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I am not going to repeat those basic YouTube SEO strategies you always read. You are going to get little-known SEO tips that actually work right now. I developed a formula for ranking videos that works. This formula will quickly grow your rankings, views, subscribers, and traffic.

Primary Keywords First

Strategy number one; target keyword goes first.

Everyone knows you should use your target keyword in your video title. But what you might not know is that YouTube puts more weight on words appearing at the beginning of your title.

For example, let's say you want to rank your video for Off Page SEO. Most people would use a title like Top 5 Strategies for Off Page SEO. Now, that title isn't horrible. It's a good title. But you can easily make that title even more YouTube SEO friendly by targeting your primary keyword first.

A title with a targeted keyword at the start could look something like this; Off Page SEO – Top 5 Strategies.

This little tip works so well, that I tend to target my primary keywords in almost all of my titles.

Video Engagement Signals

Our second strategy, boost video engagement signals. So, what are engagement signals exactly?

Engagement signals are:

  • Shares
  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Subscribes

Basically, whenever someone engages with your video, it tells YouTube people enjoy this video.

Now, the question is, how can you get more people to engage with your videos? From lots of testing, I've found that putting a hyper-specific call to action at the end of the video works best.

You see, most use a generic call to action; "Leave a comment," or "Let me know what you think. “

But I've found that hyper-specific call to actions work much better. So, instead of a generic, "Leave a comment, “give your viewer something specific to comment on.

For example, ask your viewers which of the two strategies from the video “Off Page SEO – Top 5 Strategies” they'll try first.

Formula For Video Tags

Here’s the deal with video tags on YouTube. Tags aren't as important as they used to be. That said, tags still make a difference. So, it's worthwhile to spend some time on them.

Unfortunately, most people on YouTube use tags completely wrong. Remember, your video tags are designed to help YouTube understand the content of your video. Which means you don't need a lot of tags to get the job done. In fact, if you use lots of tags, you’re just going to confuse YouTube and Google and they'll have no idea what your video is actually about.

If YouTube doesn't understand what your video is about, they’re not going to rank it for anything. That’s why I recommend using a small number of highly specific tags.

Here’s exactly how you should work:

  • Make sure that your first tags are your target keyword. Just like with your title, YouTube puts more weight on tags that appear early on, especially your fist tag. So, if your keyword is green smoothie recipes, you’d make your first tag green smoothie recipes; simple.
  • Next, create two to three tags that are alternative versions of your main keyword. For example, you'd use variations of green smoothie recipes like green smoothie recipes for breakfast, and easy green smoothie recipes. You can easily find these variations by popping a target keyword into the YouTube search field and seeing what YouTube suggests. These suggestions make perfect alternative versions of your main keyword to use as tags.
  • Finally, include one or two broad terms as your last set of tags. These tags should describe your videos overall topic or industry. The goal of these broad tags is just to give YouTube more context about your video. For example, broad keywords for green smoothie recipes would be things like nutrition and smoothies.

CTR Magnet

You probably already know that click-through rate is an important YouTube ranking factor. If your video gets an above-average amount of clicks in the search results, YouTube’s going to give you a rankings bump.

The question is, how you can get more clicks?

Use CTR Magnet Thumbnails

So, what are CTR magnet thumbnails? They’re thumbnails that are strategically designed to get more clicks from YouTube searchers.

Use non-YouTube colors in your thumbnail. What do I mean by non-YouTube colors? Well, the main colors on YouTube's website are white, red, and black. So, if you use those same colors in your thumbnail, you’re going to blend in.

Instead, I recommend using colors that contrast with YouTube's color scheme like green, blue, purple, gray, and orange. These colors help my results stand out from the others which brings me more clicks.

Next, use big, bold text in your thumbnail. My experiments have taught me that thumbnails with text get more clicks than thumbnails without any text.

That said, your thumbnail is pretty small. So, you don't have a lot of room to work with. That’s why I recommend using 30 characters of text max.

What’s In Description?

Write a lot of content for your video descriptions.

From lots of testing I've found that long descriptions help videos rank better in YouTube because the longer descriptions help YouTube better understand what your video is all about. That’s why I recommend making your descriptions between 100 and 200 words.

Easy CTR Title Hack

One of the easiest ways to increase your click-through rate is to add brackets or parentheses to your video title. In fact, a study by HubSpot discovered that simply adding brackets and parentheses to titles boosts the click-through rate by up to 38%.

Related Videos

YouTube SEO is more than just ranking in the search results. In fact, you can get just as many views, if not more, by getting your video to appear as a suggested video. Suggested video is when your video shows up next to another video in the sidebar. So, if you can get your video to show up next to a really popular video, you'll steal some of their views.

The best way to show up as a suggested video is to use the same tags that video uses. When YouTube sees that some of your tags match the tags from a popular video, they'll understand that your video is about the same topic. Which means they'll likely rank your video as a suggested video.

To see a video's tags, you need to look at the source code of the page. To do this with Google Chrome, just right-click on the page and click view page source. Then look at the keyword section of the page. The keywords that appear are the tags for that video. You can also use a tool like Tube Buddy or Vid IQ which will show you a video's tags without needing to look through the source code.

Next, use a few of the tags that video uses on your video. Make sure to copy the tags exactly word for word. If your video is high-quality and closely related to the popular video, YouTube will start to rank you as a suggested video.

Now, I want to turn it over to you. Which of the YouTube SEO tips from this blog are you going to use first?