If you want people to find your video content, you need the right keywords.
It sounds so simple, doesn’t it?
Well, the key is knowing which keywords are the right ones for you, where to find them, and how to implement them on your video to boost your SEO ranking.
Just as you put a lot of hard work collaborating with a video production team to create the best possible version of your video, you also need to put effort into optimizing your content and maximizing your audience reach.
Lucky for you, in this article, I’m going to explain just how to do that. We’ll start by seeing how to conduct effective YouTube-centric keyword research, and then we’ll go over the best practices on what to do once you have keywords that work.
Let’s begin, shall we?
Keyword Research Essentials
First thing first! Why is it so important to find the right keywords?
Well, keywords make it easier for your audience to find your video content. And if viewers found your piece useful or entertaining, chances are they’ll share it with their friends and boost your organic reach.
So, your YouTube SEO process should begin with thorough keyword research:
#1: Create a list of keyword ideas
Just start by brainstorming what words you associate with your video. They can be objects featured on your piece, adjectives, ideas, concepts, and every word you think people can relate to your video.
You’ll improve this list as you go along, but it serves as a great starting point to create a sort of “keyword universe” where your video content lives.
#2: Distinguish between long-tail and short-tail keywords
When YouTube users are looking for a general topic, they tend to type just one or two words on the search bar. We call them short-tail keywords.
By contrast, when searching for specific results, users are more likely to enter a longer query into the search bar to get more relevant content. Those are long-tail keywords.
This is an essential distinction since it will ultimately determine the competition around your main keywords. Novice marketers can be tempted to use only short-tail keywords because they often hold the most traffic – but they are also highly competitive for that same reason!
On the other hand, targeting long-tail keywords that are more specific to your particular content will be far less competitive, giving you a fair chance at reaching your target audience.
YouTube Keywords Sources
On to the next step!
There are several free websites and browser extensions you can install to help you with your keyword research. That said, my advice is to start with the tools you already have at your disposal:
There’s no such thing as “cheating” when it comes to keyword research. Content creators from all niches use the same keywords from their competitors to reach their audience.
Let’s say you’re uploading a product demo video for your business. All you have to do is find your competitor’s channel page, go to their most popular product video and look for the keywords that appear in the title, description, and tags. If one of their videos has lots of views, chances are that content is optimized around popular keywords.
YouTube’s search suggestion feature is a gold mine for finding keywords, as it provides you with a bunch of terms that real people type into the search bar. All you need to do is start typing a word or a phrase, and YouTube will hand you a list of valuable and practical keywords you can use for your own video.
Google Trends is a spectacular tool to gain additional insight into your client’s search traffic. It represents the relative popularity of a search term, and you can use its category feature to see topics that fall in line with what your content covers.
Of all the tools mentioned above, I’d say Google Trends is the most comprehensive of them all since you can also identify trending keywords across various forms of research (YouTube, Web Search, Google Images, News Search, and Google Shopping). It’s also extremely useful to analyze seasonal trends and plan your video content accordingly.
YouTube Keywords Effective Implementation
Now it’s time to put those keywords to use! These are the main fields you should pay close attention to when uploading your content.
Your main keywords should be the centerpiece of your title, but it also needs to appear naturally. One easy way to do this is to have your title closely match what your audience would type into the search bar. One extra tip is to keep it under 60 characters to avoid getting it cut off in the result pages.
The title is one of the first things you’re drawn to when searching for a video, alongside the thumbnail. So, even though the YouTube algorithm doesn’t read what your thumbnail says, users will! So make sure your thumbnail’s design also includes your main keyword.
While the character limit for video descriptions is 1,000 characters, I advise you to keep your message simple and persuasive. Plus, keep in mind that YouTube will only display about the first two or three lines of text in the search results, which amounts to 100 characters or so. This means that the most important information (like keywords, CTAs, and links) should appear first.
YouTube auto-generates a transcript of your video, but they are usually filled with mistakes and misheard words. Consider adding closed captioning to your video, especially for those who watch their videos on their phones without volume. Needless to say, your keywords should play a central role in that script.
Tags not only let viewers know what your video is about, but they also inform the search engine algorithm itself. Stick to your main keywords so that YouTube can associate your content with other similar videos. Avoid using misleading tags and include a good mix of relevant short-tail and long-tail keywords.
For most content creators who’re just starting, YouTube and Google’s algorithm can look like a mystery black box. And even though many marketers think they have it all figured out, the truth is that no one has the last word on SEO.
Hopefully, this guide will help you find the right keywords so that your video content reaches your target audience. Just remember that you need more than an SEO strategy to earn the trust of new clients: you also need valuable content. So, get started, and good luck!