In 2014 YouTube became known as the second largest search engine on the planet. With 6 billion hours of video viewed every month and 100 hours of video uploaded every minute, it’s certainly a force to be reckoned with. All the evidence suggests that video is becoming the medium of choice for those seeking both entertainment and information on the web, with statistics and studies consistently pointing towards higher click through rates, engagement and sales leads as a result of video marketing drives.
Hosting videos on your website is all very well and good, but leveraging YouTube is essential if you really want to get your content noticed. Creating a YouTube channel is an essential part of this process as it allows you to put all your content in one place, so people can browse it. Think of it as a website within a website. In that sense, the same rules apply when it comes to getting people to stay and browse your content.
Below are my tips on optimising your videos for YouTube, as well as Google’s search engine, and how to go about creating the perfect YouTube channel.
It’s important to remember that YouTube is a search engine just like Google, and as such, your channel and the content that sits on it should be fully optimised to make it as discoverable as it can be. What’s more, Google’s integration with YouTube means that well- optimised video content is far more likely to show up in the search results pages of Google, as well as on YouTube searches.
Here are a few quick pointers to get you starting to think about optimisation:
- Be sure to conduct thorough keyword research before you begin this process. Tools like Google’s keyword planner tool are as useful to the process of video SEO as they are to website SEO. The process is essentially the same.
- Always use your keywords in your video’s title, as this won’t only help users work out what your videos are about, but will help YouTube’s algorithm rank them properly as well.
- Write a clear and detailed video description and use your keywords throughout, but avoid keyword stuffing (aim to get the keyword in about 3 to 4 times and at least once in the first 25 words).
- Use words and phrases that accurately describe the video, but which are also popular Google search terms. These include terms like ‘how-to’, ‘review’ and ‘setting up’, which tend to well in search results pages.
- Make sure you use your chosen keyword in the filename when uploading your video.
This is only a very brief introduction to YouTube SEO, but it will get you thinking in the right way. For more comprehensive information on YouTube SEO tactics, I’ve found Brian Dean’s in-depth guide on Search Engine Watch to be one of the best out there (it also contains a fantastic infographic on YouTube ranking factors).
The beauty of YouTube is that anyone can put together a do-it-yourself video marketing campaign by creating a channel, and then hosting all their videos on it under individual sections. One of the first mistakes people make on this front, though, is in failing to give their channel any structure at all. Many people simply don’t appreciate the huge importance channel structure can have to viewer retention and ultimately how you project your brand.
Below are some DOs and DON’Ts of YouTube channel structuring:
- When users come to your channel, you want them to be able to find the best content you have, and easily. Don’t, therefore, feel like you have to put every piece of video content you’ve ever created on your channel. Chances are, a lot of it won’t be of interest to your average YouTube user. If it’s low quality or outdated, then leave it out. Your channel needs to showcase the best about your business.
- Don’t mix your consumer content with your corporate content. This is another classic mistake and presupposes that people can tell the difference. You have to think of your audience at all times, and make sure that your videos are grouped together thematically in a logical manner. If you have a behind-the-scenes video that looks at your production process, then don’t lump it together with your new and polished advertising video.
- Don’t order your content by popularity. Your YouTube channel is a marketing tool, and as such, you need to use it to push the kind of content that is currently most relevant to your business. That hugely popular video you made three years ago might have got a lot of views, but it doesn’t make it relevant today (as tempting as it is to show it off).
- Don’t order your channel by recent content either. Your latest in-depth video might be relevant to people visiting your website but that does not make it relevant to the kind of people visiting your YouTube channel. Learn to tell the difference and give people what they want.
- Keep it up to date. This might seem like one of the oldest gripes out there, but people really do pick up on this kind of thing. If your content is old and your channel isn’t updated regularly, then people won’t want to come back to it. If you are constantly creating and uploading new and exciting content, then people will be more likely to come back to see what’s new.
YouTube attracts a phenomenal amount of visitors every day, but it also hosts a phenomenal amount of content. With very low click rates (less than 1%) from video to websites, it’s better to see YouTube as a final destination and not a driver of traffic to your business. That is why it’s not good enough just to create excellent videos and host them on YouTube. Optimising each video for maximum discoverability in conjunction with creating a well-structured and easily navigable YouTube channel is essential if you want to project your brand effectively and to as many relevant people as possible.
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