There’s been plenty of advice recently about how to use video sitemaps and micro-formats to optimize the videos on your site to get the best chance of showing up in Google’s search results. But something that seems to have been forgotten in this rush of technical SEO posts is the importance of optimizing your video on YouTube to show up in their internal search results and encourage click-throughs when your video appears in the Related section of other clips.
YouTube is, after all, the second most used search engine in the world, so if you’re producing video content you really should be putting it on YouTube and you really should be doing whatever you can to make sure people can find it.The points in this article are focussed particularly on YouTube but the basic concepts can just as easily be applied to many of the other video hosting sites out there, like Vimeo or Flickr. YouTube’s size however makes it worthy of dealing with as an entity all of its own.
The following 10 points are a series of simple tips that you can apply to your YouTube videos to help them rank better in YouTube search for your target keywords, encourage more views from people clicking through from related videos and getting the best chance to reach the critical mass needed for your video to appear in YouTube’s coveted “What’s Hot” lists.
- Target Keywords Used Within Interesting/Enticing Title
Let’s say you’ve made a video review of the latest Blue Widget to hit the market. You want Blue Widget to be the focal keyphrase so rather than calling your video “Billy and Bobby review the new Blue Widget” go for something like “Blue Widget Tested To Destruction By Billy & Bobby“
- Target Keywords Used As Tags
Use your most important keywords first and remember to keep them relevant to your video. Include your brand name as a tag to strengthen its chances of appearing in universal search results for your name on Google.
- Site URL At The Beginning Of The Description Field
Remember to write the URL in full, including http:// so that this will become a live link which will be visible without people having to click the more… link. The link will be nofollowed so don’t worry about the SEO benefits of this, the focus here is on making it easy for users who like your video to click through to your actual website.
- Target Keywords Used Within Your Video’s Description
Your description will be shown as part of your YouTube search result, so you want to make sure that searchers know they’ve found what they’re looking for. Don’t just string out your keywords. That’s what Tags are for.
- Choose Your Category Wisely
Make sure it is the most appropriate one for your video’s goals and target audience.
- Make Your Video A Response To A Successful, *RELATED* Video
Preferably one which gets a high number of views and that doesn’t have a lot of other responses.
- The “Middle Frame Trick”
Make sure that the middle of your video includes an enticing image and/or the title of your video as this will appear as the thumbnail image for your video.
- The First 48 Hours Are Vital To Your Success
Your video is only eligible to appear in the Most Watched lists for the first 48 hours after it is uploaded. Make sure you upload it at the right time to catch the maximum possible number of viewers from your target group. If you can manage to get onto a category Hot List, your video will be exposed to a massive number of potential new viewers and your view count will explode.
- Seed Your Video Out To Social Influencers
Find the folks at the social hub within your target group as soon as possible. Share it on Facebook, Twitter and anywhere else that your target group socializes online.
- Build More Permanent Links To Your Video
Get links from blog posts and static pages with your target keywords in the anchor text in order to drive direct traffic and increase your video’s chances of ranking in universal search results.
BONUS TIP: YouTube users who have subscribed to your channel will be notified when you upload a new video. Building up channel subscribers can be a great way to boost the number of views your videos get when you first put them online, and you’ll often find that your subscribers will then share your new video with their friends on other networks like Twitter or Facebook. There are plenty of way to encourage people to subscribe to your videos but YouTube have just made it a little bit easier for you.
Towards the end of 2010 they released a new Subscription Widget which you can embed on your site in much the same way as you would with a Facebook Fan Page widget. This means that people can now subscribe to your YouTube channel directly from your site instead of having to click away from your site to go to your YouTube Channel and then subscribe on there. We’ll be taking a closer look at the new YouTube Subscription widget in a future post.
Image Credit: Rego Korosi