4 SEO Tactics for YouTube

Since the majority of businesses host their videos on YouTube, it's no secret that YouTube is a great tool to increase your website traffic. However, this means there is a lot of competition. So what do you need to do to make your YouTube videos stand out? Practice the proper search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to get your video to stand out. I already covered some SEO tips for images, but video works differently since it is a different medium.

There are several different criteria that YouTube takes into account to determine video ranking:

  • How long you've had your YouTube Channel
  • The number of subscribers your YouTube Page has
  • The length of your video
  • How often your video was shared or embedded by others
  • How many views your video receives
  • How long someone views your video
  • The number of favorites and comments your video receives
  • How many times the video is added to someone's playlist

In addition to the above criteria, your video should be relevant to your audience and optimized to make it easier for YouTube to discover it in the first place. Here are a few ways to achieve the best optimization for YouTube:

1. Use Keywords

Just like for a traditional piece of content, you want to use keywords to tell YouTube what your video is about. You should include keywords in your video title, description, and tags (see below). You'll need to do some keyword research to determine what you would like your video to rank for. You have a better chance of ranking within YouTube, but it is possible to rank for YouTube and Google. Certain keyword searches on Google will trigger video results as opposed to text results. For example, if you type "cute cats" into Google it knows you want visual content as opposed to articles. If it is possible to do so naturally, try to use keywords that will rank on Google and on Youtube.

2. Have a Strong Title

The way you word your title will also affect your SEO. The beginning of your title is the best place for a keyword, but you also have to place it naturally. For example, if you're trying to rank for a phrase like “SEO for video” your title should say something like “Learn SEO for Video with 5 Tips” and not “5 Tips for Video SEO.”

3. Write detailed video descriptions

YouTube and Google bots do not have the ability to watch your videos so they rely entirely on your text description in order to understand your video's topic. The more YouTube knows about your video the more likely it is to rank your video for the keywords you are targeting. There is no limit to the length of your video description so you should take advantage and be as descriptive as possible. Your descriptions should be at least 200 words. An easy way to get a keyword rich description at this length is to include a transcript of the video as the description.

4. Use Video Tags

Think about what your target audience would use to search for your video and include it in your video tags. Include the relevant keywords and keyphrases you are trying to rank for to let the bots know the subject matter of your video.

Once you've setup your video properly, all you have left to do is share it and encourage people to subscribe to your YouTube page. Don't forget to keep your YouTube channel organized by placing videos into keyword-rich categories!