Optimising Video: Why SEO Is Just As Important For YouTube And Other Video Platforms

by Figaro Digital

Did you know that SEO is just as important for video as it is for other pieces of content? With the increasing popularity of video streaming services like YouTube and Twitch, the market is full of competition. In order to make sure your video content is ranking, you need to know the ins and outs of video content marketing SEO.

Below, we list the best ways to improve the digital marketing of video. Some advice will be a reiteration of existing SEO practice, other parts will be exclusive to YouTube and other platforms.

Let’s Talk Metadata

One of Google’s major recommendations in improving video visibility is having clear, concise metadata. While its YouTube search algorithm is designed to work without metadata, it does create an obstacle in its path. However, leaving the metadata information blank is a fine way to decrease video rankings. Make sure every single metadata field is filled with correct information with relevant keywords weaved in, not too dissimilar to good meta description writing.

In order of importance, you should prioritise titles, descriptions, the thumbnail and the tags. The main keywords should be somewhere in the title, as well as the title itself enticing clicks and interest. YouTube and other video platforms get the majority of traffic from video recommendations, so your title needs to put you at the front of the queue when recommendations pop up.

Next, the video description should use relevant keywords and finish at 250 words. You have a lot of room to play with here, which allows you to capture a lot of longtail search. Much like writing a good meta or a piece of optimised copy, interweave keywords and keep things relevant, interesting and entertaining.

Third is the thumbnail. A lot of fuss is put into thumbnails, but you basically need to make sure it connects well to the video title, contain some text and an eye-catching, pristine image. You can think outside of the box for this, too, although that comes with some risk. If you choose to go conventional or left-field, just make sure your thumbnail causes some kind of emotional reaction.

Finally, tags are still big on video platforms. Slip your keywords and anything relevant into the tags – this includes topics, news, ideas and names of other content creators. As long as it’s relevant, the YouTube algorithm should gobble it up.

Overall, metadata follows similar best practice to regular content creation. However, with thumbnails and tags, there is another dimension you need to consider.

Analyse User Data

Broadly, YouTube separates data into “explicit” and “implicit”. Explicit data includes liking videos, commenting and subscribing. Implicit data just includes watch time.

During your video, try to subtly encourage people to like, comment and subscribe as this positive user data will help your rankings. Don’t be too heavy-handed as this may alienate your viewers – audience retention is another important factor in maintaining your audience.

If you have any poor, older videos around that have terrible audience retention, then delete them as they’re damaging your channel. Just like how an old piece of poor content can harm website rankings, so can a video.

Say It Out Loud: “K-E-Y-W-O-R-D”

It’s not enough to have your keyword(s) in the metadata, you also need to say it out loud in the video. The algorithm can now read the video itself as a strand of information, meaning it is continually analysing transcripts and audio. Therefore, you really need to mention your target keyword in the video itself.

If you’re referencing any other topics, people or ideas, then mention them explicitly in the video too. Try to keep videos organised, so it can be easily read.

In future, Google may fully mature its ability to recognise objects in images and video, meaning these may play a bigger part in future video content. So, if your video is about the Eiffel Tower, then make sure a picture of it’s in the video somewhere!

Other Factors

It’s not all to do with metadata, user interactivity and recommendations though. Your video also has to be of a high-quality to rank. YouTube and other video sharing platforms don’t want poor videos littering their front page or recommendations. However, while other factors have a strict yes/no set-up to them, the other factors are much more subjective.

YouTube, as an example, lists the following three other factors as the most important:

  • Video quality
  • User specificity
  • Diversification

Video quality is a catch-all term for its rating, the number of comments, shares, view count, upload time, favourites, etc. The most important quality indicator, though? Keeping viewers on YouTube.

User specificity is matching videos to a particular person’s history. Therefore, you need to make sure your video links up to different interests.

Diversity essentially ensures that spam or duplicated content isn’t pushed forward on the platform. That way, YouTube is presenting users with more options. So, in a string of recommendations, each video should be distinctly different. Try to make sure your video is different from similar pieces of content so you enter more recommendations.

Video content is ever-evolving, so make sure you know how to keep on top of video SEO. To keep up-to-date with all the digital marketing trends, be sure to check out Figaro Digital’s array of videos and tutorials.