When it comes to SEO, there’s one outlet that seems to be often overlooked: YouTube. YouTube videos, now one of the largest online search engines, can help take your brand’s visibility — and conversions — to the next level. For this to happen, however, you need your videos to be optimized. So don’t let this valuable tool go to waste: Here are some simple tips to help you optimize your YouTube videos.
1. Create quality content. In a world where viral videos are uploaded every second, yours need to stand out. Make sure your content is unique. There are only so many cute sneezing pandas that viewers can watch before they move on to the next big thing. Try these content suggestions:
○ Invest time in a script that will capture your audience’s interest instead of turning them away.
○ Unless you have an unlimited budget, keep your YouTube videos short. Anything more than a few minutes will cost you viewers and money.
○ Keeping your YouTube videos public instead of private as well as enabling comments can also help boost visibility; the more views, the higher your YouTube videos are ranking — and the higher your search engine rankings.
○ Don’t film your video on a cell phone or low-end camera. The sharper the video, the better. Plus, nobody likes jerky camera movements.
2. Use text to your advantage. As advanced as technology is nowadays, search engines still can’t scan videos for your keywords. Luckily, YouTube provides plenty of text opportunities to help feed search engine spiders. The following fields are what you should focus on:
○ Title – The title of your video should be keyword-driven. YouTube limits the length, so don’t throw in every keyword imaginable. Stick to a trusted few and move on.
○ Description – In this section, you have more space to play around with. Whether or not you want to include your site’s url here is up to you — it’s great exposure, but you’re using up valuable real estate that could be used for compelling copy. Nevertheless, one thing is certain: write for your viewers, not the search engines. This is the first thing viewers see, so make sure it’s not robotic and overloaded with keywords.
○ Tags: These are pretty much the same tags you see on any blog post. Throw in 5-10 keyword tags — any more than that is overkill.
3. Be social. With YouTube videos, more is better — more comments, more subscribers, more ratings, more shares, more embeds and more views. All of these ultimately play a role in determining your ranking. To help you get more of each, you need to contribute as much as possible to the community. Here’s how:
○ Leave comments on popular videos with your video url. While this may be seen as spamming by some, you should be fine if you stick to your market. For instance, if you’re a landscaping company, it’s probably not a good idea to post on a Justin Bieber video.
○ Ask viewers to subscribe to your channel or leave a comment. This is easily done by adding a call to action in your video description or by leaving comments on other Youtube videos (see above).
○ Make your customers aware of the new video. Send out an email blast, update your Facebook page or tweet about it. Getting the word out to your existing customers is simple and can serve as a good starting point for views, comments and more.
○ Pay attention to trends. If you notice a video increasing in popularity, examine their SEO work and use similar keywords — not the same ones — so that you improve your chances of showing up as a “Related Video.”
4. Build Links. External traffic is crucial here, just like in website SEO. To build incoming links is hard work — it’s no easy feat — but the payoff is big. A few tips for building link juice to your videos:
○ Post videos regularly. Fresh content is always a good way to attract attention. By publishing content on a regular schedule, you expand your video library as well as your reach. Don’t post for posting’s sake, though. You want quality, not quantity.
○ Study your competitors. Use resources like Yahoo! Site Explorer and Linkscape to find out who is linking to your competitors’ Youtube videos. Identifying who links to them can help you target potential link partners.