Searchmetrics revealed in their “2019 SEO Year-End Review” presentation that YouTube has recently surpassed Wikipedia for the #1 spot in Google’s SERPs, which means you’re going to want to optimize content both for Google and YouTube!
How to Optimize Videos for Google and YouTube?
First, you have to optimize videos for YouTube. YouTube’s algorithm works differently when the videos are brand new and when they are older than six weeks. Once YouTube has more data on watch time, optimizing your metadata (the titles, tags, and descriptions) becomes less important.
You also have to optimize your videos for Google’s universal search algorithm, and Google made 3,234 “improvements” to search in 2018.
So, what is it that you can do?
1. Great Content for Both YouTube & Google viewers
What’s the difference between these two audiences?
The YouTube audience is usually early adopters and influencers, meaning that they are the first among their peer group to try a new product. You generally need your primary audience to discover and engage in your content on YouTube before the secondary audience will see it in a Google SERP.
The exceptions are captivating videos on TV that people hear about and then go searching for on Google and YouTube. All in all, you have to create great YouTube content or TV content that would be uploaded to YouTube if you want it to appear in Google’s SERPs.
2. Descriptive and Accurate Metadata & Thumbnails
Unfortunately, the two most significant search engines also have different algorithms.
– Conduct keyword research to discover what your audiences want to watch or find out. Use one of these two tools: Google Trends has both Google and YouTube search data. This will enable you to see if there is an existing search interest in the keywords that you plan to use for optimized titles, tags, and descriptions for your video. Search interest trends on YouTube can be different than on Google. The second tool is Keyword Tool & Keyword Tool for YouTube, which use the autocomplete features on Google and YouTube to generate relevant long-tail keywords.
You need to discover terms and phrases that will help your videos get found on both YouTube and Google, so that narrows your list of tools you can use drastically.
-Use Inviting Titles for Videos That Accurately Represent the Content
Traditional YouTube SEO advice recommends that you include relevant keywords in the title. A study by Justin Briggs found that this advice was still valid, but he came to a more nuanced conclusion. The study found that exact match keywords can help, but are not required, and that there is a correlation between title length and ranking performance. The highest-ranking videos had titles that were 20-40 characters long.
-Write Detailed Descriptions and Use Video SEO Best Practices
The above-mentioned study shows that there is a positive correlation between broad match keyword usage in descriptions and ranking. It is not as necessary as including keywords in the title but it is still highly recommended.
The study also found that a lengthy description was helpful, but to a certain point. The recommended number would be between 200 and 350 words. Now, only the first few sentences of your description will appear in search results – so pay special attention to them!
-Use a High Number of Related Video Tags
Although Google does not use the keywords meta tag in web ranking, YouTube uses tags to help users find the videos they want to watch. The influence of tags is based on different factors, such as how closely the tags are related to each other on one topic. Briggs recommends using around 200 to 300 characters here.
-Create Thumbnails That Represent Your Content in the Best Way
Make sure you have a visually strong image that pops, which will make a viewer click on your video instead of your competitor’s.
3. Keep the Audience’s Interest by Using Video Best Practices
Make an inviting opening to your videos to create interest right from the beginning and maintain it throughout the video. You also have to learn storytelling techniques.
Briggs found that viewers like longer, but not too long, videos, so we recommend somewhere between 4:30 and 16:00 minutes. This point is crucial since watch time is an important ranking factor!
The study also found that channels with higher subscriber counts also had higher rankings. Engage your audience, ask questions, encourage comments, and interact with the viewers.
Publish content frequently and on a regular basis, which will keep your viewers’ interest and impact YouTube’s algorithm.
Most SEOs haven’t taken advantage of the best practices for video trend yet. Five out of six SEOs still don’t think video SEO is part of their job. Also, many organizations put SEO and YouTube marketing in different parts of the organization. Most importantly, it looks like many companies think that they are not capable of creating the kind of great content that popular YouTube Creators created in 2019.
The possible solution here is: if your company can’t create the kind of content that popular YouTube Creators do, then you can always sponsor their next video!