Significant Elements of YouTube SEO that Influence Video Ranking
Videos have to be optimized before they are uploaded to YouTube. The largest video hosting and sharing platform in the world has a ranking system, much like its big brother search engine Google. There are some similarities between Google SEO and YouTube SEO. It is the set of dissimilarities that should draw your attention, which is obvious since videos do require a different kind of optimization than primarily textual contents. Here are a few significant elements of YouTube SEO that influence video ranking.
The most important element is definitely views. Any video that goes viral is always going to show up on the first page and usually at the very top of the results when you search for relevant keywords. Videos with plenty of views also get featured on the homepage of YouTube. The simplest way to get a video to rank higher is to garner more views. However, it is also the rank that influences the views since it determines exposure.
The second most important element is watch time, in the context of views. YouTube assesses the watch time of videos to determine if the audience is actually viewing the content in its entirety or skipping and moving on midway. If an audience is watching a full video then it has much greater likelihood of getting ranked higher. To sum it up, number of views and average watch time will influence your YouTube ranking. This should be factored in while working on YouTube SEO.
Keywords are at the crux of search engine optimization, on both Google and YouTube. While Google is slightly more flexible with its keywords matching, in a sense that related keywords and parts of the phrases used are taken into cognizance to find relevant results, YouTube SEO is a tad more stringent. YouTube likes to match the exact keywords. If you were to search ‘how to cook spaghetti’, then videos that have those very words in that exact order in the title will be ranked higher. Videos with titles like ‘best ways to cook spaghetti’, ‘how to cook pasta’ and ‘the best spaghetti recipes’ will not be ranked as high.
It is quite difficult to target the exact keywords in some cases but that is what you must do to improve your YouTube SEO. You should find out the exact search queries being used by your target audience looking for the kind of video you have produced. The title has to be optimized. If you have the keywords in your title but in some other order than the search query then your video will rank well but if you do not have any of those words then your video will be deemed irrelevant for that search. For instance, targeting the generalized pasta in the title will not help the video get ranked for any of the specific types, be it spaghetti, penne, linguine or ravioli. It will be relevant only when the search query contains the word pasta.
It should be noted that these crucial elements are being explored to get a video to rank high enough to get listed on the first three to five or at the most ten results for a given set of keywords. The titles should be short and the descriptions too should be optimized to target the keywords for this purpose. Tiles should ideally be shorter than fifty characters. Descriptions can be between two hundred and three hundred words. The descriptions should also target the exact keywords being searched by the user, in the same order. In other words, the exact title should feature somewhere in the description as well. The description should also be optimized to suit variations of the searched keywords so different queries can be targeted.
Keyword tags do not necessary play any role in ranking a video for a given search query. It does play an important role in associating a video to related videos. When you get to a video and start watching it or even before you hit the play button, there are other videos queued up for you to watch. These are recommended videos. This recommendation relies largely on two factors. One, what a user tends to watch and basically the history of the profile. Two, the keyword tags used in other videos and those basically establish correlated relevance. A video can have as many as forty keyword tags but limiting it to fewer than twenty is a wiser move.
The length of a video does influence its ranking. Videos with a runtime of between ten and sixteen minutes do well. Videos with a runtime of between four and six minutes do even better. Shorter videos of two minutes or so do not perform well. Long videos have a much smaller footprint unless there is a huge base of subscribers for a channel that provides an instant outreach.