8 Video SEO Tricks to Get More Views on YouTube

traffic May 29, 2019

Want more video views? It'll take more than just producing and editing your video. In this guide, we’ll share 8 video SEO tricks to get more views on YouTube.

Video is now the preferred type of content by business owners and marketers alike– and for good reason.

Videos are capable of attracting and engaging audiences of virtually every demographic and niche. And with YouTube being the 2nd largest search engine, and owned by Google, creating videos is arguably the best way to get to the top of the search results.

But– you have to understand how to properly optimize your videos for search.

In this guide, we'll show you how to go about doing precisely that! We'll share detailed tips on what the different SEO elements of videos are, and how to capitalize on them to radically increase your video views. 

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1. Start with Video Keyword Research

The first thing you need to do to optimize any video for search engines is to perform keyword research.

Keywords are terms, phrases, or topics that describe your video content. They help you target a specific niche, rank in search engines, and learn more about your potential audience.

There are two types of keywords:

  • Head-Keywords: These are more general search terms. Using head-keywords can result in high search volumes, which means that you'll have to deal with much competition. For example, if you own a coffee shop, it is easy to use a head-keyword as "coffee," but it's going to be quite a challenge to compete with Starbucks. As a consequence, it's essential to use head-keywords as part of your long-tail keywords.
  • Long-Tail Keywords: Commonly, a user searching process involves a highly specific phrase to find precisely what they need. Long-Tail keywords are more specific search terms that are less competitive and target niche demographics. These have less competition as they are more specific and have a lower individual search volume. For example, instead of just "coffee" a long-tail keyword would be something like: "best organic coffee shop downtown."

The name “Long-Tail keywords” relates to the search demand curve. As you can see in the graph below, head-keywords compromise less than 30% of overall searches, while the remaining 70% involves long-tail keywords.

Now you may be thinking, that's cool and all, but why is all of this important?

Well, choosing the most effective keywords will make the difference between 20 video views and 20,000 video views. If you choose only one head-keyword for your video, you won't have much of a chance of ranking, and you'll get only a handful of video views. On the other hand, if you choose several long-tail keywords, you have a much higher chance of ranking, and a much better chance of getting tons of views.

But how do you know which keywords to choose?

You'll need to develop a keyword research strategy to find the most relevant search-terms and write the perfect title and description (up next).

Keyword searching tools allow you to respond rapidly to changes in market conditions, understand consumer motivations and produce content that people are actively seeking. Here's a list of keyword search tools that you can use to find great keywords for your videos:

  • Jaaxy
  • Ahrefs
  • Soovle
  • Google Search Console

After you’ve got a clear idea about your main keywords. You can enter Answer the Public which is a free online tool where you enter your head-keywords, and it will suggest long-tail keyword ideas.

2. Optimize Your Video Title and Description

Titles and descriptions play a crucial role when it comes to video ranking, as these help viewers find your videos in search results. Both elements have to be strategically well-written and include the right keywords (as we've seen in the previous section).

The title should be engaging, build interest and show a clear benefit for users. The headline should be created within 70 characters for it to be visible in the search results.

Also, the description field has a maximum of 5000 characters, divided into two sections: what viewers read before the "Show more" click and all the complete information. You should prioritize the first lines to describe your video and catch the user's attention.

If your goal is to generate traffic into other social media networks or your website, you can add the links at the end of your description.

Here are some easy-peasy tips for optimizing your video titles and descriptions:

  • Your title should be based on your keyword research strategy.
  • Each video should have its unique title and description.
  • Accurately and concisely describe your video in the first two lines to encourage viewers to click on the "show more" button.
  • Use the remaining description characters to add information about your channel and give access to your social network.

Here’s an example of an accurate video title and description:

3. Your Video Thumbnail– It'll Make or Break Your Video Views

Once your title is ready, it's time to work on your thumbnail as both elements work together to build anticipation, create a compelling story and attract users’ attention.

Expectations build up to the title and thumbnail. When viewers watch your video, you should be true to your theme and not misrepresent your content. If the thumbnail, title, and video don't relate, viewers will stop watching your content. 

Thumbnails are usually the first eye-catching element that helps users recognize the topic of your video and engage with your content, so make sure to develop an exciting composition. Keep in mind the use of imagery and bold text. 

If you already build-up a community, you can even ask their opinion about it. It's vital to think about the concept before you take the shots from your video and create the base image. The thumbnail design should include an image from your video and text. Here are some examples from YouTube Creators Academy:

4. Use the Power of Transcripts

The video transcription is the process of translating the video audio into text. This leads to an increase in your SEO results and user experience improvement. You can even use video transcripts to choose keywords for your title or description, as it helps to find a word-pattern recognizing relevant and descriptive words. On the other hand, search engines can't crawl video content, which means that the transcript allows text to be indexed, ranked, and as a result, become searchable for your audience. Boosting your content’s overall SEO performance.

Including your transcript to the description field allows users to access the exact information related to the video. Consider the character limit and the rest of the information you want to include in your description before doing so. What's more, you can even create an interactive transcript which highlights the words as they're spoken. As a result, users are able to read and hear the content at the same time. 

The easiest way to develop a transcript is through speech recognition software. So here are two video free-use transcription tools for you to start with: Express Scribe, OTranscribe.

5. Learn From This Essential Metric: Audience Retention

Audience Retention is the measurement of how much of a video someone watches. The goal is for users to maintain attention until the end. However, there's also a possibility that they watch some part, skip or even drop off. The drop off gives insight on why users stop watching and in which section. This useful analysis is what's going to make you take creative decisions for future videos.

There's an Absolute Audience Retention which shows a trendline showing how much people watch in real time. Here’s an example from YouTube Academy of the most common audience retention graphs:

6. Another Important Ranking Factor: Total Watched Time

The Total Watched Time refers to users’ time spent watching your video, and how much that specific content contributed to the overall watched time on your channel. This results in understanding users' level of satisfaction plus relevance and quality of the material.

The more engaging your video content is, the more time spent watching it. TWT is an essential ranking factor for YouTube as a high TWT means prioritizing your video on search rankings. YouTube also counts with a Watch Time Report which helps to evaluate your videos.

Some years ago, to support an affluent TWT, YouTube incorporated a feature called “video discovery features”, which are related and recommended videos based on your search history. This means that YouTube prioritizes the increase in the amount of time that viewers spend watching the videos over successfully attracting clicks.

This means less clicking, more watching.

7. Optimize Your Video Landing Pages

Video content like whiteboard animations, FAQ videos, and commercials should always be on the spotlight and optimized for sharing. If you're working on your landing page, keep in mind that video is one of its essential components. It should be easy to reach and watch over on your landing page, and also your social media networks.

As Google purchased YouTube, it is inevitable that video content affects your search engine rank. According to Moovly “you’re 53 times more likely to show up first on Google if you have a video embedded on your landing page or website”.

Eyeview Digital determines that “using video on landing pages can increase conversions by 80%.'' Video helps increase user’s length of time on your landing page as it's easier to process than written content.

An E-tailing Group study says that “57% of users said that watching videos gave them more confidence to purchase online”. Video marketing campaigns captivate users and help them experience content differently.

Make sure to add your video material and tweak your landing page’s look and feel. If you need any suggestions for improving your landing page performance, use the PageSpeed Insights from Google. You copy your website URL, and automatically it will provide improvement lab data.

8. Fix Your Channel Branding

It is relatively easy to create a YouTube channel. However, creating a channel that represents your brand’s identity is another thing entirely.

Your channel is like your brand’s storefront as it communicates what’s expected from your channel. It needs to showcase your individuality, personality, and creativity. Your unique message and branding characteristics are what separate you from your competitors and attract potential users. However, always remember that everything should be consistent with developing loyalty and trust among customers. There has to be no space for doubts or different interpretations.

There's one element that's going to help you create consistent channel branding, and that's the usage guidelines. Ensuring all messages, images or any other brand assets are consistent such as your channel Icon, Art, Description or Channel Trailer.

Your channel icon should be your logo or signature image.

Your channel art is a banner placed on top of your page, and it should show your channel's theme or video schedule. To ensure the right visibility on all devices the banner size should be 2560x1440 px.

The channel description is an overview for viewers to know what to expect from your channel. Make sure to describe your type of content, add your upload schedule and include contact info, website, and social network links.

At last, your channel trailer is a short video that represents your channel theme. It should show who you are, what viewers should expect and motivate them to subscribe

Make sure that your YouTube channel...

  • Makes the topic and theme of your channel perfectly clear at a glance.
  • Is simple and recognizable.
  • Includes relevant keywords, a good description, and social links.

Make sure your videos...

  • Include a branded bumper that refers to your branding identity.
  • Are uploaded in high-quality.

Once your channel is ready, consider committing to posting on a consistent basis. Channels that post frequently increase their SEO results, recommended views and performance.

Creating content on similar topics is also a key aspect of enhancing performance. Give thought to creating playlists which work as a content library. Each playlist should be a list of videos related to a specific category and can include videos from your channel or other channels.

In addition to playlists, consider organizing your channel by using the section feature. Using channel sections help viewers explore content according to a specific theme. Just make sure your most relevant parts are placed on top.

Once you've created and organized your channel, it's time to consider metrics. YouTube Analytics is your ally when it comes to your channel performance. Start by reviewing key statistics such as views, subscribers and watch time. This is invaluable information to help you continue to tweak and improve your video SEO over time.

Conclusion

There are many compelling reasons to use video when marketing your business online. Ask any animation company worth their salt and they’ll tell you the same thing:

Video content boosts conversations and sales, affects your SEO and ROI, and builds enormous trust among users.

Working on your SEO strategy helps you achieve all these goals by increasing your video views.

In a world with fierce competitors, you’re inevitably forced to be at the top of your game. The process of research and the creation of content is necessary for a market that changes continuously. Only the unique and creative will stand out, so keep yourself up-to-date and continually working on your strategy and content.


Victor Blasco is an audiovisual designer, video marketing expert, and founder/CEO of the explainer video company Yum Yum Videos. Besides running the business, he’s a lifelong student of Chinese philosophy and a passionate geek for all things sci-fi.

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