Give Your YouTube Videos the SEO Treatment

Written by: Jason Bayless | January 02, 2013

You know Google is the largest search engine. But what’s the second largest? No, it’s not Yahoo or Bing. Believe it or not, it’s YouTube. And that makes sense when you think about it, because haven’t all of us turned to YouTube for product reviews, how-to instructional videos, or fits of video nostalgia that led to the purchase of “Best of the 80s” albums? Okay, maybe not that last one. But it’s easy to see that YouTube has tremendous SEO potential.

So how do you use that potential to your website’s advantage – to boost your search engine rankings and drive customers to your website? Try these tips:

Start with quality videos

Good quality YouTube videos get better rankings, and high definition (HD) videos generally rank higher than standard definition (SD) videos. So if at all possible, try to upload 1080P videos.

For the video itself, make sure that it’s engaging enough to hold the viewer’s attention and interest. That may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s a fact that when people watch a video most of the way or all the way through without clicking away, it achieves a higher ranking on YouTube. That initial click is not enough.

So to make your videos more “sticky,” be sure your video answers customer questions or concerns. And it really helps to end the video with a call to action (“Subscribe to our channel” for instance) and your website address.

Optimize the video on YouTube

After you’ve uploaded the video, make sure to make the most of these fields:

  • Title. Make a title that incorporates the most important keywords for the video as well as words like “how to,” “review” or even “video” (because believe it or not, people often use the word “video” when browsing through a search engine made entirely of videos).
  • Tags. You can use tags in YouTube the same way you do in your blog — and it’s another great place to use your best keywords or product names.
  • Description. This is where you can describe the video (briefly) using keywords. It’s also a great idea to include a URL to your company’s website, preferably above the rest of the text so it will be seen by more folks and not truncated when the description is cut off after a few lines. You can also include the transcript of the video in the description, if it is fairly short. And speaking of which…
  • Transcript. It’s well worth creating a transcript for your video. Not only is this a great piece of informative content to use in the description section, as we just mentioned, but you can also upload your transcript and YouTube can use it to add closed captioning (“CC”) to the video. That’s because YouTube now has speech recognition software that can match the script to the video’s audio. Adding closed captioning has been shown to boost a video’s ranking, and also makes it more accessible to people who are hearing-impaired or watching in foreign countries.

Link to your videos from everywhere you can

Once you’ve made your video, don’t forget to promote it! Link to it from your own blog, from guest posts on other blogs, from comments you make in a forum – however you can as long as it’s legit and not spammy.

A YouTube video can be a cost-efficient and effective part of your SEO strategy, providing backlinks to your website, reaching out to customers and showing that you’re an industry leader that takes time to educate others. Just be sure to take full advantage of YouTube’s SEO potential while you’re at it.