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Cranking Up Your Search Engine Optimization with YouTube

Posted On: November 9, 2013

We understand: You’re busy running your local business, not trying to be a filmmaker. (Unless your business is making films, in which case: that worked out well!) Creating videos for YouTube might be the last thing on your mind for marketing your small business.

Here’s the thing: It’s not as hard as you might think, and the search engine optimization (SEO) benefits can be enormous.

Recent studies have determined that video content is quickly surpassing any other format in popularity. YouTube is getting more than 1 billion unique visitors every month, and those visitors are watching more than 6 billion hours of video every month.

Every month, we tell you how much the proliferation of smartphones and tablets has changed the game for small business marketing. That’s true, but this evolution goes far beyond that.

YouTube’s latest growth has been keyed by the relatively recent ability to view videos on tablets and smartphones powered by speedy 4G wireless networks. These mobile device users contribute to $500 billion of spending every year in the United States. It’s an immense traffic channel you can tap into with video content. Almost 50 percent of all people on the Internet — yes, all people on the Internet — visit YouTube, making it far and away the most effective portal to channel traffic to your site.

We won’t spend time here on how to produce your own videos, because that’s a much larger subject. Depending on your particular type of business and its needs, you might be fine with shooting basic videos with something as simple as an iPhone.

Keyword Research

This is one of the top matters to consider. Just as you research the top keywords people search for when seeding them into your website, you need to do the same when uploading a video to YouTube.

The basics are the same between a Web page and a video channel, such as YouTube. However, the demographics of your YouTube users may be slightly different, and customers may be searching for things in different ways. Luckily, YouTube provides some great tools that you can use to help clearly identify what’s hot, and what’s not!

Because YouTube is owned by Google, it’s not surprising that the platform offers a very useful tool for determining the most effective keywords. The Keyword Suggestion Tool provides you an easy review of traffic levels for your keywords.

The tool is also great for finding related keywords to target that may end up being better than what you originally conceived. You’ll also be able to find you excellent long-tail keyphrase suggestions here.

Also, simply typing keywords and phrases in YouTube’s main search box will organically show you the most popular results for the terms you begin typing. It’s a wonderfully simple way to determine what your potential customers are looking for!

Top Ranking Signals

This simply refers to the key factors in how YouTube videos rank when the site is searched. To know how to get prominent placement in YouTube search results, you need to know what causes a particular video to rank higher than others for particular search queries.

When you upload a new video, you’ll be asked to fill in various information about the video. By optimizing the included information when you upload the video, you’ll be in good shape for ranking well.

Video file name: This is a small but significant factor. Be sure to use important keywords in the actual file name before uploading it.

Video title: This one is crucial. You have about 100 characters to work with, but the first 60 or so are the most crucial, because the rest might not always appear. Be sure to use relevant keywords and keyphrases right at the front of the title.

Description: You have plenty of room to work with here, but use it wisely. Put your main keywords in the beginning of your description, because search results cut off the text around 150 to 200 characters. This also is all that will appear on the actual video page unless the viewer clicks “Show More.” Also, add your site URL to the first part of the description to be sure people see it and know how to find you.

Social Ranking Signals

Views: It sounds obvious, but it’s worth saying: the more views your video gets, the better. It directly impacts search ranking and can get your video better promotion. Use social networks to share the video and promote its viewing.

Likes/dislikes: Likes will help your video’s ranking; dislikes will hurt it. So try to craft content that will be beneficial, informative, and entertaining, and don’t be afraid to request “Likes” in the video and description.

How long the video is viewed: If someone abandons your video within eight seconds, that won’t count as a view. Total viewing duration also is a factor in your video’s social ranking. If someone watches all the way to the end, that gives your video a ranking boost as well. So make sure to craft videos in ways that will keep viewers around.

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