A core part of marketing success is getting the most out of content. That doesn’t just mean good blog articles, social media engagement, or web ad placement. To find success in today’s digital marketing world, you need to master the art of Google SEO. (And yes, it really is an artform.)
And to do that, you need to chase after the keywords your audience is already searching for.
A core marketing principle is getting the right content in front of the right person. But you need to take that a step further: You’ve got to deliver the content when they’re searching for relevant information.
By knowing how to position your content, you can maximize the way people respond to it. That’s the core strength of SEO. It’s also a major goal for most YouTube channels – people create and upload videos to attract an audience and engage them.
However, many content creators and big brands fail to get the most out of their presence on YouTube. The trick is learning how you can translate your existing SEO strategy into a healthy, growing YouTube channel.
A High-level Look At SEO
You may already be intimately familiar with the ins and outs of Google SEO, but I don’t want to make any assumptions. So let’s cover a brief introduction.
Search Engine Optimization is basically the algorithm that search engines (most notably Google) use to rank different results. It’s also a core pillar of digital marketing strategies.
When someone searches for a keyword, Google determines which site or article should be on page one, or page two, and so on.
A lot of factors go into that ranking, but the important thing to know is that you can plan your content around keywords related to your industry or niche. And that helps you compete for the attention of the leads and customers you want to attract.
(You can also research how competitive a keyword is, so you can determine whether or not you should even go after a particular term.)
Get To Know YouTube SEO
One thing a good SEO strategy gives you is a strong idea of who your audience is and what they look for. You can easily leverage that when choosing where to start your YouTube SEO research.
YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world, and the site has 2 billion users from all around the world. That kind of traffic is like an Eiffel Tower-sized beacon for businesses and influencers looking to build a channel and audience.
That means there are a lot of online tools to help you manage your keyword research. But you don’t need to sign up for a subscription-based app to build a healthy YouTube channel.
As part of the Google family, YouTube also uses SEO algorithms to determine where videos rank and which keywords they rank for. It doesn’t use the same system as Google, however, so you can’t just copy and paste your normal SEO habits onto a YouTube video and call it a day.
However, the good habits you’ve created doing SEO can absolutely translate into a successful YouTube strategy. More importantly, it can help you master the art of YouTube SEO faster than your competitors.
Turn SEO Habits Into YouTube Success
When it comes time to actually make the jump from an SEO strategy to YouTube, you can break that process down into a handful of actionable steps.
And if you follow this list, you’ll give yourself a great foundation for a healthy channel. You will also get in the habit of creating videos that actually show up when people search for your target keywords, which is what every content creator on YouTube wants.
Take Advantage Of Long-Tail Keywords
This is an undervalued but easy to use trick for getting to know your target audience in any search engine. It’s particularly helpful on YouTube where the SEO algorithm is still a bit unclear, even to industry experts.
Avoid Keyword Stuffing In Your Videos
At some point or another, every marketer has committed the sin of keyword stuffing – cramming a bunch of keywords together in an effort to get a better SEO ranking. But the truth is that content like that reads like it was written by a robot, not a human.
And on YouTube, videos with too many keywords or overly complicated keywords actually scored lower in search results.
Think about it this way. YouTube looks at the video tags to get a sense of your content. If you’re packing 20+ tags to describe your video, YouTube’s analysis will be that it’s shallow content that talks about a bunch of things.
Meanwhile, videos that only have a few tags seem like they cover a specific topic in more depth. So those videos are scored higher in YouTube’s ranking system, even if the video quality and content are worse than what you are putting on your channel.
So yes, keyword tags matter. But be careful about how many you target in each video.
Focus On Audience Engagement
People prefer video content for a lot of reasons, but one is the sense of engagement with the presenter. Humans are visual creatures, so content that incorporates multiple senses – like the audio and visual components of a video – hold our interest.
And part of that is the human element. A YouTube channel is your way to present yourself as a genuine person, whether you’re a creator or a brand representative. Either way, you need to come off as an actual human and not a chatbot.
A big way to do that is engaging viewers in the comments of your video.
Sure you probably won’t be getting thousands of comments in your early videos. But an active channel has the best chance of starting conversations. It’ll grow your audience, educate you on the sort of topics viewers enjoy best, and also improve your YouTube rankings in the process.
Embed Your Videos Everywhere
I wanted to end this checklist by looping back around to the thing you know well. You’ve built a strong web presence with your SEO strategy; YouTube is just adding one more tool onto your belt. But don’t forget to tie those two things back together.
By bringing your videos back to your website, you are adding value to both. Your website becomes a stronger authority about the keyword, and your YouTube video will get extra views, better audience retention, and even some clickthroughs simply because your website is directing attention to a new channel you created.
Again, your established SEO strategies won’t always work on YouTube. But they have helped you build a strong foundation for any YouTube channel, and that’s a big advantage you can use.
You already know the value of keyword research and how to structure content around certain topics – those two things are the most important steps on your journey to building a strong and healthy YouTube channel.