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.