YouTube videos can be an effective way to educate and inform your customers, to demonstrate thought leadership, or to show off your products and services. Ultimately, YouTube may help you grow your business considerably… but only if you can actually get viewers.
That’s not something that happens accidentally. YouTube is the second most popular website in the entire world, which means there are plenty of eyeballs to compete for, but also tons of companies, advertisers, and content-makers in the fray. In order to ensure your videos are seen by the right people, it’s important to be proactive about video optimization.
How to Optimize YouTube Videos
One of the biggest perks of video optimization is that, because YouTube is owned by Google, its algorithms work in a very similar way; in other words, by optimizing your YouTube videos, you can boost their visibility on both platforms.
So where do you start?
1) Develop your Video
Frankly, not every video has the potential to rank well. The reason for this is some videos don’t match actual user search queries. If people aren’t searching for the information you’re providing, then the video simply isn’t likely to rank well.
So, to increase the odds of your video attracting lots of viewers and generating high search visibility, it needs to be based on a good topic, one that people actually want to know about. It also helps if you pick a topic that people would prefer to watch a video about, as opposed to reading a written article.
One additional note: YouTube wants to keep viewers engaged on the platform for as long as possible, so longer videos will generally rank better than shorter ones… though we’d recommend against making ultra-long content just for the sake of it. Make sure your videos are full of good information that your viewers will actually care about.
Some specific steps in the video development process include:
- Start with keyword research, which will help you determine the right topic. There are plenty of great keyword research tools out there, but if you’re just getting started, YouTube’s auto suggest options can be really helpful.
- Check the competition. Say you’ve decided to make a video called “how to care for your skin this winter.” One thing you should do is type this phrase into both YouTube and Google and see which videos pop up. Watch the top two or three entries on each platform and take note of anything the video creator has done to engage the viewer from beginning to end. Use these observations to guide your own video development. Also take note of the length of these competitor videos, which can provide you with a benchmark for your own content.
After following these steps, you should be set to actually create your video; once that step is complete, however, there are plenty of additional steps in the optimization process.
2) Optimize for Search
YouTube takes into consideration a number of ranking factors, including video titles, tags, descriptions, captions, thumbnails, and beyond. Each of these fields presents you with a great opportunity to include some target keywords, and potentially also to offer some valuable context for your viewers and for the search algorithms.
One special note we’ll make is to optimize for Google’s “key moments” feature. Basically, this allows you to break down your video into different segments, making it easier for search engine users to jump straight to the part of the video that best matches their query. While this feature doesn’t necessarily make sense for shorter videos, it can be a great way for you to break your how-to videos into individual steps, or to divide long-form content into smaller subtopics.
To optimize for key moments, add timestamps to your videos. The best approach is to add them to the video description (as opposed to a pinned comment). Make sure to list timestamps in chronological order. Add each timestamp to a new line, and label it with a basic description of the topic or sub-section. Finally, resist going overboard with your timestamps. You shouldn’t need more than 10.
3) Measure Your Impact
Finally, a key part of the YouTube optimization process is tracking your results, measuring how much traffic you’re getting and from where that traffic is coming. Specifically, it may be useful for you to monitor how many hits are coming from YouTube as opposed to from Google. You can find this information in the Analytics section of your Google account.
More Questions About Optimizing for YouTube?
YouTube can be a significant avenue for boosting your business and for building brand awareness. This all depends on your ability to draw traffic, both on YouTube itself and also via the Google search engine results page.
At enCOMPASS, we have ample expertise in developing, optimizing, and monitoring YouTube video campaigns. We’d love to talk with you further. Reach out to us whenever you’re ready to learn more.
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