YouTube SEO: Video Content Optimization Basics

November 1, 2018
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Marketing via video content is more important across industries today than ever before. As an Internet user yourself, you probably agree that watching a short video keeps you more engaged than reading a long-winded article on the same topic. Tech research firms like Forrester agree that video marketing and advertising will continue to expand across a variety channels over the next five years.

When it comes to creating and promoting video content for marketing purposes, YouTube is one of the best places to start. We’re writing this post to break down how to iron out the details of your approach whether you’re just starting to delve into video marketing or if it’s already a core part of your strategy. Please note: that a YouTube advertising strategy is a whole other blog post that we’ll also cover.

Figure Out Your Goals & Target Audience

We’re sure we’re not the first blog you’ve read that emphasizes the importance of goal setting and audience targeting. Nevertheless, we want to reiterate how crucial it is to sit down with your team before creating and/or optimizing your YouTube channel and specify what the purpose of your videos are and who you’re trying to reach.

Ideally, who are the types of people that you want spending time watching your content? Figuring out your audience and tailoring your video content specifically to them drives the right type of traffic to your videos, naturally increasing your views and engagement.

Identify Your Metrics

As you would be with any content marketing effort, depending on your goals, you’ll be focused on different metrics. For example, if your main goal is awareness of your company or brand, the ideal scenario would be for your videos to go viral, casting your net as widely as possible to attract new potential customers.

One common mistake video creators make is focusing too much on the number of views, and getting caught up trying to please a larger audience. Unfortunately, marketers can lose sight of why they’re even making videos in the first place when they’re chasing views. YouTuber creators who assess and analyze their changing viewership on a regular basis (and shift their content creation accordingly) tend to outperform their competition.

On the other hand, if you’re concentrated on conversions more than you on awareness, it’s better to have less views of a video by more qualified leads than the other way around. A large part of why YouTube is so successful is because the topics that potential consumers are viewing and engaging with are most likely the same areas in which people want to spend the most money.

YouTube’s Reign

YouTube is the Internet’s reigning video search engine. Since it’s owned by Google, it’s not surprising that the video hosting platform search features share a lot of similarities with Google. Also, YouTube videos often appear directly in Google search results for certain queries (such as a specific search for a music video). Setting up and growing your YouTube presence is definitely in your best interest for long term SEO success.

Naturally there are video creators that you would expect to have a considerable influence on buying decisions (i.e. beauty gurus or fashionistas) but also there are companies with growing YouTube presences across all industries, B2B and B2C.

For example, Toyota USA’s YouTube channel includes a range of videos such as user manuals in video format, a “Toyota Tech Talks” series (among other philanthropic themed mini series), and full versions of the commercials that air on TV. Considering the long sales cycle of cars, it makes sense that Toyota would create content to both educate and aid in the sales process/customer experience, and content that is simply interesting/enjoyable to watch.

YouTube SEO Video Content Strategy - Toyota YouTube SEO: Video Content Optimization Basics

Check out Patagonia’s YouTube channel, too. The classic B2C outdoor apparel brand uses YouTube to publish short films of impressive sports and picturesque spots in nature.

Of course the extreme climbers, surfers and bikers who are featured are sporting Patagonia’s attire, but there is nothing artificially promotional about the content. This channel is a great example of succeeding by producing content that your niche audience wants.

YouTube SEO VIdeo Content Optimization Strategy - Patagonia Example YouTube SEO: Video Content Optimization Basics

Keyword Research for Videos

Keyword research for videos is not that different from keyword research for written content like blog posts. There are some key aspects of the research that make it different than text-based blogs, but the main idea is the same. However, suggested videos that result from YouTube’s algorithm, and its “browse features” play a defining role in videos’ visibility on YouTube. If you’re a content blogger, chances are this is new territory in optimization for you.

Content creators often talk about how keyword and topic research in an effort to always “give the people what they want” can sometimes prevent them from creating what they feel would be best for the brand’s image or overall mission. However, the reality is that more desirable content leads to more views and engagement which leads to more conversions and sponsorship. Since you have the free access to YouTube Analytics, it’s in your best interest to make the most of it. It’s okay to allow your most loyal viewers to dictate what video comes next. In some cases, they know better than your brand strategist in terms of what should come next.

What to Keep In Mind When Creating High-Performance Content

Top quality video content made with state-of-the-art equipment isn’t even necessary for your videos to perform well. In fact, you don’t even need to be a super talented videographer or video editor.

Your videos could be low budget and still outrank your competition by having solid stats for the few key metrics that matter the most to YouTube. When you create videos with these YouTube ranking factors in mind, you’ll find yourself winning against your competitors.

1) Session Duration – Create YouTube “playlists” to automatically lead viewers to your next great video or link to the next thing you want them to watch at the end of the video.

2) Watch Time – Create longers videos! And break them up with attention-grabbing moments so the content doesn’t drone on and on.

3) Audience Retention & Engagement – Give the people what they want to see. If you’re doing something new or usual, tell them why. Build on a relationship of trust in your video content marketing and it will reflect well on your company. To encourage engagement, treat interactions with your YouTube audience/commenters as you would with your social media followers: be responsive, polite, and preferably entertaining/memorable.

4) Click Through Rate (CTR) – Titles and thumbnails are important for CTR, but there is a fine line between a compelling title or image and clickbait that misleads viewers.

5) Channel Authority – To increase your authority, start by updating and optimizing the header, logo, page description and playlists on your channel, and increase your number of subscribers.

To Wrap It Up…

Even if you’re not a brand selling a product or service that lends itself to creating original, engaging video content, creating YouTube content is still a smart marketing move.
If you want to finish the year strong with a concentrated effort on how to increase your product or brand’s visibility via video marketing, Chainlink can help.

We can help you strategize the best ways to get the marketing content you and your team produce to rank in YouTube search results. Drop us a line to let us know about your video marketing goals. We’d love to learn more about your approach and how we can help you. Also, sign up for our newsletter for useful tips and announcements from us delivered straight to your inbox.

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