8 Actionable YouTube SEO Tips (2018)

8 Actionable YouTube SEO Tips (2018)

YouTube is the second largest search engine in the US, eclipsed only by Google; its user base now totals well over a billion. Just imagine, then, the kind of brand exposure you’d get if your video occupied the #1 seat for a YouTube search.

That’s by no means an unattainable goal. With the right YouTube SEO strategies, you can get your branded videos to rank. Here are a few tips to make that happen.

1.Place Keywords at the Front of Your Video Titles

It goes without saying that keywords are integral to your YouTube SEO endeavors. What you may not know is that YouTube places more value on words that come at the beginning of the title. Consider the following two titles:

  • 7 Steps to Improve Your Video Marketing
  • Video Marketing: 7 Steps for Better Results

Assuming you’re trying to rank for the keyword phrase video marketing, the second title is ultimately superior, simply because of the arrangement of the words and the prioritization of that keyword phrase.

Don’t Forget Brackets and Parentheses

Another tip for titles? Add brackets and parentheses—a powerful way to boost your click-through rate. (We’ve even done it with the title of this blog post.) Consider just a few examples:

  • (New!)
  • {Case Study}
  • [2018 Actionable Tips]

You can add parenthetical asides like these to most, if not all of your videos—and studies show that this can have a real, positive impact on your click-through rates.

2. Focus on Engagement Signals

YouTube tends to favor the videos that generate the most user engagement. There are a lot of ways engagement can be measured—likes, comments, shares, and subscriptions all come to mind. All of these have the potential to boost your rankings.

Comments are especially useful—so how do you generate more of them? Be specific with the call to action you include in each video. Don’t just invite your viewers to comment. Give them a specific topic or question to comment on.

3. Know the TAB Formula

Video tags are also important for your YouTube SEO efforts—assuming you use them correctly. Remember that tags exist to tell YouTube what your video is about—and you don’t need too many of them to accomplish that goal.

Enter the TAB formula—one target keyword tag, a couple of alternate keyword tags, and finally, one or two broad keyword terms. You should never really need more than five or six total tags to let Google know how to categorize your video; more than that and you risk confusing the algorithms.

4. Collect Clicks

We already mentioned the importance of engagement signals for YouTube rankings. Click-throughs are important metrics, too—but how can you get more of them? One answer: Use CTR magnet thumbnails.

These are the little thumbnail images you include in the corner of a video. Some tips to make your thumbnails effective:

  • Use colors other than the standard YouTube color scheme; red, black, and white will all blend in too easily.
  • Make sure you employ big, attention-grabbing text.
  • Due to limited space, keep your character count low—no more than 30.

5. Accompany Each YouTube Video with a Miniature Blog Post

Long descriptions help videos rank better—precisely because they help YouTube to better understand what your video is about. The ideal length for your video descriptions? Anywhere between 150 and 200 words, if possible.

That may seem like a lot, but it’s really a pretty easy target to hit. Just summarize the basic themes of your video, without giving away too much value.

6. Make Your Videos Longer

Simply put, longer videos often rank better than short ones. After all, it’s in YouTube’s best interests to reward those videos that keep people on their site, watching videos, for longer stretches of time.

The average length of a well-ranked (that is, first page) video? A little under 15 minutes. That doesn’t mean every video you post has to be so long, but do strive for longer videos whenever the topic allows. Going over eight minutes is a good goal for beginners.

7. Aim to Rank in Suggested Video

When your video shows up next to another video, in the “suggested video” sidebar, that can dramatically increase views and improve rankings. Becoming a “suggested” video for a really popular video can help you siphon off some of that video’s views—and it’s not as hard as you might think to make this happen.

Simply identify a really popular video that’s on a similar topic to your own—and mirror all of that video’s tags. This will tell YouTube that your video is closely related in its content.

8. Get Expert Guidance for Your YouTube SEO

One final recommendation? Reach out to the pros to help with your YouTube SEO efforts. Sefati Consulting Group can help you develop a strategy that will get your videos consistently ranking well. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.