YouTube. A household name if I may. What if your video ranks there?
I can read it already – *Local boy turned Online Video Hero*
Don’t believe me? Check out PewDiePie.
That would not be too bad, isn’t it!
Now imagine what it can do for your E-Commerce Business. Counting $$? Automatic Lead Generation? Brand Building?
Yes, YouTube is indeed the biggest visual search engine globally and the second-largest search engine behind only Google.
Yes, the majority of people make videos, post them on their channel but have no clue how to get the most from YouTube. In a way, it is very similar to Google search, but then again, there are always if and buts!
This YouTube SEO tutorial will give you actionable points to work on so you can rank on YouTube. It can do loads of good for your E-Commerce business as well with the advent of visual media. After all, YouTube has 2 billion logged-in monthly users.
If you want a YouTube SEO Checklist, it would be pretty basic as below –
- Find an interesting/popular topic
- Make a video around it
- Include the keyword in heading/description
- Promote it
The devil always lies in the details. At the end of this post, I will share another version of the YouTube SEO checklist that makes much more sense.
Moving on, Let’s cover the action points to rank on YouTube.
#1 YouTube Keyword Research
Like any other search engine, if you want to rank, keyword research should be your first stop. And why not.
Around 62% of Businesses use YouTube, and the trend is only growing. Your E-Commerce Business has tons of opportunities with YouTube if you know how to use it.
But how do you look for search volumes for keywords on YouTube? Here’s how –
- YouTube Suggest
Use an asterisk before or after your target keyword to see a list of YouTube queries. Put a few of them in Google Trends to look at their search volumes.
- It would be best if you also visited another popular channel and in the same niche as you. Sort their videos by “Most Popular” and look for the one that you want to create content around. Click on the video and check the keywords which it is optimized around. Look for keywords in the title, description, and video tags. (To easily find video tags right at your page, I recommend using VidIQ Chrome extension).
- Another amazing source for YouTube keyword research is the YouTube “Traffic source: YouTube search” report. It shows the keywords with which users have found your video. Sometimes you will be surprised to see the searches users put into getting to your video.
Now that you have a list of keywords ready, you need to pick the best ones from it. And you do it by simply plugging them in Google search engine and analyzing the “about result.” A very high number means high competition, and your video will be buried among search results. It would be best if you optimized to find low competition keywords, which should be the best ones for you to pick.
Also, look for search results of those keywords in Google and check if it is already showing videos for that keyword. If yes, that is the one you go for! That way, you are attracting Google search engine traffic along with YouTube search engine traffic to your video. Makes sense, right?
#2 Search Intent Optimized High Retention Video
Audience Retention is the amount of your video that people watch. Why is it important? Let’s ask YouTube itself –
Simply put, if people watch your videos consistently, chances are your videos will rank higher. But how do you do that? Simple, identify the user search intent.
YouTube’s primary agenda is to –
- Satisfy user search intent, so people find the relevant videos that they are looking for
- Maximize their time on YouTube/Video so higher the chances of them clicking on ads
How do you go about creating such a video satisfying these two goals, so YouTube itself promotes your videos? Below are the five essential ranking factors for any video –
- Start Strong
The initial 15 seconds of your videos are the most critical. Keep the viewers on the video, and your audience retention graph will be like the one below.
If you fail to, you will lose more than half of your viewers immediately.
Your video needs to connect with the viewer. Every niche has a different set of viewers and search intent, so you have to take care of that.
Entertain with some real-life examples. Ask a question that your viewers relate to and connect it back to the video content. Use statistics where they fit in.
Please remember a human is watching your video. Optimize for the best human connection as possible & you are good to go.
- Touch up problem statement & proposal offered
Why will anyone come to YouTube, search for your target keyword, and watch your entire video?
Because they have a problem in hand that they want to solve, they might want to increase their website traffic or like to learn how to bake a cake. Either way, there is always a problem statement in hand that is connected with the user search intent.
If you can touch that nerve, the viewer will continue to watch, looking for answers if your video can further offer a proposal to solve that problem, bingo! You have yourself a hooked viewer with excellent retention time and a user intent solved. YouTube will love you and will self promote you more than anyone else.
- Technical Video Optimization
If done right, technical video editing can help you gain and keep the viewer’s attention right through the video. I will talk about three major factors which can boost the technical aspect of your YouTube videos –
- CTR – “Click Through Rate” is generally measured as the percentage of people clicking on your results. If YouTube notices your videos being clicked on a lot, they will promote it higher up the rankings, so users do not have trouble finding it.
How do you power up your CTR? Create compelling, eye-catching thumbnails. It’s human nature. You see anything that stands out, and you will want to check it out.
Use graphic design tools to help eye-catching design media for your YouTube videos.
- Video length – Longer the video, the better it is to satisfy the user intent. It is pretty similar to text-based articles on Google.
As long as the video is appropriately suitably satisfying the user intent, video length should not matter. But try and be descriptive to boost your rankings.
- Jump Cuts – Ever seen a scene jump in between two shots from the same position in a video? Yes, that is what it is.
It makes your video streamlined and polished and offers a great viewing experience.
Watch the video here to watch jump cuts live – Jump Cuts.
- Promotion Metrics
Always urge your viewers to comment on your videos as well as subscribe to your channel. Take a look below –
The higher the comments are, the higher up the rankings of the videos. Always reply in the comments so that viewers are engaged and get the most value.
Higher subscriptions give super strong signals to YouTube that you have an amazing video and content that deserves a higher ranking. Ask your viewers at the end of your video to subscribe, and chances are they will.
Also, social shares by them to other networks will not only boost your chances to rank on YouTube but can potentially bring in more viewers to your video.
#3 On-Page Video Optimization
Want to extract maximum value from your YouTube video? SAY OUT your target keyword!!
YouTube automatically transcribes your video. Speaking aloud, your target keywords will help YouTube to understand the video much better. Besides this, you can try below three On-Page YouTube video SEO optimization :
- Title – 5-word long title, including your target keyword, is the ideal choice. Putting the target keyword at the start of your title will further finetune it.
- Description – SEO optimized description helps search engines be it Google or YouTube, better understand what the video is about. This further helps in ranking the video, mentioning target keywords 3-5 times in a description of approx. 250 words is typically an ideal use case.
- Tags – Video tags help your video to come up in the suggestion bar. Optimizing them can significantly improve your chances. Using your target keyword and it’s variations usually is enough for video tags. To finetune it further, you can blatantly add the tags used by your competitors. This significantly boosts your chances to come up with related video suggestions.
#4 In Video Optimization
Now that you have created the video around your target keywords and further optimized it, it is probably best to further finetune it for increased retention and user experience (remember, serving user intent. Why not give them a hell of experience while at it).
- YouTube Cards
You can use this feature to make the viewer stay on YouTube for longer. Yes, YouTube makes us guys do their hard work. Phew!
It is an interactive feature where user can take one of the four actions –
- Poll Answering
- External Link Visit
- Discover YouTube channels
- Stream another video/playlist
You need to put relevant cards only at high drop off points. Stuff your videos with them, and it appears spammy. Also, user video watching experience is greatly hampered. So, using highly relevant cards at high drop off points (before the end of the video) will make for more excellent retention rates.
- End Screens
These keep the viewers on YouTube for longer. Optimizing them makes sense then. If a viewer will be on YouTube for longer, why not make that happen through YOUR video content. Adding subscribe buttons & related content from your channel are best practices to follow for End Screens.
- Transcripts / Closed Captions
YouTube transcribe your video. But not all your viewers will be native English speaking people. And we still do not know how accurate YouTube itself does the transcription. So, why not optimize it for a better user experience?
Go to the “Subtitles/CC” tab of the video. Select the “Transcribe & Auto Sync” option.
Paste in your script & check the entire video to see all spoken content matches the written one.
#5 Video Promotion
You can optimize endlessly and analyze all the metrics, but it would all be a waste if no one is watching your videos. It would be best if you went BIG on promoting your videos.
The More the traffic your video gets, the more the push it will gain in search rankings as more and more people watch and engage with it. How do you optimally promote your Video? Here is how –
- Use Quora – Question Answer sites provide a perfect and straightforward engagement medium to promote your videos. Include your videos in the relevant answers targeting your keywords.
- Email Marketing – Send out an email newsletter to all your contacts mentioning the video and asking for shares and likes. Tell them how it might help them or what they might learn from it.
- Embed in your Blog Posts/Social Media – You can always embed your YouTube videos in your relevant Blog Posts. But if you do not have a blog, promote it across all your social media channels.
You can always set up your Blog by starting with a good solid host.
- Leverage Playlists – This is a great option as playlists keep on running continuously. Make 3-4 videos related around a common topic and include them all in a single playlist on your channel. Since these play all the videos automatically, you will get many extra views from this trick.
#6 Post Publishing Optimization
Unlike a Blog Post, you can not make edits to the actual video once published on YouTube. Kind of a bummer, Yes!
The best you can do for yourself is to learn what world best with your audiences and try to replicate those in all your videos. Here is how you can go about doing that –
- Audience Retention
Go to YouTube Analytics, select your video, and click on audience retention. A graph like the one below will be surfaced.
You can use the retention curve on the graph to analyze the popular parts of your videos, where it shows short spikes popularly known as “True Engagement.” Click on them and see the portions of your videos that are bringing in the most engagements. Try to understand what is making people engage at that particular point and build on that.
- Search Intent –
As discussed already, satisfying the user search intent is probably an essential factor YouTube considers before ranking your videos.
Go to Beta Studio -> select your video-> analytics-> reach the viewer’s tab and finally click on Traffic source: YouTube search.
Average View Duration will give you an obvious idea which of your videos are satisfying the user intent better as visitors will then spend more time on your videos.
Get a fair idea about the Audience Retention and Search Intent for your videos and try to replicate the areas which did better than the others. With time, you will eventually get the hang of it and start to rank your videos better.
To think of it, the technical part of YouTube SEO is pretty straight forward. How you keep your users engaged and satisfy their intent is the game-changer here.
What I have shared in this article will give you the complete picture on how to go about optimizing your videos on YouTube. It can do tons of good for your Business for Lead Generation, or if you want to build your brand, it will make sure you are ahead of the pack.
Try out the action points discussed and let us know which one worked the best for you.
Author Bio – Aakash Singh is a marketing professional & content marketing specialist. Having over five years of experience working with major organizations, he is passionate about digital marketing, blogging & SEO. Aakash lives in Delhi, India & writes about digital marketing & scaling your online presence on his blog, cupofglory.com. Connect with him on Twitter.