Videos have grown dramatically in their popularity with audiences – in 2017, an estimated 74 percent of all online traffic will be for videos. YouTube itself is the second-largest search engine, behind only Google. YouTube SEO is essential to help you succeed in your marketing efforts on this video platform.
78% of people watch at least one video a week. Promoting a video in an email subject heading increases open rates by 19% and click-through rates by 65%, videos help customers feel confident in their purchases and they even have the power to inspire more potential customers to visit a store online or in person.
Marketers should develop video content and video SEO strategies to take advantage of the interest.
Understanding the role of YouTube SEO
People generally visit YouTube because they want to be entertained or learn something new from the videos they watch – this explains the incredible popularity of all those Super Bowl videos you see passed around your Facebook feed in the days and weeks after the game.
Aside from all the animal videos which seem to dominate the platform, however, there is plenty of space for brands and video SEO techniques. YouTube has an incredibly large audience – over a billion users or 1/7th of the world’s population. This means videos on the site are an opportunity to introduce new people to a brand, increasing brand awareness, and building an audience of interested potential customers. Accomplishing that requires a good strategy for YouTube SEO.
YouTube videos can also be embedded right on other social media sites by using the embedded player code. This makes it easy for viewers to watch your videos right on their feeds without having to click off and go to the YouTube site. By embedding the videos, you can help increase engagement on your other social media pages. This helps you boost your interactions with customers throughout your digital presence to build your reputation.
What should be posted for YouTube SEO
It is important to note that not every video your brand produces should be posted on YouTube. The videos on this page should be designed for a broad audience. Remember that most people coming across your channel are not arriving from a branded website. They are watching a video for entertainment or to learn, not to make a purchase. Your video should generally be able to stand alone: it should be completely understandable and add value for viewers who are not familiar with your brand or the speaker.
The company should focus on providing high-value videos that users can appreciate on their own. Videos that help users to understand complicated topics related to your industry, breakdown news events so they are understandable or put forth new theories or ideas related to your field can be very popular.
Use other types of helpful videos with educational options, such as how to’s – videos that help viewers understand how to complete certain tasks or succeed within your industry. You can even create successful video channels based around engaging storytelling surrounding your brand using YouTube SEO. Think about the example put forth by the company Old Spice.
These videos tell a story about the brand and how their product works for customers in a humorous and entertaining fashion. All of these types of videos work for YouTube SEO because they provide value even for users who are just browsing on the video platform, regardless of whether they have a connection or knowledge of the brand.
The role of YouTube SEO in your marketing efforts
In addition to boosting brand recognition and awareness, YouTube SEO can also play a more direct role in your marketing efforts. To begin, brands can drive traffic towards their YouTube channels through paid YouTube advertising. There are three types of ads available through Google TrueView video advertising:
- You can select to create an ad that is played at the beginning, middle or end of a partner YouTube video. This is known as an in-stream ad.
- You can create ads that are displayed in the search results for particular queries. This is called an in-search ad.
- You can create an ad that appears on the YouTube watch page. This is an in-display ad.
The video developed should not be too long and it should be engaging from the first few seconds. This is particularly true for the in-stream ads, which users are often given the choice to skip after just a few seconds.
The video should be oriented to the platform as well. Remember that people are not generally on YouTube to buy, they want to learn or be entertained. That same mantra applies to ads. Educational ads that are relevant to the keywords and the business as well as ads that incorporate the human connection through testimonials tend to be successful.
There are also other types of advertising available on YouTube. For example, you can create interactive videos through CTA overlays. The overlay can contain links back to your website, making it easy for interested parties to engage more directly with your brand. Adding rich snippets to your video can help with indexing and ranking.
Finally, YouTube SEO has the potential to impact your rankings in search if you do video SEO properly. Google owns YouTube and often displays videos in relevant search results. Although video SEO rich snippets have largely been eliminated from brand platforms, for relevant queries, they do appear with YouTube results. A well-ranked video and well-done SEO can help to increase exposure even in standard SERPs.
A popular video that inspires many people to click over to the brand website can also indirectly help to raise the rankings of your site itself. The additional traffic, particularly from these engaged users who have already expressed an interest in your business, can help improve your site metrics for the search algorithm. YouTube SEO also allows you to include links in the comment section of videos, so taking advantage of this opportunity can make it even easier for interested viewers to click over to your site.
Making your YouTube channel a success
Creating a successful YouTube channel requires a strategy that will get the videos noticed, including YouTube SEO. Like any other aspect of online marketing, before you get started, you need to have an idea of where you want to go. Know what you want your channel to rank for and the types of videos that are most likely to be appreciated by the intended audience.
Keep in mind that YouTube success is not built upon one-hit-wonders. Video channels that attract large followings and convert to revenue for brands are the ones that continue to produce quality video after quality video. Digital marketing as a whole has been shifting strongly towards the value of quality over quantity. With the intense competition that marketers face – an estimated 300 hours of video are uploaded every minute – poor quality videos not only disengage the desired positive attention, but they can also hurt the brand perception as a whole.
Your goal should be to continuously produce quality, engaging videos and maintain video SEO. When someone finishes one video and clicks through to your channel page, they should be met with several options for more, equally helpful and valuable videos. This is a helpful YouTube SEO tip that will build channel followers.
Creating these successful videos requires creativity and a keen understanding of what visitors want to see.
- Get started with the length of the video. The ideal duration of a YouTube video is estimated to be 2 minutes and 54 seconds. This allows you enough time to engage and enlighten your visitors without stretching on so long that you lose their attention.
- Make sure your videos start strong. You will have about 10 seconds to grab a viewer’s attention. You will then lose 33 percent of visitors by 30 seconds, 45 percent by 1 minute and 60 percent by 2 minutes. You want to maximize your time to maximize your impact with YouTube SEO.
- Select the right thumbnail. The thumbnail, along with the title, is generally one of the deciding factors for viewers when choosing a video and part of video SEO. To find the right frame, you want to focus on conveying the content and emotions in the video. Eye contact can be a powerful motivator, so selecting a thumbnail that includes the subject looking at the viewer can be a good choice.
- Make sure your video is in the best format. Using the wrong format can result in the video not appearing as crisp and clear, and thus less engaging which can hurt video SEO. The best video format for YouTube SEO is generally MPEG-4 and you want to keep your resolution around 1280 x 720 (16:9 HD) and 640 x 480 (4:3 SD) when possible.
- Optimize the video to rank well. Like any other type of online content, you want to create material around consumer interests. This means uncovering meaningful topics and keywords and creating video content that answer these needs. Use the keywords in the title and description of the video to implement video SEO tactics. You also want to use tags on your videos to properly utilize YouTube SEO. These tags should include your keywords as well as the video categories, information about the content, and any significant insight about the creation of the video or the people in it. To execute video SEO for exposure, make sure to target your demand by building the following assets with searchable keywords, topics, and context:
- The video title
- The video description
- A valid link to related information on your website
- The video tags
- Use playlists to get serialized recommendations between your videos
- Drive up watch time, which is a video SEO ranking factor
How to know if your efforts are successful
As you implement your video SEO strategy, you do need to make sure that you are monitoring your progress to see how well your efforts on YouTube are succeeding and what is having the biggest positive impact. There are a number of different ways you can gauge your YouTube SEO success.
Branded traffic and share of voice
One of the primary goals for many for a YouTube SEO strategy is to increase brand awareness. Monitoring part of video SEO is looking at your branded traffic and your share of voice is a great way to see growth in this area.
Referral traffic from YouTube SEO
Keep in mind that the number of users who click from a YouTube video through to a brand website or YouTube channel page will be very small compared to the total number of people who watch and enjoy your video. At the same time, monitoring video SEO growth in this area will be a good indicator if your videos are finding the right audience and if they appreciate what you have to say.
Leverage robust YouTube SEO analytics
Here is an index of the analytics offered for playlists and each video. One example is insights into watch time, which is an important measure of YouTube SEO engagement for ranking. Below are the daily watch time and views stats followed by audience demographic information.
Currently, the vast majority of video thumbnails showing up in Google SERPs are from YouTube. Brands need to extend their video optimization efforts to YouTube and master YouTube SEO in order to capture more organic traffic. BrightEdge customers can see reports on the blended or universal video positions that they and their competitors control in the SERPs, which allows them critical tactical insight and visibility.
YouTube is a powerful tool in the hands of experienced marketers and especially if they optimize properly. The video platform has grown in popularity as people have come to realize the value of entertainment and learning opportunities through videos. Brands that learn how to capitalize this organic channel can further grow their traffic and results.