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YouTube SEO: Sins
by Dr. William Sen | Founder of blue media

YouTube SEO: The Don’ts

Why Black Hat YouTube SEO Doesn't Work

by Dr. William Sen

We have already talked about how to get better rankings, views, and subscribers. In this part of our ultimate YouTube SEO guide, we will discuss a couple pitfalls of SEO conduct on YouTube.

Don’t Post Controversial Topics

YouTube’s guidelines are quite clear as they mirror Google’s stance on controversy. YouTube in fact went hard on content deemed as controversial not too long ago to pass a clear message that they no longer support such content. Of course, this did not sit well with a section of the community and the discussion generated into a huge subject of news about YouTube’s standpoint on freedom of speech and censorship.

Even now, YouTube has only managed to change the wording on their policy from “controversial topics” to “advertiser-friendly content” without exactly stating the fact about the accusation leveled against them for the strong censorship.

It is unclear what this implies exactly for most users. But for SEO, it signals that YouTube is trying to limit its creators. Others have just gone about business normally, ensuring that their operation remains covered under YouTube’s list of allowed content as they do not want to lose their channel’s trust and rankings, and they do not want to go against the directives of YouTube.

To decipher the content of any video uploaded on the platform, YouTube’s system employs a combination of automatic topic detection algorithms, speech recognition, and image mining. Unfortunately, many videos are being lost to this system even when they do not contain any controversy. For instance, a video upload with the word “Nail gun” mentioned was pulled down as glorifying violence, when in fact the video centered on home renovation.

As much as Donald Trump comes across as a controversial figure, Video content with mentions related to Donald Duck are usually de-ranked as the speech algorithm wrongly recognizes these videos as controversial pieces about the president of the United States.

YouTube as an entertainment platform seems to be losing the plot especially as many videos in tune with global trends and happenings can no longer be discussed on the platform as they were before. Users do not even know what cuts across as controversial and are not open to having their videos and channel further pushed down the rank.

If you don’t want to lose your rankings, make sure you don’t get too deep into politics, violence, sex, religion, and sometimes even history. If you want to be on the safe side, teach people how to bake cookies, or tell children’s jokes. If you want to combine both worlds, here is a joke for you that YouTube won’t ban:  Why did the cookie go to the doctor? It was feeling crumb-y.

Don’t Use YouTube Automation Tools

To grow your channel and increase engagement on YouTube is a lot of work. Of course, there are tools that can aid you in this area. But any tool that is described to work automatically to boost your channel’s growth on YouTube is a landmine. YouTube frowns at circumventing engagement measures on their platform and considers them as spam. Avoid automatic channel growth tools at all cost. If you do, you may lose all your hard work without any warning.

Using a bot to get automatic likes, comments, views and earnings may seem really enticing but it is certain that you will be detected quicker than you can ever imagine.

No matter the glowing reviews you get about any automation tool on other people’s YouTube channels. You can be sure that those reviews will not highlight what will happen when YouTube finds out that you have been using them. People paint these tools in glowing colors because the tool manufacturers offer affiliate deals with pay of up to 50% for any subscriptions they deliver. You should notice that beneath every review of an automation tool is a link that identifies the advertiser. That’s how YouTubers get their affiliate money. Do not fall for these supposed honest reviews.

Advertising on other people’s YouTube Channels

How do you to increase and drive traffic to your channels? Some people think that it is best to comment on other videos and telling everybody to glimpse on their videos as well. Posting the link to your YouTube video directly as comments on other videos sounds is a very bad idea, because YouTube calls that spam commenting. YouTube has a detection tool for people who do that. If you do this occasionally and very rarely on top, and your link is actually related to the video, you will have no problem with YouTube. If you make it a habit and continually advertise links to your videos constantly on other people’s videos, YouTube will classify you as a comment spammer. While everything will seem perfect on your end, YouTube’s won’t show any of your comments on other channels. Even you might still see the under the videos when logged in.

Look at these examples and see how their comments ended under the “Likely Spam” folder:

YouTube SEO: Donts


It is quite evident from the image above that while the people with these comments believe that they have successfully advertised their videos, the YouTube has flagged their comments as spam. Unfortunately, once flagged as a spammer, their comments will always land in the “Likely Spam” folder of other YouTubers’ dashboard — invisible to everybody else.

Creating multiple accounts to circumvent YouTube’s monitoring system is a futile attempt that will bring the same drastic results with time. Your activities should be guided by the fact that Google continually spends money to preempt spam activities and is just better in detecting spammers than ever before.

The subtlest lines in the comments section of videos such as “check out my channel” in hundreds of different variations is often regarded as spam. You have to commit to growing your channel naturally without forcing it. Bummer.

Don’t purchase clicks

One thing you should also avoid is buying clicks. Click purchasing is a common practice and can be obtained cheaply from eBay, Fiverr, and other online marketplaces. Getting views is important and it is tough, but using artificial clicks is highly detrimental to your channel. You must also note that these click generators do not influence your retention rates and watch time, which are the most important metrics. When you use them, YouTube will only notice that assumably people only watched 1 second of your video and bounced off. The data will be interpreted to mean that your videos are uninteresting and YouTube will de-rank them further. Basically if you buy clicks, you will kill your channel.

YouTube also has measures to detect click generators easily and would conclude that your channel is engaged in black hat YouTube SEO tactics. Once Google determines that, you wishe you would have banned or warned, no Sir! It’s one of Google’s well-known tactics not to deal with Black Hat SEOs by feeding them with warnings. What will happen instead is that your videos won’t be shown on the results, and your channel will exist as a ghost: invisible to nobody.

Despite all the Clicks they had purchased, and all the automation tools they had used… they all lived happily after, without knowing why they never gotten success with their YouTube channel.

In my next article, I will be talking about the Top YouTube SEO Myths.


About the Author
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Dr. William Sen Founder of blue media

William Sen has been an SEO since 2001 and is a Software Engineer since 1996, and has been working as an Associate Professor in Germany for the University of Dusseldorf and Cologne. He has been involved in developing custom SEO tools, large website and software projects. William has a PhD in Information Sciences and has been working for brands such as Expedia, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Bayer, Ford, T-Mobile and many more. He is the founder of blue media.

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