Look around you, people are either watching vlogs and video interviews or enjoying branded video content and live stream recordings. This goes to imply that video marketing is at its peak as people are engaging with video content more than ever before.
Talking about video marketing, one cannot help but mention YouTube, the platform synonymous with it. Being a video marketer, YouTube SEO needs to be at the top of your priority list.
You might be uploading stellar videos on a daily basis, but nothing matters if your videos don’t manage to get seen. After all, with 400 hours of video content being uploaded every minute, how do you ensure yours stands out and attracts viewers?
Don’t let your YouTube marketing efforts go waste. Here are eight effective ways to ensure your videos get ranked highly on YouTube and attract views.
1. Use relevant keywords
Be it Google or YouTube SEO, the first and foremost step is conducting keyword research. Start with making a list of potential keywords related to your video, it can be anything that people will use that can direct them to the video.
Next, use YouTube’s autocomplete feature to identify the popular keywords people use to search. You will be met with long-tail keyword suggestions here which prove to be a lot more accurate than the generic short-tail ones.
2. Optimize the title, description, and tags
When you are browsing videos, the first element that catches your eye is the video title, isn’t it? Not only should the video title be compelling and interesting, but it should also contain the target keyword/s. The same applies to the video description and tags that best attribute your video.
YouTube video descriptions are highly underrated. Marketers don’t realize that this space provides context and influences ranking too. While you have 5000 characters to play with, YouTube just displays the first 157 characters. So use this space wisely, infused with keywords and appropriate call-to-action words.
Another important SEO element is adding relevant tags which make your video easily discoverable.
3. Create engaging videos
Ultimately, people will watch your videos and will keep coming back for more if you upload fresh, engaging and informative content which happens to be an important ranking signal to YouTube’s algorithm.
The more compelling your videos are, the higher is the audience retention which automatically increases your chances of showing up under YouTube’s search suggestions.
In addition to the content, it is important to pay heed to the production quality too. For example, poorly lit and inaudible videos will certainly not entice viewers. So, invest efforts in enhancing the production quality of your video in order to drive views.
4. Encourage subscriptions
Managing a YouTube channel that barely has subscribers and viewers is as good as talking to a wall. Don’t stop at just uploading a video, make it work for you by reaching your target audience and encouraging them to engage with your channel and subscribe to it.
Building a strong subscriber base increases your chances of being ranked highly on YouTube because it goes to show that you have an engaged community which is a huge plus point.
Now, how do you get people to subscribe? Start with asking for it. Make it a practice to insert this call-to-action at the end of every video and include it in the video description. You must also encourage subscriptions outside of YouTube by adding a widget on your website or asking your followers to subscribe on your Facebook or Twitter pages.
5. Add compelling thumbnails
If you have been using YouTube’s auto-generated video still as the thumbnail, you need to stop being lazy and change your ways.
The thumbnail is the first visual reference your audiences get of your video which influences their decision to view it. So it needs to be compelling enough to grab their attention. Instead of settling for an auto-generated still, why not use customized thumbnails which are far more appealing?
It is a good idea to show the close-ups of human faces to strike emotional connect and the appropriate amount of text to make it click-worthy. You can also add your brand logo but make sure it doesn’t overshadow the thumbnail, given the restricted space.
6. Use the closed caption feature
You might have come across “CC” while watching videos on YouTube. CC stands for closed captions, an important YouTube SEO tool.
Closed Captions (CC) refers to the text overlay or transcription of the video. Using closed captions in videos makes it appeal to a wider audience and lets your viewers watch your video with ease irrespective of their surroundings. This leads to higher user engagement in the form of likes, comments, shares, and subscribers.
Discovery Digital Networks conducted a study and found an overall increase of 7.32 percentage in views for captioned videos.
While YouTube generates auto-captions, you rather add closed captions for search engines to accurately index. This impacts your SEO ranking.
7. Name files appropriately
It’s easy to overlook this step but the fact is that naming your video file appropriately is more important than you think. Instead of going ahead with “video_final.mp4” or “brand_filmFINAL.avi,” it is important to rename the video to include the keywords as it is an indicator to search engines about what your video file is about.
8. Be consistent
To improve your rankings and build an engaged community, you must be consistent with uploads. You need to be committed to churning out unique and relevant video content and stay at the top of your game because that is the only way you can improve engagement which in turn boosts search rankings.
Just like any other social media platform, maintain a content calendar for YouTube and ensure you reward your community with videos on a regular basis.
For more on getting videos to rank, also check out our guide on YouTube optimization. Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Marcus is the founder of Brew Interactive, an inbound digital marketing agency that specializes in marketing to the affluent audience through digital. He is also the author of the highly raved book, Social Payoff.
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