According to Nielsen NetView, YouTube had more than 112 million unique visitors who streamed video more than 6.6 billion times in January, making YouTube the top online video brand and the fifth most-visited US website overall.
And according to Forrester Research, "any given video in the index stands about a 50 times better chance of appearing on the first page of results than any given text page in the index."
Those facts make a compelling case for investing a little time and energy in video—specifically, YouTube search engine optimization (SEO)—to make sure people find your video (and your business)
It doesn't matter how great your video is; if people don't know it exists, it doesn't have much business value. If your intended audience is to find your video, you need to optimize it for maximum visibility in Google and other search engines.
Here are eight tips for optimizing YouTube videos.
1. Place relevant keywords in your video's title, description, and tags
Search engines can't read video content directly, so you need to tell spiders and potential viewers what they're in for by describing the content in the YouTube fields.
When doing keyword research for videos, think about the terms users would likely use in a query as well as what makes your video unique. If it's a how-to video, make sure the title starts with the phrase "how to." Write a clear description in complete sentences.
Also consider including the URL of your company's website in the description. Placing the URL at the beginning ensures that people can see it in the YouTube search results.
2. Promote your video on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks
Increasing your video's views, ratings, and comments will boost its search engine rankings, and you're more likely to get those when people in your social circle know you have new content. Encourage your friends, followers, and colleagues to comment on your videos by in turn commenting on their content when possible.
As an added benefit, linking to your video on sites such as Twitter and Facebook prompts others to link to your video. Those inbound links increase the video's authority, further improving its search engine rankings.
3. Embed your video on your blog or website
Encourage others to do the same—a video embed, similar to an inbound link, is good for SEO. It also draws traffic to your site.
Include a description of the embedded video on your site or blog. Having that descriptive text near the video makes it easier to find in universal search results.
You can also link back to your video in YouTube using keyword-rich anchor text. The Statistics & Data link below your video in YouTube provides stats about which sites have embedded and linked to your video.
4. Keep an eye on related videos and who has linked your way
You can also use the Statistics & Data link to view competitive videos' incoming links. If the links are desirable, consider contacting the sites to inform them of your new video and request a link. Explain your competitive advantage over similar offerings. These link-building efforts can result in high-authority inbound links.
5. Promote your video on YouTube
Comment on related videos and include a link to your own video. The extra traffic those links generate can only help your search-engine rankings. In addition, commenting on others' videos will increase the chances that they comment on yours.
Use YouTube Insight to see how your traffic evolves as you promote your video. Insight also shows where your viewers are coming from and how they found your content.
6. Focus on brief, high-quality videos
Shorter videos (1-2 minutes in length) with good video quality tend to garner the most views, links, and comments. When possible, keep your videos brief or edit down as necessary.
Use a decent camera that produces high-quality video. During the uploading process, choose a high-resolution thumbnail image to represent your video in search results.
7. Adjust the settings so your video is easily accessible
Check your settings in YouTube—you have the option to make your video private and to disallow comments and video responses. You can also prevent people from voting on comments, rating your video, and embedding it on their site.
For maximum exposure, do not enable those options. Giving viewers more access increases your video's chances at popularity. Also in settings, make sure you choose the appropriate category for your video; doing so makes it easier to find.
8. Include a relevant link to your site
As mentioned above, it's a good idea to include your site's URL in the video's description. To channel YouTube users to your site or a particular product page, consider including a URL within the video (such as in the last slide) or in the YouTube profile as well.
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