Did you know that YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world? With more than 3 billion searches happening each month on the video site, it sees more traffic than Bing, Yahoo!, Ask, and AOL combined. As with any other search engine, the way you optimize your channel and videos can have a big impact on how you rank. If your DZ is simply uploading videos to YouTube, you may be missing out on a great opportunity to drive more traffic to your channel and your website. Here are a few tips that you, or your editor, can implement to optimize your channel and get as much YouTube juju as possible!
The first step to optimizing your YouTube channel and videos is to develop a keyword targeting strategy. Use tools like the Google AdWords Keyword Planner and Google Trends (which allows you to research data specific to YouTube search queries) to identify keywords related to your business that have high search volume. If you are trying to optimize for a specific geographic region, be sure to research keywords containing the name of the city or state you’d like to target. For example, “Skydiving North Dakota” or “Tandem Skydiving North Dakota.” Once you’ve identified your target keywords, you can begin to optimize your channel and videos with those keywords.
Optimizing Your YouTube Channel
1. Channel Keywords
Navigate to your “Channel Settings” (click the pencil icon in the lower right hand corner of your channel banner). Within the “Channel Keywords” box, place your targeted keywords.
2. Targeted Country
On the same screen, make sure that you have selected the country where you would like your videos to be shown.
3. Link to Your Website and Social Media Channels
Ensure that your channel is linked to your website and your social media channels. These links can be added by navigating to the “About” section of your Channel.
4. Channel Description
Write a description of your channel that includes your targeted keywords as well as branded keywords. Your channel description can be created/edited by navigating to the “About” section of your channel.
5. Add a Branding Watermark
Adding a “Branding Watermark” embeds your logo in your videos and allows viewers to directly subscribe to your channel if they hover over the watermark. The number of subscribers to your channel is a key factor in determining your rank within search. To add a brand watermark, navigate to “Channel Settings” and then to “Branding” in the left hand menu bar.
6. Sign up for Fan Finder
Fan Finder is service provided by Google which allows you to show an ad for your channel on related content for free. It helps connect your channel to new fans, at no cost to you.
Optimizing Your YouTube Videos
1. Optimize Video Filename
When uploading your video file to YouTube, ensure that the filename itself includes your targeted keywords
2. Optimize Video Title
Place your most important targeted keyword at the beginning of your video title and additional keywords thereafter.
ex) Tandem Skydiving North Dakota | Julie Smith Oct 1, 2015
3. Optimize Video Description
Your description is very important because it provides Google with a summary of what your video is about and allows them to index the video for your targeted keywords. Make sure your description contains at least 50 words (the longer, the better), place your targeted keywords near the beginning of the description, and include a hyperlink to your website and social media channels to encourage further user engagement.
4. Use Tags
Tags help Google categorize your videos for the right keywords/topics. They also connect your video to videos using similar tags which allows your videos to show up as related content in the sidebar.
Create tags that use your targeted keywords and any related, highly searched terms that are relevant. You can create a list of default tags for all of your videos by navigating to “Channel Settings” and “Upload Defaults.”
5. Enable Subtitles and CC
Enabling Subtitles give Google the chance to index the spoken content of your videos. If your videos contain mentions of your brand name, geographic location, or targeted keywords, including subtitles provides additional opportunities for those keywords to be indexed. Depending on the sound quality of your video, YouTube may provide automatic CC. If automatic CC is not available, you can enable subtitles by navigating to the “Edit” section of the video and choosing “Subtitles and CC.”
6. Use Annotations and Brand Watermarks to Increase Viewer Engagement.
Audience retention and engagement are two of the most important factors used to determine rank within YouTube search. The more likes, comments, subscriptions, and complete video views your videos earn, the more likely it is that they will rank highly. Use tools like in-video annotations and brand watermarks to increase your user engagement, grow your number of subscribers, create CTAs and provide links to other related videos.