Many people are surprised to learn that YouTube is the second-largest search engine. It’s bigger than Yahoo and bigger than Bing. Therefore it’s a shock to many search marketing professionals that clients, including large brands, neglect to formulate or act on strategies for YouTube optimisation.
Of course, YouTube isn’t a perfect fit for every company, but anybody who does business online should consider taking advantage of the huge opportunities for brand impressions available on YouTube.
There are two significant benefits of placing videos on YouTube rather than solely on your website. First, you’ll have a vast and captive audience of YouTube viewers searching for keywords related to your product or service. Second, your videos will piggy back on the popularity of YouTube in the other search engines. A well optimised video on YouTube will start rank in Google in minutes and appear on the first page in a matter of days.
Optimising YouTube pages requires following the same rules as any other search engine optimisation (SEO) project, and all SEO can be broken down into three disciplines: content, linking, and architecture. Since YouTube is going to dictate how the page is built architecturally, that leaves you the opportunities to improve the on-page content and back link popularity of the page. Remember that every video on YouTube has its own page, called a view page, that can be optimized the same as any other page on the web.
Since videos themselves are invisible to search engines you need to provide enough tags and information to help search engines assess the content and relevance of your videos.
- Include well researched keywords in the title of the video, and use the word “video” when appropriate. The title is the most important piece of information that the search engines have about your video, and considering that most searchers include the word “video” when searching for a video, this inclusion boosts the relevance of your page as a search result. Ensure that the keywords you include in the title of your video are relevant to your video content.
- For each video, write a unique, keyword-rich description that includes a URL to your website or landing page. Put the URL at the beginning so even when the “more info” option is collapsed, the user will still see the link. Also, a video’s description is the next-best indicator to search engines of the video’s content, right behind the title.
- Provide video transcripts if possible. Until the technology improves, YouTube and other online videos are practically invisible to most search engines. Therefore, the search engines are only guessing about the content of your video based on the information they parse from the title, description, and tags. But if you have a full transcript of your video placed in the description, the search engines will fully understand the video.
- Include links to your YouTube video view page wherever possible. First decide where you want to drive the traffic from to your video pages, and then include links to those pages as much as possible. Ideally, you will be linking from other social media profiles like Facebook and Twitter in order to extend the social media experience. There are many more opportunities to place clickable links to your view page than there appear to be at first glance.
- Encourage participation. For each video, there are options for “Broadcasting and Sharing.” It’s best to open commenting and embedding as much as possible, but remember that you will need to monitor your videos for spam and inappropriate comments. You’ll often find that if viewers find your video information and useful they will place backlinks to your view page. This is one of the most effective ways to create links to your YouTube video.
- Always ensure that you make it easy for the viewer to find your website or landing page. Take advantage of YouTube’s captions and annotation features. You can add notes, subtitles, descriptions, and links directly over the top of the video. Currently only links to other YouTube pages are clickable, but try including your website’s URL as a caption that appears for the final 20 seconds of your video.
Finally, take advantage of YouTube Insights. This analytics feature of YouTube is robust compared to other video sites and can provide information such as demographics and when people abandoned viewing specific videos. This data can help you improve future submissions and help shape your overall web marketing strategy.