Optimizing YouTube Videos for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

YouTube.com is the second most searched site on the Internet, next to Google, so you might conclude that it is the second largest search engine. It so happens that Google owns YouTube so the implications are something to be well understood and taken seriously as YouTube relates to your Internet Marketing strategy.

As the largest online video sharing site, YouTube is home to everything from Obama’s weekly radio address to corporate sponsored informercials and people showcasing their musical talent. The list goes on and anything you can imagine can be found on YouTube. It’s free to sign up, free to upload videos, and free to view videos. Honestly, there’s nothing stopping you from taking advantage of this great medium to communicate and engage with your market.

The fact is most people do not understand how to properly optimize their videos for search engines and thus most video get very little attention.

Keywords

As with any search engine optimization strategy, keywords are critical. Think of them as the combination of words or phrases that people search for on the Internet. Since YouTube videos are frequently indexed by major search engines, it’s important to understand some simple steps to make your videos more search engine friendly.

It so happens that you can also call out these keywords in a special Keywords section with every new video you upload. Here’s your chance to thoroughly differentiate your video from the pack.
Titles

The title of your video needs to include two things: 1) your keywords and 2) something to hook viewers as they scan through a list of titles. If you fail to include the right keywords, search engines will ignore your video and if you fail to use a catchy title viewers will ignore your video.

For example, instead of using a title such as “Great House on 1.3 Acres!”, you might get better results with “4581 Morgan Creek – House for Sale in Roseville, CA”. The first example would be fine if the video was for a specific client, but the second video will ultimately draw more viewers since it names the city and uses the keyword phrases “house for sale” and “Roseville, CA”.

Descriptions

The second most overlooked section of posting a video on YouTube is the description field. When search engines index your video, the description field is a key element.

First and foremost, if you have a URL that you want visitors to visit, put that as the first item in your description. By default, only the first few lines of the description are displayed above the fold, so you want your URL to be right there at the top in the most obvious position so viewers click on it. Be sure to format the link correctly so it’s an active link using “html://www.mysite.com”.

The description field is also a great place to pack in your keywords and keyword phrases. Take care not to overdo it – strive for something that makes sense and gets the point across, but still incorporates the keywords where possible. An extra bonus is that YouTube cross-references related videos and people are more likely to find your video if you follow these general guidelines.

What’s you experience with optimizing YouTube videos? Any tricks you’ve learned?

Please leave a comment below or on Twitter @steinarknutsen.

Thanks,
Steinar