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YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google, receiving over 2 billion logged-in users visiting each month. With such enormous search volume capabilities and strong domain authority, YouTube can be an incredibly powerful driver for your SEO strategy when used effectively.Does YouTube Help Your SEO?But how exactly does posting videos on YouTube impact SEO for your website? The connection may not seem obvious at first glance. Well, not only can high-quality YouTube videos attract direct traffic to your site, but they can also indirectly affect SEO by boosting your site’s authority and relevance.

Driving Referral Traffic

The most straightforward way YouTube benefits your SEO is by driving direct referral traffic to your website through links in your video descriptions and end screens. When viewers find your videos from YouTube search or related videos and click your site link, this counts the same as any other external referral traffic.

More unique referral traffic indicates rising popularity and awareness of your brand. Over time, this can signal to Google that your content resonates with users, building trust and authority to improve your SERP rankings.

To maximize traffic, strategic keyword targeting is key. Include keywords naturally in titles, descriptions, subtitles, and the audio transcript. YouTube’s algorithm scan texts for search relevancy.

Backlink Building

The other major value of YouTube for SEO is its capacity for earning high-quality backlinks. Each video has a unique URL that sites can link to as a citation source. These backlinks count the same as any other external sites linking to your domain.

Earn links by promoting your videos on social media, contributing as a guest for other channels, showing up in searches, and getting embedded on third-party sites. The more authoritative the sites linking back, the more SEO juice gets transferred.

Establishing Authority and Trust

While the direct SEO impacts matter, YouTube can also indirectly improve your website’s search performance by establishing expertise and authority around your brand, products, and services. Google cares most about serving users the most trustworthy and informative content possible.

Appearing authentic and transparent while demonstrating extensive knowledge about your industry niche leads to perceptions of authority. The more YouTube subscribers, views, comments, and engagement you accumulate, the more trusted your brand becomes–not just on YouTube but across the web.

Google indexes and learns from YouTube activity, using its summation of your presence and reception there to inform SERP rankings sitewide. More trust and authority on YouTube pays dividends through higher search visibility in organic results pages.

 Key Takeaway: While YouTube may not directly pass link equity to your website, increased exposure, referral traffic, backlinks, authority-building, and search visibility make the platform infinitely valuable for an integrated SEO strategy. Use YouTube synergistically with blogging, outreach, and link-earning tactics. 

Optimizing Videos for Maximum Impact

Simply uploading random videos without optimization won’t magically improve your SEO. You must intentionally craft video content using YouTube best practices focused on rankings and driving traffic. Here are key optimization tips:

Hook Viewers in the First 10 Seconds

YouTube data reveals most viewers decide whether to keep watching or drop off in the first 10 seconds. That makes intriguing opening hooks critical–use animations, bold scenes, humor or irony that entice continued viewership and shares which boosts rankings.

Feature Target Keywords Prominently

As referenced before, seed videos liberally with primary and secondary search keywords through textual mentions in narration and visual text overlays. This signals relevancy to searchers and YouTube’s indexing algorithm.

Transcribe Videos Through Subtitles and Description

YouTube scans descriptions and actual spoken word audio for indexing, so meticulously transcribed videos enjoy much higher discoverability and rankings in video search results. Auto-generated captions often contain errors though, so manually created subtitles ensure precision.

Promote Authoritativeness Through Optimized Channel

Have a customized channel banner reflecting your brand identity with the company name, logo, contact info and concise tagline. Complete the channel About section with links back to website content, social media handles and a professional headshot photo. Verified checkmarks also lend credibility.

Collaborate with Authority Figures and Brands

Pursue organic integration, guest appearances and shoutout partnerships from recognized experts and brand names within your niche. Their stamp of approval transfers authority and trust onto your own content. Be discerning about bad actors though with fake or purchased subscribers.

Foster Engagement Through Calls to Action

Sprinkling subtle yet effective CTAs throughout to comment, subscribe or visit your links takes advantage of each viewer touchpoint. Reminding people explicitly to interact singularly moves the engagement needle to signal popularity. Offer added resources in descriptions or end cards to entice clicking too.

The more you can implement these optimization practices into the experience from idea conception onward, the more YouTube algorithmic rewards and resultant SEO impacts you’ll garner over the long term.

Measuring the SEO Value of YouTube

Now that we’ve explored precisely how YouTube participation boosts SEO indirectly and directly, you’re probably wondering how best to track the tangible outcomes YouTube creates for better optimizing ongoing efforts.

Start by establishing baselines before implementation then compare at regular intervals to gauge performance improvements directionally over time.

Here are key metrics to quantify YouTube’s SEO value:

  • Increased organic search traffic and conversions from Google
  • Higher search rankings for brand and product keywords
  • More website referral traffic from YouTube videos themselves
  • Additional backlinks gained from embedded videos into external sites
  • Greater domain authority ranking improvements
  • Higher search visibility when checking keyword rankings
  • More frequent daily or monthly brand name searches

Check analytics from Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and YouTube Studio itself to compile reports for these metrics. Factor YouTube-directed efforts as one of many parallel strategies that collectively move the needle to meet your search visibility objectives.

With well crafted relevant video content, deliberate optimization and patience to let YouTube work its algorithm magic, you absolutely can realize measurable ROI in the form of surging organic search traffic and climbing SERP rankings over time.

callout-block Key Takeaway: Quantify the holistic SEO value YouTube brings through analytics around referral traffic, backlinks, search visibility, brand searches and conversion rates. Compare historical baselines to determine success optimizing future video production and promotion endeavors. 

Conclusion

YouTube must play an integral role within any modern content marketing and SEO strategy given its unrivaled influence today driving search behavior and site discovery. Between the immense volume of search interest for video content plus YouTube’s domain authority respected by Google, it presents a prime channel for earning trust, credibility and referral traffic.

Tactically work YouTube with an optimization mindset from video conceptual planning through promotion and distribution. Monitor analytics closely to tweak efforts toward maximum search visibility and conversion outcomes over the long-term. Wield YouTube to climb rankings, attract clicks and boost brand authority site-wide.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Does posting more YouTube videos increase SEO?
    Yes, consistently publishing new, high-quality and well-optimized videos on YouTube signals relevancy and authority to Google, ultimately improving your site’s overall SEO. 
  2. Should I link my YouTube channel and website?
    Definitely link between your YouTube channel and websites using branded channel art, descriptions and website links in videos. This connects authority and helps search engines understand the content is all from one trusted brand. 
  3. What type of YouTube videos help SEO the most?
    Informational “how-to” style videos that educate around valuable keywords offer the most SEO value by attracting organic search interest and building authority around expertise. Entertaining videos tend to earn more casual traffic. 
  4. Can I rank YouTube videos without links to my site?
    You technically can rank YouTube videos without linking back to your website. However you’ll forfeit driving referral traffic and authority passes. Include natural, useful site links to fully capitalize on potential SEO gains. 
  5. How many YouTube videos should you post for SEO?
    Ideally post 1-2 new YouTube videos per week related to relevant search keyword topics. This strikes the right balance between outputting helpful informational content yet not overwhelming your production bandwidth long-term with unrealistic volumes. 
  6. Should I use keywords in video titles for SEO?
    Definitely incorporate your most important 1-2 primary keywords naturally within the first 60 characters of YouTube video titles. Leading with keywords signals to YouTube what the content focuses on. 
  7. How can I get more YouTube views?
    Optimize thumbnails with engaging text, promote videos on social media, participate in YouTube communities commenting on related videos, collaborating with influencer channels, and embedding videos on external sites will all garner more organic YouTube views. 
  8. Does YouTube rank better than websites?
    YouTube owns the second highest search market share behind Google so videos can readily outrank webpages for video-specific searches. That said websites still dominate text-based queries. Use each format strategically for their strengths. 
  9. Can YouTube videos increase Google ranking?
    Yes without question. Creating helpful how-to videos around keywords both directly drives interested traffic from YouTube itself plus indirectly lifts organic Google search ranks by strengthening perceived authority and relevance. 
  10. Is YouTube good for SEO?
    Extremely. YouTube bolsters SEO by escalating click-through rates from Google rankings earned by authority passes, securing more referral traffic and backlinks, reinforcing subject-matter credibility, and amplifying brand visibility through greater exposure. 
  11. Can I use YouTube videos on my website?
    You can embed YouTube videos onto website pages to supplement your content. This engages visitors, earns YouTube data pings and if viewers watch other YouTube suggestions could lead to related video discovery driving referral traffic. 
  12. Should I upload to YouTube if I have a website?
    Yes, you should have a presence on both YouTube distributing videos and an owned website hub publishing long-form articles. Each channel serves different audiences and search intents, working together to maximize visibility. 
  13. What is the best format for YouTube videos?
    Landscape dimensions of 1280×720 HD or 1920×1080 Full HD are recommended minimums to create an immersive professional viewing experience across devices. File formats in H.264 or VP9 encoding efficiently stream while retaining quality. 
  14. How important are custom thumbnails?
    Critical. 80%+ of the decision whether to watch a video relies on how enticing the thumbnail appears. Spend time perfecting thumbnail images with bold text for stopping scroll power and driving clicks. 
  15. Should I put links in YouTube descriptions?
    Yes absolutely. Video descriptions can include active links to your website, related YouTube content, affiliate resources and other destinations to send viewers to click-throughs after watching, which aids SEO. 
  16. Can I see what keywords rank my videos?
    YouTube Studio provides analytics detailing which search terms are driving viewers to your videos most often. Lean into trending keywords by optimizing usage in future video title tags, descriptions and file names. 
  17. How quickly can YouTube increase website traffic?
    Assuming you strategically optimize uploads for SEO including backlinks and keyword integration, measurable spikes in referral website traffic should manifest within 3-6 months, then steadily climb over time as content volumes and authority expand. 
  18. What are the SEO benefits of YouTube over my site?
    YouTube enjoys much higher overall search volume and direct search integration with Google which your independent site can’t match, so videos can readily outperform webpages for video-oriented queries in particular. 
  19. Will uploading YouTube videos increase Google ranking?
    Yes, YouTube videos optimized for search visibility with descriptive metadata and transcriptions will surface for relevant traffic in both YouTube and Google searches, lifting domain authority and indirectly your webpage ranks in parallel over time. 
  20. What is the ideal length for a YouTube video?
    The optimal length is between 8 and 12 minutes so you can provide enough informative value while still keeping viewers engaged before dropping off. Short 1-2 minute snackable videos can also work for quick tutorials or entertainment. 

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