YouTube is currently the world’s most viewed site and has become the place to go to create and consume video content. While YouTube SEO is critical for success, something else controls the fate of every channel – the YouTube Algorithm.
According to cnet.com, up to 70% of a user’s time on YouTube will be dictated by the algorithm. Increasing your organic reach will require you to incorporate the algorithm as well as SEO to ensure a successful marketing strategy. But fear not, in this article, we’ve explained it all for you.
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What is the YouTube Algorithm?
With over 2 billion users, YouTube has created a method that asserts what people want to watch. The YouTube algorithm doesn’t simply focus on subscribers but takes into account how well a video performs when shown on other users’ home pages.
For example, if you watch a content creator’s work for a while and then stop watching, the algorithm will pick up that you haven’t watched anything of that nature in a while and thus stop recommending videos that are similar to it or made by the same YouTube creator. YouTube tracks users’ engagement to see what they are interested in and how they can keep people on their site.
How Does the YouTube Algorithm Work?
The YouTube Algorithm works as a means of suggesting suitable video content for a user. The content is decided on each viewer’s different interests and it is decided solely on keeping the visitors watching the content. The algorithm monitors viewers’ behaviour as well as video performance. It is important to take note of the algorithm as it impacts search results and recommendations for users.
Algorithm search results vary depending on the user even if they have searched for the same content topic. This is dependent on the video’s metadata and also the engagement around the video. Trending videos, subscriptions, notifications, and your YouTube homepage also impact the algorithm.
YouTube ranks based on the video’s performance analytics data and then it ranks by a user’s watch history and what people with similar interests have watched. YouTube aims to have people stay on the platform for as long as possible, consuming the content that makes them the most money – adverts.
The video content’s performance can decide what the algorithm offers you. If the video has been clicked on and there have been greater views than impressions, the video has a thumbnail, and there is a title. Watch time factors as well as the social engagement the video receives. Consistent posting of content to a channel is a good sign to the algorithm and the session time someone spends on the platform after watching a video.
Based on personalisation, the algorithm also features video content that reflects what the user has searched for or watched before. Your feed will show video content based on how you’ve reacted and engaged with similar content, what videos are neglected, and how many times a person has viewed a particular video.
To prevent echo chambers and provide a diverse viewing experience, the algorithm may occasionally recommend videos outside of a user’s typical viewing habits. This helps other channels grow and viewers to expand upon their entertainment sources.
It’s important to note that Youtube algorithms are not an exact science and whilst we may know the factors that contribute to rankings, we don’t actually know how much or how little impact each element will have. The YouTube algorithm is continually evolving. While the core principles remain focused on user engagement and satisfaction, the specific factors and their weightings can change over time.
Beat the Algorithm Using YouTube SEO
There are a host of methods to ensure that your organic reach achieves growth for your channel. Check out some of our recommendations below to increase your views, subscribers, likes and comments.
Optimising the text around your video is crucial for success. Your video description should be well thought out with keyword-focused text that the algorithm can pick up. Ensure your first sentence is keyword-optimised as well as being clear and concise. However don’t be tempted to keyword stuff your descriptions, rather hone in on a couple and use them naturally throughout – the algorithm can tell when you are keyword stuffing and it’s not good for your performance.
What does your target audience want?
When building your brand on YouTube, hone in on what your target audience wants. If you have been creating content for a while, check your analytics to see what your audience has responded to best. Don’t forget that YouTube is designed to show the material that they have enjoyed in the past.
Another method of manipulating the algorithm is consistent publishing. The frequency that you publish or upload your content, and the quantity overall, has an impact on YouTube’s algorithm. Make sure you have a consistent flow of content. If you can publish high quality at a higher frequency, then you are more likely to feature higher on YouTube’s algorithm.
Develop a community
Users of any social platform enjoy being engaged with and YouTube is no different. Engaging with your community can increase engagement with your content across the board. Respond to comments in a meaningful and timely manner – the algorithm knows if you’re giving quick responses over thought-out responses.
Share onto your socials
Another way to generate views and climb up the homepage of your potential audiences is to share your YouTube content on your social media channels. You can do this in various different ways, whether you want to share a URL on your story or edit your video down into bite-size chunks – however you do it, just do it, because a lot of YouTube traffic comes from social media channels originally.
YouTube is ultimately about having an audience, so the key is to have subscribers. Having more subscribers to your channel signifies to the algorithm that you have meaningful things to say and an audience that wants to hear them. If you have more subscribers, the algorithm is more likely to show potential viewers your content over a profile that has less permanent engagement.
One of the key components of a successful YouTube video is video duration. You want your viewer to make it to the end of your content so ensure that your content is relevant and engaging. Your viewers should enjoy consuming and connecting with your work so much so that they reach out to find more of your material. Using end cards to highlight your other video content can encourage viewers to click on and watch more of what you have to offer.
Optimum posting times
Finally, think about the optimum times for dropping your content. YouTube’s algorithm naturally takes into consideration engagement with a video, so posting at peak times can be important for your organic reach. Look at your YouTube analytics to find premium times for your videos. With busy lives, you’re not always going to be available to post at the right time. Using content scheduling tools can help you achieve peak times with minimal effort. Look for companies like ContentCal, Loomly, Hootsuite, and Sprout Social.
Use high-quality images that represent the content and incorporate bold text or close-up shots of faces to make thumbnails stand out. Also, ensure thumbnails look good on both desktop and mobile. Having attractive thumbnails will help your content stand out and get those clicks rolling in.
Create a playlist
Group related videos into playlists together with keyword-rich titles and descriptions. These playlists will encourage your viewers to stick around your channel for longer and it can aid ranking in search results, providing another avenue for visibility and reach.
Including a transcript for your YouTube videos can provide multiple benefits that make it a very worthwhile investment for SEO. By having the spoken words converted into indexed text, transcripts allow the videos to be found through relevant text searches on Google, YouTube, and other search engines. Studies show that videos with transcripts consistently outperform those without for search visibility and rankings.
Transcripts also enhance the viewer experience by allowing people to follow along or quickly scan the text for the information they seek. From an inclusion standpoint, transcripts provide accessibility for deaf, hard of hearing, or text-oriented audiences. They can foster trust and authority by displaying the video’s exact spoken words verbatim. The text can even be translated into other languages, enabling a wider reach.
Optimizing the transcript with keywords and links organically woven in provides further search optimisation. While it requires some effort to create transcripts, modern speech recognition technology has made automated transcription viable and cost-effective. The measurable SEO gains combined with the viewer experience enhancements make adding a transcript well worth the effort for YouTube channels of all sizes.
YouTube SEO checker
YouTube SEO checker is a tool that analyses various elements of your YouTube videos to determine how well-optimized they are for search on the platform. These tools often provide insights and recommendations to improve your video’s visibility and ranking in YouTube search results.
Here’s a breakdown of what a YouTube SEO checker will assess and some popular tools you can use to beat the algorithm.
Key Elements Checked by a YouTube SEO Checker:
- Video Title: Checks if your title is catchy, relevant, and contains target keywords.
- Description: Analyses the length, relevance, and keyword optimization of your video description.
- Tags: Evaluate the relevance and variety of your video tags.
- Thumbnail: Assesses the quality and relevance of your video thumbnail.
- Closed Captions: Checks if your video has closed captions or subtitles, which can improve accessibility and SEO.
- Engagement Metrics: Evaluates likes, dislikes, comments, shares, and overall viewer engagement.
- Video Quality: Checks the resolution and overall quality of your video.
- Watch Time: Analyzes the average watch time and audience retention rate.
- Channel Authority: Considers the overall authority and reputation of your YouTube channel.
- Backlinks and Embeds: Checks if your video is embedded on other websites or has backlinks pointing to it.
Popular YouTube SEO Checker Tools:
- TubeBuddy: A browser extension that provides a suite of tools to help you optimize your YouTube videos. It offers keyword research, tag suggestions, and a video SEO audit.
- vidIQ: Another browser extension that offers insights into video analytics, keyword recommendations, and competitor analysis.
- YTCockpit: A dedicated YouTube keyword research tool that provides data on search volume, competition, and potential traffic for various keywords.
- Morningfa.me: Offers insights into your video’s SEO performance, keyword rankings, and suggestions for improvement.
- Social Blade: While not strictly an SEO checker, it provides detailed analytics on YouTube channels, which can give insights into what’s working for successful channels.
Tips for Using a YouTube SEO Checker:
- Consistent Analysis: Regularly check your videos to ensure they remain optimized as YouTube’s algorithm and best practices evolve.
- Competitor Analysis: Some tools allow you to analyze competitors’ videos. This can give insights into what keywords they’re targeting and what’s working for them.
- Act on Recommendations: Simply checking isn’t enough. Implement the suggestions provided by the tool to improve your video’s SEO.
- Stay Updated: YouTube’s algorithm and ranking factors can change. Stay updated with the platform’s best practices and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Remember, while these tools provide valuable insights, they are just tools. Combining their recommendations with your own understanding of your audience and content will yield the best results.
YouTube SEO Tags
YouTube SEO tags are pieces of metadata that help YouTube understand what a video is about and serve it to relevant searchers and audiences. The key YouTube SEO tags are:
- Title – Appears as the video title on YouTube. Key for clickability and SEO. Keep it descriptive, compact, and compelling.
- Description – Longer description that summarizes the video contents. Optimize with keywords. Shows under the video.
- Tags – Specific keywords or short phrases describing the video. Help YouTube associate videos with searches.
- Transcript – Auto-generated or manual transcript from the video. Enables text search optimization.
- Category – High-level category like Film, Music, Education. Puts video into a broad content group.
- Thumbnail – The title image for the video. Entices viewers to click and watch the video.
- Closed Captions – On-screen text of dialog or commentary. Enables text search optimization.
- Playlists – Adding video to specific YouTube playlists to target interests.
Optimizing these tags, particularly title, description, and keywords, is crucial for video discoverability and viewership on YouTube. They communicate to YouTube what the video covers.
YouTube SEO Hashtags
Hashtags on YouTube function similarly to other platforms, serving as a tool to categorize content and make it discoverable. Hashtags can increase the discoverability of your videos. When users click on or search for a specific hashtag, they’ll see a collection of videos that have used that hashtag, potentially leading them to your content.
You can include hashtags within the body of your video description or at the end. The first three hashtags in the video description will appear above the video title when someone watches the video.
Why are YouTube Hashtags Important?
- Categorisation: Hashtags help categorise your content. For instance, if you have a cooking channel and use the hashtag “#VeganRecipe,” it’s clear that the video pertains to vegan cooking.
- Trending Topics: If there’s a trending topic or event, using relevant hashtags can help your video appear in searches related to that trend, increasing its visibility.
- Audience Engagement: Viewers might use specific hashtags to find the type of content they’re interested in. By using relevant hashtags, you can reach a more targeted audience.
- Competitive Analysis: By clicking on hashtags relevant to your niche, you can see what other content is being produced in your domain, giving you insights into trends, competitors, and potential content ideas.
Remember to only use hashtags that are relevant to your video. Irrelevant hashtags can mislead viewers, leading to a poor user experience. While hashtags are a valuable tool for enhancing video discoverability on YouTube, they should be used judiciously and in conjunction with other SEO practices for the best results.
Trending YouTube Keywords
Another way to stay one step ahead of the YouTube algorithm is to create content surrounding topics that are trending. It can be a little tricky thinking about what the next trending topic will be, but here are some tips for finding trending and popular YouTube keyword trends:
- Check out YouTube Trends – This section of YouTube shows currently trending searches, giving keyword ideas.
- Use Google Trends – See keyword trends over time for YouTube and filter by category and location.
- Leverage Twitter – Look for hashtags and keywords trending on Twitter that may indicate video topic opportunities.
- Analyse breaking news – News events often spike searches for related video content.
- Track seasonal keywords – Holidays, events, and seasons can trigger certain video search trends.
- Follow influencers – Topics covered by influential YouTubers often trend as followers seek related content.
- Look at YouTube autosuggest – The suggested searches as you type in the YouTube search bar reveal keyword ideas.
- Consider pop culture – TV shows, movies, music, and celebrities that are currently popular can drive video topic trends.
- Check search volume tools – Tools like VidIQ show search volume data for terms to find rising keywords.
- Examine your analytics – Look for spikes in traffic sources and popular old videos for new ideas.
Staying on top of the latest keyword trends by analysing search and viewing patterns allows you to create videos capitalizing on hot topics in a timely manner.
Does YouTube help SEO?
YouTube is owned by Google, the world’s leading search engine. As a result, Google often prioritises YouTube content in its search results, especially for queries where video content is relevant. Having a well-optimised YouTube video can help you secure a spot in these video results, increasing visibility for your website.
It’s also worth noting that if your YouTube video content is valuable and unique, it can serve as a source for backlinks. Other websites might link to your videos or embed them on their pages, which can boost your overall SEO profile. Even if we set traditional SEO aside, YouTube itself is still the second-largest search engine in the world. Optimising content for YouTube searches can drive significant traffic to your videos and, subsequently, to your main website or landing pages.
While YouTube is primarily a video platform, its interplay with SEO is undeniable. By creating and optimising quality video content on YouTube, businesses and individuals can enhance their online visibility and SEO efforts. They should both work in tandem with one another in order to achieve the best results.
Mastering YouTube SEO and Algortihms
While SEO can significantly boost your video’s visibility, the quality of your content is paramount. Ensure your videos provide value, entertain, or educate your audience. Over time, consistent high-quality content combined with good SEO practices will lead to growth and success on the platform.