Getting Maximum Exposure with Video SEO on YouTube


I’ll admit it – I avoided YouTube and video SEO for about as long as I could. This year it became overly apparent that I could no longer do so and I have to acknowledge YouTube and video for what it is – an SEO superpower.

Once I moved past my avoidance, I dug into video SEO and learned as much as I could about it. You know what I discovered? It’s a lot like regular SEO. Keyword research, quality content, usability, and engagement all matter and they matter a lot.

Before we dig into what matters with YouTube SEO, let’s review why I’ve changed my mind on YouTube.

Why Video SEO Matters

  • YouTube is the second largest search engine outside of Google
  • YouTube videos can appear in regular Google search results
  • YouTube has 1.3 billion users, which equals 1/3 of the entire internet
  • YouTube has 5 billion videos watched per day
  • Every minute more than 300 hours of video footage is uploaded to YouTube
  • More than half of YouTube users are on mobile

Don’t Forget Keyword Research

Before we jump into the data points, I’d like to remind readers that keyword selection matters just as much for YouTube videos as it does for regular pages or posts. You need to start by selecting a focused keyword phrase that is relevant to your content and your target market.

Once you have a keyword phrase in mind, you need to check search volumes just like you would with posts or pages. I love using KW Finder for this task.

Once you have a solid keyword phrase in mind, you need to make sure the keyword phrase can be easily used in video titles and descriptions. Sometimes you can pick a great phrase then realize it doesn’t work well in actual usage.

Before finalizing on your keyword phrase, I’d encourage you to check YouTube’s auto search to get a feel for applicable titles and phrases and consider how your keyword phrase might fit within YouTube.

YouTube Algorithm Data Points

Just like a regular search engine, YouTube has a specific set of data calculations it runs through to decide what videos will be displayed in search and what ranking they will have when listed.

The major data points in YouTube for video SEO include:

  • Freshness and frequency of channel – Post videos often so your channel is fresh and has new content for visitors.
  • Click through rates – Optimize titles to maximize click through rates from results pages.
  • Channel authority – Work on and off-site to build your authority on YouTube. The greater authority you have, the great change you have to rank.
  • Channel subscribers – Work at building a strong subscriber base. YouTube views subscribers as votes for quality, so encourage people within YouTube and outside of YouTube to subscribe.
  • Video content
    • Title – Include your keyword phrase and limit titles to 100 characters.
    • Description – Include your keyword phrase and use a solid description that is at least 300-500 words.
    • Tags – Include as many tags as you can, but make them relevant. Use both the singular and plural version of tags.
    • File name – Include your keyword phrase and use hyphens to separate words.
    • Length – Longer videos tend to do better with SEO, so don’t skimp on your content.
  • Transcripts and closed captions – Take the time to manually transcribe your videos and upload these as a text file.
  • Watch time – Views x Average view duration
  • Engagement
    • Votes – Encourage viewers to vote up your video.
    • Favorites – Encourage viewers to favorite your videos.
    • Comments – Encourage comments and engage with those who leave them.
  • Inbound links – Link into your videos on YouTube so you can increase the activity and engagement.
  • Embeds – Take the time to embed your videos on social media, websites, and blogs.
  • Social shares – Share your videos on social media platforms to garnish as many views as you can and thus build up those inbound links and onsite engagement.

Takeaways for Video SEO

YouTube is like any other social media network. It takes regular usage, quality content, and lots of interaction to be successful. You will have to not only have a solid SEO plan to excel, you’ll need to have time to devote to nurturing your channel and subscriber base.

I believe video SEO is totally worth it and this worth will continue to grow as we push forward into 2018 and beyond. Embrace it for it’s massive reach

Embrace it for it’s massive reach and invest time in it to grab success.

Watch the iThemes Training Webinar

This week I covered this topic in a video for our partner iThemes. We cover the above content and poke around further into my YouTube channel. You can watch the webinar in it’s full length below.