Building a Winning Video SEO Strategy for YouTube

YouTube is not only a social network, it is THE video social network. It also happens to be the second largest search engine.

If we match those two statements with the rise of video as the most engaging type of content on the internet today, optimizing every video to rank high on YouTube should be at the top of any business’s priority list.

In this article, we are going to discuss the best way to go about doing this.

I’ve broken down this post into the following topics:

– Why your business needs to be on YouTube

– Keyword research

– Optimizing video elements

– Video creation

* Best types of video marketing to rank on YouTube
* How long should the video be?
* How to hook the audience
* What’s the most important segment of the video?
* How to create a video for audience retention
* Using keywords for SEO purposes

– Calls To Action

– Playlists

– YouTube Channel branding

Why your business needs to be on YouTube

In 2018, having an effective online presence means using video marketing to communicate your brand to the world. YouTube should be the first platform that comes to mind when thinking about showcasing your video content. After all, it does have over 1.5 billion monthly active users viewing more than 5 billion videos per day.

If the magnitude of its reach is not enough to convince you, here are a few more facts to help you see why it is important to have your video on Youtube:

YouTube attracts about ⅓ of users on the internet – Having your video on YouTube will not guarantee views, but if you want to start somewhere, it’s probably a smart idea to begin by being where 33% of worldwide users hang out online.

Millennials prefer YouTube 2:1 over traditional television – The word “millennial” is not just a buzzword, it’s more like an indication of where to find the influencers of the 21st century. It’s probably wise to follow their tracks.

By 2025, it’s predicted that 50% of viewers under 32 will not subscribe to paid TV – Yet another reason why online video will rule for years to come.

Keyword research

Now that your video is on YouTube (let’s hope), you have to make sure your content gets found. That’s why it is imperative that you use the right keywords to help you drive traffic to it. Here’s a brief rundown of how to do this:

Make a list of very specific keywords that best describe your content.

Head over to Google’s keyword planner and see which of these drive the most traffic.

Once you’ve identified the most popular keywords, come up with both a title and description that uses said keywords.

Tip: It’s good practice to use popular keywords, and you should. However, in order to set yourself apart from the crowd you may want to consider using long tail keywords. For example, if your video is about video cameras, rather than using just the keyword “video camera”, you may want to use “4k video cameras under 1500 dollars” instead. You’ll get fewer search results but the ones you do get will rank you higher on the first results page. There’s also the added bonus that you’ll be reaching customers who are looking for that specific term, which should make it easier for you to turn them into customers.

Optimizing video elements

Tags – Like keywords, using tags the right way will allow you to reach the right audience. So choose words and phrase that best describe your video. One way to do this is by putting yourself in your audience’s shoes and asking yourself which search terms you would use in order to find your video. Finally, don’t fall into the trap of using generic tags just because they have a larger reach. Being specific with your tags will allow you to reach audiences that will actually engage with your video. Keep in mind that it’s about how much time users spend watching your video and not about how many views your video has.

Video description – This is an opportunity to describe your video with all the keywords you researched earlier. It is also an opportunity to add useful information and links that viewers can later reference. If it’s pertinent, you can also add links to your other videos. This way, you’ll be making it easier for your audience to reach any useful information mentioned in your video.

Title – The title should be a cohesive snippet that describes the content of your video to perfection. It has the duty of doing this while incorporating the relevant keywords that will rank your video higher in the search engines. So be descriptive but brief.

Thumbnails – Thumbnails are like mini advertisements for your video. You only get one chance with them before users scroll past you, so make them stand out. Use colorful images that best describe what your video is about and avoid abstract looking images.

Video creation

Best types of videos to rank on YouTube

There are many videos you can publish on YouTube. Here’s a quick rundown of the ones I think will give you the best ranking.

Explainer videos – Besides using it for entertainment, YouTube is often used as a resource to learn about new things. At first, during the discovery phase, you just want to watch someone explain things briefly instead of having to read dozens upon dozens of blog posts. A primer on the topic. Explainer videos do a great job at this, and when it comes to introducing a new idea or process, having this kind of video on YouTube and tagging it as such will definitely get you some hits.

How-to Videos – Users will eventually want to get into the nitty-gritty of the topic they are researching. To do this, they are very likely to search the term “how-to” and then fill in the blank. Not only is it a popular keyword, it is also a very popular genre of video, which you can later organize into playlists to make it easier for potential subscribers to find.

Product Videos – Businesses will often have a video about their product on their company’s site (especially on eCommerce platforms). This is of course a good idea, but a better idea is to make sure these videos are on YouTube. User’s will flock to YouTube to look for all kinds of videos about the product. They don’t care who makes it as long as it gives them a well rounded picture of what the product is. A good idea is to make many videos showcasing a different product feature in each video. You can then reference each video to each other through playlists or by way of the description.

How long should the video be?

The length of your video will vary depending on the type of video you want to make. In my experience, explainer videos are best kept under the two minute mark. However, how-to videos will require more time allotted to them since they have a lot more content to get through. As long as it is engaging and you hook them early on then you should be fine. This brings me to my next point.

How to hook the audience

According to some research, “20% of users will leave a video if it hasn’t hooked them in the first 10 seconds.” In other words, you better make your video memorable and fast.

Cut to the chase by telling your audience what your video is about as soon as playback starts. You can do this in the form of a question so that it is clear that the remainder of the video will be spent answering it. This way you are telling your audience what the video is about while also peeking their interest.

Another good way to do this is by showing the end result of some process right at the beginning and then letting your audience know that the rest of the video will be spent showing them how you got there.

What’s the most important segment of the video?

With video, you are basically creating a story. And with any story, there should be a beginning, a middle and an end. So which one is the most important? Short answer, every segment of your video should be considered equally important. However, they are important in their own specific way. I’ll be succinct in explaining this:

1. In the beginning you hook the audience.
2. Then you give them the meat of your argument/content.
3. And in the end, you reel them in with a call to action.

Not one of these segments works without the other, so pay special attention to make sure each one is doing its part accordingly.

Calls To Action

Not only should your video be informative, it should also be persuasive enough for the viewer to take some kind of action. It could be anything. You can call on them to visit your website, subscribe to your channel and newsletter, or even purchase your product. Be elegant as to how you go about it though, so that it doesn’t feel like you’re desperately and indiscriminately building spammy email lists.

The point here is to get your audience to opt in voluntarily so that you can follow up with them with something they’ll find valuable in return. A call to action should drive this message home. This means being clear as to what they’ll get in terms of value for taking any specific action.

Playlists

With the use of playlists, you can organize content into topics or themes. The point of doing this is to make it easier for users to find and consume your video. Getting into the habit of doing this will help drive views to videos that might have been overlooked had they not been part of a themed playlist.

Of course, don’t just bundle together random videos for the sake of it. The playlists should feel way more valuable than the individual videos that are within them. Or at least that’s how you should think about it when making them.

Conclusion

YouTube is a great platform to host and promote your video. In order to do so, you will have to work on building the right kind of content and make sure it is easily found by your users. This means doing it in a way that appeals to user’s psychology as well as YouTube’s algorithms. So be prepared to use keywords, tags and visuals that consider these two variables.

A simple title may be enough for a human to gauge a video’s content without any further context, but it may not be enough for a search engine to do the same and rank it with the most relevant searches. The key is testing different angles while thinking wholesomely of how to best build your brand’s YouTube presence in a way that stands out.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of Caphyon, its staff, or its partners.

Author: Victor Blasco

Víctor Blasco is the founder and CEO of the explainer video company Yum Yum Videos. He is also an audiovisual designer and video marketing expert. Aside from running the business, he loves studying Chinese philosophy and is a real geek for science fiction films and comics! Connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.

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