When growing your YouTube channel, it’s often easier to focus on creating more content than optimizing it for YouTube search engine. However, that’s not how it works.
In this article, I’ll share the exact strategy I used to find keywords and optimize my video “How to edit EPS vector file in PowerPoint 2016”:
- to rank number 1 on Google
- to rank number 1 on YouTube
- to gain 55,000 views with no subscribers
If you search for “edit EPS with PowerPoint” (a keyword my video is optimized for) on YouTube or Google, my video shows up as the first in the list of results. Ranking high for a keyword is important because the first few videos on the search results page get the most clicks and views. Therefore, your goal should be getting your video to rank in the top 3-5 results for the keywords you have chosen.
How YouTube ranks videos
Before we begin, you should understand that YouTube videos are ranked based on a variety of factors: relevant keywords (in their title, description, and video content), as well as the quality of the video that is determined by user engagement (number of views, likes, dislikes, subscribers, comments and other related factors). Watch this video to get a better understanding of how the YouTube algorithm works and what YouTube suggests you can do to give your videos the best chance for success.
However, in short, you need to focus on two main criteria:
- Relevant keywords for your video
According to JumpShot, YouTube is the world’s 2nd most popular search engine that is used by millions of people every day to find videos about marketing, business, sports, makeup, crafts, and more. If you optimize your videos around the keywords that your audience is using to find videos on your topic; your video has a high chance to show up at the top of the search results.
- High user engagement
YouTube is interested in keeping viewers on their platform for as much time as they can. They don’t care if these are your videos or your competitor’s as long as they keep people engaged. That’s because more video views lead to more ads shown and results in higher revenue for YouTube. Therefore, if your videos are engaging, YouTube will reward you with visibility.
YouTube + Google = Double Effect in Search Results
Most probably, you have noticed that when you search for something on Google, very often you will see YouTube videos in the top search results. These are the most relevant and popular YouTube videos that are optimized for the keyword you have typed in the Google search bar.
It means if you manage to rank in the top three for a particular keyword on YouTube, your video will also be displayed in the top of Google search results when somebody searches for your keyword. Therefore, you will get more reach and video views from both platforms.
Consider this when you are choosing topic and keywords for your next YouTube video because that way, you can double your reach and audience.
So, what strategy I used to rank for the top results on Google and YouTube?
Disclaimer! In order not to reveal my own keywords and tags, I’m going to use other keywords as examples to illustrate my strategy. However, I will show you the exact steps, tools and considerations I used to rank my video “How to edit EPS vector file in PowerPoint 2016” on YouTube and Google.
One important thing before we jump in; I’m not suggesting that what I’m about to tell you is the ONLY way to rank on YouTube. Every niche and YouTube channel are different, and some strategies that work great for me might not work great for you and vice versa.
That being said, there are several principles throughout this case study that you can apply to pretty much any video you’ll ever publish on YouTube.
Let’s dive in.
Find a practical problem to solve in a tutorial
Many people look on YouTube to find instructional videos to solve problems or learn new skills. Moreover, they also search for the same instructional content on Google. My goal was to find a search query that was fairy popular on Google but had almost no videos on YouTube. Or, the videos showing in the top results were too low quality or too old to still be relevant.
For example, when I was working on one of my book covers, I couldn’t figure out how to edit EPS vector files in PowerPoint. Actually, I didn’t even know if it is possible at all.
Therefore, I searched on Google and found a blog with instructions on how to do that technically but no videos on this topic in Google search results. I assumed if I have a problem with editing EPS vector files in PowerPoint; there should be other people, too who have the same problem and would benefit from an instructional video on this topic. As you can see, I was right, and my video has gained more than 55K views already. Considering that I have a very small channel and the video is very niche specific, it’s a rather good result.
How to find niches for your videos?
Many YouTube experts suggest starting your video creation by finding the best keywords, and they are right. However, almost nobody tells that one more important factor you should consider is the absence of similar videos on Google search results. If you are lucky to find a niche keyword that has no videos, it’s almost 100% your video will rank for this keyword on Google. Of course, if you choose a keyword that nobody searches for you will not get any traffic and there will be no point in doing that.
Therefore, you need to find a sweet spot between a niche keyword and more or less significant traffic volume. Don’t strive for keywords that have huge search volume and big competition. Start small and build your channel step by step.
So, how to do that?
If you have a general topic in mind that you want to cover, but you aren’t sure what part of the subject is worth focusing on for the video, evaluate the potential search volume on Google by using Google Keywords Planner. Think of the words that someone might type into the Google search bar in order to find information about your topic. Look for keywords that have at least 100-1000 searches a month on Google and low competition on YouTube. Remember that your main keyword phrase must consist of about three to six words and reflect the topic of your video.
Now that you’ve generated a list of keywords, it’s time to choose the best ones. Go to Google and check out if there are YouTube videos ranked for these keywords, what the quality of the videos are and if they are well optimized (keywords used in the title and description of the videos). Finally, choose the keyword that corresponds to at least one of these criteria:
- doesn’t have YouTube videos at all
- have low quality, poorly optimized or outdated YouTube videos
The goal is to find a niche that either lacks video content or has only few videos that could be easy to outperform.
Now, when you have your keyword ideas that have a good chance to rank for the top search results on Google, you need to evaluate their potential performance on YouTube.
How to find low-competing keywords on YouTube?
One of the fastest and easiest ways to find the best keywords and tags for your YouTube videos are with TubeBuddy app. You can download it here and test its free version or jump right into one of its paid plans. They start just form 9$ a month and are worth every cent.
When you have installed TubeBuddy in your browser, go to your YouTube channel and find the app’s Keyword Explorer tool.
Let’s say you want your video to be about “dog training tricks,” just as in the example below. Type this keyword into the box and then click the EXPLORE button. TubeBuddy will calculate the overall score of the keyword, and you will see how ‘good’ or ‘poor’ the keyword would work to use for your video. The app will tell you if there are enough searches for this keyword on YouTube, and if you have good chances to compete with other channels and their videos on this topic.
So, in this case, the keyword ‘dog training tricks puppy’ has enough search volume to make it worth targeting.
In the Related section, you can see also other keywords and tags that can be used to optimize your video for YouTube search. Select those you want to rank your video for and copy them to your clipboard or TubeBuddy’s Video Topic Planner so that you can use them later.
How to optimize your video for YouTube?
When you have produced your video and are ready to upload, remember to optimize it for your chosen keywords. It means you should include them in your video title, description and keywords or tags list. In general, tags are descriptive keywords you can add to your video to help viewers find your content. They are important parts of a YouTube video optimization strategy. If you don’t use any keyword tool, you need to figure them out on your own and do manual research which will take some time. If you use an app like TubeBuddy, you can do it in minutes.
Add tags to your video
TubeBuddy will automatically generate a list of tags you can add to your video for better rankings directly in YouTube. Then, you can either sort them by relevance, scoring or search traffic and choose the ones that are the most relevant and would drive the most traffic. According to YouTube rules, you have 500 characters to use for your tags. Try to make use of as many of them as you can.
- Use keywords in your video title
The title of the video is an important part of your video optimization. It should be at least five words long and contain your main keyword. If your video contains the exact keyword, but your competitor’s doesn’t, considering all other factors equal, your video will rank higher in the search results. Remember also to keep the title engaging and descriptive so that people can easily understand what exactly the video is about.
- Use keywords in your video description
Your video description is also super important because it helps YouTube and Google understand the context of your video, and the better they understand that, the higher your video will rank on both search engines. Therefore, remember to use your main keyword and other complementary keywords also in your video description.
Tell your viewers what to expect and write for humans not just for YouTube algorithm. Use YouTube video description also to place links to your other content, be it a blog, video or online course.
- Create a thumbnail that compels viewers to click on your video
Another important part of your YouTube video optimization is creating compelling thumbnails that entice people to click on them. Thumbnails play an important role on viewers decision to choose a particular video from the long list of all search results. The more eye-catching your thumbnail is, the higher the probability is that your video will be clicked and watched.
You could’ve uploaded the most interesting video on YouTube, but it might not get the views it deserves if the thumbnail is boring and doesn’t stand out. This is why pulling freeze frames from your YouTube video is not the best solution. Rather create your video thumbnail with one of the vibrant Canva templates to make sure it will do its job and generate clicks.
Let me know by leaving a comment below right now.