YouTube SEO: The Ultimate Beginners Guide

Did you know that YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world, and more than 5 billion hours of videos are watched on YouTube every day?

When it comes to video marketing, YouTube is a robust platform that small businesses can use to reach new customers and grow their brands.

In fact, we used our own YouTube channel to generate almost 6 figures in revenue completely organically in the past year alone. We also grew by more than 1,000 subscribers and generated over 60,000 views on our content.

Elevate YouTube Studio Channel Analytics

However, succeeding on YouTube requires understanding how to do YouTube SEO correctly. 

In this blog post, we’ll share tips for optimising your videos for search so that you can get the most out of this popular marketing channel. For example, did you know that adding closed captions can help your videos rank higher in search results? Or that using keywords in your titles and descriptions can give your videos an edge? Keep reading for more helpful tips!

*If you prefer video, be sure to check out my video below*

Conduct Thorough Research Before Making YouTube Videos

One way to improve your YouTube SEO for small businesses is to conduct thorough research before you make your videos. This means taking the time to understand your target audience, what content they are interested in, and what keywords they are likely to use when searching for information related to your industry.

For example, if you own a small business that sells pet supplies, you might create a video about how to choose the right pet food for your dog or cat. By doing your research and targeting the right keywords, you can ensure that your videos will appear in search results for people looking for information on those topics.

One thing you can do to make the research part much easier in terms of what content to come up with is YouTube SEO tools like vidIQ or TubeBuddy. These are some great extensions you can use for YouTube that will give you relevant ideas and topics about which you could be making videos. It will even show you the competition for YouTube SEO keywords and search volume. Plus, it will then give you a score based on your chances of actually being able to rank in position one for a specific video.

Create High-Quality Thumbnails

Thumbnails are an essential part of any video because they are the first thing people see when searching for content on YouTube. A good thumbnail can entice someone to click on a video, while a lousy thumbnail can cause someone to scroll right past it.

Let’s be honest…what’s going to grab your attention more as you’re scrolling through search results…

YouTube Thumbnail Comparison

There are a few things small businesses can do to create compelling thumbnails:

  1. Use high-quality images that accurately represent the content of the video.
  2. Ensure the text is easy to read and stands out against the background.
  3. Keep the thumbnail simple and avoid clutter.
  4. Use contrast to make the most important elements stand out.
  5. Experiment with different designs until you find one that works best for your videos.

Ideally, your thumbnail should have around 4-5 words to sum up the video briefly. This will make it easier for people to read and understand the video, increasing the chances that they will click on it. Different fonts and colours can help your thumbnail stand out and attract attention. 

People respond better to happy, smiling faces, so including one in your thumbnail can help encourage more people to click through and watch your video. According to our experience, videos with a smiling face in the thumbnail have a 50% higher click-through rate than videos without one. Additionally, having a big, bold title that’s easy to read will help your thumbnail stand out and encourage more clicks.

Focus On Imparting Value 

When it comes to YouTube SEO for beginners, creating valuable content is vital. This means focusing on imparting value in your videos through helpful tips, informative tutorials, or engaging stories. By providing valuable content, you’ll not only attract new viewers and subscribers, but you’ll also keep them coming back for more. So if you’re looking to up your SEO game on YouTube, make sure to focus on imparting value in everything you create.

Though it is often assumed that longer videos on YouTube result in more subscribers, this is not always the case. Our top-performing video was only 2 minutes long and received more views and subscriptions than many of our other videos that were much longer. This demonstrates that it is not necessarily the length of the video that determines its success but the value it provides.

For example, if a company releases a short video that educates viewers on a new product, they are providing value to the viewer. If the video is engaging and entertaining, the viewer will be more likely to remember the product. Another example is a longer video that tells a story that connects with the viewer. The story could be about the company or its products, and it will help the viewer feel connected to the brand. Ultimately, the value of a video is what matters most, not its length.

Incorporate A Call-To-Action In Some Of Your Videos

One of small businesses’ essential YouTube SEO tips is incorporating a call-to-action in some of your videos. By prompting viewers to take specific actions, such as subscribing to your channel, clicking through to your website, or even leaving a comment, you can help increase viewer engagement and keep them coming back for more. Not only will this help you improve your SEO ranking, but it also enables you to create a more engaged community around your channel and business.

When it comes to your CTA in YouTube videos, you don’t want it to feel forced or repetitive. You want it to feel natural, like the next step for someone just watching your video. After all, you’re trying to build trust and relationships over time, so it’s important that your CTA feels like a natural next step.

For example, let’s say I made a video about how to create a customer avatar. In the middle of that video, I mentioned our free customer avatar worksheet people can download. By putting a link to the worksheet in the description of the video, people can easily download it from our website. 

This allows us to generate a lead into an email sequence where we can continue building that trust and relationship. Do you have an email list that’s dead and disengaged? You might want to check out our 4 proven ways to revive a “dead” email list

Optimise For Watch Time

One great way to boost your SEO is to focus on YouTube optimisation by improving your watch time. Watch time is the amount of time people spend watching your videos. The longer someone watches your video, the more likely they will click on another one of your videos, subscribe to your channel, or even buy something from you.

When optimising your video for watch time on YouTube, one of the most important things you can do is give viewers a reason to stick around until the end. This could be done by initially teasing them with a few juicy tips, followed by a detailed explanation of each tip near the end. 

You could also promise them something interesting if they stick around until the end. For example, if you’re making a video on “7 steps to grow your Instagram following organically”, you might say that numbers four and seven are significant and will surprise viewers. This way, you keep people engaged and encourage them to watch the video till the end. 

Another way to optimise your video for watch time is by using cliffhangers. For example, if you’re talking about a new product launch, you could end your video by saying, “stay tuned for our next video, where we’ll be revealing the product in full!” This creates anticipation and encourages people to watch your next video.

Ultimately, the most important thing is keeping viewers engaged throughout the video. If you can do that, you’re well on your way to optimising for watch time on YouTube!

Use YouTube Studio To Monitor Your Trends & Analytics Over Time

Monitoring trends and analytics can significantly improve YouTube SEO for small businesses over time. This allows you to see what is working and what isn’t and make changes accordingly. 

For example, suppose you notice that your videos are not getting as many views as you would like. In that case, you can adjust your strategy to focus on creating videos that are more engaging or relevant to your target audience.

By monitoring things like your watch time, you can improve your videos and consequently your own YouTube SEO over time. This will help you to grow your business by tracking your progress and making small tweaks/improvements along the way. The key here is to look for certain patterns or parts in your video that are causing people to drop off early. As mentioned above, watch time is critical to the YouTube algorithm showing your video to more people…

YouTube Watch Time Analytics

As another example, if you’re seeing that your view to subscription rate is low, you might need to start giving more calls to action for people to subscribe to the channel. Or if you see that people are dropping off after the first 15 seconds, you might need to rethink your video’s introduction. If you’re starting to see some success with your videos, it’s essential to look at the trends and see what’s working well. This will help you continue producing content that viewers are interested in.

Wrapping It Up

YouTube SEO for small businesses is a great way to get your company’s name and product in front of potential customers. It can also help you build trust and credibility with those same customers. In this article, we shared six SEO tips for YouTube videos curated for small businesses. While following these tips won’t guarantee success, they will give your videos the best chance of ranking high in search results. What are you waiting for? Start optimising your videos today!

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Tom Peyton
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