No matter what, you won’t be anywhere near the top rankings of YouTube with content that viewers don’t want to watch. So, after you’ve become confident that you have the ability to offer quality videos, you are then cleared to start utilizing the methods YouTube offers to augment your visibility and gain ranking.
Where to begin?
Whether you’re far along or just beginning, you need a solid strategy based around your company goals laid out. With this strategy solidified, your work on getting ranked on YouTube begins with branding your channel. This is comprised of naming your channel, creating a memorable vanity URL, and adding graphics that reflect your brand.
The above channel uses the vanity URL of https://www.youtube.com/user/LoLChampSeries
Using this will create a more optimized URL that is both user friendly and much easier to remember for the user. Otherwise you will be stuck with something ugly like: “youtube.com/channel/UCdmW90EuNCvJKTQF5g_B3pg” – gross
In YouTube’s updated requirements for this they now state that each channel that is eligible to have a vanity URL must have:
- 500+ subs
- 30+ days old
- An icon
- Channel art
Now let’s look at the more technical details.
Use Keywords and Geo-Targeting like Google Search
As YouTube has been owned by Google for almost ten years, it is a logical assumption to make that Google would make YouTube work in a highly similar manner. Let’s look at the advertisement similarities.
Aesthetically, you can see they have very similar search results. This is rather indicative of how the search system works behind the scenes, despite a few key differences. If you’ve ever dealt with any Google advertising you should be pretty knowledgeable about a few of the things about to be listed.
Keywords & Targeting– As it is with Google search marketing, these should always be completely relevant to what your channel is about. And as always, select the country or region in which you want your channel to appear.
Channel Description, Links, and associated websites
In your YouTube settings you will be given the option to use the associated website feature in your channel settings. Doing this will influence the YouTube algorithm to build authority under your channel, so it is highly recommended that you do so. The option will appear like this:
Building on your Channel
After these additions, the next move to make would be to fully build up your channel in terms of your description, links, homepage video, and video playlists. In your about section of your homepage, always use this opportunity to place branded and relevant keywords in this description. In this case, the more the better, as it will make it easier for users to find your channel. Underneath, link your social channels for furthered exposure.
As most popular channels have an auto-play video on their home screen, viewers now expect this. This both retains viewer attention and creates engagement while highlighting one of your most important videos. Having video playlists also helps the viewer find a lot of content on exactly what they are there for, again, the more the better.
Now for the Ranking Factors
Some of the following are not to be confused with direct ranking influencers. Some of these are more correlational and relate to the story about watch time.
These are the most common best practices to follow on YouTube to find a higher rank.
We can begin with video Meta Data, which consists of description, Title, and Video Tags.
Always include your social profile links in video descriptions and put your most important keywords at the beginning of the description. Additionally, try to make the description on the longer side.
- Make sure to use Thumbnails as efficiently as possible
Thumbnails are the first point of contact a viewer has with your video, thus making this a hugely important factor. Always create a custom thumbnail that uses a high quality image that is at least somewhat relevant to your video. This picture shows how four HD pictures and some visually appealing text can form a perfect thumbnail (oh, and the HD stamp) that really lets you know what the video is about.
- Next, is to always make your videos available in HD, if at all possible.
Having the HD stamp on your video will give it a permanent advantage over videos without the stamp in the search engine algorithm and will show up higher in search results.
- Look at and leverage Views, Shares, and Links.
As previously stated, these metrics will give you an accurate picture of how well your video is performing and what overall quality it is. In the end, they will tell you if your video is going to be ranked higher than other videos like it.
In order to maximize these results, as always, share in all social profiles, include in your email marketing campaigns, embed on your website(s), create a blog around the topic, and try to have it indexed off a social bookmarking website.
- Remember to use Closed Captions
The best part about this is that the captions you use are crawlable by search engines. This means that every time you used closed captions, engines like Google have a higher chance of showing your video when your keywords are searched. Always edit the captions as YouTube’s auto-caption feature is far from perfect, here is a good example of something you might want your captions to look like:
- Use YouTube’s branding options
Again, this does not directly affect ranking but does help with brand awareness and engagement. Always try to include a branded intro into your videos as well. YouTube shows this branding option like this:
As these YouTube tips are now mostly best practices and aren’t exactly secrets, we hope you at least took something useful from this to use next time you log into your YouTube account. In the end, as long as you have content that people want to watch, you will see success regardless of whether or not you utilize these concepts. Thus, we see that as priority number one. Use these tips to empower yourself and further exposure from already great videos.