The Ultimate Guide to YouTube SEO Success #semrushchat

Liza Perstneva The Ultimate Guide to YouTube SEO Success #semrushchat Liza Perstneva 72 12 3 5 72 12 3 5

It’s no longer a secret that YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine. With over a billion users, YouTube is a source of traffic with almost limitless potential.

But the problem is, it’s a very crowded place. As of July 2015, over 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Given the abundance of content on YouTube, it can be very difficult to get users to watch your video instead of the millions of others.

Nevertheless, if you properly optimize your video content, you’ll be able to get much more traffic than your competitors. To discover all the secrets of YouTube SEO success, we invited Nathan Hague to our SEMrush Chat. Nathan is a software and YouTube marketing expert, and the director of AustraliaWOW!. He and our other chat participants shared great insights into YouTube video optimization.

Let’s delve into the topic!

Q1. What are the biggest SEO factors in ranking your YouTube videos?

Uploading a video is not enough to earn views on YouTube. To get your videos to rank higher in Google and YouTube’s internal search engine, you need to optimize them.

To start, let’s figure out the most important SEO factors in ranking your YouTube videos.

  • Video quality

One major ranking factor is video quality. It’s important to provide your users with the best viewing experience possible in order to make them watch your video till the very end. “Content! That's the first place where people fail. High-quality video has a better chance of ranking highly,” pointed out F13Works ‏@F13Works.

A1. #Semrushchat Video quality, video subject, and title plays a big factor most of the time.

— Colt SebastianTaylor (@ColtSTaylor) November 30, 2016

  • Titles, descriptions, tags, thumbnails and links

Nathan Hague provided a great piece of advice: treat your videos with the same reverence as your blog posts. Video titles, descriptions, tags, thumbnails, and hyperlinks are important YouTube signals that you can leverage in order to get more traffic.

Create an eye-catching, readable title that looks natural. Don’t stuff it with keywords only for the sake of including keywords. Write a good description that provides as much information as possible. Don’t forget to always tag your videos and use keywords and key phrases that are relevant to your particular video.

Add video thumbnails to allow your viewers see a quick snapshot of your video as they browse YouTube. Finally, you can link to your website or social media account from your videos.

“Views, titles, tags, descriptions, and subscribers,” tweeted Debi Norton ‏@BRAVOMedia1.

A1 2/2: Descriptions, tags, thumbnails, titles, hyperlinks – treat your video upload with same reverance as a blog post! #semrushchat

— AustraliaWOW! (@australiawow) November 30, 2016

  • The right keywords

Once you’ve created your video, it’s time to find the right keywords to optimize it with. Before deciding on a particular term or phrase, check to see if there are any video results on the first page of Google for this particular term or phrase. If there are, you should definitely consider this keyword or key phrase. “Choose the right keywords. These are different from regular search,” pointed out Rohan Ayyar ‏@searchrook.

A1: Choose keywords carefully. Know who you are targeting #semrushchat

— Andy Drinkwater (@iqseo) November 30, 2016

  • Engagement

Some of our chat participants, including our guest expert, mentioned that engagement is another important ranking factor: “If you aren't creating engaging content, why would YouTube want to promote your videos?” asked Shawn Harding ‏@shawnbandv. CoHost ‏@CoHostLtd also recommended paying attention to your video engagement: “Keep people on the YouTube ecosystem and you will be rewarded with better rankings.”

A1 1/2 (phew, here goes): ENGAGEMENT! SOOoo important. Then retention. THEN how much effort you’ve put into your optimisation #semrushchat

— AustraliaWOW! (@australiawow) November 30, 2016

  • A video transcript

Annaliese Henwood pointed out the importance of transcribing your videos. Transcripts make your videos more searchable across the Web and boost their SEO. Also, you can use transcripts to create subtitles.

A1: Don't forget this key element: the video transcript. Create one that both helps with SEO (keywords) & those who need it. #semrushchat

— Annaliese Henwood (@MktgInnovator) November 30, 2016

Finally, F13Works ‏mentioned that your videos must offer value: “Your viewers must see the value in your videos. Tutorials, how-tos and product reviews are good examples.”

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Consider the above ranking factors, when optimizing your YouTube video.

Q2. Bad optimization tips for YouTube: What’s the best way to bury your video forever?

Sometimes your SEO efforts don’t deliver your desired results and success on YouTube. Is this situation familiar to you? If so, you might be overlooking these five YouTube SEO mistakes. Check out the following list so you can avoid ruining your video marketing campaign.

  • Not optimizing your video

Some people don’t optimize their YouTube videos at all. They fail to optimize their video titles and descriptions, which is a serious SEO mistake. “It would be a mistake to just post a video and do nothing. You need to optimize it. You need to promote it,” tweeted Express Writers ‏@ExpWriters.

a2 Don't Optimize Your YouTube Video = Bad SEO #semrushchat

— Debi Norton (@BRAVOMedia1) November 30, 2016

A2 Bad optimization = DSC03456.MP4 <– that's bad, mkay? #semrushchat

— AustraliaWOW! (@australiawow) November 30, 2016

  • Not promoting your video

If you want more people to see your video, you need to make an effort to promote it. To start, you can at least link to your videos from your website and share them on social media. “[You can bury your video] by not shouting about it! Share it on social media to start. Again, don't forget to optimize your keywords,” recommended Traffic Jam Media ‏@trafficjammedia.

A2: Don't promote your video. Don't add it to your site. Bad content quality. No value to the viewers… #semrushchat

— Annaliese Henwood (@MktgInnovator) November 30, 2016

  • Paying for subscribers and people to watch your video

A YouTube subscriber is someone who has decided to follow your YouTube channel and watch your videos by their own choice. You won’t be able to build up a strong subscriber base or a powerful online community by simply buying subscribers and views. You need to naturally acquire new people to your channel in order to get more organic traffic.

A2: Buying subscribers and people to watch and comment on your videos. No substitute for organic traffic that wants to be there #semrushchat

— Andy Drinkwater (@iqseo) November 30, 2016

  • Low-quality video content

All your optimization and promotion won’t help you if you consistently upload boring and poorly executed video content. Be unique, focus on originality and make sure that your videos provide value.

A2: Bad quality, bad content, no social sharing, bad title. The more irrelevant, the less likely people will find it! #semrushchat

— Lindsay Kavanagh (@lindsaykavs5) November 30, 2016

  • Not having a content plan and not researching your target audience

It’s always better to have a solid plan than not having one. Just as you need a content calendar, you need to have a schedule for what videos you’ll upload and when you’ll upload them. This helps you better create the ongoing story you want to tell about your business.

Also, Annaliese Henwood advised researching your target audience in order to figure out what they really want to see from you.

A2: You HAVE to have a content plan in place. You can't just upload videos sporadically. Rank your channel not a specific video #semrushchat

— CoHost (@CoHostLtd) November 30, 2016

If you follow the above-mentioned “tips,” you will definitely fall below the potential amount of views you could receive. Make sure to avoid these YouTube SEO mistakes.

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Now that we know some markers on the road of video marketing failure, let’s move on to the next question!

Q3. Do embedded videos improve SEO? If so, how?

You can add a YouTube video to your website or blog by simply embedding it. To do this, you need to go to the video you want to embed, click Share under that video, and then click Embed. Then you can copy the HTML code in the box that appears and paste it into your website or blog HTML.

But do embedded videos improve your SEO? Our chat participants shared their opinions.

Nathan Hague pointed out that hosting videos on your website gives you more exclusivity. Besides, you obviously want users to spend more time on your webpage.

A3 1/2 SEO or Sales? aim for most companies, is to get their videos making sales. YT has tools. Self-host can give exclusivity #semrushchat

— AustraliaWOW! (@australiawow) November 30, 2016

However, YouTube provides a range of features that actually outweigh the advantages of self-hosting.

A3 Cont. I like people to spend time on my clients' pages, but the tools YT gives trump self-hosted most of the time #semrushchat

— AustraliaWOW! (@australiawow) November 30, 2016

Lindsay Kavanagh and Andy Drinkwater agreed that embedding videos has its pros and cons. Embedded videos reduce your webpage’s loading speed. On the other hand, they can make your page more interesting and add more valuable content for your viewers.

A3: It's a toss up! Embedded videos slow down your page – but also add valuable content for your viewers #semrushchat

— Lindsay Kavanagh (@lindsaykavs5) November 30, 2016

A3: Mixed opinions on this. Can reduce page load times if you want to add a video and can make page more intersting #semrushchat

— Andy Drinkwater (@iqseo) November 30, 2016

In Matthew Young’s opinion, embedded videos are good for engagement, but they indirectly impact your website’s visibility.

A3. Embedded video is good for engagement, good opportunity for schema, but all those indirectly impact visibility for a site #semrushchat

— Matthew Young (@MatthewAYoung) November 30, 2016

The Miles Technologies team believes that embedded videos increases exposure. “Yes – it increases video exposure, which in turn can potentially increase engagement. As long as the video is high-quality,” tweeted Annaliese Henwood.

A3: I think everyone has hit the nail on the head with this one! Embedding videos increases viability and exposure. #semrushchat

— Miles Technologies (@milestech) November 30, 2016

Let’s sum up these key points:

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Embedding your videos can help you increase their engagement. But it also impacts the loading speed of your webpage.

Q4. What tools do you find best for improving your SEO on YouTube and why?

Today’s tools make it easier to optimize your videos and strengthen your SEO efforts. Our chat guests shared some effective tools for improving your YouTube SEO.

  • Reddit and Quora. To stay abreast of the latest news, Nathan Hague recommended using Reddit and Quora. These websites can help you discover trending topics and even spot upcoming trends before they happen.

A4 – love being ahead of the curve on topics that look like they're about to blow up. So Trends, Keyword tools. Reddit/Quora #semrushchat

— AustraliaWOW! (@australiawow) November 30, 2016

  • vidIQ Vision. One important tool for YouTube video optimization is the vidIQ Vision extension. Install this extension and you’ll get access to a wealth of information, such as your videos’ average view percentage, their view rate (views per hour), the number of subscribers driven by your certain video and a lot more.

  • TubeBuddy. TubeBuddy is another browser extension that helps you easily run your YouTube channel.

A4 (Cont.) VIDIQ for search volume and competition. TubeBuddy for, well, it's a swiss army knife, #semrushchat

— AustraliaWOW! (@australiawow) November 30, 2016

  • Google Analytics and Google AdWords. By connecting your YouTube channel to your Google Analytics account, you’ll be able to keep track of your subscribers over time as well as your video engagement, including watch times, average view duration and more. Linking your YouTube channel to your AdWords account allows you to promote your video and access AdWords reporting.

A4: People who don't link their Google Analytics and AdWords accounts to their YouTube channel are missing a trick. #semrushchat

— Shawn Harding (@shawnbandv) November 30, 2016

  • Tools for keyword research and analysis. When it comes to YouTube SEO, you need to discover the right keywords to include in your video’s title and description. Our chat participants recommended using Answerthepublic, Keyword Tool for YouTube, and SEMrush.

A4: using @answerthepublic helps find long-tail phrases to include in your video transcript #semrushchat

— Ryan Anderson (@officialryguy) November 30, 2016

A4: Keyword Tool can be helpful for discovering the right keywords for your SEO strategy: #semrushchat

— Miles Technologies (@milestech) November 30, 2016

Also, Annaliese Henwood ‏suggested investing in tools that will help you create high-quality videos, such as lighting and sound equipment.

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Are you using any tools to optimize your YouTube videos? Please share them in the comments.

Q5. In terms of SEO, is it better to post your videos on YouTube or self-host them, and why?

We’ve already discussed embedded videos. Now let’s figure out the difference between hosting videos on YouTube and hosting them on your own website and server when it comes to video SEO.

Our special guest pointed out that YouTube provides you with various tools and increases your potential for free traffic.

A5 honestly? Tools YT gives and free traffic Vs self-hosted, for the 99% I'd say ditch self-hosted. Controversial but practical #semrushchat

— AustraliaWOW! (@australiawow) November 30, 2016

Michael Ramsey reminded us that YouTube is the second largest search engine. That means that when you host your video on YouTube, more people who otherwise wouldn’t have known your website exists can find it.

But he also believes that self-hosting provides some niche benefits. What’s more, there are some great tools to help you make the most out of your on-site video, like Wistia.

A5: The main concern is that @YouTube is the 2nd biggest search engine. Self hosting has very niche benefits but misses traffic #semrushchat

— Michael Ramsey (@Moketronics) November 30, 2016

Reva Minkoff prefers hosting her videos on YouTube, because of the various benefits that the platform provides, including organic traffic and linking.

A5. I prefer hosting on Youtube for all the benefits, esp in terms of organic traffic and linking, that Youtube can bring. #semrushchat

— Reva Minkoff (@revaminkoff) November 30, 2016

Some of our chat participants think that your choice between these two options will on what you need. Andy Drinkwater pointed out that hosting videos on YouTube and embedding them on your website and slows down your page’s load time.

A5: It depends on the implementation and what you need. YouTube hosted can reduce load times as it isnt loaded from your server #semrushchat

— Andy Drinkwater (@iqseo) November 30, 2016

Tara M. Clapper said that in addition to her videos she even uploads her podcasts to YouTube, because she gets more engagement on it than on SoundCloud, Podbean and other audio distribution platforms.

A5A: I even put my podcasts on YouTube. I find more engagement than on SoundCloud, Podbean, etc. Plus it's easier to use. #semrushchat

— Tara M. Clapper (@irishtara) November 30, 2016

Check out a few other points in the following recap.

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As you can see, most of our chat participants prefer YouTube videos, because YouTube has a huge audience and many features to optimize for SEO.

Q6. What is the best tip you would give to beginners for beginning their YouTube SEO efforts?

At the end of our discussion. we asked our chat guests to share their best tip for newcomers to YouTube video SEO.

  • Be consistent

You need to keep your channel updated in order to interest viewers and encourage them to come back. Stick to a regular schedule and upload videos consistently, provided that they’re quality videos. Nathan Hague recommended paying attention to the quality of your audio: “Get the best microphone you can. People forgive crappy video, but they’ll click away because of bad sound.”

A6 1/1,000,000,000: Be consistent. #semrushchat

— AustraliaWOW! (@australiawow) November 30, 2016

  • Treat every video like a blog post

Nathan Hague strongly encourages YouTube video marketers to treat all their videos with the same reverence they would give to their blog posts. You would never think of creating a new post without optimizing it. When it comes to video SEO, there’s no difference. You need to pay attention to every detail of your video, such as its title, description, tags, thumbnails, etc.

A6 2/6 Treat EVERY video like it’s a video equivalent of a blog post (meta, thumbnails, description, hyper links etc) #semrushchat

— AustraliaWOW! (@australiawow) November 30, 2016

  • Do research

Some of our chat participants recommended doing research before developing your video SEO campaign. Andy Drinkwater suggested seeing what industry winners are doing in order to get inspiration and emulate some of their successful techniques and strategies.

A6: Research: See what the industry winners are doing and emulate some of their successful campaigns #semrushchat

— Andy Drinkwater (@iqseo) November 30, 2016

  • Understand your audience

As with other types of content, when creating a video, you must understand what your specific audience wants to see. Knowing your viewers and their behaviors will help you craft your videos and build an audience of devoted fans. Nathan Hague advised checking your audience analytics for retention, and your viewers’ age, sex, location and which device they’re using.

Don’t forget to ask your viewers to like and share your videos on social networks.

A6) Understand your audience and provide content they'll engage with #genericenoughforyou 🙂 #semrushchat

— David Rosam (@davidrosam) November 30, 2016

  • Make every effort to create great content

The more you put into your video content, the more you can get out of it. No matter how your video is optimized, if it’s low-quality and boring, it won’t rank and, as a result, won’t help you reach your business goals. You need to provide your audience with the best viewing experience possible.

A6: First and foremost, make great content. Everything else has to follow from there. #semrushchat (bit of a cop out answer tho :P)

— Michael Ramsey (@Moketronics) November 30, 2016

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YouTube is a powerful platform that can drive loads of traffic to your website. Hopefully, the tips from this post will help you fine-tune your video marketing campaign.

Many thanks to our special guest and our other chat participants for sharing their great insights into YouTube SEO!

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