SEO for YouTube Videos

You’ve done most of the hard work in getting your video produced and uploading it to YouTube, but now what? The idea of ‘build it and they will come‘ probably won’t cut it for most videos, unless you are in a very specific niche, as there is so much competing content online now.

YouTube SEO

So how do you get your video seen in YouTube and Google search results? Here are some tips on SEO for YouTube videos that should help:

  1. Start with a goal for the visitor. How are you going to change their lives and what are they going to do with the information you give them? This will help in a few ways – it will focus you on making it useful (something people will more likely share later) it will give you structure, and, crucially for the SEO part, it will help you to try and solve a problem for your visitors. This matters as that problem is what people are looking to solve when they go searching for your content.
  2. Do keyword research.  Use a tool like Google’s Adwords planner or SEMRush, entering your target phrases, and checking whether there are any related phrases that might have higher search volume. You might want to balance this with those that have less competition, which you can judge with these tools and by looking at the number and credibility of existing YouTube videos on the same topic.
  3. Give your video a clear title and structure. If you’ve thought about points 1 and 2, then your video should lend itself to a title that is a likely search phrase. Try to break up points in the video that could lend themselves to subheadings throughout the video. This can make the content more digestible for those watching it, but also easier you you or others to summarise or transcribe on a blog post that embeds and / or links to your video later.
  4. Optimise when uploading. Give your video a file name and title that reflect the chosen key phrases, as well as a description that touches on the phrase in a natural manner that will appeal to human visitors, as well as search engines. You can also add related words and phrases as tags that will help YouTube to understand its topic. 
  5. Add a transcript. This will provide text that makes it clear what the subject of the video is to YouTube. Having done points 1 and 2 pre-production of the video, then the transcript should touch on target key phrases.
  6. Embed the video. If you run a blog or website, get the YouTube embed code for the video (publicly available underneath it when it’s live) and embed it in a post or page. That will not only help it get seen via another source, but will provide a link to the YouTube page, helping its SEO.
  7. Add sitemaps and Schema markup. The most technical of all the potential SEO for YouTube videos, these components are not essential, but are highly recommended. If you embed a video on your site, you can create a sitemap specifically for video content and submit it to Webmaster Tools. This can lead to your YouTube video showing up in Google as part of your own web page, rather than just on YouTube. This could be desirable if you want to convert viewers to customers on your site. Schema micro data makes information about your video very easy for search engines to digest. Learn more about Schema for Video here.
  8. Share the video through social channels. You’ve made the video in a search engine friendly manner – now it’s time to get people seeing it. Tweet it, Google+ it, tell your contacts about it on Facebook, LinkedIn or other channels. Hopefully people will like it enough to share it themselves or link to it from / embed it on their own web pages.

Here is some really good additional information on the subject from Moz back in 2012 – still very relevant:

I hope the info here helps you to structure your videos, implement some SEO and get them seen on YouTube, Google and elsewhere!