Best Practices for Optimizing Your YouTube Video Uploads
Striking Gold with Ranking & Optimizing YouTube Videos
First and foremost, let me state that the following are just a list of the fundamental steps that help optimize video uploads on YouTube as a starter point and there are definitely exceptions to every rule. Never fall into the trap of not testing ‘new ideas’ or ‘concepts’ around your goal of ranking YouTube videos. This section of my website is primarily about optimization methods and doesn’t really dive into ‘live streaming’ uploads and other ranking methods. If you incorporate the steps below with ‘live streaming’ uploads through Wirecast, OBS, and etc. you will probably have a really good success rate. I personally try to get my videos ranked without live streaming software. However, there will be another section devoted completely to ‘live streaming’ techniques.
The following 4 steps are a good foundation to understanding more about YouTube videos and how to optimize them properly. Do videos need all of these things to rank in Google? In my experience, no… The main aspect of this website will eventually encompass a number of case studies that will be posted as individual pages. These case studies will look at what works and what doesn’t work to help others. I plan to update these case strategies and evolve with Google and YouTube in the process. Whatever your level of experience, you may find something listed below that you haven’t thought about or maybe, would like to add. If so, please comment below and I will try to keep this page constantly current with the best practices for optimizing YouTube videos.
1. Research ‘Video’ Keywords
In Google’s mind, certain searches are more appropriate for video search results to be found in their algorithm and others are nearly impossible to rank (and even if you do, make stick for long periods of time). For example, below are lists of search phrases that do better for ranking videos on the first page of Google.
A. Online Review Searches
B. How to Searches
C. Tutorial related Searches
D. Anything Funny or Sports Related
All of these have a higher probability to rank on the first page of Google if you follow all of the other steps I lay out here.
All of these have a higher probability to rank on the first page of Google if you follow all of the other steps I lay out here.
Keep in mind, there are searches that are not listed above that will rank better than others. One way to apply this is from testing and doing various searches and looking at the top of the screen, under the search bar to see where the ‘Video’ option falls. If the Video option is only found by clicking the ‘More’ tab, then the video will be harder to rank. This doesn’t mean it’s not possible, only that you will need to try harder. From my research, there are always going to be certain searches that seem impossible to rank. The trick is casting a wide net of videos and search phrases to get optimal results.
Discovering Video Optimization Keyword Strategies:
A. Live Streaming Videos: This is an easy way to see if a certain phrase will rank in Google. If the video is optimized properly (discussed in the next section) then it should hit page one or two right off the bat. You can use services like Wirecast and schedule live cast videos with just a screen saver to see if they rank first. Once you know they do, you can go back and load your video the proper way. I prefer non-live cast uploads for videos I want to stick long-term.
B. Creative Commons: This is another easy way to test search phrases and see how well they rank. To get here you need to go to your YouTube channel and click on ‘Video Manager’ at the top right of your profile image. After that, you will click on the ‘Create’ button at the left side of your screen which will drop down and then you click on ‘Video Editor’. From here you can go towards the middle of the screen and find the ‘cc’ in the circle to access creative common videos.
Once you have found it, you can go to the search bar and look for any videos related to your keyword. Next find one you can even edit it here to take out branding at the beginning or end of the video. After this is accomplished and you’re ready to go, just test out some keyword phrases, for example ‘ how to repair a leaky roof’. Next, copy/paste your search phrase and go to the edit option while it’s uploading. Next, you will pass the exact search phrase into the description, tag, social sharing box, and make a playlist for the exact phrase. I like to search in YouTube videos that are already ranking for this keyword and place a couple links in my description to give it more authority. For example, I may post ‘Tips for Roof Repair’ followed by the shorter ‘share’ link associated with the number one ranking video. If the video is meant to be local, you would go to the advanced tab and give it a Geolocation. I usually set mine for people/blogs. The video below is a pretty good start to testing these types of videos (which saves you time and money).
After this, you can copy/paste your search phrase and go to the edit option while it’s uploading. Then you will paste the exact search phrase into the description, tag, social sharing box, and make a playlist for the exact phrase. I like to search in YouTube videos that are already ranking for this keyword and place a couple links in my description to give it more authority. For example, I may post ‘Tips for Roof Repair’ followed by the shorter ‘share’ link associated with the number one ranking video. If the video is meant to be local, you would go to the advanced tab and give it a Geolocation. I usually set mine for people/blogs. The video below is a pretty good start to testing these types of videos (which saves you time and money).
Analyze Top Ranking Videos:
Another strategy is to take a deeper look at videos that already rank in Google and reverse engineer what they are doing, but do more. To do this you could install SEO Quake, VID IQ, & Moz BAR for starters and this would benefit you greatly.
Once you find search phrases or keywords you want to target, make sure that search yields at least 300 searches per month.
Why 300 searches? Well, if a phrase or keyword gets at least 300 searches per month you will know it gets a good amount of searches within YouTube itself and that it’s something worth attaining. If you’re able to rank in Google, you will know that a good number of those 300 searches will click on your video. In the end, this is what we are going after with harvesting high-quality traffic to your video and eventually your site. I like to rank videos and later add my contact number to the description. This all depends upon your ultimate goal and niche.
Another research method would be to go directly to YouTube and test out your keywords and phrases to see if they have the following:
A. Are there Ads? If so, the search is worth someone paying to advertise for.
B. Do the top videos have a lot of views? This can be an indicator of search volume.
C. What format are the top ranking videos? Review, Tutorial, How to, Animated, etc
2. Video Quality
Comments, Thumbs-up, and Subscribers: Having a great video helps with many organic factors. For example, YouTube is placing a higher value on videos that are fully watched. Also, if you get comments or subscribers from a video it gets higher value too. You can purchase things like likes, comments, and subscribers on places like Fiverr, but be weary and careful since YouTube is better at seeing ‘bots’ nowadays and this can penalize your video if done recklessly.
Video retention: The percentage of your video people tend to watch (the more, the better).
Shares: How many people share your video on social media sites like Twitter and Google+. If you make high-quality content and good videos a lot of this will work itself out naturally from being shared and useful to others.
- Like good On-Page SEO strategies to have killer content with longer text-based articles, longer videos also appear to rank better. I have found that longer videos seem to outperform the shorter videos in YouTube and Google search long-term.
- There are a number of black hat methods you can do to recreate some of this too. For example, buying PVA Gmail accounts and using services like ‘Hide My Ass’ can allow you to search and find these videos on your own, while watching them, liking, commenting, and subscribing all work you may want to mix it up and not overdo it. I also, like to add videos to playlists that are designed to be keyword specific.
- There are also groups on Facebook where people agree and exchange video views, comments, likes, and even subscribe. Sharing to family and friends initially can help to get a few shares and full views. In the end, getting real human views from unique IP’s is the best strategy.
3. Optimize Your Video
Optimize YouTube Channel:
Before you even upload your first video many people proclaim that you need to optimize your YouTube Channel. I don’t know how accurate this really is. I have ranked videos on brand new channels with very little optimizing (Channel Banner, Channel Description, and Profile Image).
Basically, with the bare bones of optimization and only using ‘Creative Commons’ videos I haven’t had any problems ranking videos. I do have a few highly optimized channels that are aged, have backlinks, and high Trust Flow. Does this help me get more rankings than other channels? I’m not convinced on this one yet. There are a number of ways to optimize your YouTube channel and even a few gigs come to mind that do this.
• About section (contact, links, description content)
• Channel cover art (2560 x 1440 pixels)
• Profile / Logo (controlled through your Google+ profile image)
• Individual video image (1280 x 720 pixels)
You will need a certain amount of subscribers before you can add custom thumbnails. Here’s a gig from Fiver for inexpensive, but nice Channel cover art.
How to Optimize Your YouTube Video
Before Upload Strategies: Rename your video’s file. This is similar to image SEO telling Google about a photo since Google doesn’t actually have eyes to see it. With video’s it’s the same premise and helps YouTube know more about your raw video file.
Methods I use:
1. Save my video on my desktop on in a video file.
2. Right-click the file and select ‘Properties’
3. Here you can rename your file with your keyword or phrase you’re trying to rank.
4. Add some tags. I stick to what I am trying to rank for.
5. Give yourself all the stars filled in. Not sure it helps, but it makes me happy.
6. Create a brief description with LSI and keywords in the comment field.
7. If local you could add geo coordinates, nap, and money site URL too.
Video Title: Make the title of your video at least 5-words long. This way, you should incorporate your full keyword without keyword-stuffing. For example, my video’s upload title is usually 5 words… with only 2 being my target keyword.
Tip: Adding your keyword to the beginning of the title will give your video a slight SEO boost. For example, if you were trying to rank for “guitar tutorial” you’d want a title like: “Guitar Tutorial: Learn How to Play like Slash”.
Video Description: Understanding that Google and YouTube cannot truly “listen” to a video, leads good video SEO to focus on the actual text description to establish your video’s content.
Here are a few core fundamental guidelines for video descriptions (However, there are always exceptions to any rule):
• Put your Keyword (Same as Title Very First).
• Place Link (3 Options): 1. directly below that put your main sites web address at the very top below your keyword phrase. 2. or you can also put an authority link here to give the video more power. For example, a pest control video may list http://orkin.com at the top, until rankings develop and later change. 3. or use the link given from YouTube below.
• Include your keyword in the first 25 words. I like to put my Keyword / Title first in my descriptions.
• Make the description at least 250-words
• Include your keyword 3-4 times. Generally, I like to have it at the top, in the middle, and at the end. However, check out the various case studies to see other options that work too.
4. Promote Your Video (Get Video Views)
To start, I would highly recommend creating a channel around your niche. Next, I would invest the time or money in building an IFTTT to deliver your YouTube uploads to gain instant social signals that give a viral sensation to your videos launch. I have a gig on Konker where I create a 10 account IFTTT for your YouTube uploads. This gig comes with an expired high PA Tumblr to give your IFTTT some extra link juice when you upload videos. Here’s the link to my gig for a High Authority IFTTT
After this, you should see some ranking for low competition and longer keyword LSI videos. For high competition or videos that need more help, you will want to treat them the same as you would a website with SEO. This should include GSA, High Authority backlinks, PBN links, PBN embeds, and Web 2.0 embeds. On top of that, keep promoting or use black hat methods to make your video seem viral, liked, commented on, and getting subscriptions. These techniques will be discussed in later case strategies to come.
Learn More: How to rank local videos | Case Study