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Want Your Video to Go Viral? SEO Basics Come First

Want Your Video to Go Viral? SEO Basics Come First
Image credit: Old Spice

When many business owners think about creating online videos -- for YouTube and elsewhere -- the first thing they want is for their video to go "viral." But is going viral a strategy? Is it something you can predict, execute and replicate for continued results? Instead of focusing so much on how viral a video might become, it's often smarter to concentrate on optimizing your videos for search.

Take the Old Spice campaign for example. In 2010, the deodorant company uploaded a short commercial to YouTube called "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like." In the ad, ex-NFL athlete Isaiah Mustafa addresses women viewers, saying "anything is possible when your man smells like Old Spice." Nearly three years later, the video has more than 43 million views.

Despite impressive numbers, Old Spice hasn't been able to produce another video with equal or more views. If it had cracked the elusive viral video code, wouldn't it be able to duplicate the results?

The problem with crossing your fingers and hoping something goes viral is that audience expectations are always changing, and how much people will share a video is an external variable no one can predict. One thing you have more control over is how your videos are optimized for search. When you know exactly what your audience is searching for, you can place your videos in front of them for instant visibility. Follow these three steps when creating and optimizing your videos to rank higher in search results:

Related: 6 Ways to Make Your Content Go Viral

1. Identify your keywords. This refers to the popular search terms or "keyword phrases" within your niche. Use Google's keyword tool to see how many searches a word or phrase is getting each month in Google. Experiment with different keywords, and if you're a local-business owner, try using your own city's name in the phrase.

Identify as many as 30 targeted keywords and phrases that are getting more than 3,000 local views per month from your ideal customers.

2. Create your video around your keywords. Now that you've identified popular keywords and phrases, create videos around these topics. Keep your videos short, simple and full of personality -- no longer than two or three minutes with only one major point to communicate. This can not only make it easier for you to create them, but it also makes them more appealing for your audience to watch.

Make sure your video is relevant to the prospective keyword. If you have a list of 10 keyword phrases, make 10 videos.

3. Upload and optimize. After uploading your video, add your keyword phrase to the title as well as the description and the tags fields. This tells YouTube exactly what your latest video is all about. Additionally, consider uploading a transcript of your video. This gives YouTube even more data about your video and should improve your rankings considerably.

To see lasting results on YouTube, be consistent. The more you upload targeted videos inspired by your keyword searches, the more you'll get your videos in front of your audience on a consistent basis.

Related: 5 Ways to Optimize Video for Search Engines
 

New York City-based James Wedmore is the author of The YouTube Marketing Book (Level 5 Publishing, 2012) and founder of Video Traffic Academy, a community of video marketers.

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