTube SEO works. They are almost similar. Just like Google, YouTube relies on an algorithm to rank content. They both pay close attention to keyword relevancy. 

But while the Google algorithm mainly looks at factors such as page relevance, the usability of pages, and the expertise of sources, the YouTube algorithm considers the following:

  • The user’s watch history 
  • Relevance to users
  • Alignment of video descriptions and meta descriptions to users’ interests
  • Video engagement rather than clicks 
  • Number of subscribers on your channel 
  • View velocity (how many subscribers watch your video right after it’s published)
  • The number of videos a specific user has watched on your channel

Now that you understand the basics of YouTube SEO, let’s discuss a few YouTube SEO tips and hacks that will help you to rank higher.

Five Essential YouTube SEO Tips and Hacks You Should Know

When it comes to YouTube SEO, there are a few tips your channel can’t do without. These five YouTube SEO tips will help users find, engage with, and love your videos:

  1. Conduct Keyword Research

Just like the other search engines, keyword research is the foundation of YouTube SEO. It plays a vital role in getting your channel and content to rank. Leverage tools such as Google Keyword Planner to understand what your audience is searching for on YouTube and what keywords to use in your video titles, descriptions, and tags. 

When doing keyword research for YouTube SEO, here are some factors to consider:

  • Come up with a primary keyword and ensure it’s included in the video title
  • Insert your keyword naturally in the video title
  • Analyze your competitors and see what keywords they’re using 
  • Use long-tail keywords
  1. Optimize Your Videos

Secondly, you should learn how to optimize YouTube videos. Your optimization efforts should focus on the following:

  • Video Title: This is the first thing your viewers will see in the search results. It should be descriptive and engaging. Besides including the primary keyword, you can also optimize your video title by capitalizing properly and keeping the title under 60 characters so it doesn’t get cut off in search results.
  • Meta Description: The right meta description will also help you to rank! Write a compelling and keyword-rich meta description. You should also include links to specific pages (either to your own websites or products) within your meta description. 
  • Tags: Additionally, you should use relevant tags in your videos. There’s no rule of thumb regarding how many tags to use in a YouTube video but five to 10 tags can help in YouTube optimization. For example, if your video talks about SEO tips include tags such as search engine optimization, SEO tips, how to rank better on YouTube, etc. They help the algorithm to understand your video content and categorize it for search results.
  1. Edit the Filename and Create an Engaging Thumbnail

Don’t forget to edit your video filename, also referred to as the video URL. It helps YouTube crawlers to index your video faster and improve its ranking. 

You should also create an engaging thumbnail for your video. It’s the first visual representation of your video even before viewers click on it and therefore needs to be eye-catching. You can use graphics, emojis, and text overlays to entice viewers. But the thumbnail should be relevant to the video or you risk losing your audience as soon as they click on the video.

  1. Categorize Your Video

This might look trivial, but it’s very crucial to your YouTube optimization efforts. The right category will ensure your video ends up before the right audience, increasing the video engagement rates and helping you rank higher.

After uploading your video, click on “advanced settings” to categorize it. Some of the questions you should ask in order to determine which category the video belongs in include:

  • Which niche are you in? For example, gaming, entertainment, automotive, etc 
  • What topic does the video address? 
  • What type of users are likely to be interested in your video?
  • What is your primary keyword?
  • Which categories are your competitors optimizing for?
  1. Use Closed Captions and Subtitles

Closed captions and subtitles provide additional text for the YouTube algorithm. When optimized, they can help you to rank higher by highlighting important keywords. You can either use YouTube’s in-built captions or upload your own. If you choose to upload your own, use an SRT file to add closed captions and subtitles. You can also directly enter transcript text for video subtitles so that it auto-syncs with the video.

Additionally, including hashtags (a recent addition to the YouTube user interface) can help you in increasing your reach and visibility on YouTube. You should also share your video on other platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and your website to help increase your visibility and attract more viewers to your channel. 

Remember to create a keyword-optimized playlist and group-related videos as you add more videos to your channel. It helps to signal the YouTube algorithm what your videos are about besides encouraging viewers to click from one video to another, therefore, increasing your view count.

Get Started on YouTube SEO with Salt Marketing

YouTube SEO isn’t easy. But these tips can help you to get started and improve your YouTube SEO strategy. Need help with YouTube SEO? Salt Marketing can help you improve your YouTube SEO, get more views and subscribers, and ultimately grow your business.Start your journey to better YouTube rankings today!

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