YouTube SEO: Advanced Guide To Getting 280,000 Views

YouTube is one of the leading ways that any business can generate huge amounts of exposure and leads to their websites and in this article I will take you step by step through the process I used to generate 280,000 views to my own channel with creative use of YouTube SEO. 

You will learn:

  • ​Keyword Research For YouTube
  • Why and how you should research prior to filming  a video
  • How  to SEO A YouTube Video
  • We will show you how to use a professional tool for more views
  • I will explain why you need to research before you make any more videos
  • You will  see how  to create a great video title
  • By the end you will also know how to create an exit strategy to keep your viewer on your channel. 
  • You will see what Google Second screen searching is and how you can utilise this for your brand 
  • and much much more

YouTube Stats

There is a lot of debate at this time as to what social video platform you should invest in.  Facebook launched their video platform and it has a been a huge success. However by ignoring YouTube you risk losing out on the world's second largest search engine. 

At this time​ according to YouTube themselves:

  • YouTube has over a billion users–almost a third of all people on the Internet–and every day, people watch hundreds of millions of hours of YouTube videos and generate billions of views.
  • YouTube overall, and even YouTube on mobile alone, reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S.
  • The number of hours people spend watching videos (aka watch time) on YouTube has increased by 60% y/y, the fastest growth we've seen in 2 years.
  • The number of people watching YouTube each day has increased by 40% y/y since March 2014.
  • The number of users coming to YouTube who start at the YouTube homepage, similar to the way they might turn on their TV, has increased by more than 3x y/y. source: https://www.youtube.com/yt/press/en-GB/statistics.html

It is clear that YouTube is a core platform and  according to Alexa YouTube is  the third-most-visited site on the web, just behind FaceBook and it is the second most used search engine.

youtube search engine

This data alone means that you need to take YouTube seriously and our guide will help you to steer your way through this. 

​YouTube Channel Case Study

My personal YouTube channel is a collection of my personal world with videos on there ranging from Judo to self-defence, the only one thing that links them together is that it's pretty much all based on martial arts.

Now I do provide Video SEO services for my clients which have seen great results, however for my own personal channel making money has never been a priority.  As such I have used it as my own private SEO lab for years, so if  I can get a big number of views I am certain by following my advice your business can too.

I put very little effort into my own channel but my clients have seen a 40% increase in YouTube traffic by working with me. The process that I use is within this article.  By the end, your YouTube SEO knowledge will have dramatically increased. 

video seo

As you can see my own views are split up.  One video (which I will talk about  later) gives me 60% of my channel views and is by far my biggest success. The break down in colours shows my success for each other major videos and 15.9% of my total views comes from other small videos on my channel.

It would be easy to dismiss this 15% as not worth the hassle, however, they have generated 44,000 video views and as we will see this is a key part of my strategy. My personal YouTube channel is pretty much like a test lab where I get to play out my ideas and the results I will share with you today.

In this post will  tell you exactly what you need to do so you are quickly on your way ​to over 200,000 video views. Here are the steps we will use:

YouTube SEO Tips​

  1. ​Research Your Niche
  2. Conduct Search Phrase Research
  3. Conduct YouTube research for those search phrases
  4. Create your video
  5. SEO  your video 
  6. Content Distribution
  7. Create a Viewer Exit Strategy (This aspect is coming too, read on)

YouTube SEO Tutorial 

This is where the guide starts to come together. This article is huge so my suggestion is that you get a pen and paper to make notes or download this article as a PDF  by clicking the button below.  You will get the report straight  away but check your inbox and please confirm your subscription to never miss out our guides again. 

​Step 1: Research Your Niche

Before you decide on anything else we need to look at your niche. This is the key aspect that many people miss out and it requires you to understand the ranking factors of the YouTube search algorithm. 

Most people spend  their efforts worrying about titles and descriptions however before you even need to do this your content is what is most important.

Your aim with any YouTube Video is to combine 'WATCH TIME' and 'SEARCH PHRASE VOLUME'.

Or to break it down even further; you need to create a video for a search phrase that gets plenty of searches and your video needs to be made so that people watch it and don't click off  it after a few seconds. 

Watch Time refers to the amount of time a person watches your video for. The average amount of watch time will affect your rankings on YouTube. Basically, the longer people watch your video the more likely is that YouTube will rank your video higher. According to Business Insider UK

"Google said that total YouTube "watch time" in the second quarter jumped 60 percent year-on-year, its fastest growth rate in two years. What's more, YouTube's watch time on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets more than doubled year over year.

On mobile devices, the average viewing session is now more than 40 minutes, up more than 50 percent from a year ago.

YouTube is increasingly prioritizing watch time over the sheer number of videos that are streamed, which is the preferred metric of Facebook." Source http://uk.businessinsider.com/youtube-video-watch-time-grew-60-2015-7?_ga=1.205409049.846807974.1447755060?r=US&IR=T

For this reason you need to have watch time in mind when you start to both create your video and start your SEO process. 

​YouTube SEO Services

My best tip for YouTube research is to use a tool called Vid IQ. It has both paid and free versions and I will be using the Pro version for this demo.

You Tube SEO

Vid IQ will give you more insights, and it is loaded into YouTube via an extension and it works great. So let's use an example,:

Book Store Scenario​

Perhaps you work for a large bookstore in their social media department and you have been asked to create a new YouTube campaign.

You need to go to YouTube and consider what would provide you with the best return for your efforts. Making a video can be hard work so we want to get the best results possible. There is no point creating videos  that will never get seen. You need to be intelligent  and see what is already out there and try and attain better success.

So the first step is what I call "Loose Niche Searching". For this, you need to shake off your marketers head and be a viewer.

Think about what your consumer would go to YouTube and search for. Do not  take this too seriously at this stage but remember the goal is to look at what is out there and if you can achieve better results. 

Clearly book reviews are a great place to start for a book store media team. So with Vid IQ installed, let's get researching.

If we search for book reviews using Vid Iq we can see that the panel on the right-hand side gives us a lot of data and we also have the tags for each video available for us under each video.

Now the top result is a paid ad search result  and the next video down is the top organic result. We can see here a real disparity between video 1 and video 2. Video one has 12,426 views and video ranked two has 117,647 views. 

There may be several  reasons why a video has more views than the top ranked one, perhaps they have an audience elsewhere on the web, however, it shows that the search results in YouTube do not place view numbers as essential for rankings. 

So as  the head of the media team for our imaginary book store you need to think if you can:

a) produce  better content.

b) SEO your video better and

c) is this search phrase great for engagement for your brand. 

We can see when we click on the video our Vid IQ data provides us with the watch time and other important metrics. If we compare this with video 2  we get interesting results.....

On paper video 2 should rank higher. It has more views,  the channel owner has more subscribers and the video even has more minutes watched, so how is the first video ranking higher? Well recall that we are not talking about just watch time but average watch time. If you compare both videos and look at the Vid IQ stats in the bottom corner we can see something called true engagement. According to the vid IQ blog:

We can see that video 1 actually has twice the amount of engagement than video 2  with video 1 getting 5.6% true engagement and video 2 just 2.6% Now these aren't the only factors on display here, video 1 is also using more tags. 

But wait, lets compare another metric and see what we get....​

Video 1

Video 2

In the top right corner, we can click and see the average view time. We see video 1 has a slightly higher percentage of view time in comparison with 56% for the video ranked number 1 and 48% for video 2. 

This shows the importance of average watch time with YouTube SEO.

However just like general SEO for blog posts we need to treat YouTube SEO in a similar way. This is because although video 1 here is beating video 2 for this search term in actual fact Video 2 is winning the SEO battle and is ranking for other phrases. Let's show you. 

Search Term Books 2015

Search term books to read

Books To Read For Teenagers

Our channel creator here has managed to rank for a variety of search terms with the same video. So, research of your niche is essential because it will provide you with untold data. We will talk about ranking the same video for multiple search terms later in the article. 

However at this stage of our "loose niche research" we have seen some room to rank our videos. We have seen a video rank for multiple terms, we have seen that video outranked as well. We have also seen some good viewing numbers which means we can have a good chance at ranking content in this niche. It is now time to get a bit deeper in this process. Remember this is all prior to video creation so we need  to look at phrases we can create great videos around. 

Step 2: Search Phrase Volume Research

The goal behind search phrase volume is to find search phrases you can rank for and see what levels of viewership these videos get.  You will also be able to assess if you can outrank the video with a combination of your SEO and your video content. It is also an important step to  support your SEO later.

Above all  though you will learn if it is even worthwhile going after that search volume. In essence you don't want to produce videos for a phrase that the top video has only had 100 views. 

The best method to establish search phrase volume that I have found  to use youtube themselves as they will auto-suggest video searches for your niche. Simply go to YouTube and type in your core phrase first such as books and you will get potential search terms

Here we see a list of searches that are popular for books. Now some may not be compatible and others might be better for your business, you will know which, but write the ones you like down into a list.

The decision as to which search phrase we will try and rank for will depend on lots of factors that include search phrase volume and the efforts of the competition. It makes little sense trying to out rank a channel for a phrase that has 100,000 subscribers and their video is SEO'd to the max. We are looking for a weaker target to go after. 

The weaknesses we need to look at are as follows:

  • ​Does the channel  have a lot of subscribers?
  • Is their video SEO'd (we cover how to SEO a video later)
  • How many people have watched the video? 
  • What is their true engagement like? 

At this time just go through YouTube and make notes about what search phrases that you like and suit your business and see if you can do better than the top videos. 

Our next step is to go to the free Google keyword planner and type your broad search term into their keyword ideas field.

​Do Not Forget This Important Part!

Where you see the bottom arrow pointing at Google you want to click that and you will see a second option called  Google and search partners. Search partners include non-Google websites such as YouTube and AOL and you want this data as well. 

Once you have done this click save and get ideas and then go to the keyword ideas tab to get your list of search terms

The next thing to do is to organise your search results in descending order by clicking the monthly searches tab and it will reorder them for you.  Then it is a case of going down the search results and finding terms you can have success. I suggest that you simply make a list  of all the search terms and search volume.

The search phrase  "Books for teens" gets 27,100 monthly searches per month on Google, although it is a high  volume search it is a low competition one, as such it might be ideal.  

So your next step is to actually go to Google itself type in this search and take a look at the searches related at the bottom of the search results.  Here we type in 'books for teens' and  see the results.

​We see at the bottom of the  page the search terms that are similar to our 'books for teens search'. We will need them for later so go ahead and write them  down. 

So now we click on the video tab at the top of your google search and see that comes up for your phrase 'books for teens'

You can see  that the top results in Google are videos from 2013, this is excellent news for us if we want to get some  traction for this search phrase. 

Hold on!! This one girl with just 248 subscribers tops Google and gets 17, 625 views  with one video.

This is why we need to do our research so  well. So many brands are missing out on opportunities to increase their exposure.  ​

Now although this search phrase sounds great do not ignore or forget your others. You might have even better ones in your list.  Just make sure you repeat this process with them all. Yes it is time consuming but it is white hat YouTube SEO.

You now have a huge list of potential search phrases for your video and we are now using a more structured way of  creating our video. This is far better than creating a video first and then trying to see what keywords you can rank it for.

This is why research before creating your video is a must. You have spotted a weakness in YouTube. In essence all you need to do is create a better video that has superior SEO and you should start to outrank that video at some point. 

But right now we need to see if your keywords generate any traffic in YouTube itself.  In our 'books for  teens' ranking, we have only seen 17,625 views since 2013 so it might not be the best phrase for us to use. We still need to go to YouTube to ensure it is a good phrase.

Step 3: Conduct YouTube Research For Your Search Phrase Volume

The next part is to take our search phrase and our list of terms and look for a weakness in the YouTube rankings so we can get results for our efforts.

If we actually head on over to YouTube itself and start typing in Books For Teens it auto suggests a variety of search terms:

The ideas for videos here is literally amazing. You could create amazing videos optimised for numerous key phrases. There are endless ideas with this type of research and ideas keep turning up all  the time.

However, what is the top video for books for teens? 

We can see that the top video has 300,793  views and was published a year ago and the next one down has 42,000 views and was published 10 months ago. Our top Google result sits third (you can't see it from this screenshot) with 17,000 views and our video IQ browser  extension gives us a fantastic amount of data on the right. 

As a result of our research we can say that Books for teens would be a great target for our campaign. ​

The actual number 1 video is one girl in her room talking about books. She does not have the financial backing of a publisher (to my knowledge) yet she has created a great performing video from her bedroom! If we click on this top performing video we can see the following:

This one video has driven an amazing 4,415 subscribers. Now I am sure that this video ranks for a lot of other phrases, but by now I am certain you are getting my point. If a teenager from her bedroom can rank for phrases it will not be that hard for you to do it, especially if you have the resource's at your disposal to do so.

This process works for  any business. Just follow the steps and do your research and see what searches are working. The great thing with YouTube is that you can see the traffic people are getting, especially with Vid IQ.

Your research stage is essential so you can find out what is working and what isn't. You will also start to understand the differences in google searches and YouTube searches, and you possibly have enough ideas for 30 videos!  However, this is where the magic of YouTube  comes alive because the SEO battle in YouTube Is amazingly easy to win! I will cover this later in the How To SEO a YouTube video section. 

​Step 4:  Creating Your Video

The Key Ingredient is Combining Watch Time With Search Volume​

Now that we have seen how you can start by researching your niche you need to now look at ways of combining search phrase volume and watch time. This is where you need to think long and hard about your type of video before you create it. This doesn't mean that your videos have to be really long.  Short ones that keep viewers happy for longer work well. If we take a look at my most successful video (which my friend made)

This video ranks number 2 for the search phrase 'Judo Throws' and has an average view ratio of 70% and is just 2 minutes long. The point is here is that your aim with YouTube should be always focused on creation, if your Video  does not capture the imagination of the viewer no matter how good your SEO skills are then you will not achieve much success.  A bad video is still a bad video and as this is not Facebook, watch time is your key metric. 

What Type Of Videos Do Well? ​

How To, Reviews, Ways to do something in so xyz minutes are classic examples of videos that do well. If we take a look at How to tie a bow tie.

Yes, that is nearly 2 million views! We could go on and on with this type of list but videos that are high on Utility tend to do really well for engagement and watch time. If your videos adds value to the lives of people then it will largely get views.

Step 5: YouTube SEO Guide

Perhaps the best guide to YouTube SEO on the web is from my own SEO teacher Brian Dean of Backlinko.com. His guide is really in-depth and is required reading, however I am going to do my research using Vid IQ's power. 

​Video SEO using Vid IQ

Step 1. Title Keyword​

The first step in the SEO of a YouTube video is going to be your title. ​You need to combine a clickable title that is catchy and features your key phrase.

I go to YouTube with my Vid IQ browser and start my SEO process . In this example I will switch case studies and use "YouTube SEO" for my target phrase.

This is what I would  have been left with if I had done the aforementioned process. To let you know; in the keyword planner  this search gets 3,600 searches per month, and when we look at this phrase in Google itself and click the video tab we see the following:

If we click on the top result we see that this is a phrase we can target:

So the next thing we need to do  is to hit YouTube and type in the search phrase (see below)​

However I want to use the Vid IQ to see if we can find a better performing title that is linked to our chosen phrase.

Using Vid IQ I can see the top related queries for my search phrase,  for this example, it says SEO for YouTube is a top phrase, it is clearly a similar phrase but more applicable to the YouTube searcher,  So I go back and search for this and click the top video.

I then take a look at the data on the right-hand side and see that he gets an 18% view ratio for a 7-minute long video. This is what I need to beat.

We already know that watch time is essential in YouTube rankings. I can also see the tags for this video and I will copy those tags and use them along with other tags I want to add that are relevant.

What tags should I use? Simple I copy those for this video and then go back to my search phrase SEO for YouTube and Vid IQ gives them to me: 

Now you have a good list of performing tags you can select the best.

I have heard that you should not have too many tags but let's look at a video that gets massive traffic:

A video with over 2 million views has 29 tags so there is no indication that over tagging will harm your metrics if you have a great video, I just personally think you should stick to 10 to 20 keywords to avoid over stuffing.  That advice is also shared in the Kissmetrics blog in this post https://blog.kissmetrics.com/youtube-channel-optimization/

With Vid IQ you have the potential to spy on the competition and try and outrank them . As we know watch time is the most important metric, a rubbish video will not rank no matter.  Yet we need a good title  to entice people to click on it  in the first place

Your title needs to include your key phrase but do so in a way that you will get click thrus. One idea is to go to  Hubspots title generator and use that, although aimed at blogs it can also be used for YouTube. Find it at http://www.hubspot.com/blog-topic-generator

The aim is for your title to be catchy and also use your key search phrase.  In this case we are using SEO for YouTube so we need to  have a video that is excellent and a title to match. This is the fun of YouTube SEO. 

OK, once you have your title it is time to move on to ​your description.

​YouTube Video Description SEO

The next aspect of your SEO campaign for your video is the description. This is where the VAST majority of social media managers fall down. The idea of your description is to quickly provide accurate information about the video and you. However this is where you need to be smart.

  • In the first line of your description you need to include your search phrase, and a link to your site.
  • The link needs to be in naked format such as http://xxxxxxxxxx
  • You should include contact information for you at the bottom of the description if you have any( not essential but it isnt a bad idea)
  • Once published go back into the video and copy and past the page URL into your description field, this is because there are so many content scrapers active out there it will help to get you more embeds
  • Treat your Description as a mini blog post (I have to admit I do not actually do this now but I am starting too. You can write a lot in this description field and also use your key phrases again. A good option is to tell people at which minute important or key data is located at in the video. This is great for longer videos and keeps people engaged. So break down your video and say 2.34- learn xyz,  3.54. you will see my best SEO trick etc etc
  • And finally add a few # tags if you have a relevelant one.

This does not have to be rocket science however it will help you if you take your time to write a good description with useful links.

Expert Tip:​

This is where you can really take your video further than the competition  and target multiple search phrases

Remember all the work we have done in the book niche earlier on. All the data we gained has provided us with a lot of search phrases we can use in our description data. If you use that approach for all your video seo work then right now at time of upload you have a whole list of phrases that you can use within your  description to target multiple google search phrases. This is no different  than SEO of  a blog post. Just use a few of those related   search phrases in the description where it makes sense. 

YouTube Tag Optimisation

Now you should at  this time have managed to copy the tags of your leading competitors using Vid IQ and have a list of the best-performing ones for your keyphrase. It is simply a case of picking the ones that you feel are best and then adding them to your video.  This takes seconds but is very important as you are telling YouTube what your video is about. The tags for the top video here are as follows:

Note that these tags are not random words like YouTube SEO  but are actually search phrases themsleves. Vid  IQ even tells you where on YouTube this video ranks for each of those phrases. 

I hope you can see that Video SEO  is a complex process if you take it seriously. There is so much data out there you can use to make your video stronger if you take the time and effort.

Step 6. Content Distribution​

Ok, so you have done some SEO on your video and given it the best start possible you now have to promote your video. This is key because embedded video is actually a ranking feature.

Now the great thing about Vid  IQ is that it tells you where a video is embedded. Sadly the embed sources tend to  be low-quality content scraping sites for a lot of videos. However, this isn't rocket science. If your video is good then other sites will use it in their blogs, share it to social media and maybe even write an article about your video.

The great thing about YouTube promotion is that is pretty much mirrors that of any other content promotion strategy.  However in this case, it just takes a few tweeks.

My preferred method of content promotion is to find content sharers. This is not an exact science however I use a tool called Ninja Outreach 

I literally go into my ninja outreach dashboard and type in my niche ( for this I have gone for  book reviews and then tick the influences field. The results turn up this.

From there I just scroll down the results and see influencers that I might try and contact. I usually look  for their twitter followings which is displayed in the field under their name.

In this case,  the writer has a twitter following that is quite good so I click on that link and I end up at their Twitter page and I  can  even click to contact them by email etc.  I  then just send a quick and personal email which shares my video with them and asks them for feedback. Often this will get them sharing if the video is good enough. 

Step 7. Exit Strategy​

After about 3 months I will start to create exit strategies. This is when I will start looking my youtube analytics and looking at drop off points in the videos and look  at ways to get my other videos to be seen. 

Why 3 months ? Well I like to make sure my channel video gets enough views to give me enough data to look at. If you can't wait 3 months (patience or  a pushy manager) just stick to the 100 views mark and go from there. 

I will go the the analytic's in YouTube and look at my average view duration​

I can tell that my audience tend to  drop off at the 1.52 mark. If I click on this field I get even more data. However now is the time to add a tile.

Adding Tiles To YouTube Videos​

At this moment click into your video editor and click on the above cards title. Next go to the part of the video where the data shows you lose your audience and click add card.  Then you will have 3 options to choose from. Such as promote another channel, promote a website or promote another video, this is the option we are using.

The result can be seen below, a nice icon that once clicked shows a tile which links into another video

To be fair you should  try and do this for every video you have on your channel. It is time-consuming and not the most glamorous of tasks but it is worth it.

​Second Screen Searching: How To Use It To Your Advantage

One of the latest trends to emerge is second searching. Ok, I get it you may not know this term but I bet  you are doing it.

Imagine  that you are sitting there at  home watching the latest DIY show and you see a method then are using, or perhaps your wife is watching a wedding programme and see's  the perfect venue. The next step is to pick up your phone and search google for more information whilst you are watching. According to this article on Think with Google

Google second screen searching

For any organisation this creates huge opportunities to work with broadcasters and vloggers/ bloggers that can create videos, or even better they could have an in-house team that can really create awesome content. 

Second Screen Searching:  How To Utilise It For Your Success​

If you are wondering how to use seconds screen searching then you need to start to think well in advance.

Let us use Doctor Who (British Sci Fi Programme). Every year we have a Christmas TV special which is watched by a lot of people including myself. So what do you think gets searched for more during Christmas? Well,  it is the popular quiz  question "What does Tardis Stand for?" If you do not  know the Tardis is the device used by the Doctor to travel through time. 

You can see that the search term increases in December. So we have a good number of monthly searches for a term that increases especially during that part of the year. Now I am sure that you know this already but there are lots of Doctor Who toys out there and  guess what, plenty of Tardis toys as well. Check it out:

So knowing this have we seen a great Toy store create a compelling videos or blog article on the Tardis? If we look at both Google and Youtube searches we can see that major toy stores are missing out on this tactic.

For the first time ever brands have an opportunity to sell or increase exposure as a result of second screen viewing. 

I bet searches for Star wars toys increase after every new trailer has been released for the new star wars movie. We could have Videos showing sneak peaks of the new toys that are ready to be uploaded to coincide with the release of a new film trailer. We could also use this same tactic for sporting events, cookery shows etc.

As a marketer your creative muscles can be flexed and shown off here and the possibilities are endless.

Is it worth it? ​

I understand when companies ask if this is worth doing. Well, in my opinion you need to take into account how smart your consumer is now. They are looking for information and they all consume their data in different ways.  

As a brand you need to look at every chance you have to engage with that audience. So the searcher  sees your video on "What Does Tardis stand for " but after they get their answer they also  see your in-video tile that links to your product or another video.

This is creating engagement and you may even get a sale of one of the Tardis  toys. Or perhaps when the searcher comes to spend their Christmas money they will choose that Tardis they saw on your video, and because they saved the video all  they need to do is click in your in-video link to  go to your sales page.

The potential  of brands using second screen searching to their advantage is amazing and every media company needs to consider the evergreen potential of second screen searching and second screen purchasing as a result.

If we continue with Doctor Who, let us see the sheer scale of this opportunity. If we look at these Doctor Who stats which showed an average audience of 12.8 million people, we see  huge new market for brands that realise searchers are looking for more information.

Doctor Who stats

​Source: http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/annualreport/pdf/2013-14/bbc_annualreport_201314_bbcexecutive_performance.pdf

Conclusion

So there you have it, my advanced guide to YouTube seo. By using the above strategy you will  start to see some improvements in your views. However the number 1 factor is to make  your videos worth watching. Combine that with my SEO advice and you should quickly see ranking improvements.

I feel that YouTube is an untapped goldmine for brands who just go that extra mile with their content. ​

If you are reading this and need help with your YouTube or  Second screen marketing then get in touch via our contact page or to get more articles like this one please sign up  for our mailing list. 

Thanks for reading

Andrew Holland ​