YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world and comes second only to its parent company, Google. 8 out of 10 video search results are YouTube videos, and the platform is constantly growing, with over 500 hours of YouTube videos being uploaded to YouTube every minute. Considering this how do you avoid getting lost in the sea of YouTube content? The best bet is to optimize great videos for search using video SEO best practices. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the ever-changing practice of designing web content to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). Search is often the gatekeeper to the content on the web, so optimizing content for search is necessary to attract traffic and grow a following to your content. Contrasting to Google, which considers backlinks and other factors to evaluate rank, YouTube SEO includes optimizing your channel, playlists, metadata, descriptions, and videos. You can optimize your content for search both within and outside of YouTube. Following tips can help you create a solid YouTube SEO strategy:
• Opting for a great keyword:
Before you improve YouTube SEO, you need to choose the right keyword or phrase for your content. Basically, keywords come in metadata and video titles, and keywords appear in captions and transcripts when it is spoken in the audio. That is a win-win for SEO. Keywords and keyword phrases should correspond with a) whatever describes your video best and b) the words and phrases that users enter in search engines while searching for content like yours.
To get phrases and keywords people use in search, you will have to do some keyword research. An easy way to find a keyword for your content is to use YouTube’s Search Suggest. Type a word or phrase relevant to your content in the search bar and observe the suggestions that YouTube offers. After you have known a great keyword, include it in your video file’s name so YouTube identifies your video’s topic.
• Adding a transcript to the video description:
The video description is the best decision for displaying your transcript on YouTube. The description basically offers 5,000 characters, and these 5000 characters are usually sufficient when it comes to fir a transcript for a heavy-dialogue let’s say a 10-minute video. If your transcript doesn’t correspond or you want to have other important information in the description, like a call-to-action, you can add a shortened version with a link to the full version on a separate web page. Description rich with keywords is still a recommend best practice as it can help your video rank for related terms and appear as a “suggested video.”
• Say the target keyword in your content:
If you don’t say the target keyword in your YouTube video, it won’t appear in the captions or transcripts which are two vital components of a successful YouTube SEO strategy. Aim to include the keyword thoughtfully and naturally in your video as not to overuse it in your transcript. If it is helpful, plan a script in advance and try to include the keyword at the starting of your video so it appears early on in your transcript.
• Using a compelling thumbnail:
Picking the right thumbnail image for your content makes a drastic difference in click-through rate. You should use high-quality, high-contrast images with a 16:9 aspect ratio. Facial close-ups work best for the thumbnails. Content creators can decide which frame to display as the video thumbnail. YouTube will present 3 screenshots to select from, but you can also choose a shot of a different moment in the video or upload your own image. If you want ideas for images, try using sites such as Canva, which has a thumbnail creating option just for YouTube videos.