YouTube SEO: How to Get Better YouTube Rankings
YouTube SEO Ultimate Guide 2020 Part 1
by Dr. William Sen
YouTube, SEO is a significant determinant of viewership and the success of videos uploaded. Unlike most SEO inclined platforms, YouTube SEO has perhaps the biggest challenge as it is known to be a subject of incessant changes in the areas of rank determination, policies, and media type.
Finding a clear cut answer to the challenges of SEO on YouTube is a debacle that remains yet unsolved for many, as the information you have about it today become redundant tomorrow. Notwithstanding, in this Fundamental YouTube SEO Guideline as of 2020, I will share the with you all the secrets of YouTube SEO in four clear partsin subsequent YouTube SEO Guidelines. This first article will focus on utilizing SEO for YouTube in order to attain higher ranks, gain more viewers and more subscribers.
Let’s get started immediately.
YouTube SEO – An introduction
When YouTube started, it was a groundbreaking idea which challenged the status quo of TV channels. It didn’t gain wide acceptance until several novice users discovered that the platform could help them share their videos and make it go viral without much hassles. Those were the good ‘ol YouTube days, and for the likes of Casey Neistat who reached tremendous success from sharing his first video about his funny experience with vehicles taking up the bicycle lane in New York.
This was in June, 2011, and from barely having subscribers, this regular guy grew his estimate net worth to upwards of $30 million and he remains one of the most known and famed YouTubers in the world.
Well, things have changed. Almost everyone reading this have the capability to be and to do more than Casey Neistat. However, reaching that level of success is no longer an easy ride as it was seven years ago.
The algorithm employed to determine the rank of videos on YouTube has witnessed several changes over the years. It is not difficult to do what Neistat did. In fact, there are more brilliant content today, but the prospects of making them go viral via YouTube is considerably lower except for already highly performing YouTube video channels.
YouTube stopped the promotion of videos from low performing YouTube channels. From the platform’s market share to the number of videographers and the enormous growth in the number of users, YouTube has become less concerned with advertising or the promotion of new content creators. Rather, the platform is more inclined towards safety and trust. This means YouTube will not promote any video that they are not assured of its successful channel has therefore made it an exclusive reserve for the big gamers.
You can make it big on YouTube but the grind to success is tougher today with a lot of competition and terms of service to deal with.
The rules have changed, but more importantly, you can still attain a great deal of success by using YouTube SEO to build a great YouTube channel for yourself.
Now, more than ever, you need to take the bull by the horn instead of waiting on YouTube to promote your video by luck/ You have to determine a workable YouTube SEO Strategy.Keeping your videos aligned with the parameters of YouTube’s algorithm determines the high rank of your video.
Without further ado, let’s have look at the important YouTube SEO KPIs that will notch your videos up their ranks:
- YouTube Retention Rate
This is the most important Key Performance Indicator (KPI) on YouTube. It measures the interest of viewers in the content of your video by checking how much time they spend watching the content before moving on. The retention rate creates a clear picture of your viewer’s engagement. YouTube’s algorithm will feed off this data to determine the rank of your video. This will spell badly if only a few viewers watch the entire video.
How do you understand this audience retention rate for yourself? On your YouTube Analytics Dashboard, the Audience Retention Report is available.
Take a look at this analytics data of an 11 minute long video to understand the retention rate:
The graph above describes just how the viewers interacted with the video. You can see that a large portion of the views started to get lower from the 15 seconds mark which is considerably expected. On mark 5:11, the retention rate was at 46% and this remained until the tail of the video. Therefore, the average audience retention rate measured for this video is 55% whereas the average view duration is 6:02, which implies that half of the audience remained glued to the video and only clicked away at the end.
A retention rate of 40% and above is very good and signals YouTube’s algorithm to push up the video’s rank on their search result pages. A 35% retention rate is average and anything below doesn’t stand much chance of getting higher rankings.
What this means is that you have to create videos with content that will make your viewers glued to their screens until the very end of the video. The fewer the people who stick with your videos till the end, the higher your bounce rate will be. An increased bounce rate will rank your videos low and that will lead to even fewer views with time.
By default, a YouTube Channel does not get viewers when it is started afresh. This leaves many with no answers as concerning how to get the retention rate upon which YouTube’s algorithm is premised. We’ll look at this in part 2 of this guide.
- YouTube User Engagement Rate
This metric is very important to the success of any video you upload on YouTube. You must make sure you’re your marketing goals are aligned to this metric to amass full benefits.
Engagements are registered in form of viewers’ interaction with your video. This can be in form of comments, likes or dislikes and it is very important for you to motivate viewers’ responses through your videos. YouTube holds this in high regards as the viewers’ responses are used to determine the level of interest in your content.
User Engagement Rate is neutral and thus aggregate likes and dislikes as indicators for users’ interest in your videos.
Let’s examine some of the things you can do to get people to leave comments, likes or dislikes on your videos:
- Make sure your content is tilted towards stating an opinion. That way, you can easily ask your viewers’ for their own opinion on the subject. Give room for questions also.
- The more cryptic the messages you intend to pass in your videos sound and appear inconclusive, the more interest your viewers’ develop in your video. Do not box your viewers’ with your interpretation of the topic. Rather draw them in to contribute by leaving your videos open-ended.
- Do not leave your viewers’ comments hanging. You must ensure to reply their comments to keep the conversation going.
- Allow rooms for your viewers’ to contribute to the matter by leaving some parts of the information out of the video deliberately. From the comments, the users will tend to provide the additional information once it interests them. Be careful of controversial topics because, they tend to pose a great deal of problems for you with time. The problems associated with controversial topics will be discussed in part 4 of this guideline.
- YouTube Title of Your Video
The title of your video has two major advantages. The first one is: keywords. Every search engine is premised upon keywords. YouTube’s search engine functions in the same way Google functions. The practice among many popular YouTubers shows that they do not readily pay attention to keyword research and SEO-related YouTube elements like the video’s title. You see some rather queer titles such as “Oh my… what’s that?” raking millions of views, whereas, such titles do not fit from a SEO perspective—and you begin to wonder how the video gained high rankings without a keyword in the first place.
Well, channels enjoying such freewill from YouTube have earned YouTube’s full SEO trust already. Majority of such channels a high YouTube SEO rank, so it is important for YouTube to promote their content without having to recourse to her never-satisfied parameters. However, this does not spell well for new entrants to the YouTube scene.
For your new channel, you cannot afford to abandon keywords for your videos.
Also, your popularity in the real world and on other social media platforms does not really count here. YouTube is a selfish platform, and you must ensure that you specify their ranking requirements before you get ranked. Without having a presence on YouTube’s search results, no one will see your video.
The second importance of SEO is in the area of user intent and motivation to watch your video. When a viewer checks out your video’s title, the first thing they want to check is if it resonates with them. Coming in contact with your video from their social network pages or from search engine results is not enough to spur an intended viewer to click on your video. We will discuss the importance of titles at length in the sequel to this part 1. In the next part, I will show you how to come up with a title that will get your videos ranked higher.
But how do you exactly develop video content with the most searched topics? The Google Keyword Planner is an invaluable tool that will give you adequate insights into user interactions with certain keywords.
Check out some of the tips below:
Keywords with high search volumes are usually very competitive. If you use these kinds of keywords, they have a high chance of not contributing any significant impact. This is because many other channels will use the same keywords. It is very dicey because if you use keywords with low search volumes, you may not attract many viewers. The best way is to use a proper combination of high, low and medium search volume keywords in the video’s title.
The best bet will be to look for high search volume keywords with little or no topics produced from the keywords. That will be a huge boost for your YouTube SEO. For videos in particular, keywords in the title is critical for SEO.
- YouTube Frequency of Uploads
The final pointis very important and may be the most challenging of all my points so far. A channel with millions of subscribers will amount to nothing if videos with very good content are not uploaded on the channel regularly. If you are just starting out with your channel, then you should know that growth cannot happen without regular content. Churning out regular content on your channel signals YouTube’s algorithm to consider your channel for higher rankings. Only with time, you can earn the YouTube SEO trust. Once this is in place, you can then set a schedule for your videos at a smaller pace. Regular uploads are the price to pay for YouTube’s SEO success.
While the onus is on you to churn out content regularly, you must make sure that it isn’t done without order. Be concerned about the quality of the videos as this will be your yardstick for a long time. The easy way out is pre-production of the videos. Refrain from publishing all the videos at once because your focus is in the direction of gaining YouTube’s trust long term. When you keep at this, YouTube will be compelled to rank some of your videos slowly at first, but you will eventually get users to watch your videos and thus a retention rate.
The views will come swirling in almost at a time you do not expect as reward for your hard work. This is where you know that you have gained a higher YouTube SEO trust.
If after you get this reward, and you slow down on the quality of your videos, your viewers will bounce and you will most definitely lose the channel rank, which is such a tough task to build again. Starting out with YouTube requires devotion to high-quality videos even without almost no results at first; you must stick to it, to get your rewards in the end.
Let’s talk about a few other KPIs.
- YouTube Video Tags
Tags do not really hold water on YouTube anymore since YouTube’s algorithm was developed to automatically mine texts from videos and user comments. Tags are not as important anymore but it doesn’t hurt if you add a few appropriate tags to your videos.
- YouTube Video Description
YouTube doesn’t pay too much attention to video descriptions anymore. Infusing the high volume keywords in your videos description will not do so much for your videos’ rank. However, there is another way you can utilize your video descriptionin—I will talk about this in part 2.
The number of subscribers you have on your channel isn’t one of the factors considered for ranking. The benefits of your subscribers however will be highlighted in part 2 of this guide.
- User Intent / User Expectation
YouTube’s algorithm is not the only determinant for higher ranks. Users expect to see videos with an incredible amount of effort put into the videos. As you aspire to meet the requirements of the algorithm, you also need to be concerned about the users’ expectation and users’ intent known as UX/UI.
When you stick to these guidelines, YouTube will inevitably start to promote and rank your videos after a couple months. However, to sustain the rankings and promotion, users must become viewers by clicking on your video.
In the next post “How to Get More Views on YouTube“, I’m describing the elements that have to be integrated into your your YouTube Videos and channel to catch the attention of the users.