It takes planning and effort to make YouTube videos, so you want to do all you can to ensure that your videos get maximum exposure.
When it comes to YouTube, there are two main components to SEO optimization: video content and user engagement.
With that in mind, here are 8 techniques that we suggest you try out to grow your company’s presence on YouTube.
(Remember, search engine algorithms are always changing, and SEO is not a perfect science. Play around a bit to find out what works best for your company.)
Include brand keywords (your company name and any potential misspellings [e.g., our brand keywords are ServiceMonster and Service Monster]). Also, include other keywords that describe your video’s content and your company, such as your industry, and anything else that people might search for to find your content. Relevant tagging helps people find your videos, and the tags play a role in what videos are displayed in the sidebar. Put the most relevant keywords first.
*Bonus Tip: Set up default tags to be applied to all your uploads, which saves time and creates consistency across your videos.
2. Transcript / Closed-Captioning:
Transcribing and uploading closed-caption files for your videos is worth it for a number of reasons:
1) It opens up your content to a wider audience, including people who don’t want to or can’t listen to your video for whatever reason.
2) It can increase the search rank of videos and improve user engagement (views, likes, and comments), which in turn boosts the video’s search rank.
Remember: search engines crawl text, not video. Consider putting all or a portion of the transcription text in the video description, as well, which provides another opportunity for search engines to crawl and index the video.
*Bonus Tip: Upload your own caption files — don’t use YouTube’s auto-captioning feature. Automatic captions are often not accurate — in fact, they tend to be so inaccurate, they aren’t indexed by Google (your own captions files are, however!). Remember that even if auto-captioning saves time, inaccurate captions = spam = lost search rank for your YouTube channel.
There is no place for subtly when it comes to growing your business’ YouTube channel. Don’t be shy about asking viewers in a straight-forward way to visit your site, subscribe to your channel, like your videos, or take advantage of a special coupon or deal you’re offering. You can do this in the video description, via YouTube annotations (which come in many different formats), or via an end screen. A good call-to-action will be effective in driving traffic to the page of your choosing, or in keeping viewers on your channel, consuming your videos.
*Bonus Tip: Viewers can choose to turn off annotations. With that in mind, end screens are often more effective. In addition, end screens reach viewers on both desktop and mobile, whereas annotations are desktop-only. End screens display at the end of your video with a call-to-action, are a powerful tool for extending watch time on your channel by directing viewers to wherever you want them to go (other places on YouTube, your website, or another page entirely).
4. Channel trailer:
Show non-subscribers who land on your page a short “commercial” of sorts about what your YouTube page is all about. This video displays at the very top of your page, and is likely the first content viewers see if they land directly on your channel. It’s a good place to give an overview of what your company is about, and why viewers should subscribe and watch your videos.
*Bonus Tip: Don’t forget to include a call to action to encourage viewers to subscribe to see more of your company’s content!
Putting videos on a playlist can dramatically improve watch time. Why? Because as soon as the video ends, viewers are delivered the next video in the playlist, which hopefully captures their attention and extends their engagement.
6. Long Video Descriptions:
YouTube uses the content in your video descriptions to rank you for long-tail keywords, so make sure you’re making use of it! Try and write up at least 200 words, and pay extra attention to the first 25 words: that’s where you’ll want to include your most important keyword. Try and include your chosen keyword three or four times throughout the description.
*Bonus Tip: Put your business’ link at the top of the description. YouTube only displays the first couple lines of the description automatically (to continue reading, the viewer must click “show more”), so it’s essential that the most important, actionable information is included at the beginning.
7. Video Keywords:
Before finalizing your keyword choice, do a quick search on Google to see if there are video results on the first page. If there are, that’s a keyword you should strongly consider, because it means your video could potentially get ranked and get traffic from both Google and YouTube. How do you determine what keywords to check for? Try keywords in your industry niche (although make sure they’re not too specific — they have to be things you think your customers would be searching for). Once you’ve made a list of a few words, we recommend running them through the Google AdWords Keyword Planner to get an idea of the average monthly searches the keyword gets. This is helpful because there’s no sense optimizing your video around a keyword that is rarely to never searched!
8. Leveraging Online Communities:
Is your business on LinkedIn? If so, we recommend joining a few groups that are relevant to your business — specifically groups focused on the services you provide, the industry you’re in, and your local area. Scroll through the groups on occasion for questions that your videos could help answer. Be sure to type up a thoughtful response, and post the reply with a link to your video and a suggestion that they watch if they would like to see more. This works from an SEO standpoint because not only does it encourage video views, it encourages quality views — viewers who are more likely to watch the video for a longer period of time, engage with it, and share it (all metrics that YouTube tracks).
*Bonus Tip: Keep in mind that LinkedIn groups are primarily for discussion, not self-promotion. With that in mind, don’t spam-post your video links, and ensure that they add value to the overall conversation.
We hope you found these tips helpful, and that you’re excited to implement them in your next upload to YouTube!