YouTube SEO – Why You Need It

YouTube SEO – Why You Need It

YouTube isn’t just for rants, fail videos and conspiracy theorists. If you have a business website in Vancouver or the Lower Mainland, you’ve likely considered SEO services as a way to increase visits and sales. You may have heard that YouTube is great for SEO but question how and why you would use it. YouTube is a powerful web marketing tool for many reasons:

  • It’s the second largest search engine behind Google
  • Increases brand recognition
  • Increases authority of your website
  • Increases relevance of your website
  • Adds to social noise
  • Can increase ranking of your website
  • YouTube preview thumbnails can appear in Google’s blended results for targeted keyphrases
  • Increases consumer confidence in your business, product, and service
  • Is a no-cost or low-cost marketing platform (except for time) compared to other platforms.

If you are like many Vancouver business owners I’ve worked with, you are skeptical and may initially scoff at the idea of using YouTube as a marketing vehicle because you cannot imagine how your company would benefit from YouTube SEO. Frequently, business owners say “We have nothing to put on video”, or “Nobody will watch my video. Our product or service is boring.” I suggest, humbly, that you are mistaken. If you upload a video to YouTube that is useful, provides good, even basic, free information, it will be watched.

As a visual medium, YouTube is excellent for instructional and how-to videos and as a communication medium, it is great for imparting useful information to visitors who like the passive approach (they don’t have to crack a book or seek the info out, they just watch your video). While some topics lend themselves particularly well to YouTube: before and after videos for a hair transplant clinic, home renovation before/after, product reviews, even the blandest topic can offer something to YouTube viewers.

They key is to provide something of value to viewers that is free, useful and uncluttered with self-praise and heavy-handed marketing. You don’t need to sell, it’s not the point. The point is viewership, social noise, relevance building, authority building, visibility for your business, all of which can help in ways that will become clear.

Why YouTube is good for ranking and SEO

Google is giving a lot of weight to social noise these days. Years ago, you could launch a website and get respectable search engine rankings with on-page optimization alone. Then search ranking became about the number of backlinks pointing to your website and keywords in the link anchor (both on and off-page). These techniques were abused so badly that search results became diluted with spammy websites of dubious quality and sometimes low relevance. If a website had thousands of horrid backlinks, keywords in the domain, and keywords in anchors, it could perform well in search results, even if its relevance was questionable. Google changed this by factoring in other indicators of a site’s value and relevance.

Relevant results are what people want and what Google wants. Part of this new mix of ranking factors was noise in the social sphere. If people are engaging with your content on social networks, talking about your service or product, viewing videos, and reading and commenting on blog post then your business (and your website) must be relevant.

In essence, Google is giving all of us a vote, a chance to say what has value. Another aspect of Google’s results filtering is diversity. Diversity is a sign of natural link building. If all of your backlinks come from low quality blogs, questionable directories, and a narrow field of Internet resources, it may be a hint to Google that you are trying to manipulate the system. A diverse footprint is the opposite of this: a little chaos and disorder that doesn’t just “appear natural” but is natural.

Beyond YouTube’s impressive usage stats—1 billion unique users per month 1 trillion views, 4 billion hours of video watched monthly—it is a valuable resource for building authority. Authority is an SEO buzz-word that describes the credibility and value of your content. If links (followed or nofolow) and chatter about your website appears on highly authoritative websites (and YouTube is that) then your site is more authoritative, more relevant, than a similar business doing nothing or doing something badly.

The basics of YouTube SEO

  1. Create a video that has value on a topic in your niche Don’t make it too long. Shorter, succinct videos of a few minutes are better than long videos that people will bail on a minute in. Get the point quickly and summarize. Value means give something away: advice, how-to, demonstration, information the viewer wants. Brand the video with your website URL, mention what you do, but don’t trumpet the virtues of your “best widget services” and “best widget products”. This will bore people to tears and they won’t watch for long. Think about what you, an authority, can provide to the viewer. You are an expert at something. Provide some of that expertise as a “loss leader”.
  2. Create a YouTube channel if you don’t have one. The channel might even be named using keywords in your industry, but it isn’t vital
  3. Upload the video to YouTube
  4. Write a focused video title The title should contains keywords that are on-topic. Don’t always use just keywords though. Mix things up: use keywords and brand, keywords and other words. Like a title tag of a web page, in my experience, putting the keywords first seems to work best. Don’t overthink it.
  5. Include a call-to-action in the video description In the YouTube description, include a link as a call-to-action. Put the link in the first 30 or so characters. YouTube will truncate the description showing the “show more” link. Even if your call-to-action url is partially truncated it will still work.
  6. Write a good description Describe the video. What is it depicting? Again, don’t overdo praise for your amazing products and services. Link to a relevant page on your website within the description.
  7. Allow comments but moderate them Doing so encourages conversation. Ignore the trolls but definitely engage people who have an opinion, occasionally even if that opinion is not shared by you.
  8. Allow video embedding More YouTube embeds means higher ranking in YouTube and a stronger possibility of the preview showing up on Google blended results.
  9. Embed the video on your websites and social networks Embed the YouTube video on your own website, on your Facebook page, on other channels and blogs. Don’t just embed it though, describe it and embed it.

There is more to YouTube SEO than this, but even these rudimentary steps will help most business websites. Using YouTube as an SEO tool works best when you are consistently adding new content to your channel. Sporadic or seldom additions of new videos to your channel are better than nothing, but not much better.  Now that I’ve given away the store and you don’t need to do your SEO, fly away and be free to own the Internet. Happy YouTubing!

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