Online streaming and Twitch, in particular, has taken over the hearts and minds of those needing seeking entertainment. In this article, we discuss Twitch SEO has it has evolved to be known as well as tips and tricks you can use to become a popular streaming personality. These tips will include the stereotypical SEO tips, including some influence-oriented tips that help strengthen your brand to stand out from other content creators on Twitch. Here, we go beyond Google search rankings and move into the realm of Twitch search results. This article is just the beginning of the process and takes a different route from the standard Google SEO you may be familiar with.
What is Twitch SEO?
Twitch SEO is the process of creating a Twitch Channel filled with a variety of topics, gameplay, etc., that Twitch WANTS to serve up to searchers seeking the content you have created. While the title of Twitch SEO has been utilized in the past, we prefer to refer to it as content optimization and marketing as a subset of search engine optimization. While we are not explicitly looking to increase the search rankings of a search engine like Google or Bing, we are looking to improve the stream’s visibility on a service such as Twitch or Youtube. Due to the nature of Google’s search algorithms, your content will rank higher on the searches providing yet another benefit to our tactics covered below.
With that said, what can we do to optimize our streaming platform (brand and content) for better placement and visibility? As always, we look at the variables that we can control as well as the variables that we can merely influence.
Factors of streaming platforms that we can control
Video Content and Keywords
The first factor of control we can utilize is the content produced on the Twitch Channel and the verbiage used to communicate what the channel focuses on and the types of content that one can expect from the channel. Here, we revert to using the best friend of SEOs everywhere- Keywords. You do not need an expensive keyword research tool to discover the keywords you should use for your stream. That is unless your flow is purely there to be monetized, then, by all means, research using your favorite tools.
Instead of going the old SEO route and utilizing tools that tell you the search count for specific keywords and phrases, I recommend instead that you review your favorite streams and the streams of your likely competitors to see what keywords they are regularly utilizing, the types of content they are producing, and the titles they are using to promote said content.
SEO parity is a very effective method of ranking higher in the search engines than your competitors are. After all, they are ranking their stream in a manner that is effective (otherwise it would not be there), we should do the same but in a more efficient way. Rather than reinventing the wheel, we are going to do what our competitors are doing and then some. So if our competitors are ranking their streams for keywords that we have yet to focus on, we will direct our focus to ranking content for those keywords. We do not stop there; we also look at the gaps in the content that our competitors have. For example, you stream mostly first-person shooters, and you focus your efforts on streaming COD: Warzone. Your competitor has numerous videos as a specific class of characters but does not flow as a different class. Here is where your chance to step in lies. You would produce content for the type of character that your competition plays in addition to the class that they are not generating content for.
The Stereotypical Twitch SEO Advice
Channel Name and Channel Description
Remember the keywords that we first discovered when reviewing the competition? Time for them to shine. When creating the Twitch Channel description, utilize those keywords to describe the content. Be careful of keyword stuff the description, though. This isn’t SEO from the ’90s. No one wants to read that garbage. Instead, draft a description that appeals to those searching for your content using real sentences.
Video Title & Video Description
For each piece of video content that you maintain on Twitch, you get to choose the video title and video description. Here again, utilize the selected keywords that your content represents when drafting the title and description. If you are streaming live, the Stream Title will help you differentiate this piece of content from the content produced by other content creators.
***There, that’s all of the stereotypical Twitch SEO Advice. From here on out, we discuss the strategy needed to help you achieve a higher rank for your streaming content. ***
Moving the needle to gain higher rankings
To truly optimize your stream beyond the fundamental lessons of SEO, we must dive deeper into the data points that content creators care about. As Twitch measures them continuously and they play a role in your success as a Twitch Streamer, we look at the stats that it shares with other video and streaming platforms.
The number of views that a video or stream has is very telling. It indicates the level of discoverability that the video has. After all, if the views are low, the video is either not a favorite of those subscribed to the channel (more on that later) or is just not picking up steam.
Time in State (Viewing time)
This is the amount of time indicating how much of your content was consumed. Depending on the report viewed, it may also show you the average amount of time per view.
The amount of subscribers is telling of 2 things:
- The quality of the content produced in terms of entertainment value for your target demographic and;
- The loyalty of your viewership
The subscriber metric is one of importance to Twitch and other video content platforms such as YouTube. The entertainment value for the target demographic, coupled with loyalty to the streamer or content producer, provides a consistent customer base that can be monetized. As such, Twitch is more inclined to promote content that is likely to cultivate subscriptions.
As a streamer, you are empowered with the ability to foster an online community in the form of stream chats and other forms of communication. The most successful Twitch Channels have a robust and loyal base who often interact with the streamer.
Outside of Your SEO Comfort Zone
How can you beef up the metrics that matter?
This is where we take a detour from the standard search engine optimization techniques and journey into the twilight zone of Steaming and Brand optimization. Why? To influence the rankings of your stream, the growth of your streaming base, and the loyalty of your followers. There is no secret formula for higher rankings, and we cannot control the search algorithm, so instead, we influence the metrics that Twitch uses to serve up helpful search results.
Your Streamer Brand
Growing and developing a streamer brand is crucial for your success not just in the Twitch Search Results but in a holistic sense as well. Your brand is what attracts viewers and content enthusiasts. Think to some of the most influential and successful streamers from Twitch or any video platform for that matter. Each of those streamers has a distinct brand identity, which they maintain thru their social media channels, interactions with viewers, etc. So what is the first step in developing a brand? Your Logo
When you think about branding, one of the first thoughts that come to mind it a Logo, all the top brands have memorable logos, and yours should be no exception. You have plenty of options when it comes to logo design, but one of the most cost-effective designing tools out today is PlaceIt. PlaceIt is a logo creator (among other things) that has a lot of gaming logo templates that you can use to get just the right look for your brand. Other places for logos included Fiverr.com, Upwork, and your local graphic designer. I love Placeit, though, because it can create so much more than just logos. Need intro/outro videos, twitch templates, etc.? Yep, Placeit can do it.
Social Media for Streaming
Social Media is where you NEED to shine. It is the crux of content syndication in today’s technological climate. How can you maximize your social media presence and utilize it for the growth of your stream? The first step is the creation/claiming of your social media profiles. By creating your social media profiles, you not only create a method of syndicating quality content, but you are also protecting your brand from those who would wish to hijack it on social media. You’ve likely seen usernames that start with the terms “the real…” or “official..” The most likely cause for these types of usernames is because the brand username was taken by someone before the actual brand entity claiming it. Recommendation: Open as many social media profiles with your brand as possible. Keep the brand identity consistent throughout all of the social media profiles you create. Same username, same logo, same link back to your website, etc. We will dive into the nitty-gritty of how to use the social media profiles to your benefit in a little bit. Still, first, we must clear the air a bit regarding some controversy in the streaming community- to build or not to build (a website) that is the question.
Your Official Website
There are two camps of streamers when it comes to whether or not you should invest your time and money on a website for your stream. One field will say that ALL of your quality content should be on your streaming channel, and THAT should be your “home” on the internet. The other camp argues that you should have an official website. I whole-heartedly recommend a website but not for the reasons most people think. The site is a TOOL to gain more viewers.
The website should maintain the same brand identity as your channel—same logo, same font, etc. if your streaming banner uses the font “Nunito,” then so too should your website. In keeping with the brand identity, the site should also link to your social media pages and other resources about you and the content you produce. It will also serve as a host for a lot of the quality content you create.
Why Twitch SEO is about Synergy
For so long, the notion of search engine optimization was constrained to just major search engines. In recent years, SEO has adapted to optimizing content in the forms of videos, Amazon, eBay, Etsy listings, and the list continues to evolve. If there is a search algorithm involved, SEO for it exists. Twitch is no different. The difference here is that rather than JUST optimizing words and image files, we are taking it a step further and also building the popularity of the stream and content outside of Twitch to increase search rankings on Twitch. We do that via synergy.
Twitch is a content platform first and foremost, so we adapt digital marketing concepts, specifically content marketing. We utilize all branded channels of media to promote the quality content you produce and lead the potential viewers on a journey to the page or action of your choice. With social media platforms working in harmony with your content creation and marketing, it will be much easier to grow your following.
People love content. We are content carnivores in today’s internet, and quality content is what we crave. How can we provide consistent content that is accessible to everyone? Thru content multiplication. Content multiplication has two main concepts- 1) People digest content via various preferred mediums; therefore we provide them the content medium options they need, and 2) Good content that your followers like may be broken up into clips of information and then expounded upon to create more content and value.
Twitch SEO Application
Now that we understand the “WHY,” let’s discuss the “HOW” in gaining a following on Twitch and other video platforms like YouTube. Let’s develop an ACTION PLAN together to apply content marketing and search engine optimization principles to s a specific set of circumstances. Being able to proactively identify opportunities and apply them to ANY streaming content optimization situation means that you are empowering yourself with success.
EXAMPLE: Your most significant competitor streams the same games that you stream, which were just released within the last month. They stream the game Mon-Wed-Fri each week and focuses on their three favorite multiplayer maps (there are five maps in total) each time they play. Each time they stream, they share to Twitter their “stream beginning” announcement. They do not have a Facebook Page for their brand or channel as they prefer using Twitter. They do not have an official website as they prefer to only focus on their twitch content.
This is it…your time to shine. What is your action plan based upon the facts above?
Let’s get started…
- Review the work and content of your competitors, as discussed above, to discover powerful keyword opportunities and gaps in their content. We know based upon the fact that your competitor streams this new game on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and during those days, they only play 3 out of the five maps available to the game. Let’s uncover the optimization opportunity. Two opportunities exist immediately upon examination- Let’s fill in the gaps for their following that craves that type of content. There are many routes regarding scheduling we can take, but in this example, we will keep it simple. To begin, let’s schedule our content streaming to include the maps that our competitor plays with the addition of the remaining two maps. This satisfies the content gaps that currently exist. Additionally, on the days in which your competitor is not streaming, you make it a point to stream ALL maps.
- Since the competition utilizes Twitter alone to communicate when it will be streaming on Twitch.TV, you will strengthen your brand to be more robust than theirs. This will help differentiate the “eggs” in your brand basket, create more opportunities for backlinks to your website and content (more on that soon), provides you opportunities for more potent synergy, and offers more information for search engines like Google to display your content. As of this writing, Google displays the content of Facebook posts in the Search Engine Result Pages ( SERPS), so a Facebook page is a must-have social platform. Additionally, I recommend you build out other social platforms and post to them with your “going live” announcement.
So you build out a ton of social media and social platforms so that you may diversify your brand and audience, but do you need to post to all of them? In a way, NO. You can syndicate your posts and content with a little setup and some automation. Using a tool/service such as Zapier or IFTTT to copy your posts and syndicate them to the other social platforms you have built. For example, you can automate the process so that each time you post to your Twitter, it also posts to Facebook, Instagram, etc. We will use this synergy for content diversification and multiplication as well.
- Now that you have your social branding and syndication setup, it is time to multiply your content. After each stream, hop back into your favorite video editor and cut clips of your stream, which you can post to places like your Facebook page and Youtube. These should be clips that entice the viewer to want to watch more of your content. Some examples of clips that may help include great plays and significant reactions to what is happening in the game.
Remember, different mediums of content are preferred by different people, so it is best to diversify the types of content that your consumers have access to. “Just chatting” type streams are perfect for podcasts. Additionally, you can create podcasts around the types of content or subjects. A great example of this currently is the ManCave Broadcast. They utilize Twitch during the podcast to stream it live while recording the stream and later publishing it online for those who could not join while the stream was live. It also appeals to fans who prefer or have no choice but to listen to entertainment content (think truck drivers) rather than having the luxury to watch it.
You can then transcribe the podcast (some programs do this) into a blog post and post the transcription to your blog with a link back to the streaming video as well as the audio version of the same episode of the podcast. Don’t forget to syndicate social media links to the different types of content created to generate awareness of these different types of mediums.
To further multiply content, you must review your current content to possible areas of expansion. Maybe you touched on a crazy subject or skill in a new stream. Now you expand on the topic in a blog post, video clip, or podcast episode. We then multiply the content that you create. Word of caution here- while there is software available that can turn your blog posts and text into audio via an AI voice-rendering, you following is less likely to approve of it because it is not YOUR VOICE on the podcast, so I recommend sticking with going the natural route and recording your voice if you are going to multiply original blog posts into a podcast. That is why I recommend you transcribe podcasts into blog posts rather than the other way around.
There are so many things that you can do to influence the growth of your stream and its search rankings, which is why we are already working on Part II of this article to give you other ideas that you can use. Unclear about a topic covered? Please message us for a fast response. We are here to help.