YouTube SEO: How To Optimize Your Videos To Rank Higher In Both YouTube And Google (Based Off YouTube’s Search Ranking Factors)

I’m no YouTube sensation, but I’ve gotten 50,000+ views on many of my videos. I contribute this to YouTube video SEO.

Of course you should use the keyword in the video title, description, file name, and upload a nice custom thumbnail, but YouTube also relies heavily on engagement signals to rank videos. That’s why aiming for 10+ minutes, writing a script, and promoting your video is so important.

It’s also why I like creating videos in conjunction with my website content (embedding the video on my blog gives it more views, watch time, likes, etc). The video also improves my blog content and helps attract links, shares, and people spend more time on my site. It’s a win-win.

Here’s what to do.

 

1. YouTube Ranking Factors

youtube-video-seo-ranking-factors-infographic

 

2. Choose A Video Keyword In Autocomplete

The best video keywords are specific (long-tail) phrases that show up in both YouTube and Google Autocomplete. This way you can rank your video in both places and get more traffic. Start typing a keyword into YouTube and it will complete the phrase, or use the underline character _ to have it fill in the blank with more ideas. You can do this anywhere in the phrase.

Choose Specific Phrases – targeting broad keywords can you get more views, but are much more competitive than specific phrases. Whether you should target broad or specific phrases depends on the keyword’s competition, video quality, and how well you optimize your video.

YouTube-Keywords

Video-Keyword-Research

Google Trends is another place to find video keywords:

YouTube Keywords – Google Trends

 

3. Learn The Keyword’s Competition

MozBar Chrome Extension – install the extension on Google Chrome. Now Google your keyword while searching YouTube, like this: site:www.youtube.com your search term. If top results have a higher PA (page authority), the keyword is more competitive. Broad keywords are naturally more competitive and require you to make a better video, so choose a specific phrase from YouTube/Google Autocomplete and create a better video than the top results.

Video-Keyword-Competition

vidIQ Chrome Extension – install this Google extension, search your keyword in YouTube, and check out a few videos in the top results. You will see an SEO score based on how many likes, dislikes, views, comments, social shares, subscribers, view times, video engagement, and other metrics about the video. You can also see what tags are used and the video description length.

YouTube-Video-Competition

You can see most signals without the extension:

YouTube-SEO-Competition

 

4. Create Your Video

SayYour Keyword – verbally saying your keyword a few times is like keyword density for videos. Say it naturally, don’t just say it to say it. Including partial matches is also good.

Length Is Strength – this applies to both videos and content on your site. Longer videos rank high because people can find everything they’re looking for, especially tutorials and reviews. People will spend more time watching your video and you will probably get more engagement. There is no perfect length, but try to make videos at least 10 minutes, you’ll see better results.

HD Quality – you can use your phone, but a nice HD video camera makes a big difference. If you’re recording your computer make sure you check the settings for optimal video + audio.

Get To The Point – edit out ALL unnecessary pauses (I use Screencast-O-Matic) and be concise. I am super picky about this and noticed a huge difference in my video’s engagement.

Make Yours Betters – better than whoever’s in the top results, that’s what SEO’s all about.

Cardscards are the little i (information) button. These can link to related videos, an associated website, polls, donations, or another YouTube channel. They are mobile-friendly (unlike YouTube’s outdated annotations) and you can add them in YouTube’s video manager.

YouTube-Cards-Related-Video

YouTube-Suggested-Video-Cards

YouTube-Cards

 

5. Use The Keyword In The File Name

Before uploading your video, label the video file as your keyword. If you already uploaded the video, there is unfortunately no way to change this (however, it’s only a small ranking factor).

YouTube-Video-Filename

 

6. Write A Descriptive, Keyword-Rich Title

A good title has 2 things: your keyword, and an enticing headline. Google typically displays the first 50–60 characters, so try to stay within that range. You don’t ALWAYS have to use an exact match of your keyword, but each individual word should at least be present in the video title.

Youtube-Video-Title

 

7. Write a Long Description With Keywords, Timestamps, Links

Long descriptions are great for YouTube video SEO and give you a place to add timestamps, useful links, and an overall summary. Text is super important for ranking any type of content.

Youtube-Video-Description

Include Keyword In The First Sentence – both YouTube and Google use the first 160 characters as the meta description which appears in search results. Craft this sentence (or two) wisely since people will read this to determine whether they will click on your video. A rule of thumb is to naturally use your keyword about 2-3 total times in your video description.

Youtube-Meta-Description

Youtube-SEO-Meta-Description

Timestamps – lets viewers jump to sections of the video so they can find what they’re looking for, which also improves engagement with your video. This is especially helpful for long videos.

Examples

  • :21 (21 seconds)
  • 1:21 (1 minute and twenty one seconds)
  • 1:30:21 (1 hour, 30 minutes and 21 seconds)

Links – Google follows links to determine the relevancy of a video (similar to internal links on your website). Add a few helpful links to your other videos, blog articles, or helpful resources.

 

8. Add Tags (Conservatively)

Don’t fuss over this, just add a few…

Youtube Tags

 

9. Design A Nice Custom Thumbnail

Upload a custom thumbnail in the video manager under Info & Settings (you will need to verify your account first). Dimensions should be 1280(w) x 720(h) pixels. This will appear in search results and the “related searches” section in YouTube. Try writing something in BIG LETTERS.

Youtube-Custom-Thumbnail

 

10. Upload A Transcript

Google doesn’t go a good job in transcribing videos into text (look at how sloppy it is in the photo). You will need to transcribe it manually, otherwise the keywords you mention in your video will go to waste. You can also outsource this to a freelancer for cheap on upwork.com.

Youtube-Subtitles

Youtube-Video-Transcript

Youtube-Video-Transcriber

 

11. Add A Location (Local SEO)

If your video includes a localized keyword like “Chicago Wedding Photographer” or you just want to target a location, you can specify this in the video manager under Advanced Settings. Just remember to also include the localized keyword in your title, description, file name, etc.

Youtbe Video Location

 

12. Create A Blog Post Targeting The Same Keyword

Video-Blog-Post

Why You Should Do It

  • Both the video + blog post can rank on the 1st page of Google
  • Traffic to your blog post = views for your video, and vice versa
  • You already created the video so the post should be relatively easy
  • Adding videos to your website/blog improves it’s engagement + SEO
  • Gives you more views, likes, embeds, and metrics used in YouTube ranking factors

 

13. Tips On Embedding Videos

Tweaking The Iframe

Option 1: Copy the YouTube link and paste it to your content (WordPress will do the rest).

Option 2: Go to the YouTube video you want to embed, then copy and paste the embed code into your HTML. This method allows you to specify the video’s width and height:

Embed a YouTube Video

Option 3: Open a video when you click a link using the WP Video Lightbox Plugin.

Hide YouTube Video Title

<iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ymdkFIHsTBA?showinfo=0" width="680" height="380" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe>

Hide YouTube Video Controls


<iframe width="680" height="380" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ymdkFIHsTBA?showinfo=0&controls=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
 

14. Respond To Comments

What makes videos rank higher? Comments. What gets more comments? Responses!

YouTube Comments

 

15. Promote Your YouTube Video

You need to promote your video – views don’t just come by themselves. Embed it on your website/blog. Share it on social media and use it in your newsletter and marketing materials.

 

16. Design Your Channel

YouTube Channel Banner

Create a Bannercanvas.com makes this easy. Image should be 2560(w) x 1440(h) pixels.

Channel Homepage – upload logo, fill in about section, add a featured video. Not that hard.

Playlists – if you’re creating a video series, consider creating an extensive video playlist.

 

17. Results = 1st Page In YouTube And Google

That video is pretty old, but my blog (or video) is still on page 1 of YouTube and Google.

Youtube-Video-SEO

YouTube-Video-SEO

 

18. Equipment I Use

And that’s how you rank YouTube videos higher in both YouTube and Google! I’m a 1-man show so 100,000 views between my videos is a good amount for me. Surely if you have a small business and people to help with this, you can do it too. If you have questions, leave me a comment and I’ll be glad to help you out. And if you found this helpful, please give it a share.

See Also: How I’m Making $150,000/Year With Affiliate Marketing

 

Frequently Asked Questions

🍎 What are 5 top factors of YouTube SEO?

Finding keywords (in YouTube Autocomplete) and analyzing the keyword's competition are 2 important factors and will help you learn whether you will even be able to rank for a specific keyword. Next, use that keyword in the title, description, and create in-depth videos to improve engagement are 3 other factors. A catchy title and thumbnail helps.

🍎 How do I learn the competition of a video keyword?

Search the keyword in YouTube and look at the top results to see how many engagement signals the top videos have. The VidIQ Chrome Extension is also a great tool to learn the competition of video keywords.

🍎 Where do I find keywords for YouTube videos?

YouTube autocomplete is a great place to find video keywords. Try using the fill-in-the-blank trick (shown in this guide) to find even more keyword ideas.

🍎 Where do I use my keyword?

Use your keyword in the file name (before uploading the video), the title, and a couple times in the video description.

🍎 How important is engagement with the video?

YouTube relies heavily on engagement signals to determine how useful a video is and how high it should rank. That's why likes, comments, views, watch time, and shares are key.

Cheers,
Tom

9 Easy Ways To Make Your WordPress Site SEO-Friendly

Make Your WordPress Site SEO-Friendly

Want some quick and easy tips to make your WordPress site SEO-friendly?

I’ll show you how to do this using different tools/strategies including Yoast’s WordPress SEO Plugin, Google Webmaster Tools, and keyword optimization. There is more to SEO than 9 items (there’s over 200 factors in Google) but my tips will get you on the right track – and I’m sure you will learn something new especially with the resources I mention in this guide.

Here’s what to do…

 

1. Get Your SEO Foundation Down

Domain – having keywords in the domain helps SEO, but according to Matt Cutts it’s better to choose something brandable. More people will remember your site, trust it, link to it, etc.

Hosting – site speed, uptimes, and security all affect SEO – and hosting is the best place to start. I use SiteGround’s semi-dedicated GoGeek plan ($14.95/month) but they also have other shared hosting for as low as $6.99/month as well as Cloud hosting for $54/month. You don’t want hosting issues affecting your SEO because trust me, it can. Choose a good host!

Theme – some WordPress themes are more SEO-friendly than others, since your theme affects site speed, security, support for rich snippets and other SEO factors. Here’s my list of 25 themes which are SEO-friendly and built in the Genesis Framework (Genesis is SEO-friendly in itself and recommended by the Founder of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg.

 

2. Leverage The Yoast WordPress SEO Plugin

Yoast is the most robust SEO Plugin, but it must be setup and utilized properly if you want the best results for your WordPress SEO. To do this, I broke Yoast down into 3 steps:

Configuring The Settings – see my tutorial which includes a zip file of the Yoast settings I use (you can upload it directly to your WordPress site). There are some fields you will need to change in the Yoast settings for YOUR website – which I’ve listed in that tutorial.

Researching Keywords – see the video…

 

Optimizing Content For Keywords – see the video…

 

3. Use Yoast’s Other WordPress SEO Plugins

 

4. Organize Your Permalinks

Structuring your permalinks around your different product/service/location keywords is part of “site structure” and making your site user-friendly. Below are some common examples of ways to do this, which you would do in WordPress using parent pages.

Common Permalink Structures

To do this, create the parent page (eg. /services) then create the other page (eg. /web-design). When editing the web design page you will see an option on the right of your dashboard to set the parent page which in this case would be “services” (photo below). This will make the web design page’s permalink read: website.com/services/web-design/

WordPress Parent Pages

 

5. Make Your WordPress Site Load Faster

 

6. Interlink Related Content

In step #2 I talked about configuring the Yoast settings. I already wrote an extensive article on how to do that, so I simply linked to that article. This helps you, my readers, find additional information about Yoast. At the same time it creates a link to that article which improve it’s SEO. Interlinking pages/posts like this is the easiest way to build natural links!

 

7. Create Videos

Videos improve engagement, reduce bounce rates, increase conversions, and the videos themselves can even appear in search results (photo below). You can also use Yoast’s Video SEO Plugin to better optimize your videos. Just make sure you follow the same basic SEO strategies as you do your pages/posts (research a keyword, then use it in the file name before you upload it, video tile, description, then promote it to get views/likes/comments.

Video Search Results

 

8. Check For Google Webmaster Tools Errors

Fixing mobile issues, security issues, bad meta descriptions, and other errors will improve SEO. Once you’ve verified Google Webmaster with Yoast, go through my list…

HTML Improvements
Find this in your Google Webmaster Tools account under search appearance –> HTML Improvements. This tells you which SEO titles and meta descriptions are too long, short, are missing, or where it’s a duplicates. Click the links in GWT to go to each page and fix it.

HTML Improvements - Google Webmaster Tools

 

Mobile Issues
Find under search traffic –> mobile usability (or check here).

Mobile Issues - Google Webmaster Tools

 

Security Issues
Find under security issues (a main tab on the left).

Google Webmaster Tools Security

 

9. Yes, Content Is Still King

You know content is king, but what have you done about it? Other than checking for typos and making sure your copy reads well, what else can you do?

Well I’ll tell you – you should spruce it up! Use videos, columns, add an HTML table of contents, embed Twitter statuses and make your content shine! I wrote a nice list on how to spruce up your WordPress content which includes 21 ideas – it’s worth checking out.

TinyMCE-Spellcheck

That’s all I got for now! I have tons of resources on my sidebar widgets/footer if you want more tips on making your WordPress site SEO-friendly. Other than that, please share this article if you found it helpful! Or drop me a line if you need help with anything SEO-related.

Cheers,

Tom Signature