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YouTube Video Strategy and SEO FAQs

Video Marketing: What You Need To Know

Companies are full of questions about YouTube – and with good reason. More than one billion people use YouTube. According to a recent Cisco study, 84% of Internet traffic will be video by 2018. And, on mobile devices, which are rapidly overtaking desktops as the primary tools for Internet access, visual content reigns supreme.

If your company wants to get started with YouTube as a marketing tool, here are some FAQs to help you get your efforts off the ground.



1. How Do We Optimize YouTube Video?

A million “how-to” posts about YouTube SEO are out there. My advice: Don’t read any of them. First, they may be out of date, as SEO best practices for video change rapidly. Second, better to go straight to the horse’s mouth. YouTube (Google) wants companies to know the rules for SEO – because it wants its billions of users to be able to find high-quality, relevant content. The YouTube site runs you through the whole optimization process:

  • · Metadata. How to structure “behind-the-scenes” content that search engines read when evaluating your video.
  • · Thumbnail Optimization. How to create thumbnails that capture the attention of users conducting searches.
  • · Annotations. How to create text overlays on your video that improve user experience.
  • · Channel Optimization. How to create, structure and organize your video groupings to maximize visibility and relevance.
  • · Reaching All Audiences. How to make your video understood by deaf, hard-of-hearing and foreign language users.
  • · YouTube Analytics. How to interpret video traffic data to improve visibility and engagement.
Follow the guidelines on these six pages and you will do all of the right things for SEO, and none of the bad things.

2. How Long Should Our Videos Be?

Long enough to tell your story, and no longer. Most informed opinions hold that the “ideal” video length is somewhere between three and four minutes. Certainly the time varies depending on subject matter and the nature of the target audience. For instance, a video describing the inner workings of a food-processing machine aimed at industrial engineers should be significantly longer than a tutorial video explaining how to save a GIF image as a JPEG.

Several short videos generate more traffic and engagement than one long video, unless the long video is very, very good. Most businesses can’t afford to put all their eggs in one video basket, however, because production costs for a high-quality, creative and long running time video are prohibitive.

3. What Level of Quality Should Our Videos Have?

Some experts say a rough, homemade video is just as effective, if not more effective, than a highly polished production. Sometimes this is true; social media users generally prefer authenticity and informality. However, look at the research to determine what style of video works best in your niche. See what competitors are doing. Which videos get more views and comments, slick ones or unpolished ones?

4. How Can We Best Leverage Our YouTube Page?

Throwing up a bunch of videos on YouTube may get the ball rolling for your company, but only if those videos are very good. If you follow the optimization techniques referred to in question one, your videos will attract organic views. And with active promotion, you will accomplish much more. A few ideas to attract views from your target audiences:
  • Embed YouTube videos on your website, making sure each video has its own page.
  • Embed YouTube videos in Facebook posts.
  • Tweet links to your video, pointing to YouTube or your website.
  • Embed or link to YouTube videos in your email blasts.
  • Respond to comments on your YouTube page quickly and appreciatively.
  • Add a link to your YouTube page on your email signature.
  • Add a YouTube community button to your website, blog and downloadable sales PDFs.
A final thought: Before diving into YouTube, make sure you have an adequate budget and staff for a sustainable effort. One or two videos are not enough to move the dial – just like a low-budget SEO campaign is arguably worse than no SEO at all. However, if you are prepared to commit the necessary resources, nothing is more promising on the marketing horizon than video.

Brad Shorr is the B2B Marketing Director of Straight North, an SEO agency with headquarters near Chicago. Brad frequently covers SEO and marketing topics on well-respected publications and blogs.
YouTube Video Strategy and SEO FAQs Reviewed by Jack Bonson on Tuesday, December 23, 2014 Rating: 5
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