Influencing Youtube ranking factors

We all know that search engine optimisation is not just limited to Google, Bing and other search engines. In 2012 (and beyond) there are other areas which are both relevant to search and business. For example, with the advent and popularity of mobile smartphones and 'apps' there's the consideration of 'mobile SEO' and optimisation of the app store (whether Google Play or Apple's App Store). Similarly there's the possibility of 'social' search with the rise of Google+ and the possibility of a Facebook search engine. But currently the main goal of most businesses is to get the best rankings and results from Google. So for now we need to work out the ways to influence Google into giving your company better rankings. Of course this sort of activity necessarily includes social media marketing and a search engine optimisation strategy that encompasses everything that entails.

YouTube is a Rich Source of Traffic

Youtube is a rich source of potential traffic to your site. Video is extremely popular. It's easily shared and equally easy to create.

Everyone with a smartphone, camera, webcam or tablet has the potential to be a YouTube video star. So you need to do something special to make some waves, however you shouldn't overlook YouTube just because you think you don't have anything interesting to say/do with video. Video has been proven to increase conversions, appear in up to 70% of top 100 search listings, increase click-through rates and much more.

So creating YouTube content is an important part of the overall SEO strategy for your online marketing plan. But it's important to get it rich.

YouTube Ranking Factors

SEOmoz has an interesting article (and funnily enough, a video) about YouTube ranking factors and how to influence them. And we'd recommend watching/reading it. But the conclusion is obvious. You can't just create a video, slap it on YouTube, and then hope it takes off of its own accord.

Just like with your website, there are thousands of videos out there, so you need to optimise your video to make it stand out - tweak the title, the description (don't forget to include a link to your site), search tags, closed captions and more to make your video easier to find when searching YouTube.

It's important to remember too that Google is showing video more and more in the main search results. So if you get the optimisation of the video right and it get shared, then it might start to show up for various keywords your targeting.

Add YouTube videos to your site - embed them properly and create an XML video sitemap to help Google find them easily and you're enhancing your potential even further.

Obviously you'll want to put that video out there. Get people sharing it on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ etc and generally talking about it. So it's important to create a good quality video that's going to capture people's attention or tickle their funny bone. It's worth investing money in creating really good video content, but it's important not to neglect the optimisation of those videos. If you fail to optimise your videos, you might as well just set fire to your money.

YouTube Optimisation Techniques

It is surprising how many companies (and people) will create a video and then just upload it to YouTube with their company name as the title of the video, no blurb, no links, nothing enticing or clever. It is not surprising how many of those videos have little (or no) views and end up being a wasted effort.

These optimisation techniques should be considered as a minimum:

  • Create a YouTube channel - uploading your company video to your own personal account isn't going to cut it. Do you really want people finding your other personal videos and associating them with your company? When you create the channel think about:
    • The channel name - will people be able to find you on just your company name or could you think of adding some keyterms in there to make it clear what you do?
    • The blurb - describe what your channel is about. This will help people find you and both YouTube and Google to understand what your videos are about.
    • Add links - don't forget to add links to your site, your social media profiles and anything else that might be relevant.
    • Branding - add some company branding; a background image and your logo as the avatar will be a nice way to build association with your company.
    • Make use of the YouTube design - pick a video layout format that benefits you. Perhaps you'd like to add a main video as a 'feature' video that autoplays when someone views your channel?
  • Create great videos - obviously this is an important part of the process. Great video content will sell itself, but with these other techniques we'll help it along.
  • Write an optimised title - write a title that explains what your video is about, but try to think about what the average YouTube user will be searching for. 'How to' videos are great, but so are 'funny cat' videos.
  • Add search tags and a category - don't try stuffing keywords, be concise, relevant and logical.
  • Write a blurb - take the time to write a clever blurb about the video. People who do well often add links to their other videos, their website, their social media accounts within the blurb, but it's important to write about the video as Google cannot tell the contents of the video (to work out what it should rank for) but it can read your text. Once again, don't forget to add a link. If your video takes off and is shared over and over again, you've got more and more potential people seeing your video and potentially clicking that link and yes, you're link building.
  • Optimise the closed captions - this point is noted in the SEOmoz article and is perhaps the most interesting factor that could potentially influence your video ranking. When you upload a video, if it features people talking on it then it automatically try to work out what is being said and create closed captions for the deaf and audibly impaired. In theory that sounds great, but quite often these captions are utter nonsense which makes them useless to viewers but also illogical and perhaps irrelevant to search engines/YouTube. So taking the time to manually write and upload the closed captions can make all the difference. If you need proof just watch this video by Rhett & Link demonstrating just how bad auto closed captions are:

All of these factors and more can have an influence on how your video performs on YouTube, on Google and the results for your business. Video is very important for SEO, not only because it has an influence on search results but because people love it and it has the potential to make more money for your business with increased conversions and improved return on investment.
To discuss how video could help make more money for your business, get in touch today.