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We live in a media intensive culture. Every day more and more internet users are searching for video over traditional content. The biggest source for this type of content is YouTube. Anyone can upload a video to YouTube; that’s the easy part. Getting those videos found is another story. Here are some YouTube SEO tips to help you get started.

Closed Captions

Closed captions are not only used by the hearing impaired. They are often used by viewers outside of your native country, by people who simply do not want to have the volume on and most importantly by YouTube. YouTube looks at the text in the closed captions as a ranking factor. So, make sure that you’re saying relevant keywords and phrases in your video that can be crawled in the closed captions.

YouTube has an automatic option for closed captions. This makes it incredibly easy to implement them in your videos. But, it doesn’t work! This auto system is more of a joke in the YouTube Creator world. Until a proper system is in place, you need to be manually typing your transcripts by hand, then upload the 100% correct transcript to your closed captions.

File Naming

When it comes to YouTube SEO, most creators don’t even think about the filename. Before uploading the video rename the file using relevant keywords. For example, a video with tips on how to organize your office could be named office-organization-tips.mov. Viewers will never see this filename, however, Youtube looks at it for relevancy. You want to use dashes between keywords and not underscores, just as you would for traditional SEO.

Content is King

When planning, filming, & editing make sure that the video does not contain too much “filler” content that will lose the audiences attention. Audience Retention is an important ranking factor if you want your video to maintain its ranking over a long period of time. Stay on topic, avoid quiet monotone narrative and when possible be upbeat, bubbly, funny, or whatever. You will notice that many of the Allstar YouTube Creators talk fast. If you’re not a skilled speaker, write a script before filming. This will help you avoid stuttering, pauses and from saying “ummmm” too much. Once you’re finished, make any corrections to your script if you did any improvisation and now you instantly have your closed caption file ready to upload. Another great advantage to scripting videos.

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Monitor your audience retention. If the average person watches 1 minute of your video and it’s 4 minutes long, that’s only 25% retention. If this was a test score you just failed it horribly. Take a closer look at your content and figure out why people stop watching. Are they bored? Did you mislead them in the title by not specifically stating “exactly” what the video was about? Did you tell them everything they really needed to know in that first minute, making the last 75% of the video pointless “filler” content?

HD Video = Better YouTube SEO

I just finished telling you that audience retention is a big factor in your YouTube SEO. Guess what I do when I open a video and it’s not in HD? I immediately close it. Don’t assume that everybody is watching your video in the small player on the YouTube watch page or on their cell phone. They might be streaming from my AppleTV or XBox. Even if they’re not streaming to a television, they’re still viewing many videos full screen on their computer or tablet. Think of it this way. When was the last time you ran out and rented the latest movie on VHS? You need to be uploading either 1080p or 720p footage to YouTube. Your audience always has the ability to watch in a lower quality but if you don’t upload HD, you just eliminated that group of viewers.

YouTube Title

Your title should be very specific to what the video is about in order to help prevent lose of audience retention. Just as with traditional SEO, keywords in the title are very important. You will find with YouTube SEO, you have better luck placing keywords closer to the beginning of the title.

YouTube Description

This is different than the meta description of a traditional webpage. Where the description on a webpage is not crawled for ranking purposes, it is for YouTube SEO. You should be making the most of this area. Write 300-500 words about your video. Begin with a 1-2 sentence “elevator pitch” for your video. This will be seen in search results and often be a deciding factor on whether one will click through to your video or not. Follow that pitch with a quick list of links to your website and/or social media profiles. Finish it off with keyword rich, descriptive content about the video. Remember, you are NOT selling yourself right now. You’re selling the video. Don’t focus on talking about who you are. Focus on relevant content that will promote the topic of this specific video. People will learn about “who” you are by becoming loyal fans of your videos and subscribing to your channel. If you’re feeling lazy, you can also insert the video transcript here that you used for the closed captions.

YouTube SEO Tags

YouTube SEO Tags are plural and non-plural sensitive. That means if I was writing this article for YouTube, I would use both YouTube SEO Tip” and “YouTube SEO Tips” in my tag section. Think of at least 10 highly targeted keywords for your tags. More tags is great, but not if they do not directly apply to the video content. Spamming keywords in your tags might seem to get you more views quicker, but the audience retention damage could actually get you less views in the long-run.

Engagement Factors

Youtube is very social and how engaged both you and your audience is will play a part in your search success. Your views, comments, likes, social shares, inbound links and embeds are all going to have an affect on your authority status.

YouTube is often referred to as the 2nd largest search engine. Stop thinking that way! The YouTube culture is based around the fact that it’s a full blown social network with 1 Billion Members viewing 4 Billion pages per day. These people are creating discussions, leaving comments, leaving video comments, sending private messages, subscribing to each other and doing all the things that define a social network. All of the top YouTube Creators in the world got to where they are from being interactive, interesting and social (that’s why we call places like this “social” networks).

So, while you should focus on YouTube SEO, don’t forget that the most important ingredient is the art of being social. Don’t simply wait for others to engage you first. Comment on other creators videos, post video replies on popular videos that are related to you. When you like a video take the second to actually click the Like button. If you know another YouTuber with similar interests, collaborate on a couple videos together and draw in new subscribers from one another. Producing valuable content, being socially active and using proper YouTube SEO techniques will help your channel become a success. If you’re looking for more online marketing tips, give Franchise Marketing Group a call at (971) 212-4026 or visit our office in Lee’s Summit.