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YouTube SEO Cheat Sheet For Marketers

Abhilash from InVideo
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5 min

You spent a lot of time making a good video, getting every little detail right. Right from its inception to execution. You are all set to be the next YouTube sensation.

But, not really…

For you to become the next viral thing on the internet, your videos need to be the first thing people see when they search for related terms. In today’s video-heavy world, just making a good video doesn’t ensure viral views. To rank higher in YouTube’s search results, you will need to up your video SEO game.

If you are just starting your video journey, YouTube SEO or video SEO can feel like a black box. Let’s break this down into layman terms.

Imagine a carefully organized, law-firm filing cabinet.

The files are categorized in separate cabinets into past and current cases, sub-categorized on different shelves based on the type of case, each file labeled with relevant information like client name, date, etc. on the top of the file. And a master file that contained a list of all files with their categories, sub-categories, and other information. Imagine, how easy would it be to find a specific file.

YouTube SEO, or any SEO, works the same way. Only instead of a master file, the search engine has something called crawlers, which go through the metadata of each video or file and give you the most relevant results. Now, all you need to do is file your videos under the right categories, sub-categories, and labels.

Below are 6 basic steps to help you get started and get into a habit of optimizing for each video you upload. So that your channel keeps growing while you are making more awesome content. Make this basic YouTube search engine optimization rules your best friends, and realize your dream to be a digital rockstar.

Let’s get to it!

Step 1: Adding relevant tags

Tags are like labels on the files. When you add tags to your videos, it is easier for crawlers to find out what your video is about and then provide the video to anybody searching for something similar. This is why using the most appropriate and most popular search terms from YouTube and Ahrefs in your tags is important. That’s YouTube SEO – lesson 1.

Enter the search term closest to your video in YouTube’s search bar. Check out the top 10 suggestions in the drop-down (as shown in the screenshot below). Choose keywords that appear in most search terms.

Youtube top 10 suggestions in the drop-down

Ahrefs is, hands down, one of the best tools out there that allows you to find the top search terms. It also gives you the volume of searches against each word. Select the one that suits your video best.

Follow these steps: Keywords Explorer > Select YouTube and country as US > Enter your search term and see the keywords it recommends.

Pick a combination of the 20 best keywords from these platforms and use them in your tags.

Step 2: Title

Your YouTube SEO results depend a lot on how well you optimize the title of your video.

Out of the 20 keywords you have from the above exercise, choose the top 2-3 keywords, and include them in your title. Once you have that down, go back to YouTube and check out the title structure of the top 5 stories with that search term.

Taking an example from the above screenshot, if your primary keyword is “Fatima Sana Shaikh interview, put those exact keywords in YouTube’s search bar and examine how the top 5 titles have been crafted. Are they statements, questions, quotes, do they include a striking feature from the interview?

Design your title along similar lines. Another thing to keep in mind when writing your title is to keep it under 70 characters. This makes sure that your title doesn’t get cropped.

Step 3: Keywords

This field will include all your 20 keywords in the order of their priority and relevance.

Step 4: Description

As is clear from the name, you need to describe what your video is about in the character limit provided. The only thing you need to remember is to use your top 10 keywords in this space. Use them in a way that makes sense. The description helps your audience understand your content more clearly and helps YouTube’s crawlers to identify your video easily.

You can also provide links to your content on other social media platforms like your Facebook page, Instagram profile, website, etc. This helps your audience find more of your content and helps you get more viewership on other platforms as well

Step 5: Thumbnail

Create a thumbnail that best describes your video in one image. Use an image that will most likely get someone to click. Preferably, use your title in the thumbnail. Here is an example.

thumbnail example

Step 6: Transcript

A transcript of your video helps YouTube’s crawlers to validate its subject. You don’t need to go out of your way to create a transcript. The script you use to create your InVideo can easily be converted into a transcript for your YouTube SEO needs. You will need to upload a transcript for each video that you upload on your channel.

Once you have uploaded your video, go to YouTube Studio. On the left-hand side, select the Transcriptions tab. Find your video and upload the transcript file for it in .txt format.

Doesn’t seem like a black box anymore, does it?

It is incredible to think of how far we have come with respect to video SEO just in the past decade. We have gone from fundamental keyword research to incredibly complex techniques that run the gamut of on-page, off-page, and technical SEO.

The points listed in this guide should help you cover most, if not all, the bases. Whether you want to create content that outranks your competitors or publish posts that are keyword-rich

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