Why should every business know how to rank on YouTube using SEO? The quick answer is summarized into six words: 1 billion viewing hours per day. In February 2017, Youtube owner Google announced that people are now watching a billion hours of YouTube content every single day.

“Around the world, people are spending a billion hours every day rewarding their curiosity, discovering great music, keeping up with the news, connecting with their favorite personalities, or catching up with the latest trend,” according to the world’s largest search  engine. With YouTube’s immense power to reach out to consumers, should you not be rolling up your sleeves and driving traffic to your YouTube account?

Explore this helpful guide to YouTube SEO, including exciting optimization tactics and other tips to produce engaging video content.

The power of video keywords

To win any game, you should know the rules well. Millions of videos are posted online every day, whether in YouTube, Vimeo or other platforms. How can you generate a top search result ranking? SEO expert Brian Dean shares a four-point guide on how to drive traffic to your YouTube video or website via SEO:

  1. Find “video keywords”
  2. Make your (awesome) video
  3. Upload your video with YouTube SEO in mind
  4. Get video views

“Video keywords” are those that have YouTube results on the first page of Google’s search results page. These types of keywords include how-tos, reviews, and tutorials. Google also tends to rank high those videos that are fitness or sports related and those with funny content (“cute animals”). By using these recommended keyword types, you’ll generate traffic not only from users searching on YouTube, but also those searching via Google.

After choosing a video keyword, Dean suggests checking whether it gets at least 300 Google searches per month. “If a keyword boasts of at least 300 searches per month, then you know it also gets a decent amount of searches within YouTube itself,” Dean shares. If you get your video to rank in Google, you get a huge chance of earning high-quality visitors to your video and website.

Google’s signals in ranking videos on YouTube

Ultimately, the quality of your content would drive your SEO. If your video is unoriginal and unappealing, keywords can do little to help you. Google uses 200 signals that can guide you in creating video content. The most important of these “clues” are title tag information, audience retention, description tag keywords, tags, video length, number of subscribers after watching, and interactions, which include comments, likes, and dislikes.

According to ComScore, an average YouTube video is 4.4 minutes. The statistics suggests that people prefer watching shorter videos over longer content. Wistia also reports that fewer than 65% of viewers are still watching a video after 4 to 5 minutes. The challenge is in breaking your content into digestible parts, which are still interesting and informative. You can create a series of short videos to keep viewers’ attention and build anticipation.

Keep it personal

You may have watched one of Thai Life Insurance’s viral sad videos. “Unsung Hero”, which is about a young man who performs various acts of kindness, has earned more than 29 million views in less than three years. Instead of the casting celebrities, the production team worked with people with “more relatable features” and used a simple script with a simple message: kindness offers intangible benefits.

Campaigns focus on highly personal issues that leave lasting impact on people. One notable example is Dove’s Real Beauty campaign. The beauty brand used a study on 3,000+ women from 10 different countries as the core of their campaign. They found that fewer than 5% considered themselves beautiful. Dove created inspirational ads focusing on women’s unique characteristics that make them beautiful in their own right. Create videos in which your target audience can relate. 

Optimized metadata for your YouTube channel

After creating an appealing video, what are the next steps for your YouTube channel optimization? Optimize your metadata or the information that clearly define the subject of a video. These include the title, description, and tags. In creating a title, use key phrases that incorporate long tail keywords. The description provides details about the video and includes a relevant URL to your website. SEO experts recommend adding 10 to 20 tags per video in words and phrases. These tags may be relevant keywords that you cannot fit in the title or description and should be predictive of what people may use in searching such a video.

“Optimizing your metadata helps your videos get discovered by a relevant audience who will more likely to watch your video. The more views a video gets in a short period of time, the higher it will rank for a variety of key phrases related to its subject,” says Brian Honigman, social media account manager at LunaMetrics.

Advance SEO YouTube tactics you should know

Here are 8 least known YouTube optimization techniques from SEO experts you should explore:

  1. Choose a jpeg file for your YouTube channel image. Make sure to edit the title of the file, its description, and author properties;
  2. Add links in the header section of your main website, social media pages, and other websites you run;
  3. Boost video views by sharing your video in online communities;
  4. Use the keyword in the video’s filename;
  5. Place your keywords at the beginning of the video title, but avoid keyword-stuffing by keeping the title at least five words;
  6. Add your video links in your email signatures and embed your content in blog posts;
  7. Build internal links by creating sub-playlists; and
  8. Add a few popular and authoritative channels in your Favorite Channels.

YouTube is just beginning to change our world. People can influence others’ political views and encourage social reform through a powerful video. How many “ordinary” individuals have turned into instant celebrities via vlogging? For businesses, YouTube is an important marketing platform. Understand how it can help you achieve your business goals.

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