YouTube SEO: How are videos optimized for search?
YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google, which is why the importance of search engine optimization for YouTube videos is increasing. Artaxo’s SEO experts explain how your videos land in the forefront of video search with the help of YouTube SEO.
YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google
With more than a billion users, almost a third of all Internet users, YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world after Google. The total duration of the videos played daily is about one billion hours. An enormous number of searches are therefore carried out on the video platform. The greater the challenge that your video will be found by users. But if you want to be found, you should optimize your videos and the YouTube channel – i.e. use YouTube SEO.
How does YouTube SEO work?
SEO for YouTube videos works in a similar way to conventional search engine optimization: there are certain algorithms and parameters that determine the visibility of the videos. Unlike Google, these ranking factors mostly relate to the videos and the platform itself. Google keeps a fairly low profile on the factors. Nevertheless, some assumptions can be made about ranking factors.
The main ranking factors for YouTube SEO
In general, they can be divided into three categories: video, channel and engagement factors. When it comes to video factors, the title, description, keywords, transcription, content, quality, thumbnails and file name are particularly important. For the channel, video frequency and channel maintenance play an important role. The engagement factors also include aspects such as views, watch time, likes, shares and playlists. We present the most important ranking factors and give you tips for optimization.
Content and quality
Any optimizations are of no use to you if the users notice your videos and click on them, but then do not find the expected content or poor video quality. The first few seconds are decisive here. So be sure to pay attention to these two aspects first, before further optimizing your channel and videos.
The video title is the most important ranking factor and helps both the search engine and the users to understand the content of your video.
- Our tip: An ideal title consists of 60-70 characters so as not to be cut off. Put the main keyword as far in the beginning as possible. Your brand should end up, if at all.
- Describe the video content as precisely as possible.
- Arouse curiosity in the user, but only generate expectations that your video fulfils. Animate users to click, but avoid a clickbait title.
- If you use a unique title for each video, name the title at the end of a video series.
- Our rule of thumb for the title: [main keyword] [descriptive text with secondary keyword or variation of the main keyword] ([additional information if necessary]) [brand]
In the video description, you can provide users and the algorithm with a maximum of 5,000 characters more information about the video content.
- Our tip: The description should be at least 200 characters long. Summarize the content of your video precisely, if necessary use a table of contents with jump marks to the corresponding point in the video.
- “Above the fold” is only space for 100-120 characters. Formulate this area as appealingly as possible and place the most important keywords there. Shops, in particular, should always have a link “above the fold”. This area is also shown in the Google search results.
- Use the space and be sure to insert your longtail keywords here. Questions that are answered in the video should also appear in the description.
- If necessary, link other videos on your channel, your social media accounts etc.
- Add a call-to-action that lets you z. For example, ask them to like or comment on the video, subscribe to your channel, or ask questions.
Keyword tags on YouTube help the algorithm to understand the content of your video and play a major role in video rating. They are not shown publicly but can be read in the source code.
- Our tip: Select approximately 15 tags per video.
- Be sure to use the main and relevant additional keywords.
- Use plural variants and synonyms for important keywords.
- When making your selection, be sure to use a mixture of generic and specific terms; brand tags can also be used.
- Create standard tags that are relevant to your channel, such as B. Your brand. These channel keywords should be mentioned in every video on your channel, as they help YouTube to show your channel among the other recommended videos.
Subtitles are important not only for the deaf but also for search engines in order to better evaluate the content of your video.
- Our tip: YouTube can automatically create subtitles. However, since speech recognition is not yet fully developed and incorrect, you should write the transcript manually or at least revise it manually.
- Name the main keyword in the video so that it also appears in the transcription.
The thumbnail is the preview image in the video search results and the first visual impression that YouTube users have of your video. Therefore, it significantly influences the click rate of your videos.
- Our tip: Customize the thumbnail in the Creator Studio on YouTube.
- Use a high-resolution image: 16: 9, 540×360 pixels.
- Use an appealing image that arouses curiosity but does not create false expectations among users.
- Use bright colors, emojis, borders or close-up faces with eye contact to attract attention.
- Add the key message of the video or your claim.
- Create an individual thumbnail for each of your videos.
The filename of your video also helps the algorithm to better classify the content.
- Our tip: Formulate the file name of your video file as precisely as possible.
- Make sure that it contains the most important keyword.
- Separate words with a hyphen.
In addition to optimizing every single video, you should also present your entire YouTube channel in the best possible way. The user should be able to quickly find the information relevant to him there.
YouTube likes being up-to-date and users will also stop by more often if they notice that you are regularly adding new content.
- Our tip: Publish new content as often as possible – provided the video quality remains high.
When users visit your YouTube channel, they should find a professionally designed channel.
- Our tip: Make sure that your channel name is correct.
- Use a header graphic that matches the content of the channel; if necessary, communicate fixed broadcast times here.
- Link your social media profiles in the social bar.
- Add a precise channel description and your imprint.
- Use a channel trailer to give users an impression of what the channel is about.
- Create meaningful playlists in which users can find related videos. Use keywords relevant to you for the playlist titles. If necessary, add third-party content to your playlist, so you can direct users to your channel.
User signals are an important indicator of whether a video is relevant or not and therefore extremely important for a good YouTube ranking. The number of subscribers and video views are important. In addition, the watch time, which provides information on what percentage of the video is actually watched by the users. YouTube also rated it positively if users watched the channel and the platform in general for longer after watching a video. Another ranking factor is the ratio between likes and dislikes as well as the number of comments. Other user signals are shares and the number of times the video is embedded on other websites. The commitment can only be influenced indirectly by you as a channel operator.
- Our tip: Publish new videos regularly.
- At the end of your videos and in the description, encourage viewers to share, like, or comment on your video.
- Actively involve your community. B. Questions in the comments. And answer your community’s questions.
- Include cards in the video that point to other videos.
- Create playlists with multiple videos on a subject area to achieve the longest possible watch time.
- Take advantage of the credits and integrate further videos, playlists or external websites there.
- Repeat successful formats.
How to find relevant topics and keywords
When choosing the topics, you should definitely ask yourself which topics interest your target group. To find out, you can e.g. B. Use social media or the comments in your videos. Inquiries received by your support team can also help you here. To find out which topics are currently going particularly well on YouTube, you can also look at YouTube trends.
For keyword research, as with conventional search engine optimization, brainstorming is recommended. Other helpful keyword tools are:
- Google Suggest
- YouTube Suggest
- Google Keyword Planner
- Google Trends
- Answer the public
- Rockit Video Keyword Tool
It’s also always worth taking a look at the competition. What content do your competitors have and which evergreen content works particularly well for them? If you have found a keyword, you should definitely check which other videos rank with this keyword. What formats are used and how long are these videos? What other keywords are used? Competitive analysis tools are Socialblade and VeeScore.
How can you measure success on YouTube?
The YouTube Analytics tool is also in the YouTube Creator Studio. There you can e.g. B. Get data on average playback time, number of views, ratings and comments. Information about the demographics of users, device types etc. is also provided there. There are also numerous external tools, such as B. TubeBuddy or video. You can also use the YouTube Rank Checker to determine the ranking of a video for a keyword in the YouTube search.
Concrete recommendations for action can be derived from all this information. If video embedding works particularly well, you could, for example, place it more prominently on your own homepage. Low engagement could indicate a lack of calls for interaction.
Search engine optimization for YouTube is not that complicated if you follow some basics. With these basics, a new channel can quickly establish itself within a niche topic. The biggest factor in YouTube SEO remains the viewer and the engagement factors. That is why content that inspires is extremely important. Therefore, question yourself self-critically at regular intervals: Would I watch this video as a representative of my target group? Would I subscribe to the channel? If you can honestly answer both questions in the affirmative, your channel is on a very good path.