Frequently Asked Questions About YouTube
Question #1: What is YouTube SEO?
YouTube is its own search engine with its own SEO ranking algorithm. What works on Google doesn’t always work on YouTube, and vice versa. The nice thing about YouTube content, however, is that it will also rank on Google – but only if it’s optimized correctly for YouTube!
On YouTube, YouTube SEO should always come first, and ranking on Google should follow.
YouTube SEO has two parts: video optimization and channel optimization. Below is a brief checklist for each section of YouTube SEO.
If this looks like more than your team can handle, Oneupweb has YouTube services to help your channel rank in search results.
Here are the components that go into an SEO-friendly YouTube video:
- Title: Video titles should always be structured with the primary keyword or phrase first, then the series name (if applicable) and then the name of your brand. This makes it easy for YouTube to understand what your video is about and to know where to serve your video to users.
- Tags: Combine short- and long-tail keyword structures to mimic how users are searching for content in YouTube.
- Descriptions: Descriptions should be treated as a mini blog that reiterates the content of your video. The first 157 characters of your description are shown above the fold. Include links to your website in your video descriptions to help drive traffic to your site.
- Cards: YouTube prioritizes videos that keep viewers on YouTube. Use cards to link viewers to related videos on your channel or other channels. Additionally, you can poll your viewers with a poll card.
- End screens: End screens are another way you can link viewers to other YouTube content. Consider adding a “Subscribe” end screen element to encourage subscriptions to your channel or external channels of your choosing.
- Custom thumbnail: Thumbnails are very important to YouTube video engagement. Your thumbnail should be 1280×720 pixels, use bright colors, minimal words and show the most engaging part of your video.
- Closed captions: Adding subtitles to your videos is important to keep your videos accessible to all users. YouTube offers a free subtitle feature, but make sure you check YouTube’s auto-generated subtitles for accuracy before clicking save.
- Video activity: Reply to comments on your videos and share your videos on social media to show YouTube that your videos are engaging.
- Playlists: YouTube treats playlists the same way it treats videos. Make sure each playlist is optimized for a primary keyword by adding a description. Additionally, upload playlists consistently, just like videos.
- Visibility: Only public videos influence your channel rankings. Unlisted videos, however, may still show up in search results if they’ve been shared.
Here are the components that go into an SEO-friendly YouTube channel:
- Channel tags: Your channel should also be optimized for 3-5 keywords pertaining to your business. Don’t just include your business name as a hashtag, either. Focus your tags on the services you offer – the more specific, the better.
- Channel art: Like video thumbnails, your header image should be colorful, include expressive faces/engaging content and use large text if words are absolutely necessary.
- Icon: A brand logo or individual headshot are both great options, depending on the channel.
- About section: Tell your users about yourself, and the goals you have for your channel. Try and include some of your channel keywords.
- Trailer video: Assume the viewer has never heard of you. Hook your viewers in the first few sections. SEO pro tip: Your trailer should try to rank for at least one of the channel tags you previously created.
- Featured channels: You can use this space to accomplish a lot, including …
- If you’re a franchise operator, advertising other locations’ channels
- If you’re a small business, advertising channels related to your business vertical (but make sure they’re not direct competitors!)
- Playlists: Playlists function as separate sections on your YouTube channel page. Playlists provide a better user experience because they separate your content and organize your videos into digestible sections.
- Community: Supplement your regular posting schedule with regular posts in your Community tab. Promote your most recent videos, share behind-the-scenes content and treat this tab like a Facebook newsfeed.
Question #2: How can I create good content for YouTube?
Just like blogs, YouTube videos should be optimized for popular keywords. Before creating a video, determine your video’s topic based on keyword research. You can conduct YouTube keyword research in a variety of ways, including:
- Typing a search query in the YouTube search bar. Doing so will provide a list of suggested search terms based on what you’ve typed out so far. This is a great method for finding long-tail keywords.
- Using an external keyword tool, like Keyword Keg. Search for your topic in Keyword Keg, and it will provide a list of related terms as well as some free data surrounding each search term.
- Understand what your channel is already ranking for. Take your most popular videos and determine which tags your channel performs best for. It may be worthwhile to expand on that keyword and experiment with different types of content to see what works best.
- Understand what your competitors are ranking for. Identify the most popular videos on your competitors’ channels. Do you have any content that also ranks for that keyword? How can you improve your videos to make them better than your competitors’?
Don’t forget to use Google Trends to find out when your keywords are popular. This will help your videos get a lot of views on YouTube and rank in Google search results.
Once you’ve determined your video’s topic, it’s time to brainstorm content. The first five seconds of your video is crucial. Jump right into the meat of your content by telling an exciting story or stat. You can backtrack a little once your viewers are hooked and have a short introduction before delving into your topic.
Lastly, make sure your videos communicate their relevancy, both to viewers and to YouTube. Make sure your title is optimized for your primary keyword. Include your primary keyword inside your video description and tags. Add your video to a relevant playlist. Upload an engaging custom thumbnail that depicts the most engaging portion of your video.
If you optimize your videos for your primary keyword, viewers will understand what they’re about to click on and will be more likely to watch your video all the way through. YouTube, in tandem, will understand what your video is about and will serve your video to viewers searching for or already watching similar videos.
Consider Hiring a Professional
Running a successful YouTube channel is a full-time job. Between keyword research, video production and editing, video optimizations and channel optimizations, it’s a lot to handle. The stellar video and content teams at Oneupweb are ready to manage your YouTube channel. In fact, we even offer a YouTube retainer service for businesses interested in a full YouTube suite. Contact us today or give us a call at (231) 922-9977 to get started.