YouTube is now the second largest search engine after Google (Forrester). The platform allows brands and companies to use interesting levers in terms of notoriety, but also referencing.
And for good reason: video is a very popular format, which can be perfectly integrated into a relevant content strategy.
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However, producing good quality videos and uploading them to YouTube is not enough. To be well referenced on YouTube, you must follow referencing rules similar to those in force for textual content, such as blog articles, for example. Here is how to optimize the natural referencing of YouTube videos.
YouTube SEO: how to succeed?
- Select relevant keywords.
- Take care of the title of the video.
- Create a good thumbnail.
- Optimize the writing of the description.
- Add tags.
- Integrate call-to-action.
- Manage subscriptions, likes and comments.
- Write subtitles.
- Adapt the duration of the video to the user’s expectations.
- Highlight the added value of video.
- Share the video.
Select keywords that are relevant to the content of your videos
Videos posted on YouTube meet Google’s SEO rules and therefore benefit from good positioning in the search engine results lists.
Like other types of content on the Internet, YouTube videos rank for keywords or queries entered by users. The more searches a query generates, the more competitive it is considered.
So, whether it’s for videos uploaded to YouTube or articles posted regularly on a blog, you have to take into account the importance of keywords. Indeed, they directly reflect the search intent of users and, more precisely, their needs vis-à-vis the content offered.
But that is not enough: competition is another criterion that should not be neglected. This is why it will always be more relevant to offer a video related to a query that does not yet display a video in Google’s search results than to try to find a place on a very competitive query.
Before producing a video, it will be necessary to determine the keywords on which it can be positioned. Concretely, the video will have to formulate a response to these keywords or queries, all linked to a main keyword, which will summarize the content in a global way.
Where can I find the right keywords? There are of course a multitude of SEO tools that allow you to build keyword lists. But the most relevant to start, and the most accessible, is the YouTube search bar. Indeed, it knows the users’ requests perfectly since it is directly linked to the Google algorithm.
Take care of the video title
The SEO criteria are based on Google’s requirements which, in turn, evolve according to users’ expectations. The importance of the title of a video can be compared to that of the Hn tags for editorial web content. When the title of a new YouTube video is entered, it directly fills in the
Of course, the title should include the main keyword if possible. This is the best way to capture a qualified audience, who will want to click on a video that seems to truly answer their questions.
The title of the video should obviously make users want to click, but it should in no way make a promise that is out of proportion to its actual content. By abusing its practices, the risk is to lose SEO score, and therefore to suffer from poor natural referencing, but also to lose the trust of prospects. In short, a catchy and eloquent, relatively neutral video title will be more likely to meet SEO criteria.
Create a good thumbnail
The miniature, also called thumbnail, is the image displayed to the left of the text in the SERPs (search engine results lists, Google and YouTube). Working on the aesthetic aspect of the thumbnail can considerably increase the click rate on a video. Likewise, Google being able to analyze the quality of the thumbnail. It favors images that are attractive and readable for the user.
YouTube asks you to choose the thumbnail in the steps after importing the video. By default, the tool selects an image from the video. But it is strongly recommended to work on the thumbnail on separate graphics software, especially when it comes to professional content.
Optimize the writing of the description
The description box below every YouTube video is still often overlooked by creators for two reasons. The first is that users consult it very little and the second, that not all creators know the value of this text space for the natural referencing of their content.
The description of a video has a simple purpose: it helps explain to Google what is in the video. It must therefore be of sufficient length in order to be able to go into detail and integrate the keywords prepared upstream for the video that one wishes to see referenced. It is therefore necessary to favor a text of 150 to 300 words, with short but descriptive sentences.
The description is also the ideal place to integrate links to other social networks or the company’s website. This makes it possible to engage a qualified audience: only the most interested users will seek this information.
As a social network, YouTube attaches great importance to tags, which is no longer the case with Google for textual content, where the “keywords” meta tag played this role a few years ago.
This does not mean that tags should be abused, however. It is advisable to add about 5. Tags support the keyword strategy. They should therefore understand the main keyword and the secondary keywords.
YouTube gives creators the ability to embed clickable annotations that appear directly on the video. In the context of a professional video that relies on a content marketing strategy, it can be very interesting to use these annotations as a call-to-action.
Thus, it is possible to refer prospects to a downloadable ebook, a landing page or even another video. Be careful, however, not to abuse this feature so as not to interfere with viewing.
Manage subscriptions, likes and comments
Subscriptions, likes and comments are part of the user experience. However, SEO, as technical as it is, relies on user behavior. It therefore attaches a lot of importance to criteria such as the number of subscribers and the number of likes. The audience’s level of responsiveness to a video is of considerable importance for its positioning. This is the reason why many content creators ask their community to subscribe or leave a comment in the dedicated area.
When writing a blog post, Heading 1 is probably not enough. The same is true for the video format, with the difference that the subtitles are not visible in the body of the content. However, if users cannot see them, algorithms attach great importance to them in terms of SEO. It is therefore important to give them access to subtitles whose writing is optimized for SEO.
To add subtitles to a YouTube video, go to the “Video manager” section, then click on “Subtitles”. The YouTube interface then offers to transcribe the video content to extract subtitles. However, this functionality is sometimes imprecise. It is therefore advisable to keep control over writing the subtitles. To do this, just download a file, preferably in .CSV format, containing the subtitles. It can be a video script, in which the keywords have been strategically integrated.
Adapt the duration of the video to the user’s expectations
The duration of the video is also an essential SEO criterion. Based on user expectations and the evolution of behavioral trends on the Internet, SEO favors long content, since it is generally richer and more informative. Google and YouTube consider that the longer a video, the more likely it is to meet user expectations.
In addition, YouTube also takes into account a criterion called “retention rate”, which corresponds to the time of video viewed by the user compared to the total duration of the video. For a video to be considered relevant, the retention rate must be greater than 40%.
The retention rate is a complementary criterion to the absolute duration of the video. For example, YouTube favors a 30% retention rate for a 15-minute video over a 60% retention rate for content that is only 3 minutes long.
Highlight the added value of video
Google and YouTube are able to determine whether a piece of content addresses a topic already covered in a different way and, more generally, to compare it to requests made by users.
Offering a high added value video is therefore a very good way to position yourself strategically vis-à-vis the competition, to capture a qualified audience and to improve your natural referencing.
Share the video
Beyond SEO on Google and YouTube, sharing a video on other social networks is a great way to boost performance. This sharing is part of an effective natural referencing strategy and consolidates the SEO actions already in place.
Most importantly, sharing on social media helps get backlinks. These are links scattered over several sources that link to the video via a hyperlink. They participate in improving the position of a brand or a company.
Among the existing techniques to enrich backlinks, it is, for example, advisable to create a blog article on the same theme as the video, in which we discuss its content without going into details, and to share it on social networks. . Whatever happens, if a video has high added value, it won’t be difficult to convince its audience to share it on a large scale.
To go further, download this e-book on video and video ultra-personalization.discover the process of creating an ultra-personalized video.