Consider these stats: hosting content from over 55 countries and serving as the Internet’s 2nd largest search engine, YouTube sees at least 1 billion daily views from mobile devices and 6 billion hours of video are watched every month. Regardless if you’re starting your YouTube career or you’ve been on the content grind for a while, every YouTuber understands the importance of not only garnering views but also maintaining an audience—amassing subscribers and expanding the reach of your personal brand are just a few of the key factors for the latter.
You may be wondering, especially given the fact that over 100 hours of video are uploaded every minute, how do you go about gaining views and keeping a steady amount of viewers? What are the steps you can take to ensure that your content comes up on top and isn’t lost in that endless stream of uploaded content? When it comes to uploading content, you may often feel the reach of your content is out of your control, but in reality, there are controllable factors involved.
One such step is maximizing the search engine optimization (SEO) of your YouTube videos and channel. Making the best of your content’s SEO is vital because not only is YouTube the Internet’s 2nd largest search engine, but your video may have the chance to also appear organically in Google searches, which largely extends the reach of your video.
In this article, we’ll cover several simple and easy but effective ways to improve the SEO of your YouTube videos and channel, because though you can always keep producing content, why not produce and optimize it at the same time as well?
Improving YouTube SEO
Let’s say you just created an awesome video with eye-catching visuals, great editing, and a natural flow. Even though it seems intimidating, you feel more than ready to upload to your video—except, did you take a look at the keywords you will be using for the video? Does your video have a customizable thumbnail? What about captions or a translation for your overseas viewers?
These small factors play a large part in your YouTube SEO because the main purpose of a search engine’s algorithm is to bump up videos that are most importantly beneficial to the search engine user. To get that extra bump for your video to come out to the top, below are five simple steps to consider when improving your YouTube SEO.
1. Keyword is Key
When using keywords, it’s not just about how you use them but which ones you use. Research ahead of your video’s upload schedule to see which keywords you want your video to appear for in search engine results. Double and triple-check that your video’s file, title, description, and tags feature your chosen keywords.
2. Customize Your Thumbnail
Eye-catching visuals don’t only include your video’s content—it also includes the video’s thumbnail as well. According to Creator Academy, at least 90% of the top YouTube videos have thumbnail content. A few things you want to consider when creating your video’s thumbnail are the following:
– Incorporation of your channel’s branding
– Having a well-lit visual
– Inclusion of captions especially if the video is the next release in a series of videos or part of a specific set of videos
3. Build Your Brand
Does your channel have a specific logo it uses? What colors does your logo use and what colors compliment those shades? Do you have a special catchphrase that viewers know you by? Understanding the unique and distinctive brand of your YouTube channel lends itself to your videos—knowing what makes your content distinct and use it to your advantage.
4. Language Accessibility
The transcript feature of YouTube videos is considered in YouTube’s algorithms—not utilizing this feature would only be a waste on your part. Though YouTube has an automated transcript feature, more often than not this auto-generated transcript is riddled with grammatical errors and is an amusing reflection of misheard lyrics parody videos.
In addition to having a finished transcript that can boost your video’s presence in YouTube’s search results, you can also upload translations of your content, saving you the hassle of having to re-shoot or add in subtitles while editing. Furthermore, this is a straightforward way to have your content globalized rather than stuck primarily to one language.
5. Time Equals Views
One principal rule when it comes to search engines is not only knowing the algorithms and their rules but the rate at which the rules apply. YouTube’s algorithms are known for especially being tough, and the general rule of thumb is to have your content optimized from the get-go. Otherwise, your ranking may suffer from the start as YouTube’s algorithms need to have a clear picture of what kind of content your video is portraying and whether or not you have engagement traction or if there are viewers for your videos.
While there is a little leeway time to re-optimize your content within the first 48 hours of an upload, it is after those first 48 hours that more often than not the unlucky user realizes their content has been buried by the algorithm.
Improving YouTube Channel SEO
Now that you’re more familiar with ways to improve your YouTube video’s SEO, the next step is the home base for these videos: your YouTube channel. While your channel is a more passive form of outreach, your channel is a way to maintain your current viewers and gain new ones—after all, perhaps you have great content, but how do current and future viewers access your content if it’s hard to in the first place with an unorganized and unoptimized channel?
Below are several steps in optimizing your YouTube SEO and making sure your users not only get the best content but also the best way to access it:
1. Customize Your Channel
At first glance, the largest piece of visual real estate a channel offers is a banner. Banners are not only a way to communicate your channel’s unique branding, but they provide a space for the following: your channel’s upload schedule, social media, and any other call-to-actions you want to express. While your channel art isn’t a hardline SEO factor, it does help in maintaining the traffic to your channel.
However, one area that is customizable and can apply to SEO strategies is your YouTube channel’s About section. Though this section more out of the way, you can add more details to your About section concerning your channel and even include links at the foot of the page. Typically, most YouTubers add a business email or links to their social media/website/store.
2. Power-up with Playlists
Especially if you are a YouTuber with an ongoing series, playthrough, or distribute your videos in seasonal batches, the playlist is a core tool in keeping every video in one place and being of easy access to viewers. Having playlists is like having working stoplights at an intersection, except in this case, having smooth traffic of viewers equates to a bump up by the YouTube algorithm.
3. Affiliates Count
Creating content may be about revolutionizing and building your personal brand, but a lot of it is also connecting with fellow content creators and creating community. Linking with other channels is not only done as a homage to the community spirit of YouTube but it also gives value to your subscribers and channel visitors. Also, who knows? Maybe another channel will link to yours and bring in new visitors to your great content.
4. Watch the Trends
Even if you produce award-winning content and have a loyal following of viewers, your channel may not necessarily grow without analyzing the traffic flowing and the data associated with your content. Luckily, there are handy tools such as YouTube Analytics which show through which videos newer subscribers have subscribed through among other features. If needed, you can also combine this feature with Google Analytics to gain access to more monitoring features and data.
5. Flex with the Featured Video
Make your newest or most popular content the most accessible as well by placing it in the most central spot of your channel. What makes the featured video a powerful tool for boosting organic SEO results is its description that YouTube/Google’s algorithms will pick up. Maximize this text box by adding keywords and relevant details to your channel.
In addition to this, depending on your channel, the featured video may have a different role as well—besides new releases, some channels prefer to use the featured video spot as their channel trailer so new viewers can get a sample of the channel’s content, thus ensuring smooth and streaming traffic through your channel.
With the amount of content uploaded to YouTube every day and what seems to be an endless stream of users, tackling content optimization for your YouTube videos and your YouTube channels seems like a difficult, if not impossible task. However, with these Youtube SEO tactics for your videos and channel, we hope they help with both maintaining current viewers as well as expanding your viewer base.