Just like your website, your video content should also be optimised for SEO. By appropriately amending your videos for SEO, you can gain significant traffic to your website, generate new leads, and increase your exposure and rankings for relevant keywords.
The YouTube algorithm ranks videos based on a number of key metrics:The view count of a video;
- The number of positive ratings (Likes) and the amount of positive comments;
- The number of subscribers of the uploader;
- The available text in the title, tags, and description
In order for your video to rank highly in YouTube for desired searches, you first should ensure your video is of high quality, that the content is relevant to your audience, and that it is optimised for YouTube Bots.
Below are seven essential steps to take to ensure your YouTube videos are optimised and SEO ready:
Youtube’s character limits for video titles is 100 characters, however, YouTube automatically shortens titles exceeding 70 characters. You should be conscious of this when writing your title; including keywords at the beginning, or keeping your title under 70 characters.
Consider including target keywords, your business branding, and give a good description of the video content in your title. Your title should stand out, you want to engage your audience’s attention and encourage them to watch your video, consequently increasing your video click-through-rate. Incorporating all of these factors into a short title is difficult, but makes a significant difference to the video’s impact on SEO and views when succeeded.
When crawling your site and videos, GoogleBot and YouTube bots cannot watch your video. These bots rely on available text and content on your page to determine the video content and how to index and categorise your video.
Video titles and descriptions indicate to bots the content and keywords of your video. YouTube video descriptions have a 5000 character limit; you should aim to use as much of this as possible, optimising your description to include keywords you want to rank for.
Only the first 157 characters of a YouTube description will appear as a rich snippet in search results before being shortened. Therefore, your first paragraph of your description should include a short summary of the video in order to be to displayed to potential viewers when searching. Similarly, these first few lines of the description are visible without having to expand the text box. Therefore, you should consider including your call to action and a link to your site at the beginning of the description to improve the click-through rate to your website.
3. Add A Video Description
Including a transcript to the description of a video provides bots more details than titles, tags, and descriptions can alone. As previously mentioned, bots cannot watch the video and rely on titles and text to gain content meaning, however, by providing a video transcript, the entire content of a video can be accessed and indexed. Including a transcript to your video allows the integration of your keywords into the description.
Similarly, adding closed captions and subtitles to your videos can also contribute positively to rankings. When captions are added to a YouTube video, the content is uploaded via a text file. This text file can be read by search bots, consequently allowing the content and keywords the be indexed appropriately.
Using tags is an essential way to indicate to bots how your video should be categorised. Using keywords in the tags of a YouTube video also increases the visibility of your video to your target audience when they search for relevant and related video content. Related videos are shown on the right-hand side of the main video, and tags are used to determine which videos are listed as “related”. Consequently, including a handful of appropriate tags to your video can have significant effects on the exposure and views of your video.
6. Allow Sharing Options and Ratings
Increasing the “shareability” of your video will improve your rankings, views and exposure. One fundamental method of this is allowing your video to be shared via embedded links. By enabling this option, other sites, blogs and social medias can share your video.
Furthermore, YouTube’s algorithm also uses ratings to rank videos. Consequently, including a call to action encouraging viewers to subscribe, like and comment on your video can also improve your rankings. Ensure that these settings are enabled applied to your videos when appropriate.
6. Custom Thumbnails
Frequently, a thumbnail is the only distinguishment between videos of similar titles and content. Despite the overwhelming importance of video thumbnails, their significance and influence are often overlooked. Adding a custom made, eye-catching, compelling thumbnail to your video will improve the click-through rate; consequently increasing your views and subsequent rankings. A thumbnail should be relevant to the content of the video, and draw the attention of prospective viewers.
7. Add A Video Sitemap
Video sitemaps are an extension to the main sitemap of a site, and, despite being regularly overlooked, can work to significantly improve a video’s SEO and subsequent rankings.
By including a video sitemap necessary data about the content of a video are easily available to bots. Consequently, sitemaps efficiently allow the Bots which crawl your website are able to specifically index the video. Check out Googles guidelines and help sheet on video sitemaps for more information.