In the first part of this series, I talked about how to optimize self-hosted videos (on your brand's website) to achieve maximum visibility within Google's organic search results. In this column, I will share some tips and insights on optimizing videos for maximum YouTube visibility, strong brand impression, engagement, and viral social sharing.
There are several steps you must first address before YouTube optimization:
1. Produce emotionally appealing, high-quality video content that will become a likable asset that your audience will want to share, comment on, and reference as a valuable piece. This will fuel the virality your videos need to get in front of as many eyes as possible.
A video asset that spreads widely across the web will get a sufficient number of inbound links and social sharing to rank in top results given its popularity. This "link love" is required to rank well in search engines and in YouTube.
1a. Continue to feed your YouTube channel with high-quality content (no "one-offs") so your branded channel builds a strong reputation and views over time. By continuously adding good content you'll gain new and more subscribers who will follow you, and comment and engage with your content on YouTube, which can help build brand loyalty.
2. Before developing video assets look at your current video analytics to evaluate:
What type of videos do your consumers interact with and consider sharable (informational, promotional, interviews, etc.)?
Where do the specific video types perform best (embedded on www.MYBRAND.com; shared via social, through recommendations, or YouTube search)?
3. Perform comprehensive key phrase and audience research. This can be done through a variety of tools and "lenses" including your existing video analytics.
Now on to actual optimization.
Start With Well-Conceived Meta Data
From a search perspective, the meta data - video title, video description, and video tags - are the foundational elements of optimized, organic YouTube search.
Video Title (up to 120 characters)
Video Description (up to 1,000 characters)
Describe the video with a short story that reflects your brand's tone and message, and incorporates keywords and key phrases. Talk about the video, your brand's YouTube channel (if applicable), or cross-link to other brand pages. However, be careful about how you do this:
YouTube Tags (500-character limit for entire tag area)
Use powerful search terms that you control, and that are relevant to the video and your brand. All your video content can be tagged with thematic tags for a series, or custom tags for specific videos.
Whatever you enter as the title, description, and tags will be translated by YouTube into HTML elements of the video view page and cached by Google; therefore, it is imperative to properly tag your company's videos for the chosen target key phrases in order to rank in YouTube's search results.
Next Steps to YouTube Optimization
Once you lay your meta data foundation, maximize your video SEO by:
SEO Factors for High YouTube Ranking
To achieve strong YouTube ranking it is imperative to remember that the video's popularity, through a number of avenues, creates perceived authority and relevance to the search engine. Therefore, the following factors must converge to rank high in YouTube's search results pages:
Video SEO continues to evolve along with YouTube's and Google's search algorithms. Executing these SEO practices, in tandem with a search marketing expert who can help you devise a strategy to implement them, will help your videos achieve powerful search results.
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Benjamin Spiegel is the Director of Search Operations at Catalyst Online/GroupM, a WPP Company. Catalyst is a leading search engine marketing agency with offices in Boston, New York, Seattle, Toronto, and Chicago. Benjamin defines the organic search process, creates the agency's SEO offerings, develops campaign strategies, and oversees talented teams of SEO managers and directors. Upon first joining Catalyst, Benjamin held the position of Organic Search Director where he worked with clients in a range of industries including luxury, mobile, automotive, and CPG.
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