You’re producing and publishing content on YouTube... Fantastic!
Now, here are nine steps to continue to optimize your reach. I’ve been a master of SEO for years and in this post I’m going to give you a full course on YouTube SEO.
I do these steps on every single video I post and have grown my channel from 0 - over 25,000 subscribers in one years time. See the results here.
When publishing content, we always have to begin our content and marketing by thinking about the platform we are publishing to. Since we’re focusing on YouTube SEO, let’s take a quick look at YouTube.
YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. It’s second only to Google and owned by the same parent company as Google, so it operates in a very similar way.
To make money.
How do they do that?
Showing advertisements while people watch videos and through YouTube Red subscriptions.
YouTube wants more videos to be watched for longer amounts of time and they do this by helping its users find very relevant and helpful information.
When it helps its users best, it is then able to have more advertisements shown and earn more income. They want to deliver the absolute best, the most relevant, the most engaging content in order to ensure that there are a large number of minutes and videos watched, and by extension, a large number of advertisements shown. So, as you’re creating your content, keep that in mind.
YouTube is monitoring ALL your statistics...
Who’s videos are being clicked on more than most?
Are the videos delivering what the titles and descriptions say they are giving?
How many and how long are the viewers watching each video?
What percentage of time do the videos not get watched in their entirety?
Which videos get watched longer than 7 minutes?
Positive engagement versus negative engagement (thumbs up versus thumbs down).
How many comments are the videos receiving?
If your published video on Fast RC Cars hits all of their monitored statistics better than the other Fast RC Cars videos. You will rank higher!
Those, in a nutshell, are foundational to winning the YouTube SEO optimization game. Remember that it’s all about relevance and engagement.
Here is my podcast on YouTube SEO if you want to learn all the tricks to YouTube search engine optimization while on the go, listen here:
“To Win At The SEO Game, It’s All About Relevance and Engagement”
What is the SEO part?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is essentially what gets you to the top of the list when someone searches for something that you’re offering. If you take these steps I’m giving you, then you will begin to see your videos rise to the top of YouTube’s search results.
YouTube SEO Step 1
What Is Your Video Going To Be About?
Is your video going to be about YouTube SEO, Fast RC Cars, The Best Drones, Vegan Cat Food?
What is the theme, topic, lesson, story, book review, restaurant, project that you are going to make a video about? To rank the best you need ONE main topic. You can go on rabbit trails in your video, the video can take a left turn etc.
But you need to target ONE main theme. The theme for our example is YouTube SEO.
Step 2 Keyword Research On Your Topic
When I was making the video on YouTube Seo, keyword research is where I started. It is where you always start. You have to do this right after you determine what your video is going to be about. You do not want to make the video before you research keywords.
I pull up kwfinder (there are other tools but this is the only one I continue to use) and put in YouTube SEO and see that it is searched 5,400 times a month. It gives me suggestions, seo youtube 3,641x a month, youtube search 33,100x a month, video seo 2,296x a month, etc.
I have put together a video that walks you through this process here.
I then sort these by search volume. There might be a term that is not on my radar that is searched more often. SEO is searched 550,000 times a month, search engines 301,000, sem 201,000 etc. But I do not want to use these. I figure this out by clicking on the search word and checking the right side of the KWFinder screen.
This is a SERP, or ‘Search Engine Results Page’ which is what displays on Google’s search page after you make a query.
Most of the time the tool works this with great accuracy. I click on a few of the results for SEO and see that their content is about defining SEO and growing SEO for website traffic. No results are about YouTube SEO.
I could target this search term but YouTube may punish me if my minutes viewed after search population would not be excellent, let alone satisfactory. Like bounce rates on websites for google, minutes viewed on YouTube tells YouTube if the content is relevant to the user. Helping people find the information they want fast is YouTube’s goal, in one word, relevancy.
Last step in keyword research is writing down 5-20 relevant additional keywords and keyphrases. We will use these in our video content, our description, and our YouTube tags.
I’ve landed on YouTube SEO as my keyphrase and we’re onto the next step.
YouTube SEO Step 3
Record and Edit the Video
Make your video is as straight and to the point as possible.
Give the viewers what it is THEY are wanting. The question they are wanting an answer to is “How do I optimize YouTube SEO?” or “How do I use YouTube SEO to grow my reach?” If your video is on Fast RC Cars, don’t show them fast boats, show them really fast RC Cars.
When you record your video, get the keyword spoken within the first eight seconds! It is important to tell the viewer that you are going to answer their question in your video and you only have 8 seconds to capture the viewer’s interest before they click onto one of the other options that are surrounding your video.
Another benefit of this is that YouTube transcribes your videos and automatically places a closed caption layer behind your video.
In doing this, you confirm to YouTube that your content is relevant to the search word and search phrases you are going for.
Have I said that relevancy is a key to winning enough, yet?
Use your keyword as often as possible during the video. BUT, if I was making a video about chia seed recipes I don’t want to say, Here’s one of my favorite chia seed recipes that I pulled from my chia seed recipes folder to help others looking for chia seed recipes fill up their own arsenal of chia seed recipes.
Keep it natural, but use it as often as it can come up, naturally. Also, speak the top five to fifteen other key phrases that are highly relevant and incorporate them throughout your video. Again, YouTube is looking at and listening through the transcriptions and indexing EVERY word.
The more relevance you have to the greater varieties of keyword phrases, the more traffic you’re going to get! When you target a main keyword, you end up getting traffic for all sorts of other keywords and keyphrases. You will be implementing these other relevant keywords in the description and tags as well, so just get them into your video the best you can.
We’re still in the Record and Edit the Video step.
CREATE ENGAGING CONTENT! I will say this over and over, but what will set your videos apart and make you have massive reach compared to another person’s tiny reach is its relevance and engagement.
I can tell you everything I know about YouTube SEO to get your videos seen, but I can’t make your videos great. It takes effort, consistency, and a TON of patience! But if you follow these YouTube SEO steps I’m laying out and your videos are engaging, then you will see your reach grow.
Want to see how my YouTube channel grew in one year? Click here for the 1 year video marketing recap!
Don’t Upload Yet, Prepare For the Video Upload
Lots of little things here that when we put them together and do them every time, we will begin to outrank your competitors.
YouTube SEO Step 4
Rename Your Video File Your Keyword
After you record and edit your video, rename the file of your video to include the keyword phrase. For example, if you record your video on your phone, your phone will give it some default file name. Always rename it so that when you upload it on YouTube, the name of the file includes your keyword. Remember YouTube is reading everything. If you edit your videos save the edited video file as your keyword. Whatever the video file is that you upload as your youtube content, name that file your keyword BEFORE you upload it.
YouTube SEO Step 5
Create A Cover Image
Next, create a cover image that includes the keyword. Here’s an example. Miles Beckler YouTube SEO Cover Image
You want to use bright colors that call attention to your video's thumbnail and include a branding reference so people can 'recognize' your videos when they browse.
Since my channel and platform is a personal brand, I use my headshot (or a screenshot of my face from the actual video) in the title image so people can 'recognize me' when they see my videos in the search results.
This way, as I grow more subscribers and build more trust that my content is spot-on... And a past viewer searches for a topic I have a video on...
They will instantly see my face and think "Oh! Miles has a video on this... Great!" and they will choose my video over the others.
This is different if you have a brand that is not a personal brand, obviously, but the same idea applies.
Your thumbnail needs to be 1280 px wide x 720 px tall!
Also, name the cover image file your keyword phrase!
We’ve got the keyword in the video name file, we have a cover image with our keyword on it, and that cover image file is named our keyword. Now, onto the title and video description.
YouTube SEO Step 6
Create A Title For Our Video
You want your title to have the keyword phrase at the very beginning. Start with your keyword and then a phrase that will engage viewers and get them to click on your video. Remember one of the things YouTube is tracking is if your video is clicked more or less than the others above or below yours. For my YouTube SEO video it was our YouTube SEO - The Trick For Top YouTube Rankings & Traffic Revealed In One Video Optimization Class. If your title description is more engaging and gets more clicks, then YouTube will bump you above your competitors.
YouTube SEO Step 7
Our Videos Description
I personally like to write loooooooooooong descriptions of five hundred to one thousand words. Make the content unique. It doesn’t have to be neat and tidy, but it needs to be relevant to the topic because YouTube and Google both index it.
I do not make these eloquent blog posts. I just throw down a basic description of my video with the keywords and keyphrases scattered throughout. We’re not writing a college paper here.
That being said you do want to make the first sentence of your description captivating and include your keyword. Continue to use your top keyword throughout the description, but the other thing you want to do is go back to whichever keyword tool you’re using, as you did in the video, and take the different relevant keyword phrases that are similar and incorporate them.
Don’t just stack them on top of each other. That’s called keyword stuffing. That’s poor form.
Don’t do it.
Use real sentences like you’re speaking from a human to a human. You want to smoothly incorporate them into the description. Again, the more relevance you have to the greater varieties of keyword phrases, the more words you can rank for.
The last important thing I’ll mention for description content is to limit the number of outbound links. The last thing that YouTube wants the viewer to do is to click off the site.
YouTube wants them to stay on YouTube’s ecosystem and watch as many videos for as long as possible.
That’s how they make money, right?
So, if you have more YouTube links in your description than external links, They are going to favor your video. Link other relevant videos. If you get viewers to watch more and more videos, YouTube will reward you with more viewers, because you are in turn rewarding them with more time viewed by said visitors. Structure what you’re doing in a way that works better with them than the next person, and BOOM, you’ve got it!
Link other relevant videos. If you get viewers to watch more and more videos, YouTube will reward you with more viewers, because you are in turn rewarding them with more time viewed by said visitors. Structure what you’re doing in a way that works better with them than the next person, and BOOM, you’ve got it!
After you have your description ready to go, it’s time to add in tags.
YouTube SEO Step 8
At this point, you have the tags. You just need to put all those keyword phrases inside of the tags individually. One good practice is to go look at the videos that are currently ranking for your target tags.
You can use a plug in that runs inside of chrome at tubebuddy.com to search for tags that others are using.
You can also grab tags by loading someone’s video and right clicking on the screen and go to view source, then search control F for Finder (or command if you’re on a Mac) and then type “keywords” and you’ll see a list of keywords separated by commas in the code.
Only pick the tags that are doing really well and are hyper relevant to your post. Again, relevance and engagement are key!
YouTube SEO Step #9
Publish and Post Links To Your Video
Remember, all of the elements of steps 1-8 are helping YouTube determine what your video is actually about. YouTube SEO. Their first game is relevancy. Your file name says your keyword, your video content says your keyword, your description says your keywords and keyphrases, your tags say them, etc., etc., etc.
After you publish your video and video supporting elements, get signals in the web-o-sphere pointing back to your video. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Stumbleupon, Google plus, Reddit, etc.
A word of caution about Reddit though, DO NOT go spamming over there. You will be ousted by that community. Build a relationship, engage with the people, add to the conversation instead of trying to take over the conversation. Don’t be an insurance salesman at a party on Reddit.
Additionally, you do not have to do all of these platforms. You should work the platforms that you are currently using and spend more time creating YouTube content instead of time finding more followers on snapchat. The only exception is Twitter though. Google indexes tweets so when you tweet a link to your YouTube video google will see that very quickly and log that link. You are kind of scratching google’s back by bringing a twitter user over to a google platform.
Google indexes tweets so when you tweet a link to your YouTube video google will see that very quickly and log that link. You are kind of scratching google’s back by bringing a twitter user over to a google platform.
Show YouTube that you’re not just publishing and walking away, but you are trying to get the word out about your video. There’s also a tool called pingomatic.com that sends notices to search engines and a bunch of directories.
This is powerful because when you ping from it, that ping gets picked up by google and a bunch of other directories, and the word gets spread. You want to put your video title in, your video link in, leave the RSS feed blank and send the pings.
Don’t spend hours and hours on this link spreading. Get in, send them out, and get back to making content!
There you go, you have just gone through a full course on YouTube SEO.
I think you understand at this point that it's all about relevance and engagement. You have to do the keyword research first. You have to have topical based videos that are actually answering people's biggest questions. You have to create the content. You have to get your keyword in everywhere you can. Make sure it's made in one sense for the search engines, but that it's made for relevancy for your customer avatar.
So your first 20 seconds of the video really hooks them and grabs their attention. It gives them a big promise of what you're going to deliver in the video, then deliver on your promise in the video.
The work in these 9 steps take me an extra 20-30 minutes of time per video but the payoff is way worth it. I’m not the biggest and best YouTube star but I’ve had a “blow my mind” successful first year of doing it.
The goal is to build yourself into an authority channel. When you're an authority channel, you can go publish a new video on a specific keyword phrase, and you can hit the number one spot in an hour. I've seen it. I've had videos hit the number one spot on YouTube within literally 15 minutes. It's possible for you to do too.
It takes effort, work, and energy. Nobody said it was going to come effortlessly. And this is the work, this is being a strategic video marketer.
Miles is a full time internet marketer who sells information products and a niche membership program with his wife, Melanie. Together they have created a lifestyle business that allows them true location independence and this blog where you get to see behind the scenes and see how they have built their online business from scratch.