One of the dirty little secrets of internet advertising is the fact that YouTube is the second most used search engine on the internet.
It doesn’t take a wizard to figure out the marketing potential behind it, even if you’re completely unfamiliar with the monetization potential of YouTube.
Of course, the big money isn’t from YouTube advertising but instead from the clever application of affiliate marketing and raising brand awareness.
The main thing you need, however, is to get eyes on your videos in order to use them for your digital marketing campaigns. That’s where search engine optimization comes in, so let’s dive right in and talk about how to get your videos propelled to the top of the YouTube searches for your keywords.
Of course, if you do things right then you’ll also be able to slam videos up on the front page of Google, and then we’re really talking some traffic.
Finding Your YouTube Keywords
There are certain types of keywords which are likely to end up on the front page of Google when you’re making your videos. Finding them within your own niche is pretty easy when you take into account the following are the most common to have included videos:
- How-To Videos
- Funny and Cute
This makes it relatively easy to find keywords which you can use as a basis for getting a video ranked on Google.
This is just for landing on Google, of course, and videos which are unrelated to those kinds of searches can also perform amazingly well.
When you’re looking for a video keyword, you want to make sure that the search volume on Google is at least 300+. It’s a good target number, because it also means that you’re going to get a lot of searches in YouTube.
And if you can rank on Google then you’re going to get your views on YouTube, which is the end goal here.
Make a Video
Making a video is an art-form unto itself, and most people will eventually end up hiring professionals to do a lot of the work.
Of course, you don’t necessarily need a studio and a ton of super editing.
The most important thing about your video is that it’s valuable and shows exactly what the person is searching for.
You’d be surprised, a ton of extra production value can be counterproductive if it draws away from the main point. Think about how often you skip around on videos with a ton of extra stuff when you’re in a hurry to get the information that you need.
As opposed to Google SEO, your rankings on YouTube are primarily measured by the interaction that your video gets. You need thumbs up and comments in order to rise through the ranks.
There are actually a number of different metrics of engagement which will help you out here:
- Comments: If someone watches and comments, then you’re likely to be in good hands. It’s the number here that matters, but if you make something which makes a lot of people comment negatively and give thumbs down you’re going to suffer for it.
- Retention: Whether or not someone watches the whole video is super important. While longer videos tend to rank higher, don’t stuff them with a bunch of extra stuff that people are going to skip.
- Subscriptions: If people tend to subscribe after watching your video, that’s definitely a good thing. This helps with both ranking and getting people to watch your videos in the future since they’ll now know when you post new stuff.
- Shares: The gold standard of social media interaction. This also helps bring in more organic traffic, so make content that people are going to want to share with their friends.
- Favorites: If people slap your content up in your favorites then you’re doing well for obvious reasons.
- Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down: I’m sure you’ll be able to figure this one out and how it relates to your rankings. The higher the thumbs up to thumbs down ratio, the better off your video is going to do.
You can check YouTube analytics to see how well your video is performing overall.
The length of videos is also important. Try to make things at least five minutes for the best results, people prefer longer videos and tend to see more value in them.
Of course, you don’t want to artificially inflate your numbers with a bunch of extraneous nonsense either. That’s no good for anyone, and it will end up hurting you in the long run even if it nets more initial clicks.
Don’t cut things short either. If you need a full hour in order to make sure that you’ve got what you need, then put in the whole hour. Make the video as long as it takes, but make sure that each minute is valuable so that your user base doesn’t feel like they’re wasting their time.
On Page YouTube SEO
When you upload your video, there are a few best practices that you’re going to want to keep in mind in order to maximize views.
There are a few different places to make sure that you include your keywords:
- The File Name: Include your keyword within the title of the video itself for the best results. If you’re posting a video on how to cook an omelet, call the file “how to cook an omelet.” This might not be a factor but it’s always good to stuff the keyword unobtrusively wherever you can.
- The Video Title: This is an obvious no brainer. You need to make sure that your video is titled appropriately and do your best to include the keyword that you’re working with. At the beginning is the best, but try to avoid awkward looking titles.
- Description: The description of the video might be the most important part for many people. We’ll go over best practices in just a moment but it’s definitely a key place for your keyword.
The description might just be the most important part of your on-page YouTube optimization. As long as the title has the keyword and is catchy enough to draw views before you start ranking well you’ll be good to go there.
For the description, I recommend the following:
- Put your site’s link in the description. The top is the best to increase your click through rate.
- Throw your keyword into the first paragraph. Having it in the first twenty five words would be even better.
- Make your description at least 250 words, a little bit of length is going to help quite a bit.
- Try to include your keyword 3-4 times.
Don’t neglect tags either. While they’re only a minor help for search rankings, especially provided you did your description using the above guidelines, but it will increase the amount of people you get through the “Related Videos” side bar.
Start Gathering Views
Now you’ll need to start gathering views. Here’s something which might seem a bit odd: to get higher rankings, you have to get views.
Now, you’ll also need real views to make sure that this works. Don’t go outsourcing to some shady services, as a matter of fact: grey and black hat techniques are not a viable long term strategy in almost any case where SEO is involved.
You also need retention along with those views, which should be covered if the content you produced is of high value.
There are a few different ways to easily promote your video and snag some views:
- Use your video to answer queries on Quora, Yahoo! Answers, or any other Q&A sites you come across. Forums are also a good place to promote, and you should be maintaining a couple of message board accounts in your niche anyways.
- Place your video in e-mail and message board signatures. It’s a nice way to get a couple of views here in there but probably not the best primary method.
- Embed your video in articles and pages on your site. Of course, you probably already thought of this but when you post your own video along with, say, a more in-depth explanation of the information then you’re likely to get a lot of views and a great retention rate.
- Share your video on any social media accounts associated with your site, particularly if you have a good amount of dedicated followers.
- Send it to your list. You do have a list, don’t you? If not then you’re going to want to start building one.
If you combine all of the above with a quality video and proper SEO protocols… you’ll be well on your way to ensuring that you’re ranking on both Google and YouTube with your shiny new video.
From there it’s just a matter of monetization.
Ranking on YouTube isn’t as hard as people make it out to be, you just need to combine a lot of skills to really make it. Being able to sell products or services through YouTube or include affiliate links can net a high conversion rate when you offer people value.
So why not get started? Video marketing might be exactly what your business needs to get started on the way to the big time.