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SEO Best Practices for YouTube

Posted on Thursday, October 22nd, 2009 by Print This Post Print This Post

Categories - SEO, Video

Last week I authored an article entitled 10 SEO Tips For YouTube that was published on iMediaConnection, a great publication for digital marketers. In the article, I address the often overlooked potential of optimizing YouTube videos for organic search results on major search engines and on YouTube itself.

Many content producers are intimidated by the huge volume of videos on YouTube.  YouTube streams more than 1.2 billion videos a day, which leaves many marketers feeling like they have little to no chance of standing out from the crowd.  The reality is that the majority of this content on YouTube isn’t worth watching (no surprise), but the content that is good is rarely optimized. With a few easy steps, you can easily distinguish your videos and improve their rankings in both YouTube and traditional organic search:

  • Remember that videos posted on YouTube are, for all practical purposes, invisible to search engines. The big guys (Google, Bing and Yahoo) have a difficult time deciphering Flash (the format of all YouTube videos), so optimizing the surrounding content is vital.
  • Include appropriate keywords in the title of the video (assuming that those keywords are relevant), and use the word “video” whenever appropriate. The title is aguably the most important piece of information search engines have about your video. Since many search queires include the world “video” when searching for a video, this addition gives you an obvious but often-overlooked advantage.
  • For each video, write a unique keyword-rich description that includes a URL. Put the URL at the beginning so that the user will see the link even if the “more info” option is collapsed.
  • Include links to other social media profiles like Facebook or Twitter. This will not only extend the social media experience, but can also drive traffic to a customized landing page that is part of your larger campaign.
  • Encourage participation. YouTube is a search engine, but it is also a social media channel. Open your video to commenting and embedding whenever possible, but keep in mind that you might have to weed out some inappropriate comments. On the other hand, some negative feedback is good because it makes the user experience more genuine.
  • Make sure to use YouTube Insights, which can provide great information about demographics and view experiences. This data can help you improve your future videos.

The fact that YouTube is the second largest search engine makes it an attractive vehicle for online marketing.  Making sure your customers can find your videos through search requires adapting traditional SEO best practices and keeping in mind that search engines do not explicitly understand the Flash content of videos.

For a more thorough explanation on SEO and YouTube and additional tips for improving your YouTube search results, make sure to check out the original article on iMediaConnection.

About Drew Hubbard

Drew has over 8 years experience in the Internet space, including hands-on web development, technical support, online marketing and all aspects of SEO, SEM, social media, email marketing, lead generation and affiliate marketing programs. Originally from Kansas City, Missouri and a graduate of The University of Missouri, Drew moved to Los Angeles in 2003 to continue a marketing career in film and television. He soon transitioned exclusively to online marketing and in the spring of 2008 joined The Search Agency where he manages innovative promotions and social media programs. Most recently, Drew has spoken about video optimization at SMX West and ad:tech.

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