Published October 23, 2019

5 tips for your YouTube SEO strategy

When we hear the term ‘SEO’ most of us will automatically think of Google. Now, Google definitely dominates when it comes to search engines but that’s not to say that you should ignore other search engines. Each search engine has its own role to play. Take Bing for example – if you’re optimizing your content for SEO on Bing, you can reach an audience that you can’t reach on Google. For this article though, I’ll be focusing on YouTube.

Believe it or not, YouTube is the second-most-used search engine in the world, after Google. For me personally, it still feels weird to think of YouTube as a search engine, but sure enough, that’s exactly what it is, a search engine for videos.

Youtube SEO is a little different from standard SEO so to help you out I’ve pulled together five tips to help you with your YouTube SEO strategy.

1. Write a keyword-optimized title 

a display of results from a Youtube search

When it comes to the title of your video, Youtube advises that instead of stuffing your title with keywords you should “use natural language that happens to contain keywords”. In other words, write for humans, not robots.

To discover which keywords are most popular, start typing something related to your video into the YouTube search box and you’ll see a list of suggestions. You can then use these suggestions to build out a keyword optimized video title that explains what your video is about. Aim to keep the length of your title to around 60 characters, this way you’ll avoid cutting off important information.

2. Optimize your tags

Tags are another great way of improving your video’s ranking in YouTube search. You’ll want to use a mix of both specific and general tags as well as the keywords from your title (and always add tags in order of importance).

Something else worth noting is that you can use your longtail keywords as video tags on YouTube, there’s a 270-character limit which the search engine encourages users to make full use of.

3. Add a transcript in the video description

As well as a keyword-rich explanation of your video in the description section, this is also a great place to include your transcript. The description field allows up to 5,000 characters, that’s roughly enough room to fit a dialogue for a ten-minute video. Seeing as your transcript is likely to contain keywords optimized for your topic it makes sense to use it to contribute towards your YouTube SEO, right?

You can also use hashtags in your description, but just remember a little goes a long way. If you use more than 15 hashtags, YouTube will then ignore all the hashtags you’ve used.

4. Use a custom thumbnail

Hubspot results on YouTube

According to YouTube, 90% of the best-performing videos on the platform have custom thumbnails. Make sure you create a custom thumbnail for all of your videos to give them the best chance. These static images act like a billboard, helping viewers to decide if they want to watch your video.

The best thumbnails offer a sneak peek of what viewers can expect to see in your video, but steer clear of making them ‘clickbaity’.

A good tip to bear in mind is to think about your thumbnail BEFORE you shoot your content so that you can capture several options.

5. Use playlists

Hubspot playlist results on YouTube

A great way of keeping your brand visible is to create playlists. By grouping together a set of videos, you can then dictate the order in which your fans view your content. Keyword-rich playlists help to improve your SEO and increase your search traffic.

Playlists can appear in YouTube search results and also in suggested videos. As well as your own content you can also include videos from other channels that you admire, which is pretty awesome.

Think about grouping your videos by theme or current event. Or why not try creating a playlist that consists of your most popular videos to help make it easier for viewers to find your best performing content.

Remember, a great playlist is a way of keeping your fans watching for longer.

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