YouTube Optimisation for Search Engines: A beginners guide

19 10 2010

Something a little different from the usual updates, I’m going to be posting a series of guides on social media marketing firstly on YouTube optimisation then Twitter and finally Facebook. I’m still learning about this myself so feedback is welcome. Keep reading for the YouTube guide below.

I think it is safe to assume that when we talk about video optimisation we are mainly covering YouTube, although they do have competitors, YouTube is fairly ubiquitous.

Everybody should have seen videos come up in their search results before. If you can get into this position for categories that are relevant to you (for example investment property) you will instantly gain a lot of traffic. A properly optimized YouTube video can outrank sites such as EBay or Amazon for search queries.

The way videos are ranked can be influenced with certain tactics, Title tags, Linking, Internal Linking using Video responses/video playlists, Encourage ratings, Widescreen (not proven), Video description, Expanding beyond YouTube, Relevant tagging and more.

So to break these down into more detail;

  • Title tags: Keyword relevancy and positioning with title tags is one of the biggest factors that we can influence with a video. You want to be descriptive and relevant here, a good example I’ve seen used was the video below, you can see after the song name they included (New Rap Music / Hip Hop) which improves the videos chances on ranking for less specific terms. A quick keyword search will also show you that those are very popular search terms and will increase their traffic considerably if successful.
  • External Linking: With a normal website the best way to get Google to pay attention to a new page, is to use your established pages to link back to it. Likewise with YouTube when you post a new video, post it in response to your established videos, this is an easy way to create internal linking.
  • Video Playlist: Another method is to group your videos with other popular videos in a playlist. They should be related, but they don’t necessarily have to be your videos.  Playlists tend to rank very high up in YouTube search results and you may get automatically linked to other people’s videos as a “Related playlist” in the sidebar.
  • Encourage ratings, it’s speculated that Google gives some measure of preference to higher rated videos when dealing with universal search results. Rating also gives your audience a way to interact with your content.  A good way to encourage this is to add an annotation at the end of the video, something like, “Was this video helpful, rate us below” or “Like it or hate it, rate us now.”
  • Encourage Comments: Comments are useful because they generate content for you and it is possible comments can attract long tail traffic. It also gives you internal links, as a link to your video will appear on the commentors profile page, which means more traffic!
  • External linking: This does not affect ranking within YouTube but it can help YouTube videos rank better in Google’s index. An easy example of this would be linking to the video from your company’s website.
  • Widescreen: This is an unusual one. Google gives preference to usability and users have indicated a preference for Widescreen. It’s probably a long shot but if it comes down to a choice, choose widescreen.
  • Go Beyond Youtube: Just because YouTube dominates the market doesn’t mean it might not be worth exploring its competitors. Tools exist such as to upload videos to multiple platforms at once.
  • Relevant Tagging: Add relevant tags, straightforward, make sure if you do use tags then they relate to the content of the video and don’t use excessive tagging. This will also raise the value of your video in Google/YouTube’s eyes.
  • Embed: Always enable the embed option, this will let other people do the work of spreading your content for you by embedding it on their own pages.

Above all content is king, there is no point in trying to increase the exposure of videos that simply are not interesting to your demographic. Keeping videos short is also a good idea, viewers tend to drop off after the three minute mark.

Finally YouTube offers a free tool called YouTube Insight which provides one with enough statistical data on your viewers (how they found your video, how long they watched for, which country they are from etc) to optimize your video campaign as you go.





One response

20 10 2010
Twitter marketing 101 part 1: How to be awesome « Digital Marketing blog – SEM & SEO tips and basics

[…] How to be awesome 20 10 2010 Okay here is part two of my guide to social media marketing. Yesterday’s guide focused on YouTube and today I’ll be covering Twitter, the guide ended up pretty big so […]

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