7 GOLD TIPS to maximize YouTube's SEO ranking and increase views using the under utilized but po
You know that video is one of the best tools for your marketing goals and you've committed to creating more videos to increase sales and brand recognition - bravo - while there are numerous YouTube channel tools that can help you realize your marketing goals, such as Video Call-To-Action buttons, Video Annotations, Interactive End Slates and of course responding to viewer interaction through the comments section. However, YouTube's description box is one of the most under utilized marketing tools and it offers great SEO benefits as well.
Below I've outlined how to maximize this great feature to get the most out of your marketing strategy as well as your SEO rankings both within and outside YouTube.
1. Maximize the first 5 lines of your description
The number one thing to realize is that the first five lines of copy in the description box are critical. Whether for your Call-To-Action, Lead Magnet offer or website links, this is the most visible area of the description box.
TIP: Be sure to include the full URL for it to be clickable on YouTube (e.i.: use http://
- The first two lines of the description box are displayed next to your video in a Google, Bing or Yahoo search or when posted on your social media channels - so they have priority depending on your goals
- The first five lines of the description are included beneath your video on YouTube but above the “read more” tab, so this is almost as critical as the first two lines as an indicator that there is more worthwhile content below the "read more" tab.
Remember to include both your actionable item as well as a short description utilizing your ideal keywords and be sure your keyword(s) are in the title as well.
TIP: you can create a template for commonly used branded text and links to speed up the process. See image below.
(source: PalbergWERX YouTube channel)
2. Maximize your keywords
Ideally, before you even being creating your videos, you should first do a keyword search to discover trending words and phrases and incorporate them into your videos. However if you have already completed your video, then try to use the discovered relevant keywords in a natural way when describing your video content in the YouTube description box. There are numerous keyword tools, and below are two simple to use free tools to help you find ranking keywords and phrases.
YouTube's Autocomplete search feature
When you use the YouTube search feature, the autocomplete suggestion drop-down menu offers you lots of choices of the highest ranking keywords being used, relative to your entry. For example, when I type in 'Vancouver real', the autocomplete drop-down menu suggests: vancouver real estate, vancouver real estate 2015, vancouver real estate bubble, vancouver realtor deals with first time home buyers (you probably didn't know this was such a commonly searched phrase!), vancouver real estate bubble 2015, vancouver real estate agent (real estate agents are more often searched for in YouTube than any other search engine), etc.
(source: PalbergWERX YouTube channel)
Google Trends lets you take popular search queries and explore patterns over time and location. But, for keyword ranking, I like to use Google Trends to discover related and rising words associated with my search. Go to Google Trends and you can add up to five words or phrases in the topic search bar separated by a comma. Just below that in the Explore bar you can choose various conditions, including location, date, industry and which type of web search you would like to focus in including: web, image, news, YouTube, shopping.
Google Trends will spit out graphs covering; interest over time, location interest map and related searches. It is the related searches that interest us in regards to related or rising keywords.
(source: Google Trends)
TIP: Be aware that YouTube penalizes clustered keywords or misinformation. The intent of using keywords is to use them naturally in your description allowing searches to find the most relevant content.
3. Maximize the entire character description limit
In total, YouTube has a 5000 character limit in the description box and beyond the initial five lines it is important to offer as much information about the video as possible.
YouTube and Google search will index the entire description page and you should think of the description the same as you would your blog to increase ranking. By adding a complete and accurate description you will increase the YouTube 'Watch Time', which in turn increases your rankings as well. Watch Time according to YouTube's Creator Playbook : "YouTube optimizes search and discovery or videos that increase watch time on the site". Simply put, it means the longer your video is playing, the higher your video will place in search. Moveover, it is proven that YouTube viewers will scroll through a description box while the video is playing - thereby increasing the Watch Time of that video.
4. Add a full transcript of your video
Include a transcript of the entire video as some customers would prefer to skim the text to discover areas of interest. You can also add a time code to the transcription and YouTube will convert that number into a clickable link that will go directly to the section of the video that your viewer is interested in - this is a super tool if you have chapters or steps in your video, such as in 'How-To' demonstrations.
The format of the time code should just be typed as it is shown on the left in the YouTube video time counter. For example, the image above shows the 0:03 mark of a 0:08 second video, simply type in 0:03 in your transcript copy and YouTube will make it a live link jumping directly to that point in the video.
5. Maximize your language
Be Informational, Not Transactional. A study conducted by aimClear discovered that video search queries with informational keywords ("how to" or "learn") returned video 84% of the time in the Search Enging Results Page (SERP) vs. transactional keywords ("buy", "cheap", "free", or "sale") that only returned video 12% of the time.
6. Maximize your cross promotion opportunities
Adding credit to any collaborators increases cross promotional options. Include their names, organizations they are affiliated with and even twitter handles. Let them know you will add a link to their YouTube or website and ask for the same in return. Backlinks such as these also opens up the potential for new viewers coming to your channel through your collaborators.
Also include any links in the description to topic specific blog posts or other channels you have that would be valuable to your viewers - this should include any other related videos on your YouTube channel.