Modern Tips for Improving SEO on YouTube
Rank Higher in Search Results
As YouTube continues to grow, the search algorithm regularly gets tweaked to increase revenue for the company and compensate for abusive tactics from creators. That means that videos with massive numbers of views but poor watch time and viewer interaction get ranked lower in search results than videos that have high audience retention and viewer interaction.
That opens up the potential for new or growing channels to compete in search results for highly contested keywords. Creating quality videos is the best way to receive more clicks, but there are a few specific actions that can be taken to increase the likelihood of appearing high in search results.
Influence of Video Statistics
Contrary to popular belief, frequently uploading videos does not directly influence search rankings. Total watch time of the video, however, increases the rank of that video in the search list. Audience retention throughout the video, as well as a high total watch time, are two major contributing factors to more top search rankings. Creating longer videos that captivate the audience and hold their interest is essential to a high ranking in search results.
The viewer’s total session time also influences video rankings. Session time is the amount of time a viewer spends on YouTube after watching your video. While uploading a good number of high-quality videos can influence this factor, having many mediocre videos increases the chances that the viewer will end their session and leave your videos. That is not good for rankings.
One way to increase total session time is to present the viewer with exciting playlists to hold their attention for a while. That gives the video all viewing factors it needs to rank high: audience retention, total watch time, and session watch time. Putting cards for videos you recommend the viewer watch at the end of each video also contributes to the full session time.
Influence of Click Through Rate
Click through rate (CTR) is another incredibly important factor in search rankings. This number is the ratio between viewers clicking on your video versus others on the search page when your video is present. Having a higher-than-average CTR improves the video location on the search page for the specific keyword involved.
An intriguing title and thumbnail, and even the first few lines of the description, can significantly influence the CTR. Having an accurate headline that appeals to the viewer as well as a dynamic thumbnail that sticks out from the rest will naturally draw potential viewers’ attention. Also note that when viewing video thumbnails in search, the first few lines of the video description show up under the title. Use these first few lines to include an accurate, hooking description that will intrigue viewers. Do not use the first few lines for links or announcements, as potential viewers will not care and may overlook the video.
Influence of Viewer Interaction
While YouTube doesn’t fixate on highly ranking videos with high numbers of views, YouTube does care about viewer interactions. While likes influence rankings, comments are the most critical factor when it comes to viewer interaction. To entice viewers into interacting with the video, ask them direct questions or create topics that will make viewers want to chime in on the conversation. Viewers will be much more likely to comment.
Participating in conversation with viewers within the comments greatly encourages the viewer to comment more, further improving your case for search rankings. Taking the first day or two after posting a video to reply to every comment will greatly increase interaction on the video and will positively impact rankings.
Convincing viewers to subscribe will help with the goal of higher ranking on future videos since the subscriber will receive notifications on video releases. Gaining subscribers is a fantastic way to indirectly impact total watch time as well as viewer interaction if they are frequent commenters.
Overall, the best way to move up in search results is to have quality content relative to the keyword that viewers are searching. Using and applying relevant keywords leads to a lot of success in searches. As the total number of views per video and the number of videos released matters less and less, creating well-made, interesting, interactive content is more important than ever for ranking higher in search results.