11 Simple SEO Steps for YouTube Video Optimization

11 Simple SEO Steps for YouTube Video Optimization

By Chad PollittOct 18 /2011

YouTube Google SEODeploying on-page SEO for video assets on YouTube is pretty straight forward once a primary keyword phrase is defined. It’s also a critical step for getting videos to show up in blended searches on Google while providing yet another SEO tactic for inbound marketers. Following the below steps will give videos the best shot at ranking well on YouTube and Google. Ultimately however, the quality of the content in the video will give it the best shot for ranking well.

  1. File Name - Admittedly, this is merely a hunch. There’s no specific evidence to prove that the original file name of an uploaded video has an effect on how the video ranks. However, it only takes a couple seconds to change the video file name so it contains the primary keyword phrase.
  2. Title – The recommended rules for video titles are similar to the known SEO rules for website page titles. Try to keep it less than 70 characters and try to include the primary keyword phrase in the beginning of the title. Also, always try to include the word “Video” in the title for those people specifically looking for videos on Google.
  3. Description – This area is similar to the meta description of a website page. When possible, keep this area less than 150 characters and always include the primary keyword phrase. Also, it’s ok to include a link to additional content relevant to the video. The link is a no-follow, but the traffic it can drive may help the website it links to overtime and helps build a brand's social media infrastructure.
  4. Tags– Similar to meta keywords, try to keep the keyword list at 10 or less. Include variations of the primary keyword phrase.


    YouTube SEO
  5. Privacy – If the video isn’t public it will not show up in search results.
  6. License – It is recommended to use the Creative Commons license. This means that others may copy, distribute and create derivative works from the video, but only if they give credit through attribution. Attribution sometimes takes the form of a backlink and can expose the content to more viewers. The video will be available in the YouTube video editor.


    YouTube Optimization
  7. Comments, Voting, Responses & Ratings– These represent social signals to Google. By allowing the above a conversation around the video content can occur. The more social signals the better.


    SEO YouTube
  8. Embedding – The more embeds a video has the more opportunity it has to be viewed. In addition, when a video is embedded on another website it represents a vote of confidence to Google that the content is indeed legitimate because it is worthy to be posted elsewhere.
  9. Syndication– By allowing syndication the video will have a broader potential audience (i.e. mobile, TV, etc.). The more views the better.


    Optimizing YouTube Videos
  10. Annotations– Content added to a video via this option is indexable. As long as the annotations add value to the video it’s a good place to place keyword phrases.


    YouTube Annotations SEO
  11. Captions– Aside from the obvious, assisting the hearing impaired, captions are indexable and represent a good opportunity for optimization.


    YouTube Caption SEO

As mentioned in the beginning of the post, the quality of the video content will be the ultimate driver of search rankings. If the video content is poor no one will bother to watch it, let alone leave a comment, vote, respond, subscribe, share it, use it for attribution or embed it. However, following the above steps in conjunction with posting good video content will provide the best chance to rank well on Google and YouTube.

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