Video SEO: How to Rank YouTube Videos on the First Page of Google (Fast)

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Last year, our channel got over 172,000 views from Google search alone.
Last year, our channel got over 172,000 views from Google search alone. And it wasn't just luck. We focused heavily on video SEO. Now, there are 3 reasons why you should try and rank your YouTube videos on Google. First, it's much easier to rank high for competitive terms compared to web pages. Second, the traffic you get is free and pretty consistent. And third, the extra things you need to do aren't that difficult or time consuming. So today, I'm going to walk you through the step-by-step process to rank your YouTube videos on the first page of Google. Stay tuned. [music] What's up creators? As I'm sure you know, videos have been appearing more and more in Google's search results. In fact, video carousels nearly doubled in the SERPs in 2017. Now, video SEO is a bit different from YouTube SEO. Video SEO is the process of increasing visibility and ranking in search engines like Google. Whereas YouTube SEO is the process of increasing visibility and rankings in YouTube search. The good news: properly optimized videos for Google can also rank in YouTube and vice versa with just a few additional things. So let's get started with the step-by-step process to get more views to your YouTube videos through search. Step one is to find video topics with ranking and traffic potential. Google ranks content that best serves a user's query. And generally speaking, if videos are ranking high OR are prominent in the SERP, it's a sign that creating a video on this topic has potential to get views from Google. For example, if you search for "best iphone cases," you'll see all results are more or less blog posts. So trying to rank a video for this keyword would be pointless because you won't rank and therefore you won't get views through Google search. Now, key in something like "iphone x unboxing," and you'll see all results are from YouTube. So in addition to YouTube search traffic, there's potential to get views from Google's audience too.
To measure the total traffic potential of a video topic.
To measure the total traffic potential of a video topic, just copy and paste a top-ranking video URL in Ahrefs' Site Explorer, and you'll see the estimated amount of monthly search traffic it gets. Now, just because a video ranks high in Google, it doesn't mean it gets a meaningful amount of search traffic since some keywords rarely get searched. So there are 3 ways to find video topics with both ranking and traffic potential. First is to use Content Explorer, which is a searchable database with over a billion pages. To find YouTube videos with traffic, just search for which will narrow results to only Then add inurl:watch, which narrows it down to just videos. Finally, add title:your topic, which will search all YouTube videos in our database with the word or phrase in the title. Alright, let's sort the results by organic traffic. And there are tons of relevant topics that have high potential to send more views your way. It's also worth looking at the organic traffic graphs to look for consistency of traffic. So I'll set the trends graph to the past three years and you can instantly see which topics would likely result in consistent views from Google. The second method is to search through YouTube's organic keyword rankings. Just enter in Site Explorer, then go to the organic keywords report to see all keywords the site ranks for. Next, use the Include search box to search for a broad keyword related to your niche. To see the total search traffic potential, click on the caret beside the URL you want to investigate and you'll see an estimation of total monthly search traffic for that video. Again, if you find a topic that seems like it's worth going after, click through to the Overview page, and click on the Organic traffic tab. Ideally, you'll want to see somewhat consistent traffic like this rather than inconsistent spikes and drop-offs like this. The third way is to scrape and analyze Google search results. You'll need a Chrome extension called "Scraper" to do this efficiently.
Start by going to Google and search for site:youtube.
Start by going to Google and search for and then a title related to your niche. Next, click on Settings, then Search Settings, and make sure that you set the results per page to 100. Click Save and you'll be taken back to the search results page. Now, you can right-click on any link on the page and click Scrape similar. From here, you should have all of the YouTube URLs you can copy to your clipboard. And if it doesn't work for you, you'll need to copy and paste some code into your XPath Reference. I've left the code for you in the pinned comment just in case so you can copy and paste it yourself. Let's clean this up by removing all columns except the href column. I'll click Scrape one last time and then copy the URLs to the clipboard. Finally, go to Ahrefs' Batch Analysis tool and paste your list of scraped URLs. And after you run the search, you should be able to see how much traffic each of these videos get from Google. You can click on the Traffic column to sort them in descending order and click through to the videos you want to analyze. Awesome, so after using these three methods, you should have some great video topics with ranking and traffic potential. Let's move on to the next step which is to create an optimized video. It goes without saying that your videos need to engage your audience, meaning long watch times, high audience retention, and boast-worthy session watch times. But you probably already knew that. Now, something a lot of creators forget is that the Internet is more or less text-based. So if Google, YouTube or whatever search engine can't interpret the text attached to your video, then you'll never rank. So optimizing videos aside from engagement, is all about giving as much context as possible to search engines. And the way you do that boils down to the words spoken in the video, matching visuals, and metadata. All of these are easy to implement but they require some planning. Let's go through some strategies. For speech in video, I highly recommend scripting your content or outlining them in detail
So you don't go off on tangents. Plus, YouTube is able to extract some meaning from the audio and video.
so you don't go off on tangents. Plus, YouTube is able to extract some meaning from the audio and video. And I believe this is how auto-generated closed captions happen. Scripts and outlines help you to be concise, and they also allow you to mention specific keywords you want Google to pick up. For example, in the beginning of this video, I said: "Last year, our channel got over 172,000 views from Google search alone. And it wasn't just luck. We focused heavily on video SEO." My goal is obviously to rank this video on both YouTube and Google for "video SEO." But don't get me wrong. You're not going to start magically ranking on YouTube or Google because you said your primary keyword. There's more that goes into this. In fact, the words and phrases you use can contribute massively to earning big features like suggested clips. A suggested clip is a featured snippet in Google that's time-stamped to a YouTube video. They attract a ton of attention considering the amount of space they take up in the SERP. Based on Google's research paper they parse instructions using automatically processed transcripts. They then analyze the steps within videos using transitive verbs, which are action words about an object, i. e. "mix the eggs" or "grind the beans." Also, since they originally tested their technology on recipe videos, they state: "any recipe step that is missing a verb is considered noise and discarded." So if you're creating step-by-step instructional videos, use transitive verbs for your steps and keep them concise. More on this in a bit. The second thing you should do is match your visuals with your speech. And this can all be done using planned b-roll clips in post. For example, if I was creating a video on how to make perfect aeropress coffee, I'd say: "Grind your beans using a burr grinder. Add the beans into your aeropress . Boil your water to 183 degrees Fahrenheit. Now, pour the water slowly in a circular motion." You should't say… "grind the beans with a manual hand grinder.
This is mine which I got for Christmas. It grinds decently, but, boy.
This is mine which I got for Christmas. It grinds decently, but, boy, can it get tiring!" This is also a key factor to earning suggested clips as indicated in the same Google research paper. Third, you need to optimize your metadata. This includes things like your title, description, and, I guess, tags but as a less valuable component. Generally speaking, you'll want to include your primary keyword in both the title and description. Also based on my own observations, I've found that adding a detailed description of the video helps us rank for more keywords. There's more information on optimizing titles, descriptions, and tags in our YouTube SEO video, so I'll link that up in the description. Now, these are the basics of video optimization, and in my opinion, the three most important things you should do for every video you create. By using these tips and creating an engaging video, you'll heighten your chances of getting in video carousels and earning suggested clips. But there's still work to be done. The next step is to add closed captions to your instructional videos. Remember: we want to help YouTube and Google understand the contents of our video as much as possible. And since the words that are spoken can easily be transcribed to text, this is probably the best and easiest way to add context to your video. So if you've scripted your video, it's a cinch. Just add your transcript to YouTube and sync them with your speech. Now, if your videos aren't scripted, YouTube will automatically generate closed captions if your video is in English. It's gotten pretty good, but it's not quite perfect. For example, in this video, Tim is saying: "Hey guys, this is Tim Soulo from Ahrefs and right now you're watching episode number 3." So bottom line: polish those auto-generated captions or upload your own. In addition to context, YouTube says in a Creator Academy video that text on screen has proven to be so engaging that it increases the watch to completion rate. These two factors lead to a monumental gain in SEO ranking and engagement.
So by using closed captions, you're creating a better user experience for people with hearing loss.
So by using closed captions, you're creating a better user experience for people with hearing loss, non-native speakers, and for those at work or in a noisy coffee shop. Alright, step 4 is to create an enticing thumbnail. It's no secret that great thumbnails lead to more clicks. So I have a few tips to help you out. First, don't use a screenshot or a still from your video. Instead, create a custom thumbnail that contrasts from both Google and YouTube's SERP. As you can see, we use blue and orange which makes our thumbnails standout. Now, compare that to a thumbnail that uses Google's colors and you'll see it doesn't create the same effect. Tip two is to make your images congruent with the video title. Here's one of ours on long-tail keywords. When possible, we try to go beyond the typical "business smile and title," which in my opinion, makes our thumbnails stand out from competing videos. The final step is to add timestamps to your videos. And this can help you get the "key moments" feature in Google. Google explains: when you search for things like how-to videos that have multiple steps, or long videos like speeches or a documentary, Search will provide links to key moments within the video, based on timestamps provided by content creators. As far as I've seen, key moments are only shown on mobile at this time. But as you can see, this video is spliced up with screenshots and timestamps to different parts of the video. To do this for your own video, just add timecodes along with a short description beside it. We try and keep it simple with basic phrases and an easy-to-read format. It's estimated that video will represent 82% of all IP traffic in 2021. And the fact that video is starting to dominate Google's SERP is a good indicator that it's time for you to up your video SEO game. We have a bunch of videos on YouTube SEO, video SEO, and getting more views to your YouTube videos. So I recommend checking those out. And if you enjoyed this video, make sure to like share and subscribe for more actionable marketing tutorials.
So keep grinding away, get your videos on the first page of Google and YouTube.
So keep grinding away, get your videos on the first page of Google and YouTube, and I'll see you in the next tutorial.

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