I’ve been posting videos on YouTube but don’t get many views. Are there some tricks to posting on YouTube to get more traffic?
There are definitely some best practices in terms of using SEO techniques to improve the traffic and visibility of your videos on YouTube. To learn more, I asked friend and colleague Ryan Bradley of Inbound Boulder SEO for his guidelines on YouTube video posts. Here’s what he recommends:
In order to optimize your YouTube videos and maximize their exposure, you need to focus on two things; the content of your videos and how you generate user engagement. And just like SEO, there’s a right way to optimize content and a wrong way to optimize your content. The process below is the best way to prioritize your videos and maximize their exposure on YouTube and in search engines.
What to Do Before You Post Your Video on YouTube
Before you start posting videos indiscriminately on YouTube, it’s important to have a system in place in order to maximize the optimization of your videos. Follow the steps below for optimizing your video content on YouTube as well as rankings higher in search.
1. Do Your Due Diligence.
In order to get the best rankings for your video, you have to perform the necessary keyword research surrounding the topic of the video you wish to make. If you find that your main competition is lagging on video quality and/or not implementing some of the other optimization tips listed below, yet is still getting a fair amount of views, this might be a great opportunity for you to jump ahead.
2. Optimize Your Titles and Tags
On YouTube, you only have 120 characters to convince people to click on your video. In addition to that, it’s probably the most important factor as far as SEO is concerned since Google heavily uses title tag information in their ranking algorithm. So when crafting your video titles, don’t skimp on the keywords and call to actions. If you don’t feel like counting characters, 5-7 words tends to be good rule of thumb.
3. Optimize Your Video Descriptions
Your video description is very important as well. YouTube uses the keywords found inside of the the text of the description to rank the video in search. Here you want to add text, links you mention in the video and any appropriate call to actions. For text you want to either provide a full transcript or a detailed summary (at least 250 words). If you decide to do a transcript, in addition to pasting it in the description, save it as txt (plain text) file and upload it in the YouTube video uploader. This will allow you to show up in YouTube’s closed caption filter. For more information regarding uploading transcripts, visit YouTube’s transcription tutorial.
4. Optimize Your Tags
Make sure to choose at least 10 tags related to your video. Tags are essentially just keywords so this is where you want to hit all of your target phrases. Reminder: they are singular/plural sensitive.
5. Create an Excellent Thumbnail
Your video thumbnail is the main image people see when deciding to click your video. So you better make sure you spend more than 2 seconds creating one! The best size for a thumbnail image is 1280px x 720px (16:9 ratio) and in png format (you can also use jpg or gif).
6. Optimize For Local
If you’re a local business, don’t neglect the geotag section in the YouTube video uploader. Here you can enter your business address and YouTube will give you some extra local SEO kudos. Also make sure to include your name, address, phone number and website in the description as well.
What to Do After You Post Your Video on YouTube
The most important thing to focus on after posting your video is user engagement. While you might be tempted to start posting it anywhere that you can find, there are a few tactics to keep in mind so you can maximize your efforts.
1. Post (Embed) The Video on Your Website
Believe it or not, there is a proper way to embed videos on your website. Please do not just plop the embed code you got from YouTube and hit publish.
Instead, try to add these elements in addition to the embedded video:
− A link to the video on YouTube. Say something like ‘Watch this video on YouTube’ and have it link to the YouTube URL of that particular video. External links is a consideration YouTube uses when ranking videos in search.
− A transcription or summary of the video. Having the content of the video in text format is extremely important for SEO purposes. Search engines love to eat up text so either including a full transcription of the audio or a lengthy summary is extremely important for optimization purposes. Reminder: don’t paste the exact text from the video description onto your website. If you did a summary for the video description on YouTube, post the transcription on your site, and vice-versa. This way they each have their own unique content and could rank separately.
2. Share Your Video on Social Media
Most of the major social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus support YouTube links and are great places to reach your audience. In addition to posting your YouTube video link, if you embedded it on your website, I would share the website URL containing the video as well. Don’t just share them back to back, instead test different calls-to-action and sharing descriptions while posting them at different intervals
3. Encourage Comments, Embeds and Subscriptions
Comments, embeds and subscriptions are a crucial part of YouTube’s ranking algorithm. So unless you have some ulterior motive, it’s usually a good idea to always allow people to comment and share your videos. Most successful YouTubers encourage viewers to comment or subscribe at the end of the clip.
4. Have Fun!
Simply put, if you’re not having a blast making YouTube videos, you don’t need to be making them. Viewers can tell the difference within the first couple of seconds if you’re passionate about what you’re doing and if they’re going to enjoy watching any more of your videos. So for great long-term YouTube and video SEO success, only produce content that you’re excited make.
Start Your YouTube Journey
So if you’re ready to connect with the 30 million visitors on YouTube that visit the site each day, make sure to bookmark these optimization tips so you can get the jump on your competition as soon as you hit publish!
Thanks for those great tips, Ryan. They should help everyone get more traffic and visibility on their YouTube videos!