YouTube SEO - Step-by-Step Video SEO Guide
I'm Brian Dean, the founder of Backlinko, the place where marketers turn for higher rankings and more traffic, and in this video you're in for a treat because I'm going to show you my exact step-by-step gameplan for ranking videos in YouTube. Let's jump right in. Your first step is to find a video keyword for your video. This is really important, because when you optimize your video around a video keyword, which is a keyword that Google says 'this makes sense for us to show video results in Google', not only do you get traffic from within YouTube, but you get extra traffic from Google too. So, search volume is important, but you want to make sure that you're also optimizing around video keywords. And video keywords tend to be things like How-to keywords, like how to surf, how to make French toast, reviews of products and services, tutorials, and also once you've chosen your video keyword and you're starting to script out your video- so this is where you plan out what you're going to say, what you're going to cover, what you're going to include- just make sure that you plan out a long video, because in general, longer videos rank better in YouTube and in Google.
So, just to test this out, go to YouTube and put in any competitive keyword and you'll notice that most of the top 5 results are videos that are five minutes long and sometimes up to an hour, if they tend to be more tutorial-based keyword. So make sure that your video is at least five minutes when you make it.
So the next thing you want to do is make sure that your video is really high quality so that you can tap into these user-experience signals that YouTube pays _very_ close attention to. Because unlike Google, which can look at things like links, and authority, YouTube doesn't really have that ability, so they pay special close attention to user-experience signals, the most important of which is audience retention, which is how much of the video people watch. If people tend to watch a lot of your video, it sends a very, very strong message to YouTube that you have a good video. And the opposite is true, right? If someone goes to your video, watches 10 seconds and leaves, and that happens over and over again, it doesn't really matter how well optimized your video is for keywords, YouTube isn't going to show it in the search results or as a related video. Comments are also really important, right? Because that sends a message to YouTube that people are engaged with that video. They watched it and not only did they watch it, but they actually took time to comment. So whenever someone leaves a comment on your video, you want to reply to encourage more people to comment.
The next thing is Subscribes, which is a really important user-experience signal because when someone watches a video and they say 'Wow, that was so good I want to subscribe to this person's channel', that tells YouTube this was a great video.
Also, Shares have some influence on YouTube rankings, which is basically how many people share your video on social media from within YouTube. Also if people Favorite or add your video to a watch later list, again, it sends a message that this is an interesting video to that person, and if enough people do it, it tells YouTube that this is a quality video. And obviously Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down is self-explanatory, you want more Thumbs Up and less Thumbs Down. An easy way to get more Thumbs Up on every video that you publish is to add annotation to your video that asks them to "Like it." And you'd be surprised - I've found that this increases the Likes on my videos by up to ten times vs not having it. Because when most people [are] watching a video, they're not thinking 'Oh, I need to Like this.' A lot of people, it doesn�t even enter their mind. And when you have a little annotation that's maybe in the middle or towards the beginning of your video that just asks for a Like for maybe 20 seconds and the annotation goes away, you'll notice that you get a lot more Likes than if you just publish the video without that annotation. You can actually check most of the user-experience signals that I just covered in your YouTube Analytics. And one of the reasons that they show you this is so can see where you're at and try to improve upon them. You'll notice that as your analytics improve, your YouTube rankings will improve, and your Google rankings will improve for YouTube videos. So, once you've created a great long video optimized around a video keyword, it's time to get into the real on video SEO part of your YouTube SEO.
Your first step is to make sure that your file name contains your target keyword. And the reason I know this is important of is because a.) I've tested it, and also when you look at your video information, YouTube will show you the raw file that you uploaded. So it does keep track of the file name throughout the life of your video. And you don't want a keyword for anything like that, just make sure that your keyword is included once in your file name, and isn't just the file name. So you want to put something before or after your keyword like 'video' or 'YouTube' or something like that, to make sure that you show YouTube that you're not just trying to game the system. You also want to start your video title off with your target keyword. So you don't just want to put it _anywhere_ in your title. YouTube puts more emphasis on the beginning of your video title, so make sure that you either start the title off with your keyword, or put it towards the beginning.
Next, you want to write a really long description- this is a mistake I see a lot of people make. They write like a 10-word description, and remember, YouTube and Google they can't listen to your video, they can't watch your video, they use your title and description to determine what your video is all about. So the more information you give them, the better idea they have about what your video is about, and the higher they'll rank it for a bunch of different keywords.
Tags are also somewhat important, not as important as they used to be, you just want to include your target keyword once in a tag and also some related keywords. And another pro tip is to include a popular channel name as one of your tags. So if you search for some keywords in YouTube and in Google and you notice the same channel comes up over and over again, take that channel name and put it as a tag in your video, and that'll help you show up for more 'related videos.' So, you know, there's the related videos in the sidebar and also after you watch a video, they have a 'suggested video', and they pull this information from the description in your video and the tag and they try to find relevant results, so when your tag matches a popular channel, when people are watching a video on that channel, your video will show up as a suggested video in the sidebar and also after the video. So next is Channel Authority. So we just talked about all the stuff that you can do within one video, which is very important, but YouTube also looks at your channel as a whole and how it performs and how authoritative it is. And an easy way to get more authority on your channel is to get more subscribes, right?
That's the #1 measure of the authority of your channel. An easy way to do that is to create an attractive header, and just channel page in general. And this is a "Smart Passive Income" channel with Pat Flynn, and you can see how nice this is, right? If you landed on this channel, you wouldn't really hesitate to subscribe, would you? You'd say 'Wow, this is a lived-in channel, looks like a lots going on, looks very professional, I'm gonna subscribe to this channel.' So the more attractive your channel is- which is basically based on the header art mostly- the more Subscribes you'll get. You also want to put a call to action in videos. I've noticed this makes a massive difference. At the end of your video, just say 'Subscribe to my channel.' You don't have to really push them or say it a bunch of times, once is enough to significantly increase the number of people that subscribe to your channel after watching your video, which'll also help that video rank. You can also add a Subscribe annotation. I've tested this recently and this helps. So instead of just having- you know, you just -say- 'Subscribe to my channel', actually having a little graphic with the annotation so people can subscribe.
So there you have it - my exact step-by-step system for ranking videos in YouTube. If you learned something new from this video, make sure you to subscribe to my YouTube channel right now. And if you want exclusive marketing tips and case studies that I only share with subscribers, head over to Backlinko.com and hop on the newsletter.
See more here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nEO_O2B8Zw