How To Use SEO To Boost Your Brand's YouTube Channel

YouTube, the second most-searched site with one billion monthly unique users, delivers a massive potential impact for SEO to drive visitors to a brand’s video channel. Since YouTube results are prioritized on Google, the world’s largest search engine, having an SEO-optimized YouTube channel can help to drive traffic through organic search.

However, unlike traditional SEO, where the goal is to drive traffic to your site, the goal here is to increase traffic to your YouTube content and channel. That means a major part of this exercise is maximizing its value.

When you’re optimizing your channel, here are the top three things to consider:

1)     Video Element Optimization. You’ll need to make sure each video is properly optimized so it can rank in search results. YouTube provides a good overview on how, including:

a)     Video Title – Use concise sentence form with descriptive and relevant keywords first, then include your brand at the end. Typical SEO rules apply here – the first 55 characters will be shown in search results. Include popular, relevant keywords like: tutorials, reviews, how to, humor, sports or action-related.



b)     Description – YouTube algorithms use the description content to understand what your video is about. Use three concise sentences at the start of the video description. As with typical SEO, only the first 135 characters will appear in search results. Consider that on YouTube, only 22 words will appear before the “…See More” cutoff. Always include a link to your website above the cutoff, as it helps drive traffic and SEO value to your site.

c)     Locations – Include location data wherever possible – it helps with geo-targeting and may help drive people who are searching for content about a particular place or location.

d)     Subtitles and CC – Adding closed captions and subtitles to your videos is a great practice to reach a wider audience who may have difficulty hearing, or speak another language. In addition, subtitles can get indexed by YouTube and serve as additional metadata.

e)     Categories, Tags – Tags, like keywords, help people find your videos, particularly as YouTube elevates videos with tags that people search for. Make sure your tags are relevant to your video and overall channel, and incorporate words and phrases from your title and description.


2)     Google+ Integration. As covered previously, Google+ is a great driver for local search traffic. G+ integrates with your YouTube page, giving your videos additional exposure on Google’s social media channel. Integrating the channels can be a bit tricky, especially if you have different people managing each channel. Here are helpful tips from Google  on how to synch the channels:

a)     Gmail Account – You need to have the same Gmail account tied to both YouTube and G+. If you created these channels, invite the Gmail account associated with your YouTube channel to manage your G+ page.

b)     Ownership – 24 hours after adding the account as a manager on G+, you’ll be able to transfer ownership to the account.

c)     Account Sync – The rest of the process is fairly easy. You can follow the steps outlined by Google to synch the accounts and see your YouTube videos on your G+ page.


3)     Key Ranking Factors. Many factors influence how your videos rank on YouTube and, ultimately, on Google. Compare your videos that are performing well with those that aren’t and examine the use of key ranking factors. The top eight factors to consider are:

a)     Video Title (see 1a above)

b)     Video Description (see 1b above)

c)     Views – Fairly simple measure, this also includes audience retention – how engaged your visitors are and how long they watch your videos.

d)     Tags – (see 1e above)

e)     Shares – As with all social channels, the more the merrier.

f)      Comments – Comments show that people are engaging with your content. Typically, more comments are better, even if some are unfavorable.

g)     Subscribers – Subscriptions to your channel is a key part of how YouTube ranks your trust factor.

h)     Likes – Or dislikes, help send a signal to YouTube about how visitors react to your content.

1 comment about "How To Use SEO To Boost Your Brand's YouTube Channel".
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  1. Dan Euritt from Ocean Street Video, January 13, 2015 at 12:21 a.m.

    Some good advice here, but also some things that are questionable, and some tips that should be included, aren't.
    For instance, with both Youtube and Google search, the cover photo that's seen in the search results can drive a huge part of the traffic you get, so make it a compelling cover photo.
    The comment about putting a website link in above the 22-word cutoff limit doesn't clarify whether or not the link characters take away from the 22-word visibility limitation; If it does, you should never do it, because people aren't searching for your website link, they are searching for content, and you text that's relevant to the content, not a url that people aren't looking for. Even if the link doesn't take away from the 22-character limit, it's a visual stumbling block that people will have to read and process, before they can even attempt to decide if this video is what they want to see.
    Same thing with the brand in the title, it just detracts from valuable search-relevant text; there are going to be few instances where someone does a search for your specific brand; they are looking for content, not company names.

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