Becoming a successful YouTube channel doesn’t happen overnight. It takes hundreds of dedicated hours and consistent promotion of your videos in the hopes of reaching your audience.
Luckily, there are several extremely useful tips that can bolster your rankings and get the YouTube algorithm to favor you. (These simple YouTube tricks help you plan your content, know what and when to upload, and optimize your channel so that your videos rank faster and video views skyrocket.)
SEO Tips to Rank Videos Faster on YouTube
The most important part of ranking videos on YouTube is honing your video strategy. You’ll be combining keywords, content ideas, and trending factors into your strategy (so it’s more likely to get views, thereby increasing your video’s visibility).
1. Know the Key YouTube Ranking Factors
Much like with Google, you’ll want to know what ranking signals YouTube looks for. So, before you even upload your first video, make sure you understand these metrics:
- Video Length: Quality content typically comes from longer videos. The average video length is over 10 minutes long, but shorter videos between 5-6 minutes in length are still good, and they’re useful for promotion on social media and answering short questions.
- Watch Time: How long do users spend watching your video? Do they stay on your page while the video plays? This is why your first 15 seconds must be compelling!
- # of Total Subscribers: YouTube channels with more subscribers get stronger authority signals to show up first on the platform (and in YouTube search and Google search results).
- User Engagement: How many shares, likes, comments, subscribers, and links do you have? It’s important to encourage engagement because it’s a top-ranking signal for YouTube channels that rank highly in search and on YouTube’s platform.
Now that these ranking factors make more sense, let’s take a look at how you should be optimizing your videos so that your rank improves.
2. Plan Your YouTube Video Strategy
The first step to any YouTube SEO strategy is to target keywords that are guaranteed to increase your rank. Pick keywords that are easily discoverable in Google and YouTube.
Conduct YouTube Keyword Research
Many YouTubers go with one main keyword for videos, but it’s important to remember that YouTube is one of the largest search engines in the world – capitalize on that. You should try to develop a list of the 10 best keywords to rank for, as well as long-tail and less competitive keywords that may not get as much search volume.
Long-tail keywords play a key role in bringing very targeted traffic to your channel (which is why it can be beneficial to answer customer questions in the title of your YouTube video by using the long-tail keyword in the form of a question ).
There are also a number of Google Chrome extensions (like TubeBuddy or VidIQ) that can help, alongside the more traditional keyword research tools out there. For a free keyword research tool, sign up for Google Ads and access the Google Keyword Planner tool.
Steps to Include Keywords in Your Channels
- Identify 10 to 20 popular keywords that you want to rank for, based on what your targeted audience is looking for.
- Add more long-tail and low competition relevant keywords to your list. You can use tools like AnswerthePublic.com to find popular questions and create videos that answer these topics
- Choose specific groups of keywords that revolve around a single topic that you want to rank for. Then, create several videos around those topics.
Don’t Forget About Content and Trends
Your goal is to show up in recommended and related videos along with other trending videos on the same topic. Your video should be similar in length and have the same keywords that relate to the topic. For example, if your researched topic has a lot of tutorials, you should be making a tutorial, as well. Along with that, you’ll need to tag content with the same tags as your benchmark videos.
It’s best to search for popular videos from creators within your field and then create similar videos with your own style. Make great video content by attempting to answer new questions or offer a unique perspective on the topic. You can always create an “update” video that piggybacks on another popular (but old) video, as well.
Finally, use tools like Content Explorer or Google Trends to research trending search queries and see breakout trends. You can also use tools like Answer the Public to search keywords and get the most frequently asked questions around that topic. If you find that these topics don’t have much (or any) relevant video content, you should focus on them right away.
Tip: Answering questions on YouTube within your niche is a great way to rank up fast!
3. Optimize Your YouTube Channel Page
Your YouTube channel has several spaces to optimize. Here’s what to do:
- Add a keyword to your YouTube channel name.
- Fill in the “About Us” section and strategically place 1 to 2 target keywords.
- Include channel keyword tags (you have 100 characters to add search-friendly tags).
- Add a channel trailer (30-60 seconds in length, featured first on your channel) as a lead-in for your prospective viewers.
- Post a mixture of long and short videos. The average length is 11.7 minutes long, but quick 5-6 minute videos are great for short, targeted topics.
- Maximize the content and use keywords in the first 15 seconds of your video opening.
- Curate playlists that will enhance watch time and increase audience retention.
It’s important that your description and content titles all include keywords and phrases that will attract viewers. Use attractive language in all of your titles, playlists and descriptions to ensure that people find your videos via keywords (but also stay intrigued).
4. Enhance Your Video Content
In addition to changing the way that your YouTube looks and reads to your viewers. as well as search engines, you need to optimize your video content to do the same. This means incorporating more keywords into your video scripts, adding customized video thumbnails, and taking advantage of the different YouTube features available to get higher rankings.
Video Optimization Tips for More Visibility
- Always use compelling language in the video title and describe your videos with natural and subtle keyword placement to help your ranking.
- Include call-to-actions in your video for subscribing to your channel and commenting.
- Add custom video thumbnails (as opposed to the bad screenshots that YouTube generates for your videos) that are captivating and eye-catching to improve your CTR (click-through rate).
- Embed video cards and end screens to funnel your watchers along to your next video.
- Upload closed captions and subtitles to all of your videos (both of which are good for accessibility and SEO).
- When applicable, use YouTube’s live streaming capabilities to help push you to the first page on the topic you’re filming.
- Make sure to change the file name of your video files so that they are similar to your public titles (instead of leaving it as “mov012.mp4”).
YouTube SEO really depends on how you organize your content and what keywords you use in the channel name, title and tags of your video.
Just as you do with the SEO content on your own web page, your YouTube channel and video descriptions need to follow the same set of rules in order to rank. You want to use keywords strategically, but you don’t want your content to appear spammy in nature. Instead, use keywords naturally throughout your channel to improve your visibility while also staying relevant to the topic.
To increase YouTube video search ranking, you need to consistently add new videos and keep looking for new trends within your niche to capture your audience’s attention.
Getting YouTube Videos Ranked Fast
For those of you struggling to get your YouTube videos to rank, make sure you’re following the best practices laid out in this article. With a combination of search engine optimization, smart video ideation and video optimization (like custom thumbnails), you can quickly get your videos pulling up on the first page of YouTube’s SERP.
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