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So you’ve decided to add YouTube videos to your content repertoire. Great, why not?
Online users love videos. In fact, 4x as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it. What’s more, YouTube is the king of video with more than one billion users. That means a lot of eyeballs.
Except, there’s a problem. Making videos is one thing, and getting people to find and watch them is another thing. If you’ve tried your hand at YouTube marketing, you’d quickly realize that it’s not that simple.
Like any other type of content, YouTube videos need to be optimized so that users can find them through search and within YouTube itself.
So how do you go about it?
First, understand that you can’t optimize a bad video
Even if people do watch, they would stop watching as soon as they started. And this will affect the overall performance of your channel in the long run. So before we dive into how to make your videos get found, let’s just take a moment to cover ground on what a great YouTube video looks like.
What makes a good video?
Perhaps you’ve heard this before, but it still holds true. The sound of your video matters more than the video itself. Users can forgive a not-so-great picture quality, but they have little patience for poor sound.
Head over to YouTube now and peek at the comments. Although professional YouTubers make great videos, many of the videos uploaded to YouTube are crappy, and viewers vent their dissatisfaction via comments.
Keep in mind that these are users who have the time to spare comments. Most would simply click the back button and pick another video.
Have a clear, helpful message. Video is still content and you’re producing it for a target audience.
Your message should resonate with that audience. Aim to hook your viewers within the first 15 seconds. Link-building expert Brian Dean recommends using the PPP method: Preview, Proof, Preview.
Preview: First, give the viewer a hint of what the video is all about as soon as the video starts.
Proof: Then, establish proof that you know what you’re talking about and can deliver on the topic.
Preview: Finally, reiterate what the video is about, this time adding a specific detail that the viewer will learn.
Clearly, this means that you have to plan your videos ahead of time and script what you want to say. Without a plan, you’ll not only waste time repeating shots, you may also come across as not being confident.
In the end, visual quality matters. In addition to editing your video for background noise and other distortions, you should add great graphics too. These help to add variety between frames and make for more engagement.
Elements to optimize
YouTube search is a straightforward video search engine that mirrors that of Google. When optimizing YouTube videos, you’ll need to pay attention to these three important elements:
Identify your keyword
You probably already know that keywords are crucial to online visual content getting found, but the truth is, 9 out of 10 searchers make use of search engines when looking for something online, while the latter uses an algorithm that relies heavily on keywords.
Make sure your target keyword appears in the title to increase visibility. Also, sprinkle your keywords sparingly in both your meta and tags. This is your focus keyword or phrase. It is what the entire piece will be centered around.
Experts advise that you spend as much time you spend creating the video on devising your headline. It is safe to say it is the most important piece of information in your entire content.
An average video with an eye-popping headline will lure huge amount of viewers, while the best content with a dull headline would struggle to get a few clicks. Simply put, your headline should be short (not more than 66 characters so that Google will display it easily), intriguing and compelling.
A full description is necessary to help viewers understand what the video is about. Just keep in mind that most people don’t read the descriptions; they are more interested in the video. Keep the descriptions short and succinct.
Although tags are not compulsory, they help YouTube associate your video with text. The tip here is to keep tags to a minimum and avoid irrelevant tags.
A short description and tags on a YouTube video
Other elements to look out for
Custom thumbnails that are consistent with your videos will help you create a memorable brand that your target audience can easily identify. To get custom thumbnails for your videos, your account needs to be verified.
Subtitles and Closed Captions (CC)
It has been suggested that closed captions can boost YouTube SEO. Discovery Digital Networks found an overall increase of 7.32% in views for captioned videos. Subtitles and closed captions also allow viewers to watch the video in various places such as a noisy or quiet environment.
Encourage user engagement and feedback
User interaction with videos is an important metric by which YouTube judges and ranks videos according to relevance and quality.
One metric is watch time, which YouTube defines as “the amount of time that a viewer has watched a video. This gives you a sense of what content viewers actually watch (as opposed to videos that they click on and then abandon).”
We have already mentioned engaging the viewer within the first 15 seconds, and keeping up the engagement throughout the duration of the video. Here are some other ways you can encourage user engagement with your video:
Add a Call to Action
Use a Call to Action (CTA) to encourage users to like, subscribe or comment on your videos.
Make use of YouTube cards
YouTube cards come in handy here. You can use channel cards to encourage your users to subscribe to your channel or like your video. Link cards can be used to send users to your website or other pages.
Add an end screen
Like cards, end screens can also be used to drive engagement with your channel. According to YouTube, “end screens are a part of the video that shows during the last 5-20 seconds of a video.
You can add up to four elements to promote your content, channel, and websites. Elements can expand to show more information on hover on desktop and on tap on mobile devices.”
YouTube is a great content channel. To make the most of it, videos should be optimized not only for search but also for users. And there are several elements to look out for when optimizing videos.
One thing to always remember is that to find the most effective method, you need to regularly A/B test to determine what works best for you.
What will help your SEO most: hosting your videos on YouTube, another platform, or your website? Find out here.
The post Which Video Hosting Website Is Best for SEO? by @jennyhalasz appeared first on Search Engine Journal.
Video is booming as a content marketing medium.
People love watching videos online, and producing great video content is quickly becoming one of the most surefire ways to command attention and grow a following. In fact, by 2019, video is expected to drive an astonishing 80% of all internet traffic.
Clearly, it’s important for businesses to start working on their video content sooner rather than later. And while producing great content is essential, that’s only half the battle. For your videos to benefit your business, people have to be able to find them, and that involves optimization.
So which video search engines should you focus on optimizing for? This article will explore the differences between YouTube and Google Videos, the two biggest video search engines on the web.
Keep reading to learn more about the types of traffic these search engines will bring you – and why your videos might rank well in one but not the other.
How do people find your videos?
There’s no shortage of video search engines and video hosting sites on the Internet. YouTube, of course, is the web’s video giant, with 300 hours of new video uploaded every minute. Other video hosting sites like Daily Motion and Vimeo also get a significant amount of traffic.
Social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat incorporate short video into their platforms as well. Social videos are gaining steam, and they may become a threat to YouTube in the future. For now, though, YouTube still dominates the online video world the way that Google dominates other search engines.
And while plenty of video searches happen through Google, most of them return YouTube videos. If you produce video content, there’s a good chance your watchers are finding you either through YouTube’s built-in search function or through Google Videos searches.
Google Videos returns mostly (but not exclusively) results from YouTube. This search for “video content marketing” also returned a video from lynda.com.
Comparing YouTube and Google Videos searches
If you search for the same keyword on YouTube and Google Videos, how similar will your results be? Not that similar, as it turns out. Take a look at the following example. Here are the first few results from a Google Videos search for “how to improve video SEO”:
The top Google Videos results for the query “how to improve video SEO”
And here are the first few results for the same query on YouTube:
The top YouTube results for the query “how to improve video SEO”
In this case, there’s no overlap at all between the top four results. Clearly, these two search engines don’t use the same criteria for ranking videos.
“Wait a minute,” you might say. “Doesn’t Google own YouTube?” Yes it does. In fact, Google has owned YouTube for more than ten years. However, the two sites serve distinct purposes. Someone who visits YouTube probably isn’t looking for the same thing as someone who types a question into Google.
Thanks to this difference in user intent, Google Videos and YouTube don’t use the same algorithms to rank videos, so it makes sense to think about them as two different search engines.
Why YouTube and Google Videos display different results
Earlier this year, Stone Temple released a study that found that YouTube and Google Videos return different top results for the same query more than half of the time. In fact, the more YouTube results show up in a Google Videos query, the more dramatically Google’s results differ from YouTube’s.
Stone Temple found that the more YouTube videos appear in Google Videos results, the more results for that query vary between the two search engines. Source
The study goes on to explore the reasons behind these differences. In a nutshell, it comes down to both user intent and monetization.
Google as a video search engine
When someone goes to Google, they tend to be looking for something specific. They want to find out how to do something, track down a particular fact, or research the difference between several options. Google is most often used as a tool for finding other things, not as a medium in itself.
The videos Google displays tend to be to-the-point and useful. Google’s video results tend to favor how-tos and other specific, immediate resources. Videos made for entertainment purposes are probably less likely to rank highly in Google, although of course this is dependent on the search query and the individual video.
Google also places a great deal of importance on user satisfaction, since that’s what keeps people coming back. Thus, they’re likely to favor higher-quality videos over lower-quality ones, even if the creators of those lower-quality videos are bidding higher in AdWords than their competitors.
Of course, “quality” is a vague and somewhat subjective metric, and Google is famously tight-lipped about how their algorithm determines quality. The important thing to understand, though, is that Google won’t sacrifice good results for more ad money.
YouTube as a video search engine
On the whole, people go to YouTube to find entertainment. Google wants to solve people’s problems and send them on their way as quickly as possible, but YouTube wants to keep users watching.
This is partly because view time is an indicator of a video’s quality. If people stick around and watch a whole video, it’s a good sign that that video is interesting, useful, or entertaining. View time also tends to be correlated with user satisfaction. People who find and watch lots of enjoyable, high-quality videos will probably keep coming back to YouTube.
Longer videos favored
For YouTube, view time is also linked to making money. The longer someone watches a video, the more ads YouTube gets to show them. This is also why YouTube tends to favor longer videos over shorter ones in its rankings.
These differences shed some light on why Google Videos and YouTube use different algorithms, but unfortunately, we still don’t know exactly what the differences between those algorithms are. Considering how closely Google guards its secrets, we’re not likely to find out anytime soon, either.
In the meantime, though, it’s important not to forget that the two search engines often have a lot of overlap in their results, even though they’re not exactly the same. Thus, it stands to reason that there are some general principles for ranking well in both places.
How to rank well on video search engines
First, and most obviously, create great content. Your bounce rate says a lot about the quality of your videos. If a lot of people hit the “back” button within the first ten seconds of a video, YouTube and Google will both assume it’s not very good. So do your best to start each video with a compelling opening, and then give people a reason to keep watching.
Include plenty of text-based information with your video. Search engines can’t watch a video and determine what it’s about, but they can read the accompanying text. Your title is important – it should be descriptive and use your main keyword, preferably at the beginning.
Take the time to write an in-depth description of your video as well. Captions and transcripts aren’t necessary to include, but they improve accessibility, and they could give you a keyword boost. Finally, tag your video with some useful and relevant tags.
Getting views and comments will help your rankings, but don’t be tempted to purchase these. YouTube has gotten smarter about figuring out when views and comments are fake. Promote your content through social media to get more engagement, and be patient – if you do great work, people will discover it in time.
So, which is better: YouTube or Google Videos?
At the end of the day, it’s hard to say whether YouTube is “better” than Google Videos, or vice versa. The two search engines tend to be used differently, but both of them are very popular, and both of them are valuable sources of traffic if you optimize your videos correctly.
The type of content you create could have an impact on your rankings in each search engine. For instance, if you make short videos geared towards answering specific questions, you might have an easier time gaining traction in Google. If you make longer, more entertainment-focused videos, you might see better results from YouTube. This is far from a hard-and-fast rule, though.
The main thing to remember? High-quality videos have a good chance of doing well in both search engines, regardless of other factors. We don’t know exactly which metrics Google Videos and YouTube use to determine rankings, but we do know viewers prefer well-made, informative, and entertaining videos.
Focus on making the best video content you can, and you’ll probably find that your rankings take care of themselves.
Have you noticed a difference in your videos’ rankings between different video search engines? Share your observations in the comments!
Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer for NoRiskSEO, a full service SEO agency, and a contributor to SEW. You can connect with Amanda on Twitter and LinkedIn, or check out her services at amandadisilvestro.com.