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SEO for your YouTube videos

Discussion in 'Strategies & Technique Advice' started by Philip Zeplin, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. Philip Zeplin
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    Quicky Disclaimer: I'm actually in the process of creating an actual product with more indepth information, so I won't go into "hard earned secrets", but I'll cover the very basics.

    SEO = Search Engine Optimization.
    And people on this forum need to start doing it.

    I've been on this forum less than a day, and already I'm being driven absolutely nuts with the wrongful advice and lack of knowledge here. In this post, I'll give you a brief introduction to SEO, and how it relates to your video.


    What is SEO?
    SEO stands for "Search Engine Optimization". It is most commonly used for websites, but has just as big an impact on your videos. What it means, is that you fully optimize your content, so that it can be easily found in search engines. And more importantly, that it ranks higher in search engines than other websites or videos.


    Why is SEO important?
    Why is it NOT? When people find your video or website through searching on Google or YouTube (or other relevant search engine), this is called "Organic Traffic". This is where, if you know just the basics of using SEO, you will get most of your traffic. Optimizing your content properly, means that when someone goes on YouTube and searches "Let's play minecraft" (which gives over 4 million results), your video will be up there on the first page, and not somewhere down on the 11th page (as an example). Literally hundreds of billions of searches are performed every single day.


    What is "Keyword Research"?
    This means that you research what it is you want to rank for. After all, your new awesome guitar tutorial has no relevance to showing up in a search for "Cute cat videos". So what you need to do, is go and find out what keywords you actually want to rank for. How do you do this? You use either the Google Keyword Tool or the YouTube Keyword Tool. The key to finding a good keyword, is to find one that has a lot of searches, but not a lot of competition. For instance "Guitar tutorial" is going to be hard to rank for: there's already millions (quite literally) of videos with "Guitar tutorial" in their title. But what about "Left-handed guitar picking tutorial"? Now that might be interesting.


    How do I optimize for SEO?
    Ok, so now that you have a basic idea what this is all about, we need to talk about actually optimizing your content for it. As I said, I can't give out everything (I've done several case studies), but here are the very basics:
    Make sure that your keyword(s) are in your title. Make sure that you have used tags relevant to your keyword in your video. Make sure that your EXACT keyword pops up SEVERAL TIMES in your video description. Make sure your video is in a playlist that ALSO has the keywords in it.


    How do I optimize further?
    Further more, make sure that the first two lines of your description are interesting and attention grabbing. This what will show up when people search for the video. Also, make sure that you have an attention grabbing and inviting thumbnail, as this is also what shows up when people see the video in searches. Think about it like this: even if you manage to rank high in a search result, if no one wants to click on your video, it doesn't matter.


    What can you achieve with proper SEO?
    One of the case studies I did, was for a friends channel. He has solid quality videos in every aspect, but gets very few views. We took a video that had been receiving zero views for the majority days over the last month. After properly optimizing it (which only took an hour or so for me), it now gets around 80 views a day, consistently. I myself have videos that get over 1000 views a day, purely from searches and related videos from other users.

    Below is a screenshot (I apologize, but I can't show more right now) of the views he achieved on his video, after I properly optimized it (and this is only "on-video" optimization, no off-site optimization done).
    [​IMG]

    Further reading!
    I suggest you jump on google and type in stuff like "What is SEO" or "How to optimize SEO" or "Best SEO practices" and spend an hour or two reading up on it. It's a pretty intense subject, and people make a living off just doing SEO for others, businesses exist around it, so I don't expect you to become an expert. But knowing just the bare basics of how ranking works in YouTube and Google will save you a lot of headaches.


    So please!
    STOP saying "there is no magic way to get views" - there is, it's called proper SEO. Stop saying "just make good content!" or silly "be active on social media" BS. It's inefficient advice at best (works well for BIG YouTubers though, with tens of thousands of subs, aka an already existing big following), and it's just blatantly wrong at worst. When people say "mention it on your website/social media/blablabla to help get views", what they might not realize is that what they are doing isn't actually getting views from the website/page/whatever, but creating what is called "backlinks" to the video, which helps it rank better.


    I hope this will help some of the newcommers here, or even more established people (who seem proud to get 500 views a video? Really? Over a month, there's no excuse not to get over 1000 views minimum, for a video you're willing to put time into). Best of luck with your future SEO and keyword research!

    And last, who am I to tell you this?
    I have a Masters (and before that, Bachelors, of course) degree in Visual Communication from the Royal Danish Art Academy, I spent 6 months before that studying Marketing Economics at the Copenhagen Business School, I've done YouTube for 6 years (over several channels), and I've studied SEO techniques over the last 2 years.
     
  2. unknown_userr433436365
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    Great Thread for those who`ve never heard/researched SEO before!! :)
     
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  3. Daniel
    YTtalk's Juicy Lemon
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    Thanks, this may prove useful. :)
     
  4. Philip Zeplin
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    Hopefully! Sadly, many people (not just on YouTube, but bloggers etc.) don't know the slightest thing about SEO, even though it is probably the single biggest factor in determining how many views the average person gets.
    If you put it to good use, I can outright promise it will be useful :)
     
  5. F*CKINGENIOUS
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    It's great that you want to help us achive a greater degree of success on YouTube but I definutly feel like you could have been less patronizing about it. In fact the whole feeling I get is that is was your exact agenda to come on here tell us we're wrong and provide the correct answer. Again not saying your suggestions aren't helpful but they could have been presented in a more humble way.
     
  6. TwinTails
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    Looks like a good read, I'll get to it when I have time! Thanks for sharing :cool:
     
  7. Philip Zeplin
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    I'm certainly not trying to be patronizing. But I'm also not gonna sit around and sweet talk people, that are posting things that are outright wrong. People that say "the only way to get more views is to keep making good content" are practically damning someone into months of hard labour with no solid results. I must say that, frankly, I've been quite shocked at some of the posts made here. I had originally assumed this forum would have been filled with tons of knowledge about YouTube (considering that's what it's supposed to be), but an incredible amount of posts are giving really bad advice.
    I don't do humble. Not that I'm trying to be arrogant either, don't get me wrong, I'm not out to p**s anybody off. In fact, I originally came to this forum to ask a question (which was never answered, sadly). But I'm not gonna sit around and talk to people like they are 12 year old kids (except the ones that are... they are excused!). You're adults. You're supposed to be able to deal with constructive criticism. When you say something wrong, you should expect to be called out on it.

    It's not exactly the most enjoyable and fun read, so get some coffee ;)
     
  8. TwinTails
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    Heh okay, I don't drink coffee though so I'll grab some tea and biscuits instead :p
     
  9. Philip Zeplin
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    Oooh, with some milk in the tea too :D
     
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  10. SubjectSarah
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    Wow, that is an awesome post, thank you so much for taking the time to write such an informative and useful article! :) I'll have to bookmark this thread for future reference.
     

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