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You have a free YouTube channel, so use it

We know, we know. You own a local business to do…whatever you do at your local business. Replace roofs. Install Windows. Installing window coverings. Or another one of 1,000 different things. None of which is creating videos. Unless, of course, your business is actually creating videos. In which case, this item will be a breeze for you!

 

But the likelihood is that you’re not a filmmaker, and YouTube to you is, if anything, just a cool place to watch videos. (Mostly of cats and backyard wrestling—and occasionally of cats wrestling in the backyard.)

 

So we realize it’s tough enough dealing with the needs of dealing with a website, email marketing, online review sites, social media, paid advertising and more—without adding the notion of creating videos to the mix. Regardless, video remains an incredibly powerful tool in an online marketing campaign, and it’s only going to continue growing in popularity. People are turning to online videos for entertainment, advice and education in growing numbers.

 

YouTube is free to use, and it’s actually easy getting set up with your own account. It’s really something worthy of considering for your marketing approach.

 

Home is where your YouTube account is

 

Your YouTube Channel Page is the home for your business’s YouTube account. It features your videos, playlists, videos you have favorite and your activity stream. It’s also tied to the still-actually-going Google+ (aka Google Plus or, more commonly, G+) for comments, hangouts and other social networking features.

 

This is where your audience—specifically potential customers—will find you and subscribe to your videos on YouTube.

 

Some other important information about Youtube Channel Pages you need to know:

 

  • Channel Pages are crawled by search engines and can rank in organic search.
  • Your Channel Title is linked to your G+ Page Title.
  • Your Video ranking in YouTube is influenced by Channel Page Views.
  • Username links are dofollow to your Channel Page—essentially, that just means they allow search ranking link juice to flow to them.
  • YouTube accounts are linked to Google+ pages. Your page and channel will display the same name and photo, and any public videos will appear on both YouTube and G+. This means you’re getting double the exposure for your videos.

 

Claiming your YouTube channel page

 

To set up your Channel Page, log into your YouTube account. Actually, let’s hold up for a second. If you already have a personal Youtube account, that’s not what you want to use.

 

Remember, this is specific to your business. If you already have a Google account for your business—as well you should—log in to YouTube that way.

 

You’ll see a drop-down list next to the YouTube logo: That will toggle the menu on the left rail. From there, you can choose the My Channel option, which will take you to your YouTube Dashboard.

 

You can also create a channel via your Google+ page. If you’re a manager for a business’s Google+ Page, you can click your avatar icon on the top right of the YouTube page, then choose which account you would like to create a channel for. Using this option is going to link the Google+ page to the YouTube Channel you’re creating.

 

Customizing your channel page

 

If your YouTube Channel is connected to a G+ page or profile, the Channel Name is the same as your G+ account name. If you’d like, you can change the Channel Name/G+ Name if you wish from within My Channel. Just click the pencil icon and go to Channel Settings.

 

There will be a change link next to your Channel Name. For personal channels/G+ accounts, Google prefers that you use your first and last name (and when Google prefers something, it’s always best to just go ahead and play ball).

 

Keep in mind your Channel Name is separate from your Channel URL. If the Channel Name is not already tied to a G+ account, picking a Channel Name that reflects your business’s specialty would be ideal for keyword placement.

 

Note: While Google will let you change the name at first, you might have to wait up to three months to change it again, so choose carefully.

 

Channel Description: To edit your YouTube Channel’s description, go to the My Channel page and click About.

 

There is plenty of room for text in your Channel Description—about 70 or so words—but don’t go crazy stuffing However, don’t go crazy stuffing it with keywords.

 

Here are some further details you’ll want to cover in your Channel Description:

 

  • The first few sentences are what will appear most frequently on YouTube, so put the important content up front.
  • This description typically shows when someone clicks your About link in your channel.
  • Describe what content the viewer will see.
  • Use relevant keywords within your description, but don’t go overboard with keywords.
  • Include your schedule when you post new videos (if you have a schedule).
  • Add a business email address in the About section if it makes sense for your company.

 

Channel Keywords: Next, you want to add Channel Keywords. To change your Channel Icon, go to My Channel, then click the pencil icon right below your Channel Header image. Then choose Channel Settings.

 

As with your Channel Description, use keywords that best describe your content and specialty. These keywords have a very minor impact on ranking, but everything you do helps. If you want to use a phrase, insert quotes around the phrase. Use commas to separate each keyword and/or phrase.

 

Channel Icon: If you’re creating a new YouTube account, the default channel icon on your account will look pretty boring. Businesses will typically want to use their logo for this image: Use this as an opportunity to spread your brand and show that this is your official channel.

 

YouTube wants you to use an 800×800-pixel image that is readable when it’s reduced down to 28×28 pixels. Because the image will often be displayed that small, you should avoid text in the image.

 

To change your Channel Icon, go to My Channel, then click the pencil icon and choose Channel Settings. The change link will be right below the image.

 

Channel Art: This is the main header image on your channel. It’s strongly recommended that you create and upload a custom image to improve the appearance of your page and help influence viewers.

 

You’ll want to use a 2560×1440-pixel image for this purpose. Why such a big image? It’s optimized to work for retina displays and television. Regular displays will show the image half-size.

 

Because different displays will render your header image differently, it’s best to test it out on a number of different displays (desktop, tablet, smartphone, etc.) to ensure it looks good in all formats.

 

Channel Art Links: YouTube also lets you add links to your Channel Art Image. They can be a good source of traffic, so don’t skip them. To add them, hover your mouse over your Channel Art image and you’ll see that now-familiar pencil appear in the upper right corner. Click that and choose the Edit Links option to add a link overlay to your Channel Header.

 

YouTube gives you the ability to overlay as many as five links to your image, so we recommend you add links to your website and social media profiles as well. If you link to your G+, Twitter or Facebook URLs, YouTube will automatically add an icon for that service instead of the text of the URL.

 

YouTube also grabs your website’s favicon and showcases that for you automatically. You might want to use text such as “Visit My Blog,” “Visit Our website,” or just the domain name.

 

Note: For the links to show up, make sure to choose the number of links in the drop-down menu to match how many you’re using. YouTube will also only display the actual text URL for the first link you add, so put the one you want the text to show first.

 

Additional Channel Features: Within the Channel Settings options, (found through the pencil icon to the right of your channel name), there are some advanced options you should set up. Some of these options will not be available unless you have an advanced partner account.

 

  • Advertisements: You get to decide to have ads displayed alongside your videos or not.
  • AdWords Video: This function lets you link your AdWords account to your YouTube Account so you can advertise your video and access stat reporting.
  • Associated Website: If you have a YouTube Partner Account with a verified channel, you can add a link to your website here. This lets you link to your website directly from your videos. You can read more about the steps needed to create Associated Web Site Annotations at YouTube Help.
  • Channel Recommendations: Typically you would want to turn this option ON, because it gives your channel more exposure with related channels.
  • Subscriber Counts: If you’re new to YouTube, you might want to turn this off until you get a reasonable number of subscribers (think of the old page counts that would always appear on early webpages). Low numbers might hurt your subscriptions due to low social proof.
  • Google Analytics Tracking ID: If you have a YouTube Partner Account, you can enter a Google Analytics Property and put the UA Tracking code here and monitor your channels traffic. While YouTube provides more detailed video related stats, Google Analytics can help you learn about time on page, bounce rate and, most important, you can see where your YouTube Traffic is coming from.

 

Playlists: A playlist is a list of videos you can create in which you control in which order the videos are viewed. For example, say you have a long video you wish to break up into several smaller portions—not a bad idea when you consider the short attention span of many online video viewers. You would use a playlist to assure they are viewed in the right order.

 

Alternatively, perhaps you have a certain group of videos that are on a specific topic. You could even create a most popular list of videos to help influence viewers to subscribe to your channel.

 

Playlists also give you the opportunity to create a unique thumbnail and metadata to target a specific topic. These can be quite useful for targeting a larger number of keywords with your channel as playlists can show up in Video Search as well as standalone videos.

 

Channel page ranking tips

 

Generate backlinks to your Channel Page (https://www.youtube.com/user/yourusername) to help it rank better in all searches, both YouTube and organic search. Just as with any page, make sure you use appropriate keyword anchor text when linking to it.

 

The more people who view your channel, the better your videos will rank. Make good use of friend requests, comments and other social networking tools to drive up Channel Page views. This in turn will boost your video rankings.

 

Be interactive: Several things can drive link juice to your YT Channel. Make a point of commenting on other users’ videos, get listed as a related video, and get listed as a recent subscriber to other channels.

 

Also, subscribe to other channels that you want to subscribe to your channel. This is social networking: Being a loner won’t help your content go viral.

 

What About the Content?

 

Of course, you can’t do anything without the content. This part is pretty straightforward: You can contract with someone to create video content for your channel, or you can do it yourself.

 

Either option can work well depending on your resources and needs. With professionally shot video, you obviously gain the pro look and feel that helps give your business authority. Most locales have a number of reasonable options for hiring a freelance video expert.

 

On the other hand, you might do just fine creating the video in-house. You’re not looking to become the next Quentin Tarantino or Kathryn Bigelow—you just want to display your services and products, perhaps provide some instructional videos, and so on. Consumer-level video equipment has never been more capable of achieving professional results. With a reasonable camera and a sturdy tripod, you can create video content that rivals anything you’ll see in local television advertising.

 

If you’re not sure how to approach video creation content or need tips for either what content to focus on or how to outsource video creation, your Ring Ring Marketing pro will be thrilled to help.

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