Everyone wants their videos to perform well on YouTube and Search in Related Videos, but some of the stuff that you are hearing from other YouTube experts out there is actually not just misleading but downright wrong, and I want to set some of them straight for you guys so that your content can perform the way that it deserves. That’s coming up.
I read a lot of YouTube blogs and websites and SEO blogs, some of them very credible, but there are so many YouTube experts out there who call themselves experts but actually have never built a channel themselves.
They heard something or they read something on reddit or they heard their friend say one thing, and they take it and it just turns into this stuff. And I’m going to give just five of the top ones that frustrate me the most that are just absolutely not true. If some of these experts would just take a few minutes and actually read through the YouTube Help section, they would see that these things and other things just aren’t true.
Tags In The Description Box
So let me give you the top five that irritate me the most, and hopefully will help you actually get the results on your channel that you’re trying to get. Number one, I hear a lot of them recommend that you should list your tags at the end or somewhere in your video’s description text area, and that is totally wrong. In fact, we talked a bit like that like a year or two ago here, how YouTube started cracking down on channels for spammy content in the description area, which in the SEO world, this is called keyword stuffing. And keyword stuffing is a very 2008, ‘9-ish type of thing that doesn’t really work anymore.
Keyword Stuff Transcripts in Captions
The idea is, the more keywords you stuff in there, then YouTube thinks, like, well this video must absolutely definitely be about this subject, because it says it 15 times. And, two, kind of going along with it, they say repeat as many different types of words that are relevant for your video as possible in your actual transcript so that when you upload your captions file to your video on YouTube, that confirms for Google that this video must definitely be about this subject, because look at all the related keywords that they’re actually saying and putting into the captions file on this video, and that doesn’t work at all either.
Now, yes, Google does index the captions file for your videos, but it doesn’t influence how high up in the search results it goes. It just kind of influences the breadth of search results that could be applicable for this video. So if you say a string of some random words that no one else has ever said before, you put that in your captions file and put it to YouTube, and you search for that query on YouTube, yes, your video will be the only one that shows up for it. But who’s searching for that? Nobody, right? I have several other videos that go into this in a lot more detail. I’ll link up to those below if you want to dig into it, but it’s a myth, I promise.
Buy A lot of Views and Subscribers
Number three, they will tell you to buy a lot of views and subscribers from different websites out there so that your channel looks more credible. So if someone finds one of your videos, and says, oh, this video has 100,000 views, like, this must be a great video, I should subscribe to this channel, because look, it has 300,000 subscribers. But the problem with that is, imagine what Google feels about your video when you just sent them– say, you pay for 100,000 views on it, and all of them abandoned the video after like 10 or 15 seconds.
What do you think Google thinks about your video? They’re not going to rank that video very high, which sets a high quick abandonment rate, and you’re not really accumulating much watch time either, so you’re actually shooting yourself in the foot and making a video that could perform half decently, not be able to perform at all by sending those types of signals to Google about this video.
Keywords in The File Name
Number four, and I am surprised how often I hear this one, and that is you should put your keywords into your video file name before you upload it to YouTube, because the file name is the very first piece of information Google gets about your video, so put your keywords in the file name, so it’s topfivevideoseomyths.mp4.
I remember when this myth started at VidCon a few years ago, and it’s totally not true. YouTube, on their official Help section, themselves says that it’s not true. The response that I’ve heard from YouTube is that the time that this person was experimenting with file names– keywords in the file names– at the same time when YouTube rolled out a different algorithm update, and so they thought there was a correlation, but they are actually two separate things. The file names– the keywords in the file name have nothing to do with this other algorithm that changed and affected how different videos perform. So that one is a total myth.
Likes and Dislikes Effect SEO
And, number five, sometimes you will hear people saying that getting dislikes on your video can actually hurt how it performs in Search, and that is not true. In fact, likes, dislikes, shares– all those things in general– YouTube doesn’t really weigh them very heavily as far as how it’s going to rank a video, because all those things can be gained very easily by different people doing different things, and so it doesn’t put a lot of stock into those signals.
However, as far as Google is concerned, a dislike is the same as a like– a thumbs up, thumbs down– both of them are forms of engagement, and that is what YouTube is looking for. So if it’s a thumbs up, a thumbs down, all YouTube cares about is that your video enlisted some sort of reaction from the viewer.
Now thumbs ups can help your video in discoverability from the perspective that if someone who has a popular YouTube channel gives it a thumbs up, then that video can possibly display in that channel’s feed, and so people who subscribe to them might see it in, like, the What to Watch page of YouTube or other places like that, so it can help discoverability, but it doesn’t actually help it rank higher because it has a lot of thumbs ups or help it rank poorer because it has a lot of thumbs down.
Overall, the way that you should think about video SEO and discoverability on YouTube is that, if you come across something that just sounds like a quick little hack that’s going to game the system and beat it and get to the top with just one little twist, that’s not how YouTube works anymore.
The name of the game here on YouTube is to make valuable content for people, and if your content is valuable to people, it pitches good value, it hooks them well, it gets them watching the video, and they find the value, they keep watching more. Those are the signals that Google looks for the most, and that is what’s going to make the biggest difference in how your video ranks and performs on YouTube, even more than titles, descriptions, tags, captions, thumbs up, thumbs down, all these other little things.
But all that said, I would love to hear from you in the comments below about your reaction to some of these five things, and if you have found other things that you hear people say all the time that you found just isn’t true, make sure you call that out in the comments below as well. And the rest of you, make sure you read those other things, because you will learn a lot from those people down there, and I’m sure there’s more than the five things that I’ve covered here that you will learn from those people, so definitely go down there and check it out.