Google's not the only search engine in town — and we're not talking about Bing or DuckDuckGo.
The world's #2 search engine is actually Youtube. Owned by Google, the video hosting site is a place where a lot of us get hours of entertainment on a weekly or even daily basis.
As video content has evolved from an exciting new medium to a content marketing staple that every brand needs to have, the importance of Youtube — and of optimizing for Youtube's internal search algorithms — has expanded exponentially.
Just as you can optimize your text content to rank in a Google search, you can optimize your videos to rank for relevant queries when people search directly on Youtube.
Just like regular SEO, optimizing for Youtube involves keyword research. You want to find out what your audience is actively searching for, so you can deliver the content they need.
A big part of this is using tags.
YouTube allows both single- and multi-word tags that help categorize what your video is about. You only get a limited number of tags, though, so it's important to choose wisely.
In a recent article from Search Engine Land, Sherri Bonelli of BrightLocal explains how to use your competitors' tags as part of your Youtube keyword research strategy.
YouTube tags: Doing the keyword research
When doing keyword research on YouTube, you want to try to find keywords that will drive traffic to your video. The best place to look for keywords is on YouTube, but you should also use more traditional keyword research tools (like Google Search Console, SEMrush, SEOProfiler, Moz or others.)
YouTube allows you to include “tags” to help categorize your video by keyword, but it limits the number of tags you can include. You’ll want to look for multiword tags (i.e., long-tail keywords) that specifically relate to your video’s topic. You should also use single-word tags and broad-term tags that relate to your video’s broader topic. (Note: Do not use trademarks or copyrighted material in your metadata unless you have explicit permission from the owner to use it.)
YouTube is effective at semantically understanding your tags. So here’s an example of some tags for a video about “how to ask a boy out on a date”:
- How to ask a boy out on a date
- What to say when you ask a boy out on a date
- How to ask a boy you like out on a date
- Asking out a boy you like
- Meet boys
- Meeting boys
- Talk to boys
One great way to get tag ideas is to look at the top-ranking YouTube videos that directly compete with your video. However, YouTube hides the video tags, which makes it more difficult to “spy” on your competitors and see their keyword/tag secret sauce.
Luckily, there are tools that allow you to get lots of insights into what your competitors are doing — including letting you see the tags competitors are using to get their videos to rank high.
Two of these video software tools are vidIQ and TubeBuddy. Both programs have a free version and several paid versions, depending on your company’s needs. There are pros and cons to each — so if you can afford it, I’d recommend you use them both.
You can read more about Youtube SEO over at Search Engine Land.