YouTube SEO – How to Optimize YouTube Videos for SEO

With YouTube now being the 2nd largest search engine in the world it makes a lot of sense to understand SEO for YouTube Videos. After reading this post I hope you will have a better understanding of how to optimize your videos so that you get more exposure in YouTube searches as well as organic rankings from your YouTube videos.

This post assumes you have your topics/content in mind or ready to go.  The following tips will help make sure you turn these videos into traffic and search engine exposure!

Keep Your Keyword Research in Mind

Keyword research is important in Video SEO because YouTube is a competitive landscape just like Google.  With a little time spent doing research you can surely uncover some niche terms that are much easier to rank for.  For this example let’s say you want to rank for “SEO” related terms.  It makes sense to do some keyword research so that you can possibly find some niches within the industry terms you are targeting.  Without this step your video will  have a lot harder time ranking.

Let’s look at this simple example for the term SEO:

Now consider this more niche term “St. Louis SEO”:

As you can see the volume of videos you are competing against is drastically lower for the niche term “St. Louis SEO.”  Take some time and see if you can uncover some niche terms that are still highly relevant to your videos but would provide a less competitive landscape for you to rank in.

Titles & Descriptions

Once you have your keywords ready to target I like to follow a fairly similar format for all my titles and descriptions.  Here’s what that might look like for the term St. Louis SEO.

Title – St. Louis SEO – Benefits of Using a Local St. Louis SEO Company (I prefer to start and end with the keyword you are targeting for best targeting results.)

Description – Here we recommend following best practices for SEO copywriting.  It’s debated on whether or not you should lead with a link to your website.  Obviously the exposure for your URL is great, but then again it takes away from the characters you have to compel the user to view your video.  I suggest trying both ways and see what works best for you.  Definitely want to use several “related” terms that are highly relevant to your keyword.  Please don’t keyword stuff, and make sure to write the content in a compelling manner that drives the user to take action.  This description is what the user will see before view your video so write it for the user and not for the search engine.

Tags – Just like with a blog post you can add tags to your videos.  I recommend sticking to around 5-10 tags for each video.  If you think you need more than 10 tags for a video I would consider targeting additional video content at the specific phrases you want to rank for.

Identify Link Partners

This is probably the most important part of Video SEO.  Just like with website SEO you need link juice to help boost your Video SEO.  You should follow the same link building guidelines as you would for website SEO so we won’t go into great detail here but there are a few things I would like to point out.

A simple way to get a link to your video is to do a blog write up around your video content and then link to the video in your post.  When you create quality content you can usually find some established blog owners who would welcome a guest blog post that included some unique video content.  

Understand the competition – You can search in YouTube for the keywords you want to rank for and identify the top ranking videos.  Take their URL’s and see where they appear on the internet using Google or Linkscape.  Once you know who is linking to your competitors’ videos you should start making a list of those sites as well as similar sites.  You can then break your list down into categories such as Blogs, Social Media, Industry Orgs, etc, and identify ways to get your content promoted in these same channels.  Once you identify good “Video” link partners you can usually count on getting more links for future videos as long as your content stays relevant.

Relevance

Last but not least, you need to give YouTube and Google some additional relevance as to what your video is about.  Hopefully you’ve chosen some link partners that are relevant in site content but there is another way to build relevance.  Use the Video Reply option in YouTube to simply associate your video with other related videos.  Since I view this as a somewhat “spammy” technique, I only recommend replying to 1-2 videos at most.