How To: Youtube SEO & Video Optimization

youtubelogoSEO goes through ‘hot trends’ or I guess trends in general just the same as fashion, restaurants and everything else. Everything from no-follow, to local search, to the new keyword research tool and universal search. The difference between an SEO ‘hot topic’ and your traditional trend is the influence of Google. Until Google says otherwise, that trend will remain ‘hot’. Universal search and the importance of Video optimization is one such trend. This post is not so much about Universal search but more about how to increase visibility through Youtube optimization – or simply video optimization.

YouTube’s SEO algorithm

So, first things first. Here are a couple ‘guidelines’ to follow when thinking about video optimization – most importantly, think about video optimization the same way as you would about any other on-page optimization. YouTube has a very specific search algorithm which includes the following:

  1. title
  2. description
  3. tags
  4. number of views
  5. rating

What’s important to note about YouTube’s algorithm is all of these variables can be manipulated by the video owner (you) as well as the viewing/sharing audience. Here are some specific tips on optimizing for YouTube’s search algorithm. By leveraging these insights you can not only achieve placement in the YouTube search listings but also Google’s universal/blended search listings.

  1. Use the Keyword in the Title and most importantly make the Title sound interesting (ie. entice someone to click through)
  2. Write approx 2 paragraphs of text for the Description (YOUTUBE TIP: transpose the entire video into text and add to the description – time consuming? Yes. Beneficial? Very!)
  3. Tag each video with keywords. Check your competitors video’s that rank well. What tags are they using?
  4. Choose the proper category for each video
  5. Put a hyperlink to the target page within the Description. Be sure to put the hyperlink at or near the beginning of the description (ie. before the user needs to click more info)
  6. Upload all videos to multiple video sites (Youtube, Viddler, etc)
  7. Comments help by showing interest, and by additional user-generated content (more words on the page)
  8. Video responses show interest/activity
  9. Increase your rating. Try to get as many five (5) star ratings as you can
  10. Get Views, views, and more views.

YouTube Content Ideas

“How-To” Videos are perhaps the best overall strategy for SEO and viral marketing. You’ll hear this advice over and over again in regards to writing catchy blog titles. The same holds true for YouTube videos. To really drive traffic, consider building out a specific “How-To” YouTube channel – great for linkbait!

YouTube Video Dimensions

Don’t do widescreen! Even though YouTube now features videos in the 16:9 format it is still recommended to export to the standard 4:3 format. YouTube thumbnails are optimized for 4:3 dimensions so if the goal is Universal search stick with the 4:3 format.

YouTube Description Field

Anchor description length of approximately 197 characters – this is the amount of characters you have for keyword placement before the “three dots” and the end of each video link on YouTube. Be sure to include a clickable URL in the beginning as well.

YouTube Tracking

Check the YouTube Insight feature for your breakdown of stats:

  • Determine the source of your views. Views can come from any of the following referrals: related videos, YouTube search, YouTube other, Viral other, Google search, Embedded player views, or external links
  • View demographics by age range and gender
  • Monitor video views over time
  • Find websites linking to your video(s)
  • Determine your geographic views – what states, regions, or countries your video is most popular in
  • Meausre the engagement of viewership at each moment in your video, compared to videos of similar length. YOUTUBE TIP: If you see a big drop-off in viewership over time, you may want to consider trimming your videos for length

Last YouTube tip: A great productivity tool to upload videos to multiple video sharing sites is TubeMogul.

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