Today, video has become a major marketing tool, and the major mainstream search engines are considering video when they rank a website.
On the other hand, video channels such as YouTube and Vimeo are increasingly being used as avenues of disseminating information about various products and services.
YouTube has been found to be the second most visited site in the world, after Google, and therefore you should harness the power of YouTube to improve the market visibility of your products or services.
However, there are 300 hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every single minute, and you have to find ways to optimize your video content in order to make its stand out from your competitors on the site.
It is of utmost importance that you find ways to make your video stand out on YouTube.
Forrester Research has attributed a higher page rank for sites that have video, probably due to the lower competition when it comes to video content. There is much higher keyword competition in text content than in video content and brings in over 50% increase in traffic
We are going to give you 10 techniques that will help you rank well on YouTube. At the very end you will see a significant rise in video views, since you videos will now be easily found by our target audience.
1. Channel Keywords
You should effectively optimize your YouTube channel in order to aid the search engines in understanding and ranking your video content.
Proper use of channel keywords has the double benefit of improving your ranking within YouTube itself, and also on other search engines like Google.
The algorithm that runs on YouTube focuses mainly on the metadata that you use on the video, and also the channel keywords.
Basically, they are one or two word descriptions of the channel, which enable your target audience to have a sneak peek, or idea about what your video is all about.
You add these in the “advanced settings” of the Creator Studio that you find within your YouTube dashboard.
The Keywords that you use on a channel will only be an effective ranking signal if they are implemented in the proper manner. You must conduct proper research before you use them.
The keywords should ideally be directed at your niche, industry or brand, so you should use Google Adwords Keyword Planner and also tools like Rank Tracker, just as you would when optimizing for written content.
Related Article: Rank Higher on the Two Biggest Search Engines in the World: Google and YouTube
2. Video Title
On-page SEO is just as crucial to YouTube videos as it is for web content and blog posts. Once more, metadata is a huge ranking signal when it comes to YouTube videos. This will obviously include the title of your video.
It is the titles that will give your target audience an inkling of what your video is all about. A video with an attractive title will bring in more traffic and improve the video views.
As a rule of thumb, you get better views when you use shorter titles; log title usually get cut out of the page, depending on the browser you use, and this is not attractive to viewers.
So get your imagination cracking and find out how to improve the video title in about 5 words or less.
Another thing that you should note is that when creating your YouTube video title, you should place the keyword at the start of the title. Videos with keywords at the start of the title rank better than videos with the keyword at the end.
If Baxter used YouTube to upload videos about his training methods and how he gets the people he commands to perform well, he could have titles such as these:
The keyword would be “weapons training.”
Title 1: Baxter gives 10 tips on weapons training
Title 2: 10 weapons training tips by Baxter
In this example, you would find the second title ranking better for the keyword “weapons training.’
3. Video Descriptions
When you think about the title of your video, you should also think of the description of the video since it is an important ranking factor on YouTube and other search engines too.
YouTube and Google will not be able to extract any ranking factors from the video itself, so you have to provide optimized descriptions of your videos so they can easily determine the content on your video and rank it appropriately.
You would be surprised to know how many people ignore this factor, and keep complaining that nobody ever views their videos on YouTube.
Duh! It is time you understood the important of providing proper descriptions like you would on a blog post or web page.
The video description will actually be like a small blog post on YouTube and should have a minimum of 250 words in order to be effective.=; it must also include relevant and powerful keywords.
As a rule of thumb, when you want to use the video description for optimization, you should place the keyword in the first 25 words of the description. You should also place links to all your external URLs such as blog content and social media platforms.
4. Create effective video tags
A tag is a single or double word description that you give YouTube so it can further understand the topic and content of your video.
Video tags may not necessarily affect the ranking of the video as much as the title and description, but they are still an essential part of optimizing your video to get the best results.
Tags can also be thought of as keywords, since they aid users on finding your video content. So keep this in mind, and think of the way people would look for videos on YouTube and crate your tags accordingly.
In the case of Baxter, tags would be like “weapons training” or “mastering weaponry”, etc.
You should then think of the other keywords that you have used for the rest of your channel and then make sure that the tags are also relevant.
Please, Please, Please, do not go overboard with the use of video tags. You should keep these at a maximum of 10 targeted tags, which would be better than 30 nonspecific tags.
5. The quality of your video
Now think of Baxter, should he produce blurry videos using a poor quality cellphone, then his target audience will leave, no matter how interesting the topic is. In order to get maximum views and interaction, he should invest in a powerful cellphone camera, or simply use a High Definition camcorder.
On YouTube, they follow the same ranking order when it comes to video quality – remember, ranking on search engines is all about user experience.
YouTube prominently highlight videos and tags with a red “HD” to let users know that the video is of the best quality.
Search engines such as Google, will use backlinks and other ranking signals in order to determine whether your content is of high or low quality. YouTube cannot do this.
Instead, YouTube uses the user interaction with your video to determine the quality of your video. If your videos get a lot of views and comments from users, then it is bound to rank higher. If the user interaction is not good, then the YouTube crawlers will punish the video by giving it a low rank.
Let us cut to the chase. Even if you have the best SEO practice done on your YouTube videos, it will mean squat, if the video is of poor quality.
6. UX Metrics
We have just seen in the step above that the manner in which your users engage with your video will highly affect the ranking of the video on YouTube and other search engines. Subsequently, YouTube uses the UX metrics to determine the quality of your video for ranking purposes.
You Tube does not implement backlinks. It looks at the UX metrics such as likes, dislikes, sharing, comments, and uses these to create an idea of the quality of your video, and ranks it accordingly.
People will stay for an extra 2 minutes on average on your site, if you have some video content, and perhaps one that takes them to YouTube. This is according to a study by ComScore
Any YouTube video that has a lot of views, comments, likes, and shares will rank higher than others in the same niche, which have little or no engagement.
By the same token, if you get subscribers coming to your channel from a video, then YouTube gets the information as a sign that your video is absolutely amazing, and ranks it higher.
Another ethic used is video retention. This is a percentage of the length of video that people watch before moving to another video. This metric is of great importance and affects how you optimize your video right before you even create it.
If Baxter just puts together a video without properly scripting it and directing it well, then people simply watch a few seconds before moving off, then this video will be deemed as being of low quality.
However, if he takes time to script his video, and improve on the directing of the video, then people will watch the full length, and probably leave some glowing comments; YouTube will rank this video higher.
Many people have found a great way to bring about this interaction, by asking the viewers a question about the video at the start, and then offering a powerful answer at the end. This drives people to put comments, likes, dislikes etc., and YouTube ranks the video higher.
7. Time taken to watch a video
We have mentioned video retention in the point above, and watch time is closely related, but is a ratio of the number of views against the length of video watched.
Watch Time was introduced by YouTube in 2012, and is highly used to determine the quality of your video.
This is the length of each viewing session.
Before 2012, the number of views was what was used to rank videos on YouTube. This was found to be flawed, since it did not consider bounce rates.
Effectively, it meant that if someone watched a video even for two seconds, it counted as a view and was used to rank the video.
Using video views in order to rank them on YouTube was highly manipulated, with people buying views. Video views did not accurately measure the relevance or quality of a video.
This is the reason why YouTube update their algorithm to include the length of time taken to view a video as a ranking factor.
If a video is watched for long sessions, it will rank higher than a video that has a higher view count.
You may use the YouTube Audience Retention Report and the Analytics Views Report in order to see what kind of videos have the best watch time and which have the worst; this information will help you in the planning of your video marketing projects.
One of the ways that people use to improve watch time is to include annotations and also links to other relevant videos in the description box.
Related Article: Videos – The future of the web
8. View Count
Although, watch time has become more important than the number of views, you cannot completely ignore its relevance in the ranking of your videos.
When you are using competitive keywords, and get a higher view count, your video will rank highest in the search results.
Duh! You must get a lot of views if you want to rank better in niches that have keywords with a high competition.
If you are really not getting it, then let me illustrate further. You need to get your videos to other platforms, which will bring in more viewers on YouTube.
Increase the visibility of your YouTube videos through blogs and social media platforms, so people can visit the videos on YouTube, earning you higher views.
Now many people do not pay attention to the thumbnails that they use on YouTube, and simply get a frame from the video. This is a big mistake.
Successful YouTube channels go to the extent of having attractive images made using Photoshop and other tools to make fascinating thumbnails for their videos.
It is a rule of thumb that vides with customized thumbnails perform better than those with generic thumbnails takes right from the video content.
You should optimize for YouTube thumbnails, by having a similar design theme, but different and unique thumbnails for each video.
IQ visibility conducted a study and found that having a great video thumbnail improved CTR by up to 200%
If Baxter is creating two videos, one for small arms training, and another for artillery training, the two videos can have the same layout, but have different color schemes, and one would have images of small arms and the other would have images of tanks and other artillery.
The thumbnails must be aesthetically pleasing to get people to notice them. And also make sure that they are relevant to the video content.
You do not put the picture of an egg, on a thumbnail for a video that talks about frying pans.
As a rule of thumb, all YouTube thumbnails should have a resolution of 1280X720 and an aspect ratio of 16:9.
10. Subtitles and Closed Captions
When you have video that have a narrative, or a person speaking in the content, YouTube allows for the creation of captions.
Most users do not bother to add closed captions to their videos and this is a huge mistake on their part.
When you add closed captions to your videos, you get double benefits:
- More people get to watch your video, especially those who have a hearing impairment, or those who speak a different language. Note, that some great videos are presented in languages other than English, and closed captions will greatly improve viewing from English-speaking viewers.
This helps in boosting your views and therefore your rank.
- The search engine spiders actually crawl through closed captions, and this helps in boosting the ranking provided by having YouTube videos even on main search engines like Google.
You should ideally add the captions on your own, although YouTube has an automatic tool that does this for you.
The automatic tool is not perfectly accurate and you will have to go in and edit some parts of the captioning.
You might also like: How to rank higher on Google and YouTube?
There is a lot of video content being uploaded to YouTube with every passing minute, and it can be a huge task to try and make your video stand out from the others.
When you pay attention to the ranking signals that you have seen above, then you have a much better chance of getting your videos ranked higher.
You should plan you video very well bearing these factors in mind.
When creating a marketing video, then what kind of script will you use? How will you describe the video? What is the best title to use? How long will the title be?
Al these factors have to be considered before you go into the production of a video.
Of course there are other videos that are rarely planned, such as if you saw a sudden and interesting event on the streets on your way to the supermarket.
Although such spontaneous videos are not planned, they too should be optimized, when they are uploaded to the internet.
If you came across a huge alligator on the street and took a video of it, how would you optimize the content based on the factors mentioned in this post?
Kindly put your ideas in the comment section of this post, and we shall all vote for the best optimization for such a video.
Do not ignore YouTube Ranking if you want to optimize your marketing videos on the site.