Seven tips to get a grip on YouTube SEO

10 Comments | This entry was posted in Events

I’ve been working with search engine optimization mastermind Stephan Spencer for nearly five years. During this time he’s shared hours of his expertise and strategy on all things SEO with the community. In January, Spencer joined us to lead a webinar on the Latest and Greatest Trends and Techniques in SEO and (as usual) he had members furiously taking notes.

The core content? It was a list of the 10 hottest SEO trends, including everything from negative SEO and keyword brainstorming to link-building techniques. And thanks to the never-ending craze surrounding the Harlem Shake hysteria, I couldn’t resist focusing on trends in YouTube optimization.

YouTube: The Search Engine

Throughout the webinar, Spencer emphasized how essential it is to a brand’s overall web strategy to maximize its presence on YouTube. As the second-largest search engine (with more search queries than Bing and Yahoo), a fully optimized YouTube channel is an important component to successful SEO. Here are a few tips on how to drive web traffic by utilizing the power of YouTube.

  1. It’s time to post video content. If you don’t have anything – how are you going to rank? My own disclaimer: You have a lot to compete with. Every second, one hour of video is uploaded to YouTube. For my fellow analytics junkies out there, YouTube even has a dedicated website to help put the numbers in perspective.
  2. Track your rankings. As with just about anything in our world of digital marketing, you cannot (generally) improve what you are not measuring. Not sure how to do that? Spencer recommended an online optimization tracker for video (still in beta) called Voot to start documenting these stats.
  3. Track your engagement. There are tools to allow you to track engagement measurements that include likes, dislikes, embeds, inbound links, tweets, favorites, and comments. Embrace the data, but don’t let it bring on analysis paralysis.
  4. Optimize your video thumbnails. Choosing a better thumbnail of your video is a proven way to achieve a higher click-through rate. And, apparently, it’s even more important than the lists on your search engine results page.
  5. Engagement statistics are public. Competitors can view your video statistics and you can view your competition’s. However, there is an option to turn this feature off using the “Show Video Statistics” button to the right of the video views.
  6. Transcripts are searchable – make sure they are correct. YouTube makes machine transcriptions, but they aren’t perfect. To help enhance your search optimization you can override the automated transcript with one that matches the content perfectly.
  7. Transcript translation equals rankings in other languages. If you translate video content transcripts into foreign languages YouTube can turn these into subtitles. Spencer suggested Dotsub and Automatic Sync Technologies as two of the many companies that provide this service.

SEO is a critical piece of the digital marketing strategy for just about anyone who does business. In our highly competitive retail landscape some things are on the must-do list, and YouTube optimization is just a start. But the primary takeaway from these tips is clear: companies must focus on natural search optimization tactics to drive traffic – and hopefully conversion – for their websites.

For and NRF members that have YouTube optimized, you can still register to watch the on-demand version of the webinar to dive into mobile search, content marketing and more. I hope you enjoy it and most importantly I hope you don’t overlook the power – and art – of SEO.

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  1. Jennifer
    Posted March 27, 2013 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    YouTube is huge and you should definitely utilize its power to promote your brand and improve your visibility over web.I would like to state few of the techniques helpful in raking high in video results. One is optimizing title and description by adding targeted keywords. You can also include a link to your website in description to drive traffic to your website. Secondly, add relevant tags so that your video is showed as a related video with other similar videos from your niche. Getting inbound links, ratings and comments increase popularity to your video and so your rankings.

  2. Posted May 14, 2013 at 2:42 am | Permalink

    Benefits of YouTube in SEO: YouTube is popular, trustworthy site as owned by Google, people like watching videos, wide network or approach, builds brand popularity.

  3. Posted May 24, 2013 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    You Tube is really very beneficial for SEO. It is a best way for E-Commerce outlet to promote your product. It is a place where you can engage with other clients and to offer them something useful to watch.

  4. Posted May 29, 2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink


    Nice succinct and informative post. We always find a range perspectives on YouTube SEO to be very beneficial to us.


  5. Posted June 30, 2013 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    Quality of video hasn’t been mentioned. The better the video, the more it will be watched, shared, liked and commented upon. This will translate into better rankings over poor videos. After all, YouTube’s algorithms are trying to emulate human valuation. The safest SEO practices are producing good content.

  6. Alane Jewel
    Posted July 13, 2013 at 12:53 am | Permalink

    I have working over the last year to brush up on YouTube SEO learn tips to maximize my presence on YouTube and for various brands I do outreach for to generate natural leads from good practices. The toughest thing for me is coming up with competitive video content! I found this article very helpful and like your seven YouTube optimization focuses. I also stumbled on this one which is like YouTube search basics for dummys: BTW, in #3: What tools do you recommend to track engagement measurements?

  7. Posted July 25, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    I regularly post videos for my SEO clients. I find it a very popular method as the videos will be easily noticed and if it is attractive enough will gain popularity easily.

  8. Posted August 6, 2013 at 11:24 am | Permalink


    Second time I see the tip about transcripts. Do they affect your Youtube rankings at all? I’m not sure. But I haven’t tested this thing.

    I believe that Youtube video ranking boils down to these 3 things:
    1) Your Youtube channel authority
    2) Your Youtube video authority
    3) Outside authority for your videos

    I talked about these things on my website.

    Best wishes,

  9. Posted August 7, 2013 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    By using images , videos the SEO can achieves more quality. It’s very easy to understand. With the help of You tube SEO, improve SEO quality by twice. So these tips are very useful for SEO strategies.

  10. Posted August 7, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    As the you tube grow as the one of the main search engines it is better to submit a video in you tube for better results in SERP. The quality of the video is an important factor in it.

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