Are you looking to rank your video at the top of YouTube search results for your niche? It can be tricky to earn your place on the coveted top spots of YouTube searches, and oh so easy to post a video that never makes it over a few thousand views. Whether you run an online store, or you’re an aspiring vlogger — here’s how to rank and promote your videos. Your website and video content will never get left behind again.
Check out our previous post on how a writer successfully ranked a defense lawyer’s videos on YouTube – a very tricky niche to conquer.
The importance of keyword placement and great titles
Since YouTube’s acquisition by Google in 2006, it has become more important than ever to perfect your keywords and titles to ensure that your video content ranks well. Here are the main ways that you can research keywords to get a real sense of what search terms people are using:
Google Adwords and Keywordtool.io: These sites are fantastic, with the latter being completely free, and not requiring a sign-up. You can check the search volume of search queries for given keywords or phrases with both of these tools. Google Adwords has the advantage of allowing you to search for multiple keywords in one go, while Keyword Tool displays search questions as well as phrases (ideal if you’re trying to rank a guide or tutorial video). Using them together will provide you with all the information you need
Autocomplete and related searches: You can simply start typing your keyword into Google or YouTube and see how it autocompletes. Alternatively, you can scroll to the bottom of the SERP for alternative queries. For example, it looks like people searching for web design in San Francisco are often looking for services specifically in the bay area
Once you have figured out what keywords you need to rank for, you need to put these keywords where they matter: directly at the beginning of the video’s title. Much like when you do on-page SEO, the title is one of the first places Google looks to determine what your content is about. Note how this yoga instructor has placed ‘Morning Yoga for Weight Loss’ right at the start of her video title. It’s very clear to YouTube that this video is about yoga, and this video has received over five million views due to its high ranking.
The user experience: your viewers are not robots
The two factors that you should be concerned with for your video’s SEO are its metadata and user engagement. While video SEO includes titles, tags, descriptions and thumbnails, a significant part of YouTube’s ranking system is often overlooked.
Viewer engagement plays a large role in determining how your video ranks. I used to find that even after fine-tuning my video’s title and affixing it with the perfect keyword tags, my videos just didn’t rank.
This happened because I followed the crowd and optimized my video content’s metadata, but ignored the user experience. YouTube, like Google, ranks according to how viewers value the content. So if your video is of a high quality (and isn’t a click-bait attempt to get views), you will be rewarded.
Although the algorithms that Google and YouTube use are well-kept secrets, there are certain metrics that are known to drastically impact your video’s ranking.
This metric measures the total amount of time spent watching a video. Using a successful video of mine as an example, it was ten minutes long and 85% of it was watched – that’s an average of eight and a half minutes of average watch time.
Here are some structural tips to ensure that your viewers stay tuned in to your videos:
Grip your audience in the first 15 seconds. If you don’t, they will likely click on something more relevant or interesting. You need to really impress them
At the start of the video, whether you add text to the video or include a voice over, restate the title of the video and tell your viewers why they should keep watching
Is your video advertising a product, or is it a tutorial? Start the video with a 360 degree view of the finished product
With these tips to make your content valuable to your viewer, you will seriously improve your video’s ranking.
Session watch time
Session watch time measures how a video contributes to a total viewing session. For example, when a viewer watches your video, they can either move away from YouTube (and go elsewhere, like your website), or they can go on to watch other related videos as a result of watching yours.
Believe it or not, encouraging viewers to watch another relevant video on your channel, rather than clicking straight through to your website, boosts your SEO on YouTube. YouTube’s objective is to maximize the time people spend on their platform, generating more money from adverts. Therefore, videos that assist them with this goal are favored.
So, how can you do this? I start by creating a relevant playlist of videos that viewers can select from my channel. If the videos are linked on a playlist, they will automatically play, creating a seamless experience. You should avoid unnecessary links to your website unless it makes sense for you to do so – placing a link at the end of a video and in the video description is a good way to go. This will avoid damaging your SEO while still allowing viewers to access your site.
How to embed your video to maximize engagement
You’ve uploaded the perfect piece of video content and you’ve optimized it for YouTube search results. Now it’s time to embed your video, in order to maximize its engagement levels. I like to embed my video content directly onto my website, to make sure it’s noticed as soon as someone lands on a relevant page.
Theory 11 is an exciting up-and-coming ecommerce store that specializes in playing cards. This brand has used the Shopify shop creator to its full potential – video content is employed across the site, and particularly in the media section, to showcase the beautiful cards in action. This gives Theory 11 the perfect place to embed videos, such as card artist Blake Vogt’s performance on America’s Got Talent (above). Here’s a detailed guide on how to embed videos on your Shopify shop front. If you are blogging on WordPress, check out this tutorial on how to embed a video in your post.
Don’t forget: videos are an important part of Google’s ranking system. Having promotional videos on your site gives you that extra boost in SERPs. Research has shown that Google favors sites with video content, ideally hosted on YouTube (as a Google owned company).
If you want to chase video embeds on external sites (and you should), you need to reach out to sites with concise outreach emails and a promise of an accompanying write-up. You don’t need to send over your video with a huge novel or anything — best to keep the write-up short and sweet and guide people towards the video content. Site owners will have their own editorial styles and rules — remember to play nice!
With these tips, your video content will be off to a flying start on YouTube SERPs. On top of this, your high-ranking video content will assist the ranking of your whole website.
Which of these tips have helped you with your video SEO? Let us know in the comments.
Patrick Foster – entrepreneur and coach
I’m a business veteran with a penchant for writing, and sharing my views and knowledge with the world. You can find me over at Ecommerce Tips, my digital home.