To increase brand awareness and put your content in front of more eyeballs, you must include videos as part of your content strategy.
The success of your YouTube videos and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) are strongly intertwined: remember, Google owns YouTube. YouTube videos often appear at the top of Google result pages (SERPs), and appearing on those SERPs is an excellent opportunity to get many more views on your content.
So, how do you get your YouTube to appear on Google’s result pages? YouTube and Google are both mature platforms. Even with an arsenal of YouTube tools at your disposal, it will take some SEO know-how and optimisations to get your videos to rank.
To help you build out your YouTube marketing strategy, here are 10 SEO tips from Yoghurt Digital to help your videos rank organically on the largest online video platform, YouTube.
#1 Prepare a clear content strategy
YouTube videos, just like any content creation project, follow a clear content strategy for production. Before you even pick up a camera or decide on a topic, ask yourself critical questions to inform your YouTube strategy.
What are you trying to achieve with this piece of content? Do you want it to be informational, entertaining, or inspirational? Are you speaking from a place of authority, or are you responding with an opinion? Is the video raising awareness for your brand, a product or an initiative?
The list of questions one asks themselves to produce high-quality content that ranks well could go on and on. But to keep things simple for your YouTube content, consider these three elements before you proceed:
What are you an expert on, and how can your brand share a unique perspective on your chosen topic? People want to hear from experts, even on YouTube. If your goal is to be informational, pick a highly knowledgeable topic and use this video to establish your brand as an expert.
What keywords would you like this video to rank #1 on Google?
Make a list of generic target keywords (e.g. “mirrorless camera“) and more specific, long-tail keywords (e.g. “best mirrorless camera for beginner photographer”).
Then, strategically incorporate these keywords in the script of the video, the meta tags, the description, etc. (more on that below).
Be honest with yourself – how engaging is your topic? And can you keep the viewer entertained with the video’s content for its whole duration? In 2012, the YouTube algorithm began prioritising how long someone watches your video. Therefore, picking a topic that’ll keep viewers engaged is vital.
Or in their words, “when we suggest videos, we focus on those that increase the amount of time that the viewer will spend watching videos on YouTube, not only on the next view but also successive views thereafter.”
Keeping viewers engaged signals to YouTube “that they’re happier with the content they’ve found.”
#2 YouTube competitive analysis
You’re not the only person (or brand) trying to break through on YouTube. With over 500 hours of video content uploaded to the platform every minute, it’s safe to say that YouTube is a highly competitive space. While this competition makes ranking a little more difficult for the average creator, you can learn a lot by analysing what your competitors are doing.
A YouTube Competitor Analysis looks at your competing channels and their content. Sort by ‘most popular’ to see what types of videos worked best for them. Filters will give you an idea of what viewers in your niche want to see.
Pay attention to the details:
- How did they title their best-performing videos?
- How long are their best-performing videos? Do their longer videos tend to perform better, or do shorter videos get more traction?
- What kind of thumbnail did they use?
- What meta tags are they using in their best-performing videos?
How can you replicate your competitors’ success and adapt the learnings for your channel? Better yet – how can you do even better than your competitors? If your competitors are not discussing an essential element on that topic, this is your chance to bridge that gap and create even better content.
#3 Optimised video chapters
Video chapters are a feature on YouTube that allows you to break up your video into sections and give each chapter a unique title. It helps users navigate the video more efficiently and can help your video rank better and stand out on SERPs.
Chapters are beneficial if your video is:
- A step-by-step guide – create a chapter for each step
- A round-up of product reviews – make a chapter for each product
- A product review – provide chapters for each main product feature
Ensure you include relevant keywords in your chapter titles, as this could help your video appear in Rich Results on SERPs.
#4 Create an attractive thumbnail
Remember, the goal of optimising your Youtube video for SEO is to rank on SERPs. When looking at the result pages, users will see your video’s thumbnail, so designing an attractive thumbnail is vital to get more clicks and views on your video.
#5 Upload a transcript
Remember, search engines are algorithm-led machines, not humans. They cannot watch your video to understand the topic; instead, they will interpret your content based on the text you add in the title, tags, description, and video transcript.
To help the algorithm understand what your video is about and have a better chance at ranking on your target keywords, upload a transcript of your video. Your transcript will also assist YouTube in generating closed captions for your users, improving the accessibility of your video – win, win! Both the algorithm and users will thank you.
#6 Optimise meta tags
Meta Tags will help search engines understand what your video is about and rank it accordingly. Ensure you add relevant meta tags when uploading your video, and include your target keywords ranking.
Since you can only include 500 characters’ worth of meta tags, it pays to be selective. Start with a mix of broad keywords (e.g. “product photography”), then move into specific, long-tail keywords (e.g. “how to photograph products for an online store “) before adding a mix of branded and non-branded meta tags.
#7 Write an optimised description
Use your video’s description field to provide valuable information to your viewers, give search engines more information on your video, and include some of your target keywords (naturally).
You can also use the description field to add a link to your website, your other social channels, or any other valuable resource related to the topic – such as one of your blog posts on a similar issue.
#8 Promote your video and get backlinks
Now that your content is live, it’s time to promote your video. Post a snippet of your video on your social channels as soon as you push it live, with a link to watch the full video on YouTube. You can even promote it on relevant forums or subreddits (provided it’s not against their guidelines) to get the word out. And of course, YouTube is a social platform, so make sure you engage with viewers, like and reply to their comments.
Work your Digital PR magic and send the link out to publications, friends, bloggers and influencers who might be interested in your content and kindly ask them to link to your video on their site to get quality backlinks to your video. YouTube works the same way as any web page: the more quality backlinks it has, the higher the chances of ranking well on organic search.
#9 Create video playlists on your channel
As you build your YouTube channel with more and more content, create playlists to categorise your content. It might seem unnecessary with only a few videos at first. However, as your library grows, categories will help users navigate your channel, and find the content they want, alongside similar videos they might want to watch next.
You can even reach out to fellow YouTubers and channels in your niche to ask them if they would like to include your video on their playlists.
#10 Repurpose your video
Your video is now live on YouTube and on its way to rank on your coveted keywords. Congratulations! You’ve certainly put a lot of thought and effort into creating a valuable, informative and entertaining video for your audience. Now make your efforts even more worthwhile by repurposing that video for your other communication channels:
- Turn that video into a blog post; an SEO’s favourite trick. Turn the transcript of the video into a blog post hosted on your website. You can even include screenshots from the YouTube video within the blog post to illustrate your points. You now have double the chances to rank on Google via your video or blog post!
- Think about Instagram Stories, Reels, Tiktok, and YouTube Shorts; that’s where the cool kids are. What can you extract snackable pieces of content from that longer YouTube video to turn into a 1-minute Reel or TikTok?
Top Tip: If you’re planning on repurposing your YouTube video for Reels, TikTok, or YouTube Shorts, keep that in mind while shooting the content, and make sure your shots will look good both in horizontal format (for YouTube) and vertical format (for Reels, TikTok, and YouTube Shorts).
YouTube, TikTok, Facebook Video, Reels
YouTube should be part of your content strategy, and applying these SEO tips will help get your videos in front of more viewers.
But remember that YouTube is only one small piece of your content puzzle. After all, not all of your dream customers are on YouTube. Although there are 2.56 billion monthly active users on YouTube, TikTok and Instagram are close behind, with 1 billion and 1.5 billion users, respectively.
Repurposing your content on your different channels is key to amplifying your content strategy, reaching more people, and building brand awareness on various platforms, especially if you’re looking to engage Gen-Z, the most significant demographic globally. According to the Digital 2022 Global Overview report, they spend an average of three hours daily on social media, with social media platforms their go-to.
Interactive social media platforms like TikTok and YouTube have the potential to reach new audiences with more significant engagement if adequately strategised. With the right set of YouTube SEO Tools or an arsenal of TikTok tips and tricks, you’ll be on your way to getting more views, likes, comments, subscriptions and everything else in between.