Youtube SEO with @RemcoTensen #vcbuzz

Youtube SEO with @RemcoTensen #vcbuzz

Youtube is the world’s largest search engine, right after Google (which happens to belong to the same company).

Yet, the platform is also getting too saturated with creators competing for consumers’ attention

One of the most effective ways to achieve long-term Youtube success is to invest in Youtube SEO.

Let’s discuss!

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About @RemcoTensen

@RemcoTensen is an SEO and PPC expert based in Netherlands.

Please connect to Remco on Linkedin!

Questions we discussed

Q1 How did you become a digital marketer? Please share your career story!

Before I started doing my own thing, I worked with in many different places. I studied transportation and logistics management, before I became a copywriter for a recruitment agency.

Worked at a few marketing agencies for a couple of years, involving myself with office and management work, marketing projects, teaching SEO classes, and coaching people on the work floor, mostly hidden talent with disabilities

Q2 Why would a business want to be on Youtube? Which goals should we set when starting creating and uploading videos to Youtube?

As an SEO, you have more options to benefit from YouTube and other creator platforms, than a regular independent creator. It should be pretty clear how adding video to your SEO strategy, can benefit your results.

The Google SERP is heavily video-based (which I don’t like actually, as web copy is the easier, more versatile, faster, and cheaper medium). On top of that, adding video to your website may dramatically increase both dwell time and conversions.

Thinking of starting a career as a video creator, and turning that into a business? Consider saving at least 6 months of budget for your living expenses, before you give up your day job. It’s probably best to start making videos while working a regular job.

YouTube’s ad revenue, channel memberships, superthanks, and superchat features, likely won’t provide a livable income for a creator today. Supplement that income to ensure durability. Making video creation part of an SEO campaign may be a great way to do that!

You can add a stable revenue stream by selling subscription tiers on a platform like Locals, for example. With a set tier system, you can sell you more exclusive content and have people participate in a private community/network, under your own brand.

Of course seeking out sponsorships, and donations through Patreon, for example, would be another way to supplement revenue, but you may also want to set up a webshop for you to promote in your channel, because you won’t earn that much that easily anymore.

For creators there are several great third party editing and distribution options, that also provide you with tools and analytics (I would supplementing the data provided by YouTube, although you should keep in mind data can merely provide a hypothesis).

Q3 How and why would one optimize Youtube videos?

How should you optimize video content? A lot of people get that wrong, in my opinion. Video is a different beast from web copy, in that it’s much more about communicating to the emotional level. I think you should find ways to exploit that.

No other medium, other than doing stand up comedy, can provide you with direct feedback to what you are creating, in such an effective way. That’s especially true for live-streaming. Which you should absolutely do if you want to score on YouTube.

People are naturally curious, and asking “couldn’t we do this better?”, is something people will always do. Use that to your advantage. Listen to your audience, and when they tell you 2 or 3 times, it’s not very good, try something different.

Keywords in the title of the video etc. carry weight, but YouTube focuses less on what we consider traditional SEO signals. Subscribers and likes are important when you want your videos to be recommended, so be careful with too much keywords and clickbait.

Create and submit a sitemap for your videos. Google provides detailed guidelines along with examples to help you start (you may also include videos in your regular sitemap).

Googlebot doesn’t “watch” your videos. So use Schema markup for your videos. It makes it easy for search engines to accurately display the contents of your videos. Include at least:

  • clear description
  • duration
  • thumbnail

The best trick in the toolbox is your thumbnail. Make sure thumbnails are bot accessible, with no robots.txt blocking them, to have them appear in the featured videos section.

You can SEO inside your thumbnails! Add a clear, descriptive text, in a large enough font, with good contrast.

The most obvious thing you can do is create videos on topics that people search for. But you have to make sure these are topics people WANT to see in video, rather than copy. Use Google Search Console for ideas.

You can add chapters to your YouTube videos by adding timestamps for each chapter in the description. Adding chapters makes the videos easier for viewers to watch and saves them time.

YouTube occasionally gives your videos chapters automatically, if you enable the option. I prefer to manually set them. With any luck, they’ll appear on SERP. Do a SERP analysis of them though, because as answers on SERP, may kinda suck.

Video doesn’t just improve your video creator skills, it improves all of the core skills you need to be an effective marketer. Adam Curry, the OG of podcasts, always says: “Everyone should start a podcast.” I think in a lot of ways, he’s right.

When thinking up creative ideas/scripts, on podcasts, or your live-streams: relax! If you’re under any kind of pressure, you’ll always resort to stereotypical thinking. Real live-streaming by the way, is a huge ranking factor in YouTube.

You can’t teach creativity, but you CAN teach people how to set themselves up for the greatest chance to have the creativity they have within themselves emerging.

When you’re preparing for a video, turn your phone off. Ignore your email. Neglect your colleagues, family, and pets. When you’re in your head piecing things together that you want to happen in the video, you can’t have random distractions break you out of the process.

It’s entirely possible to NOT worry about deep data metrics and algos, and to still win at the video game. Though the ability to do that depends on the niche you’re in. When it’s a niche YouTube feels even a little nervous about these things may be important.

Google/YouTube is stressed, trying to control everything, especially things they can’t really control. Creators use blacklists with forbidden words. You’d be surprised how many are common language. So it’s smart to curate your own.

Humor can be a powerful tool in getting those subscribers to your channel. Even if you’re in the business of making educational videos.

John Cleese explains: “People don’t understand the difference between solemnity, and seriousness. People think that anything with fun or humor, is not serious. No, it’s not solemn. … You can always have a serious discussion with humor, and because people don’t really know the difference, they think that anyone who’s humorous, lacks gravity. I think that’s very sad.”

Not a lot is known about YouTube algos, as they’re kept more secret than the algos we’re used to learning. It might help to think of YT algos as business people. What do business people want, above all else? Clarity. But business people are the enemy of creative people.

It’s very difficult to win in YouTube SEO, without making “YouTube Shorts”. Without Shorts, it’s almost impossible to trigger recommendations. Combine YouTube Shorts with TikTok, as they’re a good way to get people to subscribe to your YouTube-channel.

If something goes wrong in the communication between the “pieces” that make up YouTube’s large system, subscribers may automatically get unsubscribed, and likes may be lost. That’s why creators often remind their viewers to check whether they’re still subscribed.

Selecting a topical range for your video channel is crucial. Too narrow, and – long term – you’ll risk dropping the quality, boring your current audience, losing the ability to attract a new one. Too wide, and your channel won’t be focused enough for people & algos.

Q4 When embedding Youtube to our own page, are there any SEO tactics we should implement?

There are a lot of ways you can embed your video content on a page, and embedding isn’t a standard. You want to explore all the ways you can do it and the features and traits you can give your embedded video.

Here are things to watch out for: In YouTube, you can embed with the direct link, which is fine, but go for the iFrame code if you want a little more power over how you want to embed the video – make sure to always edit with iframes in a text-based editor

Testing your embedded video:

  • Clear your browser cache
  • Use the full link
  • Grant permission to embed in YouTube’s advanced settings

You can embed Facebook videos too (click the 3 dots and grab the code). I know TikTok is hot right now, but do NOT underestimate Facebook’s video visibility power, either! Make sure it’s set to publish publicly, though.

Embedding your video into a webpage with the help of relevant web copy and links of course, is a powerful method to add some easily digestible context to it. Playlists help give your videos some context too. And you may consider embedding those in your pages.

Tactics may be part of a larger strategy, and can involve anything, from adding value to a landing page, to creating teasers that lead people to (closed) content (obviously Shorts and TikTok are good for that), to trying to hit those special SERP features.

Sharing a video on social media? Then use the link provided by the channel, rather than the one from the address bar.

Make sure your apps have permissions set correctly, and aren’t set to block. Uploading directly to the platform is prefered. Almost every large platform offers a post inspection feature of some kind, that allows you to debug your video embed code.

WordPress offers automatic embedding, but I’d throw the video URL in “Add media”, so you can preview it and debug, and avoid it showing up as a hyperlink.

You never really know what will work. People will either start to like you more and more, or less and less. Still, you have no choice but to put your ideas into the world to test them. Fear is dangerous, because it hinders execution, and fuels blandness. But so is overconfidence. If you think you’re good enough already, you’re not learning. Always test against your audience. And use their feedback in your other SEO efforts!

Q5 What are your favorite video optimization tools?

I would start by finding an affordable video hosting service, if you’re serious about using video consistently and for many hours, as they make your life as a creator a million times easier (and more profitable).

They allow you to distribute/stream, and interact on multiple channels at once, not just YouTube. Which is what you want. You don’t want to rely on Youtube alone. Modern YouTube is much too fickle.

Our previous video marketing chats:


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