Elsewhere in these issues we’ve talked about different ways to use social media such as Facebook to engage users, develop your expertise, and drive traffic back to your website. Now here in this lesson you’re about to discover another way to generate traffic. Namely, by optimizing your YouTube video for the search engines.
The reason this works so well is because you can get traffic in three ways using this method:
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- Internal searches. When someone searches YouTube for specific content, your video will appear in these searches.
- External searches. When someone searches Google and other search engines, your video on YouTube will be among the results.
- Viral traffic. When people find your video and really like it, they’ll hit the “share” button and share it on their own YouTube channel, on other social media (such as Facebook), or on their blogs and other platforms.
Point is, there is a lot of benefit to optimizing your YouTube Videos. So, let’s talk about how to do it…
Step 1: Choose Your Keywords
First, you need to know what sorts of words your audience is inputting into search boxes and search engines. You can discover these words by using a keyword tool (such as Ahrefs Keyword Explorer, or your favorite tool).
The goal is to choose a targeted longtail keyword. Not only does this sort of targeted word result in better conversions, these words also to be easier to rank well in the search engines. That’s because individually they don’t get loads of traffic, so the “big guys” in your niche aren’t focusing on them. That lets you to pick this low-hanging fruit for yourself.
Step 2: Embed Your Keywords
As with any sort of search engine optimization, you don’t want to stuff your video description page full of keywords, as search engines hate that sort of spam. Instead, what you want to do is insert your keywords naturally.
Quick test. As you’re inserting keywords, ask yourself if you would insert a particular word if you weren’t trying to specifically include it for SEO purposes. In other words, is it unnatural? If so, then you’ll need to consider whether you should insert it at all, as the search engines prefer you create high-quality content with your keywords appearing naturally.
Now, provided you can insert your keywords naturally, then here are some places to embed these keywords:
- In the video’s filename, which tells YouTube what the video is about.
- In the video’s title.
- In the video’s description.
- In the video’s keyword tags.
- In the video’s subtitles/closed captioning. (Be sure your video content includes the keywords so that they naturally appear in the subtitles/captions.)
Once you’ve uploaded your video, then go to “Advanced Settings” to choose an appropriate category for your video.
Now that your video is optimized for the search engines, are you ready to roll? Not quite. Check out the last step…
Step 3: Be Sure Your Video is Ready for Prime Time
It does you no good to optimize your video for search engines if your video isn’t enticing to prospective viewers. That’s why you’ll want to be sure your content is enticing and engaging. Keep these tips in mind…
Choose an Attractive Thumbnail
YouTube automatically generates a selection of thumbnails from the beginning, middle and end of your video. Usually, these thumbnails aren’t very attractive and will do absolutely nothing to help you get people clicking on your video.
That’s why you’ll want to upload a custom thumbnail for your video. Most people decide whether to watch your video just based on the thumbnail picture (and the title, which we’ll talk about in a moment), so you need to be sure this image is relevant, clear and enticing.
For example, if your video depicts a dog training demonstration, then you might upload an image where the dog from the video is clear, “smiling” (as dogs are known to do), and engaged in the activity that’s the topic of the video.
Note: you need a verified YouTube account in order to upload custom thumbnails. However, it’s well worth the effort to get verified, which usually just involves entering your phone number and waiting for YouTube to send a verification code.
Craft a Compelling Title
As you learned above, you need to naturally insert your keywords into your title. However, you also need to make sure (as always!) that you have a benefit-driven or even curiosity arousing title that will persuade people to watch your video.
Let’s suppose your keyword phrase is, “toy poodle training.” Just using that as a title is boring. So, you include the keywords and spice up the title like this: “Toy Poodle Training Secrets: How to Housetrain Your Pup in 72 Hours or Less!”
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It’s no secret that people really like video content, especially demonstrations. For example, it’s much easier to teach someone how to train a dog when you show them your process in a video, as opposed to teaching it in all text format. And that’s why you’ll want to start posting videos and optimizing them for the search engines, which will help you attract a targeted audience. Just be sure to include a call to action at the end of your video in order to drive viewers back to your site (such as your lead page).
Now the last topic for today…