How to Optimize A YouTube Channel for SEO Success

youtube seoBefore you roll your eyes and click away, take a deep breath. We’re not here to sell you on the effectiveness of video as a marketing tactic—if you’ve been online even once in the last five years, you’re likely already aware. Instead, we want to focus on something slightly less talked about: YouTube and video optimization.

YouTube is often referred to as a social media platform—used to share immersive, high-quality video content that educates and engages potential prospects and existing customers. But, in reality, modern YouTube is so much more than that. In fact, YouTube is the second most visited website online (source). As such, modern marketers must take note: It’s no longer enough to post the occasional video to your YouTube channel and expect results.

In order for a YouTube channel to drive real marketing success, today’s marketers must adopt a calculated approach– similar to the way many marketers approach SEO. Let us explain.

An Introduction to YouTube Ranking Factors

Just as Google has an algorithm used to rank web pages, YouTube has an algorithm to rank videos. Both algorithms analyze a variety of ranking factors that, when combined, determine whether or not a piece of content is high quality.

Let’s explore YouTube’s most important ranking factors:

1.     Keyword Usage:

In order to create a successful piece of content, marketers know they must use a certain set of keywords within the metadata, title, body, and image tags of a page. The same goes for YouTube videos.

So, next time you upload to your channel, be sure to include a target keyword in the tags, description box, title, and closed captioning of your video. And—don’t forget to do the same for your old videos if they aren’t already optimized. That way, both YouTube and Google know exactly what your video is about and they can rank it accordingly.

2.     Views:

Similar to pageviews on a blog post, the more views your videos get, the more they will be favored by the YouTube search algorithm. The reason for this is simple: If a video contains high-quality content more people will engage with it.

3.     Engagement:

Speaking of engagement—metrics such as likes and comments matter too. That’s why so many YouTube videos start or end with some version of, “Don’t forget to like and comment.”

Although we don’t recommend always asking for likes and comments, a gentle reminder now and then doesn’t hurt. Or, try asking your audience for feedback on a specific topic or question.

Always remember, the better your videos are, the more engagement they will receive.

4.     Channel Subscribers:

YouTube often favors channels with more subscribers—but that could be a result of the engagement and views larger channels tend to garner. Either way, building your channel and encouraging visitors to subscribe will help you climb the YouTube search results faster.

5.     Watch Time:

Think about watch time like you think about time-spent-on-page. The more time someone spends consuming your content, the more likely it is to be interesting, high-quality, or engaging. But, unlike traditional written content, videos have a definitive start and stop time. This makes it easier for YouTube to determine how quickly viewers abandon your content and how many viewers watch until the end.

According to AdWeek, the ideal duration of a YouTube video is estimated to be 2 minutes and 54 seconds. This allows you enough time to engage and enlighten your visitors without stretching on so long that you lose their attention (source).

6.     Quality:

62% of all videos on the YouTube homepage are HD videos. This leads many to believe that video quality is a significant ranking signal to Google. For this reason, it’s important to invest in the right equipment and personnel to produce your marketing videos.

How to Optimize Your B2B YouTube Channel for Success

Now that we’ve gone over the various factors that make up the YouTube search algorithm, it’s time we tell you how to use this information to scale and improve your B2B YouTube marketing strategy. Let’s get into it.

1.     Conduct Keyword Research.

We’ve already covered keyword research for SEO on our blog—so we won’t stay here for long since the process is very much the same. We recommend, on top of your standard keyword research workflow, you look to YouTube for competitive intel. What searches do your competitor’s videos appear for? Do your competitors tend to cover certain topics most? What can you find out about your competitor’s video strategy just by looking at their channel?

On top of these additional questions, it’s also important to note the visual nature of YouTube. Video is innately instructional—and that alone has an impact on how visitors search for content on the platform. Do a little digging and you’ll see makeup tutorials, how-to guides, a day in the life videos, and so on. Remember to factor words like how, what, when, where, and why into your keyword strategy—then, use your video content to answer those queries.

Learn more about conducting keyword research for SEO, here:

2.     Invest in a YouTube Ranking Tracker

There are a variety of free and paid tools designed to track YouTube search rankings. Although a tool like this is not yet an essential component of the average marketer’s toolbox, it is something you should look into if you are focused on generating more traffic to your YouTube videos.

As with any new addition to your marketing technology stack, consult key stakeholders, compare and contrast options, and make sure it integrates with your other marketing platforms.

3.     Optimize Each Video

We already touched on this briefly, but we feel it’s important enough to mention again. Although it’s easiest to apply these optimization techniques to new videos as you upload them, we also recommend you go back and do the same for your entire YouTube channel library.

Here’s why: Videos aren’t the easiest or quickest type of content to create. Video production often requires a team of creative and technical professionals, a significant amount of time, and also a solid video marketing strategy backing it. So why waste the videos you’ve already created? You may be surprised by how quickly you can increase engagement with old content, just by optimizing a few small details.

4.     Optimize Your Posting Schedule

The phrase, “Consistency is key,” applies to almost any goal you’re trying to achieve—even when it comes to YouTube. Posting videos on a consistent basis will not only increase your YouTube search rankings, but it will also improve other important engagement metrics. Both your audience and the YouTube algorithm will reward you for posting regularly.

5.     Leverage and Optimize YouTube’s Playlist Feature

YouTube allows channels to organize their videos into playlists. This allows you to provide structure to your content library. Feature your most popular videos, create a series, or organize your videos by topic. Leveraging this functionality, allows you to curate a better experience for viewers, which in turn, increases video engagement.

6.     Implement a Multi-Channel Video Promotion Strategy

To increase views on your videos try promoting them like you would an eBook or whitepaper— with a multi-channel marketing strategy. Share them on social media, embed them on your business website, include them in marketing emails, look into video advertising, and send them to your customers. Don’t be afraid to get creative.

7.     Monitor YouTube Specific Analytics

Whether you invest in a tool specifically for YouTube or just use the free in-platform analytics. It’s important to track YouTube specific metrics to understand how your content is performing. Once you have a baseline to measure against, work to improve important KPIs and engagement metrics.

As with any type of marketing content you create, the goal is to offer value to your prospects and customers. If you plan to invest in your video or YouTube marketing strategy, it’s important to keep this in the back of your mind.

Don’t just create videos for the sake of creating videos. Instead, make an effort to understand what content your buyers want and how you can present that material in a unique and engaging way.

Key Takeaways

As modern marketers stray from more traditional content types and look toward video, the video landscape will become increasingly crowded. As a result, you will need to seek new and innovative ways to get your videos in front of an interested audience—thus, shifting your focus from video creation to video optimization.

Follow the steps outlined in this blog post and you’ll reap more of the benefits YouTube has to offer. For more information about video marketing, check out the following blog posts:

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