Optimizing YouTube Videos for SEO

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YouTube is probably one of the most under-utilized tools in the arsenal of an SEO – while simultaneously being one of the most effective too. Not only is it a Google property which has high domain authority (which you can use to link back to your website), but when embedded on your web pages it’s also a great way to convey your message without a wall of text (and improve conversions). In this post I’m going to go over the best way to optimize them on-page, as well as a few tips & tricks I have used to push them and websites up the organic listings.


When uploading your video, the first thing you are going to want to do is name the file the keywords that you are hoping it shows up for. Once the video is uploaded, you should be presented with a screen that looks like the one below:



To make it a bit easier for you, I have labeled out where the main areas you need to focus your attention are:


1. This is the title of the video as well as the page. You want to make sure that you put the keyword you want to be found for in there. This will also help give the page more relevancy when it links out to your website. If it is a local business video, also include a local number.


2. The description of the video. Testing has shown that if you want to use the video mainly as a link to your website, then place the link at the top. If you are more concerned about the readability and the message of your description then prioritize that. Also do your best to have around 500 words+ which tells readers a little bit more about your video. You also want to include links to all your social media accounts / your website at the bottom. Not only is it a way to get likes / high authority traffic to your properties, it also contributes to the overall authority of them. This is what is meant when people refer to domain authority stacking in the black / grey hat communities.


3. The tags of your video. It’s a bit of a no brainer that you should have your keywords in here, but another nice tip is to include your brand name or something similar that no other channel uses. This way, when people are watching your video, in the recommended section it will be more likely to show your other videos as opposed to those of a competitor.


4. The subtitles of your video. Ideally you want to have said the keyword that you want to rank for in your video a couple of times. YouTube normally does an alright job of annotating it itself, but double check it and make sure it’s there in your subtitles. Under the advanced settings you also want to set your video to your location.


Once all of this is done, make sure you are sharing it across your social profiles and click ‘publish’. The short and sweet of doing all this right can be seen below:




At the time of publishing the video, it was on page one within 3 hours of being up (This will generally only happen if you are doing this with ‘long tail keywords’ like I did above, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing). After I built 3 links to it and embedded it on a couple of web 2.0 websites, it has move it up to position one. If you also look at position 6 in the organic results, you will see that the page that it links to is now on the front page. This was achieved just by virtue of being linked to from the YouTube video and nothing else. If you want front page exposure quickly, then this is easily the fastest way to do it.


Also, if you wanted toe the line a little with what you are and aren’t allowed to do – you could use multiple YouTube videos as link buffers to your website. In other words, you set out your YouTube videos as described above, all linking back to your ‘money page’. You now use your YouTube videos as a high authority, relevant pages that your ‘money page’ is getting links from. Added to this, YouTube is able to take some pretty run of the mill links and still have them count towards its page authority, basically ‘cleaning the juice’ before it gets to your website (Don’t go too filthy though, it’s not magic). After a while you will see your money page ranking even though you haven’t sent any ‘real’ links to it. From our testing we have also found that after about a month the ‘money page’ can withstand a higher anchor ratio and link velocity (rate of building links to it), which we think must come from the additional trust YouTube (a Google property) has given to it. Have fun!



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