The benefits of optimising your videos for search:


Increased appearances in universal results:

Universal search results have been increasingly dominating the search results over the past few years, taking over the position above the traditional organic search results. 

This might leave you a bit disheartened, but if you change your perspective you might be inclined to see this as a new opportunity to optimise a wide variety of content you might be missing out on. This can present new challenges, but that is something us digital marketers love about the industry! Continual new challenges and skills to be developed.

 

Increased appearances in the YouTube newsfeed & increased views on your videos:

Optimised videos can increase your appearances in the YouTube newsfeed which helps to improve your video views, engagement and brand awareness.

Increased view count also has a positive effect on your SEO rankings, making the chances of appearing for video in Universal results even higher.


More referral traffic from Youtube:

This one is a bit of a no brainer.

Appearances in universal results + videos optimised for views and sharing + encouragement and the means to visit your website from the Youtube video, leads to more eyes on your website and possibly more conversions.


Still not convinced? Look at these stats:

  • 96% of consumers find videos useful in making decisions to convert
  • Video results stand out
  • Obviously, universal results often appear at the top of the search (after the Google ads of course) (Source)
  • “62% of Google universal searches include video. (Source: Marketingland)”
  • “Video is 50 times more likely to get organic page ranks in Google than plain text results. (Source: Forrester Research) “
  • “Video search results have a 41% higher click-through than plain text results. (Source: aimClear)”
  • “You can double your search traffic by having a video thumbnail in your search result. (Source: IQ Visibility)”
  • “People stay two minutes longer on your site if you have video. (Source: Comscore)

I’m sure by now you are eager to learn how we reach this seemingly ultimate marketing strategy, so without any further ado, here we go:


How to optimise your videos in 4 key steps:

Please see below the best-practice process we use to optimise YouTube videos and how to find topics through keyword research. 

Step 1: Video Keyword Research

Step 2: Video Titles

Step 3: Video Descriptions

Step 4: YouTube Tags
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Step 1: Video Keyword Research

Video keyword research is an essential first step before choosing video topics. It’s always a good idea to get a feel for the competition and analyse what’s making them appear. By using keywords with a higher search volume your chances to receive more referral traffic and ultimately, conversions, is higher.


Below are five methods of doing keyword research:

1.1 Using YouTube Autocomplete

1.2 Competitor Research

1.3 Using your own YouTube Analytics

1.4 Using Adwords

1.5 Search in Google

1.1 Using YouTube Autocomplete, YouTube suggests keywords and variations based on popular keywords around the topic entered into the search bar which can be used to optimise your video titles and descriptions. 

Here is a snapshot of Autocomplete in action using the term: ‘How to”.

1.2 Look at competitor videos and the keywords they’ve used to reach the top of the search results. You can use the filtering system to see which videos have had the most views over a certain time period. 

1.2.1 The filter view can be found at the bottom of the search bar after typing in and then searching for your keyword:

1.3 Using your own Youtube Analytics you can also see what keywords people are using to find your videos which can be useful for optimising existing videos or potential future videos around the same topic.

1.3.1 To see the keywords people are using for a specific video you need to log into your YouTube account and go to ‘YouTube Studio’: 

1.3.2 Find the specific video in the ‘videos’ section in the left panel

1.3.3  Click on that video and go ‘Analytics’  in the left panel and then click on ‘Reach’  

1.3.4  Scroll down on that page to the section called ‘Traffic Source: YouTube search’ which displays on the right hand side and click on ‘see more’:

A list of keywords people have used to find the specific video will then appear and can be used for future keyword optimisation. 

1.3.4  To see a list of all keywords used to search for keywords from all your published videos, the process is similar: Log in to YouTube > click on your logo in the top right corner > Go to YouTube Studio > Click on ‘Analytics’ in the left corner > Click on ‘Reach’ > Scroll down to ‘Traffic Source’ > Click on ‘see more’ 

1.4 Using Adwords keyword planner, we also do research on high search volume keywords and variations relating to the main keyword.

1.5 Search for your video topics on Google. In general, Google uses video results for informational queries and keywords pertaining to the following:

  • How to
  • Reviews
  • Tutorials
  • Humour
  • Sports

An example of such a query and the results for this query is: “How to blog”

Quick Checklist Summary:

  1. Compile keyword research using YouTube Autocomplete
  2. Compile competitor keyword research
  3. Conduct your own YouTube Analytics keyword research (optional)
  4. Search for your keywords in Google (optional depending on topic) 
  5. Compile a list of keywords based on your research
  6. Using Adwords look at the search volume of chosen list of keywords
  7. Choose the best keywords based on your research and search volume

TIP: Keywords that are unique or niche and have low search volume are not always bad to use especially if the content does not exist yet. 

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Step 2: Video Titles and SEO Best-Practices

Below are three best-practices to follow when optimising your YouTube titles:

2.1 Best-Practice SEO Optimised Titles

2.2 Optimising for CTR (click-through-rate)

2.3 Titles and Thumbnails

2.1 Best-practice SEO Optimised Titles:

Your video title is the most important piece of metadata that helps tell YouTube what your video content is about. A good title is a summary of the content of your video that exactly explains to the users what they will be watching. 

In order to optimise your title for SEO you need to do the following: 

2.1.1 Include your keyword in the title

2.1.2 Ensure your keyword appears earlier in the title rather than later as YouTube puts more weight on terms that appear earlier.

2.2 Optimising for CTR (click-through-rate):

Optimising video titles for CTR is an important ranking factor, the more users that click on the result, the more YouTube knows that this video is important.

Here are tips to help improve CTR: 

2.2.1 Adding a number to your title has been a proven boost for CTR when applicable.

2.2.2 Use attention grabbing words or phrases to capture the audience’s attention.

2.2.3 Studies have shown that using emotion in titles gets more clicks and shares.

2.3 Titles and Thumbnails:

Titles and thumbnails need to work together to tell a story and entice the user to click through. Often titles appear on thumbnails duplicating the copy which could cause the user to not click through. 

Here are 4 YouTube thumbnail best-practices to follow: 

2.3.1 Include a shortened version of the title on the video thumbnail

2.3.2 Make sure the text on the thumbnail is large enough to read

2.3.3 Using contrasting colours will help make the text / image stand out

2.3.4 Always include your brand’s logo at the bottom of the thumbnail

Quick Checklist Summary:

  1. Does your title summarize the content of the video?
  2. Does your title contain your main keyword/s?
  3. Is your title optimised for CTR? (emotion, numbers, attention grabbing words)
  4. Does your thumbnail follow best-practices? (copy, text size, colour, logo)

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Step 3: Optimise Your Video Descriptions

YouTube uses a video description along with the title and tags to understand what content is in your video. If your description is optimised and includes keywords it can boost your video’s rankings.

Three best-practices to follow when optimising your YouTube descriptions:

3.1 Use a minimum of 100 – 150 words in your description

3.2 Use important keywords in the first 3 sentences

3.3 Improve CTR by adding benefits, links and call-to-actions to your description

3.1 Use a minimum of 100 – 150 words in your description:

Using longer descriptions helps YouTube understand what the video is about to help improve rankings. Descriptions are often underutilised but can be a space to give the user more information and improve CTR to the website and / or other social platforms or videos. 

Time-stamps help with audience retention and be used to help the user understand what content happens at which time, YouTube automatically links to the video to the time you add in your description, and also counts it as two views if the user clicks on the time listed in the description, an example below:

0:39 Why does the Myopia epidemic matter

1:05 What is Myopia (shortsightedness) 

3.2 Use important keywords in the first 3 sentences:

Like the title, YouTube puts more weight on the keywords that show up in the first 2 – 3 sentences, so it’s important to add those keywords and their variations in the beginning. YouTube also displays a snippet in the search results, so it’s important to optimise descriptions for CTR.

3.3 Improve CTR by adding benefits, links and call-to-actions to your description:

The description provides a space to showcase benefits, services, products, a story and to help improve visibility to other videos, social platforms and most importantly to your website.

Here are 5 YouTube description best-practices to follow: 

  1. Use original content in each of your video descriptions
  2. Repeat your targeted keywords 2 – 3 times in the description (no more than that)
  3. Keep the content conversation and / or highlight the main points (time-stamped) in the video
  4. Link suggested videos that relate to the topic
  5. Add links to other social platforms and to the website

Examples of optimised descriptions for top search results for the term ‘How to tie a tie’:

Quick Checklist Summary:

  1. Does your description have a compelling introduction? (2 – 3 sentences)
  2. Is the description detailed and informative? (100 – 150 words)
  3. Does your description contain relevant keywords? (2 – 3 times)
  4. Does your description have relevant links? (social, website, other videos)

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Step 4: YouTube Tags

Much like titles and descriptions, YouTube and Google uses tags to learn more about the content of your video. Following the correct tagging best-practices can help with ranking factors.

Three best-practices to follow when optimising and finding your YouTube tags:

4.1 Tag structuring

4.2 Types of tags to use

4.3 Tag research to find the best tags

4.1 Tag Structuring:

Like the title and description, YouTube puts more weight on the first 2 – 3 tags, so it’s essential to use your main keywords in a certain order:

For the video below:

4.1.1 Your 1st keyword is your main and most important keyword, example: How to

4.1.2 Your 2nd, 3rd and 4th keywords are also important, but secondary, example: tie a tie, windsor knot

4.2 Types of tags to use:

It’s important to use a variation of tags including specific keywords, variations of those keywords as well as broader terms. This will help give YouTube and Google more context about your video topic and content.

4.2.1 Best-practice tags for SEO are 2 – 3 words.

NB: Best-practice is to use 5 – 8 tags per videos and keywords that relate. Keyword stuffing your video with more than 10 tags can make it hard for YouTube and Google to know what your video is about.  

4.2 Tag research to find the best tags:

There are a few ways of finding relevant and popular tags for your videos:

4.2.1 Free tool that generates variations of tags for topics: TagsTube (free website tool)

4.2.2 YouTube Autocomplete: As mentioned in above in the keyword research section

4.2.3 Competitor research: Tags from popular videos that rank above your video

4.2.4 Your knowledge and imagination! 😀 

Quick Checklist Summary:

  1. Are your main keywords tagged in the correct order?
  2. Are you using a mix of short, long and broader keywords in your tags?

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A Complete Checklist Summary:

Below is a complete checklist summary on how to choose topics via keyword research and how to optimise your videos for search. Start by doing some quick wins for existing videos by answering ‘YES’ to all the questions in Step 1 to Step 3.

Keyword Research:

  1. Compile keyword research using YouTube Autocomplete
  2. Compile competitor keyword research
  3. Conduct your own YouTube Analytics keyword research (optional)
  4. Search for your keywords in Google (optional depending on topic) 
  5. Compile a list of keywords based on your research
  6. Using Adwords look at the search volume of chosen list of keywords
  7. Choose the best keywords based on your research and search volume

Step 1 Video Titles:

  1. Does your title summarize the content of the video?
  2. Does your title contain your main keyword/s?
  3. Is your title optimised for CTR? (emotion, numbers, attention grabbing words)
  4. Does your thumbnail follow best-practices? (copy, text size, colour, logo)

Step 2 Video Descriptions:

  1. Does your description have a compelling introduction? (2 – 3 sentences)
  2. Is the description detailed, informative and time-stamped? (100 – 150 words)
  3. Does your description contain relevant keywords? (2 – 3 times)
  4. Does your description have relevant links? (social, website, other videos)

Step 3 YouTube Tags:

  1. Are your main keywords tagged in the correct order?
  2. Are you using a mix of short, long and broader keywords in your tags?

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