What is YouTube SEO?
YouTube SEO involves optimising your channel, playlists, meta data, descriptions, and videos to ensure your content will rank highly in YouTube search results and other search engine results pages (SERPs).
The objective of this YouTube SEO case study is to give you ideas about how you can bring SEO into your efforts to start a YouTube channel for vegan marketing.
You’ll build a good sense of the size and interests of the audience for your topics. You’ll also be able to establish a good routine so your tags and video descriptions all build to boost your SEO. And, that’s key to appearing in YouTube searches!
How can you get started? Let’s explore some YouTube SEO strategies and tools together, using a great new vegan YouTube channel (Modestly Maski) as an example.
First, we’ll show you how to use four keyword tools. Then, we’ll explain how you can use the keywords you find. Finally, we’ll provide a bonus tip and some bonus ideas for other ways to boost your channel.
Interesting? Share now!
About Modestly Maski
Modestly Maski premiered with the first video on the 12th of June 2020.
In an authentic and engaging introduction, Maskelah (the host) invites viewers to join her on her journey as she learns while growing her channel. Modestly Maski is based in Israel and provides both coaching for starting a YouTube video and healthy vegan recipes.
At the time of this case study, the channel has just launched a Patreon account, but has no social media channels yet. Still, the channel already has 11 videos and 143 subscribers. Videos include tasty vegan recipe demonstrations, an unboxing video, and also behind the scenes videos sharing Mashkelah’s experiences associated with starting a YouTube channel.
If you’re starting a new channel, Modestly Masky provides a great case study.
We’re going to focus this SEO article on Modestly Maski’s Bown Lentil Patties (Vegan Burger) video, which is embedded below for context. At the time of writing, the video’s description is simply:
“THANK YOU FOR ALL OF YOUR SUPPORT. CHECK OUT MY PATREON. FOR LIVESTREAMS BEHIND THE SCENES AND EXCLUSIVE MERCHANDISE FOR MY SUPPORTERS PATREON.COM/MODESTLYMASKI CHECK OUT MY CAMERA MAN AT INSTAGRAM @ANANIOZURUMBA HIS YOUTUBE CHANNEL: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtwIvwD6RUDyIo3y0wFKvTg“
The video provides an engaging cooking demonstration and delicious recipe (yes, we’ve tasted it to check). It has a vibrant channel intro and outro, with cheerful footage and music. It’s no surprise that the video has had a high percentage of likes and comments per view.
But, how is it performing in search results and what could be done to boost its YouTube SEO?
Let’s find out in the next section…
Free Tools for YouTube SEO, and how to use them.
It’s easiest to set up optimisation for SEO when you’re in the first weeks of your YouTube channel, just like Modestly Maski.
Keywords are vital foundations for YouTube SEO, so that’s where we’ll focus in this article.
According to vidIQ, they help you to “acquire the tools and knowledge needed to grow your audience faster on YouTube and beyond”.
At a practical level, it’s a Chrome extension that gives you an optimisation report card for any YouTube video via your brower. The report card includes insights on how you can get more views and subscribers.
Although a Pro version with expanded capabilities is available, the basic option is free.
Let’s have a look at Modestly Maski’s report card for her Brown Lentil Patties (Vegan Burger) video, as an example of what you’ll see:
For a brand new YouTube channel, Modestly Maski has an incredible report card!
Her engagement and views per hour are fantastic, and she already has 143 subscribers. If more people can find her, it’s clear they’ll enjoy her engaging content.
Her score is reduced as a result of some key SEO factors, including factors such as a low description word count, low link count, and low tag count.
Let’s focus on the video’s SEO and Video Optimization report sections to see why.
The video tags used are relevant to this video, but some key search terms are missing. Importantly, we don’t see ‘recipe’.
This video shows up on the first page of the results if someone does a search for “lentil patties (vegan burger)” or “brown lentil patties”. But, if you add the word ‘recipe’ to your search then it doesn’t appear anywhere near the front page of the search results.
Adding a video tag, description wording, and channel tags that relate to ‘recipe’ will close this gap. The title has space to add the word ‘recipe’ and/or other keywords too.
What other tags could she add? How can we find ideas?
Using vidIQ, we can generate report cards and see the video tags used by videos in the top results. Here are the results:
Tags used by the number 1 video:
- how to make lentil patties
- lentil patties
- patty (food)
- lentil recipes
- vegetarian lentils patties
- how to make peas patties
- making lentil patty
- healthy vegetarian recipes
- vegan patties
- easy recipes with lentils
- lentil vegan recipes
- veggie burger recipe
- how to make veggie burgers
- veggie burgers
- lentil burgers
- how to make lentil burgers
- healthy patties
- cooking with lentil peas
- vegetarian patties
- healthy lentils
These tags are found in other videos that perform well for the search:
- lentil burger
- veggie burger
- bean burger
- gluten free burger
- vegan burger
- healthy burger
- meat free burger
- low fat burger
- no cholesterol burger
- lentil recipes
- cooking with lentils
- Chef [name]
- Lentil (Food)
- Veganism (Diet)
- Nutrition (Medical Specialty)
- Chef (Profession)
- Recipe (Website Category)
- Cooking (Interest)
- veggie burger recipe
- how to make veggie burgers
- burger recipes
- veggie burgers
- vegan recipes
- vegan patties recipe
- healthy vegan recipes
- how to make vegetable patties
- gluten free vegetable patties recipes
- plant based recipes
- plant based diet
So, this is what the competition is offering.
But, what are people looking for?
Wouldn’t it be great if you could see the trends for search activity that happens inside YouTube?
Well, you can! We’ll show you how in the next section…
Google Trends is a website by Google that reports the popularity of keyword search queries across various platforms, regions and languages. Data is available for Google Web Search, Google Shopping, Google News, Image Search and Youtube search activity.
When people are searching from inside YouTube, are they interested in recipes for lentil burgers or lentil patties? And, where do most of them live?
A live feed from Google Trends is provided below, showing the relative intensity of interest over time for search terms related to this YouTube video.
It’s no surprise that the top lentil patties videos in the YouTube results have chosen to use tags related to “lentil recipe” and “veggie burger recipe” when you see the level of interest in these search terms within YouTube!
If you run the same search in Google Trends, you’ll be able to see where people are most interested in these keywords and what their search activity is related to (i.e. related keywords and topics that could help your SEO).
Try it with your own topic keywords! By exploring trends like this, you can start to identify tags that might be worthwile concentrating on or adding to your videos.
Google Keyword Planner
While Google Trends tells us the relative difference in levels of interest over time, it doesn’t tell us how many times people are searching each month.
To answer that question for free, we can use Google Keyword Planner.
You need to create a free Google Ads account in order to be able to get access to this tool. Why? Because the tool is actually supposed to be used to help make decisions about which keywords you can bid on for advertising!
For the purpose of YouTube SEO, we can use it to get a feel for search activity and to find keywords that Google thinks are related to our topic.
Why does this matter? Because one of the factors in SEO is that Google is more likely to offer your video as a suggestion in search results if it covers the keywords related to your topic.
You can compare the level of search activity for different keywords too.
For example, there’s 10 – 100 searches a month for “brown lentil patties recipe” and 100 – 1000 searches a month for “red lentil burger recipe”. There are 100-1000 searches a month for “how to make a lentil burger”, which is a long tail keyword that you could build into the video descriptions of both types of videos to boost your SEO!
Here are the current results for lentil patties:
You’ll see competition and prices too. Put simply, competition is about how much competition there is to buy ads for the keyword. The price column indicates how much people are willing to pay to advertise in search results for that keyword. If the price and competition is high, you could assume that people search for that keyword when they’re ready to buy something that makes advertisers good money.
That’s handy to know if you’re interested in building affiliate marketing income or YouTube ads revenue into your channel in future!
Answer the Public
The keyword results that you get from Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner can help you find out which topics are the most popular.
But you want to know why people are searching for information about those topics, right? After all, making a video is a lot of work so you really want people to find it!
Let’s return to the fantastic content of Modestly Maski. She provides great information on her topics. How can she ensure she is answering all of the common questions about the topics she covers?
Let’s explore Mashkelah’s topic to see how you can use this tool:
1. Common Questions
As you can see in the results image below, questions that people search for include:
- What is a lentil burger?
- Can lentil burgers be frozen?
- Are lentil burgers healthy?
- How to make a lentil burger / How to make a lentil burger patty
It seems that people are also searching for lentil burger recipes that use canned lentils, which is food for thought (mind the pun!). Maski could add a note like “Although I don’t recommend it because it’s not as good for nutrition, if you want a canned lentil burger recipe then swap out the dry lentils for XX grams of the canned, and…” in the video’s description. That would give her a chance at showing up when people search for that type of recipe too.
Are people intererested in comparisons? For example, if “lentil burger vs chickpea patty” comes up then we know that people could be interested in content that helps them decide! Is a chickpea patty usually healthier or faster to cook etc? It’s a video idea.
As it happens, according to Answer the People, the search activity indicates that people are just interested in exploring different types and uses for lentil burgers.
As you can see from the image below, top vegan-relevant searches include “lentil burger with oats” and “lentil burger with walnuts”. As an idea, Maski to look into the search volume to see if adding an extra option in the video description might be worthwile. If it is, she could add a sentence to her video description (and in her video itself) to say “if you want to make your lentil burger with oats, then add 1 cup of oats in place of the corn meal”. She could do something similar to include walnuts.
Plus, although Maski gives a great example of a sandwich, this search indicates that mentioning tahini sauce and the potato keywords as sides could give her video a chance to show up when people search for these recipe ideas. If she is looking to create sauce videos, a tahini sauce recipe might be worth adding as an extension to this video or as a link within the description.
Tips on ways to use keywords for YouTube SEO
Here are a couple of ways that you can add SEO keywords and queries to your YouTube video for SEO:
- Add keywords to your video tags, topics, and (if appropriate) channel tags.
- Include the keywords in your video title and discription.
- Put timestamps in your description that refer to keywords and search queries (e.g. 0:50 Can lentil burgers be frozen?)
- Ask people who link to your video to use the keywords in their alt text. Instead of linking to the video from your channel name like “…the great lentil patties recipe by Modestly Maski…”, ask them to link to the video from the keywords instead “… the great lentil patties recipe by Modestly Maski…” They could then add a link to your channel from the text that mentions your channel name, to strengthen your SEO further. Bonus!
Bonus Tip: How to Create a YouTube Subscribe Link
We learned about Modestly Maski through a link. It was provided in message we received from a mutual friend of a team member. The friend had brought lentil burgers to a picnic, and the message was responding to a request for the recipe behind the tasty patties inside.
If you’re asking people to Subscribe through WhatsApp or another channel outside of YouTube, your first instinct might be to send them a link to your latest video.
If they click the video link you send them, they’ll need to take an additional two clicks to actually subscribe. That’s three clicks plus extra effort required. If your video is great, they could get caught up watching your show and then want to move on to take action on what they learned. Or, they could be interrupted with work, friends, or family demands and have to go and do something else.
Either way, they could forget to subscribe.
But, there is a way to avoid this risk. You can just send people a link that subscribes them to your channel. This works on a PC or laptop. One the phone, the link will just send people to your channel. Still, it’s a powerful tool used by professional YouTuber channels like vidIQ!
Take your YouTube url address and add “?sub_confirmation=1” to the end.
For Modestly Maski, the link looks like this: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC80LuTcUYl1xAHzdqXBsh9A?sub_confirmation=1 Click it to see how it works and subscribe to her channel for get great vegan recipes while you’re there!
Now she has the link, what can Maski do with it? The first place she can use it is in the description of her channel!
How to Insert a Subscribe Link into YouTube Video Description
She can add this text into every video description:
“Subscribe to the Modestly Maski Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC80LuTcUYl1xAHzdqXBsh9A?sub_confirmation=1“
It might seem weird, but you’ll see other YouTube channels like Better Homes and Gardens do this too.
So the link isn’t lonely, Maski could add her Patreon link and any social media links she has below it too.
All that is required is for Maski’s special subscibe link to be added to the url field of the button.
If Maski or her friends want a more advanced solution, this video provides great instructions on how to set up a link using Google Developer tools.
Here are some additional ideas that YouTube creators like Maski can use to generate more traffic and attract payments to support their work:
- Join an affiliate program. Then, Maski can provide links in the video description to places viewers can purchase ingredients or equipment. For example, she mentions a NutriBullet in her lentil patties recipe video. The video also features a fantastic cast iron pan and a great mixing bowl. Maski could help viewers find where they can buy one, and get a commission to support her work at the same time!
- Set up a vegan blog or website to create a place that she can record her recipes and journey, and where she can add her affiliate links.
- Sign up to Fiverr or one of the other freelance sites, and offer to create recipes for a fee.
- Maski could set up backlinks to her videos by listing her page on vegan directories, and by answering questions about lentil patty recipes on Reddit (providing links to her video in her answer).