Guess what the world's second-largest Internet search engine is? It’s YouTube, and it is owned by Google, too.
Odds are that if you're having trouble ranking higher in Google search results, you can improve your chances and results by using YouTube. And while the actual ranking factors for top video listings are not shared openly, the advisable strategy involves a common-sense approach that produces relevant content, fulfilling prospective customers' needs.
Here are eight ways you can make this happen:
1. Start out by not thinking about search engines.
The primary goal should be serving the audience for your videos. Search engines will follow in time. Therefore, look to create videos with high user engagement. Always think quality and build interest while you provide relevancy to the topic. You can do this by researching your market and filling a “gap,” or by providing information that answers common questions that you are an expert in.
Extra tip: If you don’t know, ask. Collecting data from your own surveys can be a real help, and SurveyMonkey.com is only a click away.
Videos should be engaging, not boring, and must provide a compelling next step. Don’t confuse the visitor. Have a clear call to action: “What to do next.”
2. Be an educator.
Education-based marketing is a sound approach. It is where you plan, script and provide real value to your audience while educating them along the way. Keep this in mind: It’s not a video about you, how long you’ve been in business, what degrees you have and how many clients you’ve served. This is about what kind of useful information you can provide your audience, and hopefully your prospective customers. All of those qualifications will be evident if you do your job as an educator.
Focus on a demographic, find out what its needs are and then maybe create a series of two- to 10-minute videos. A plant nursery, for example, might produce a series of videos on how to lay out better landscaping. A bakery might explain fun recipes for day-old bread.
3. Relevancy is key.
With video, you control all the factors around relevancy. The search engines were built on that very premise: “What is the best value page or asset that should be shown for a specific query, and at this time?”
Once you understand your market, your audience and their concerns, it’s much easier to build out content and copy.
4. Have the right tools of the trade.
Just as you wouldn’t build a deck using plywood and duct tape, you need to make sure you have the right software tools to produce video content. It doesn’t cost much more than buying tools at a hardware store, either.
You can create videos where you speak directly to the camera, or record audio or voice-over from a slide deck using PowerPoint or Keynote (Mac). Recording tools including Camtasia from TechSmith.com, Screencast-o-matic.com or ScreenFlow (Mac) from Telestream.net are often used. The iMovie product on the Mac is a popular choice for easy editing.
5. Find keywords that sing.
Search for questions in Google and in YouTube manually, and look at relevant keywords, phrases and topics. A free tool like Ubersuggest.org can be helpful, and paid tools including Wordtracker.com, KeywordSpy.com and SEMrush.com provide good insights. The free Google AdWords Keyword Planner should be included in your research.
Don’t forget to analyze other, similar channels to yours and their websites and blogs. Think in terms of topics first, and break them down into keyword specific groups.
The YouTube Creator Playbook can help you strategize.
6. Follow the 10 Commandments.
This has nothing to do with God or Moses, by the way. These are the 10 factors that can help your videos achieve higher YouTube search results:
- Keywords in video title (Research your top keywords to include.);
- User interaction and engagement, including comments, likes, shares and favorites
- Keywords in video description (Remember to add your website link first.)
- Number of subscribers
- Freshness of videos -- both over time and when it comes to frequency
- Getting links up on other sites, including embeds of your video on their sites
- Adding tags with a few variations of your keywords and topic
- Focusing on your main channel and posting videos at optimum times for your audience
- Completely filling out all relevant text in the description area
- Garnering higher view numbers -- a very important factor, but only if the views are received naturally.
7. Watch for results.
No single online marketing campaign can achieve success without knowing the numbers and how to improve them. The same is true for video marketing and video optimization.
Begin with the YouTube Analytics Basics, and learn how to read and monitor your videos and channel performance. Learning more about views, demographics and traffic sources can help answer questions such as where visitors are coming from, how long they watch and what videos are the most popular.
8. And do not engage in the following.
Don’t use cheap services to try to fake the “views,” but focus instead on non-spammy, best practices video optimization. Plan for the long term.
If you apply these eight tips today, you can find yourself at the top of results pretty quickly. It can work well for your business and your personal brand.
Make sure to lay the groundwork first. Then, have fun with it as you progress forward toward more traffic and engagement.