Is your YouTube channel not growing as fast as you had hoped? Then it might be time for you to start thinking about YouTube SEO, i.e. optimizing your videos to get them ranking higher in YouTube search results and in the suggested video section. Here we’ve gathered some of our best tips and tricks to help you gain visibility, views and interactions on YouTube.
1. Optimize for video watch time and audience retention
Video watch time measures the amount of time a viewer watched your video. This is one of the most important ranking factors on YouTube and can affect your rankings and visibility.
How do you optimize for video watch time?
❏ Create long videos. Long videos acquire more video watch time than short videos. Because of this, longer videos have a tendency to be premiered in the search results before shorter videos.
❏ Make sure to capture the viewer within the first 15 seconds of your video. Audience retention is an important ranking factor and studies have shown that most viewers drop off within the first 15 seconds of a video. Keep this in mind when creating the intro to your video.
❏ Analyse your audience retention report in your YouTube Analytics account to identify peaks and valleys, where viewers drop off and when they don’t. With this data you can customise your content to what your audience actually likes.
2. Optimize for CTR
CTR stands for Click Through Rate. On YouTube this means the percentage of users who see your thumbnail and click through to your video. This is an important ranking factor.
How do you optimize for CTR?
❏ Create a custom thumbnail that stands out from the crowd. Use colors that don’t blend in with the surroundings and don’t be afraid to use text in your thumbnail (max 30 characters).
❏ Write a click-friendly title, without click baiting. Put your keyword first, but include it only once. The use of parentheses or brackets, for example, to include the year in the title has also shown a positive effect on the CTR. An example of click friendly title: “Get more views on YouTube - ten tips and tricks (2019)”
3. Optimize for User Engagement
User Engagement is the number of people that comment, like, share and subscribe after watching your video.
How do you optimize for User Engagement?
❏ By inviting the viewers to like and comment on your video and subscribe to your YouTube channel. Include them in your video by asking for their opinion, and make sure to answer the comments that you get.
4. Other YouTube SEO tips
❏ Before creating your video, do some keyword research to identify what content viewers are searching for and how they’re searching for it on YouTube. Keep in mind that search behaviour differs between Google and YouTube. A keyword with a high search demand on Google does not necessarily have high search volume on YouTube (“Car Insurance” for example).
❏ Use the tags to help YouTube interpret your video. Make sure to include your primary keyword as your first tag, variations of your keyword as second and a third tag, and finish off with one or two overall tags that describe the theme of the video.
❏ Think of the video description as a mini blog post that describes the content of your video without giving too much away. This gives YouTube more content to crawl and makes it easier to interpret your video.
❏ Name the video file with your primary keyword.
❏ YouTube listens to your video, so make sure to mention your keyword a couple of times in your video.
❏ Use a Video Transcript – this makes your video more accessible to more viewers PLUS gives the search engine more content to crawl. Win-win!
Good luck with your YouTube optimization and don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help with your SEO and YouTube optimization!