To most marketers, YouTube is known for its possibilities regarding branded content, “viral” marketing, how-to content and/or for its integration possibilities within other environments. Think about the ways you can use YouTube as a blogger, within social media, for content marketing and, increasingly, in other communication and marketing channels.
Ever since Google started including YouTube in its search engine results, the most popular online video sharing platform gained attention for search engine optimization purposes. And, as visual/multimedia content can work very well and be used in very ‘useful’ ways, it’s important to get your video (channel) found in Google, even if YouTube is a huge search engine as such too.
Why would you want your videos found? Well, first of all, because as a marketer you will put your online videos for a reason: so they get seen by your target audiences, depending on their purpose (instructing, entertaining, etc.). However, also because your YouTube channel leads back towards your site, blog or any other online property that is related with the channel (or with the individual video – you usually don’t sell or convert ON YouTube). And, again, it is important for branding too.
Now, don’t think that YouTube tomorrow will become your first source of traffic. But if your online videos are relevant, people will be curious to see who’s behind them, and of course you can always get your URL in the video itself (+ link back in a way that makes sense for the viewer).
Some tips to get your YouTube videos and/or channels found in Google’s search engine results.
1. Attention: incoming links
Incoming links play a role, even if it’s decreasing. The more valuable and high-ranked websites, blog posts, etc. link to your online video ‘property’, the higher it can be placed in the search results. But that’s not the key goal. You don’t want links for the sake of links but as an effect of proper content promotion, combined with perceived value. You want your content to be so relevant (useful, funny, to the point, whatever), that others will gladly share it, which increases the chance of having good links. The same is true for videos.
2. Describe what people will see
Describing what your online video is about doesn’t only make sense from a user viewpoint, it’s also a known fact that descriptive titles and tags (keywords) are good for SEO (think about the images in your blog). Adding context to any form of content is good for search because it’s good for, in this case, viewers too.
Obviously, the description – and the title – should match the content. Remember that any headline (and description is a promise you need to deliver upon). Again, the same is true for videos. Make sure that you have a catchy title but also that it contains the right keywords. Make use of descriptive tags and provide the right context to the video content to increase results and optimize the experience of the viewer (both are related).
3. Organize: create playlists
Just one way to use internal links is to make playlists with your videos and other related and popular videos. Organizing content has always made sense, so it certainly makes sense here as well. Playlists are often assigned a higher placement.
In addition, videos in playlists are more often displayed in the ‘Related Videos’ list in the sidebar when a video is being played. Your playlists can also help people discover more content.
4. Encourage ratings and comments
Ratings are used to distinguish between videos on the same subject. So, encourage viewers to rate the video.
Similarly, comments on videos also help to better index your video and make it easy to find. It is therefore wise to encourage viewers to post a comment.
The “journey” of the YouTube user
Remember you don’t have to send too much traffic from your blog, websites and social media to YouTube. Google doesn’t need you. However, linking of course helps, certainly done with an audience in mind. If you have a YouTube channel, it’s pretty obvious you might want to mention it.
But in the end, again depending on purpose, you want videos as visual content to illustrate and enrich specific content on your other online properties, lead people to those properties where they can continue their journey, while tapping into the power of YouTube as a platform and – in the end – very specific community.
Embedding your video content and focusing on those pages and properties where you do so makes all the more sense if you realize that – depending on many factors – the “average” YouTube user just stays on YouTube after having stumbled upon a video. It’s all about context: if you, for instance, have a channel that is visited by customers for “how-to” purposes regarding the use of your products/services, it’s clear their attention will be more focused than if someone just happens to find it.
Yet, always be optimizing, for everyone. And – thus – for searchers too.