YouTube SEO Q&A with Tim Schmoyer

October 5, 2015 BY EMILY GRIFFIN
Updated: June 3, 2019

Tim Schmoyer, certified YouTube expert, dispels myths and dispenses wisdom about YouTube SEO best practices. Enjoy excerpts from the Q&A section of our webinar “Video SEO Deep Dive: How to Get Your Videos to Rank,” or watch that the full recording here.

Do too many tags cause keyword dilution?

I don’t think so. I mean, I think there’s a point when you’re writing keywords that don’t really help. Write tags as if you were going to describe to your friend what your video is about.
And don’t put one or two. Think creatively. Give them a bunch, like 9 or 10. More is fine, too, but there is a total character limit for tags per video.

As far as what order they’re in, Google actually did say officially that the order doesn’t matter either. It used to a year or two ago, but it doesn’t now.

Does changing metadata long after a video has debuted affect search rank, or does Google pay the most attention to how you first tagged it?

Updating your metadata after publishing can make a big difference.

Let’s say you make a video that you feel should be performing very well on search and it’s not. Definitely give it new tags, give it a new title, give it a new thumbnail, and rewrite the description. That does seem to kind of reset what Google thinks about that video. It doesn’t boost it a brand new video again, but Google looks at it with fresh eyes.

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I’ve seen this many times. Even for my own videos, I will go back and give them different titles, different descriptions, write better metadata, and then see how that performs. On several occasions, that has actually taken a dormant video and given it tens of thousands of views per week.

If you have a video that’s doing well and you want to see if you can make it do better, I would not mess with it. You do not want to reset in any way what Google thinks about that video.

But for underperforming videos, tweaking the metadata every couple months or so can definitely help videos start performing well that otherwise haven’t been.

Does live streaming on YouTube affect SEO?

It does. It’s huge.

Live streaming triggers something in YouTube’s search algorithm that makes it go bonkers in a good way.

Live streaming triggers something in YouTube’s search algorithm that just makes it go bonkers in a good way.

I think what happens is this: when you’re live streaming, you’re giving Google a ton of really good signals about your video. You’re getting a ton of watch time and tons of engagement throughout the duration of the video. So it can be a really good thing for your channel from an SEO perspective.

Will adding captions to a video with profanity make YouTube disable ads?


Does Google rank the videos higher, especially in non-English speaking countries, if they have translated subtitles?

Yes. If the person is searching for a video in a language other than English

    , then results on YouTube that have metadata and caption files in that language would rank higher than English files.

Do people with longer videos have an SEO advantage?

For optimizing watch time, think less about the length of your video and more about serving your audience well.

It’s neither an advantage or nor a disadvantage. It’s all about answering: how do I best deliver value to people?
So if you have two minute idea, don’t try to draw it out for five minutes. Likewise, if you have a five minute idea, don’t try to cram into two minutes.

For optimizing watch time, think less about the length of your video and more about serving your audience well.

Does your video still have a chance if it doesn’t perform well in the first week?

Yes, it can. And I’ve seen this happen many, many times.
I was talking with a guy yesterday. He has a video about giving his son a dog. He posted it on YouTube to share with the grandparents. It’s the only video on his channel. And then he forgot about it.

And then a year later, he got contacted from someone wanting to license the video. And he was like, ‘what? I forgot about that video!’ He checked and saw it had over a million views.

So sometimes videos will sit dormant for a long time, and then they’ll do great, but that’s really hard to predict when that happens. Often the reason that happens is because someone else did a video that’s performing really well, and your video just happened to be the perfect follow up video for that one. So this phenomenon is less likely to come from a search query, and more likely to be a related suggested videos.

Does changing a video title months after publishing it mess up any URLs that might be directing to the video?

Nope. The URL stays the same.

Do embedded videos improve SEO?

Yes, partly. But watch time for embedded views is not weighted as heavily as watch time directly on YouTube. And the reason for that is because they are two different viewing experiences.
For example, let’s say that you embedded your video in a blank web page, no other ads, no other suggested videos, no comments, no nothing, just the video, and you sent someone to that page. That’s a different viewing experience from YouTube where there are opportunities to click away and do other things. So it’s kind of an apples to oranges comparison at that point.

Should tags also be included in the description text to boost the SEO for that video?

No, definitely not. YouTube actually removes videos that do that. They consider it keyword stuffing and spam, so it violates their terms of service.

I’ve heard that publishing too many videos in a short time span can cause subscriber burn, so if they don’t watch daily, they’re less likely to be served your videos. Is that true?

Let’s call subscriber burn what it is: a theory by someone who’s disappointed by not getting as many views from their subscribers as they want. That’s where it originated.

Let’s call subscriber burn what it is: a theory by someone who’s disappointed by not getting as many views from their subscribers as they want.

Now, I have talked to some other people that I know and trust in the industry about that because I get that question so often. And there’s no consensus on how true it is.

I don’t have any evidence either way. That would be very unGoogle-ish to me, if I can make up a word. That’s not typically how they think and operate. But I don’t have any conclusive evidence that says that that’s false.

I would say that as soon as we start focusing on stuff like that, we’re getting away from the point. If there’s a group of people that stopped watching because we were posting too many videos, well, then maybe we weren’t serving them very well in the first place.

Does it help to have multiple channels that link to one another?

    • Not really. I don’t see any benefit to that. If anything, you’re spreading out your audience. And audience fragmentation is terrible because now you’ve got like 100 subscribers on each channel rather than 1,000 subscribers on one channel.

Does the automatic transcript created by YouTube help video SEO?

YouTube and Google don’t index the auto captions on YouTube because they’re too inaccurate.

They only index caption files that have been uploaded by the user. So if you download the automatic transcript, clean it up, and upload it again, Google will index that. Or if you create and upload your own accurate caption file, that would be indexed as well.

Get more pro tips on boosting YouTube SEO by downloading our free whitepaper, Transforming Video SEO with Transcripts and Captions.

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