How much traffic do you get from YouTube? Would you like more? Last time I talked about why YouTube content matters and how it can drive traffic to your site. But you’ll get a lot more out of it if your videos and channel are optimized.
So how do you optimize a YouTube channel? Tony Edward gives a great overview in his recent article. Here are some of Tony’s top tips and a few notes of our own.
#1 Get the basics right
One of the first things Tony talks about is establishing a YouTube “presence.” In many ways this just comes down to branding, but with some clear do’s and don’ts:
- Name your channel in a way that matches your business, and upload an icon and banner for the channel right away.
- Under Account Information, make sure you’ve selected the country you’re in (or wish to target).
- Make sure your main site is set as the channel’s “Associated Website.”
- Work toward getting a branded “vanity URL” for your channel. On YouTube vanity URLs are earned, not given, so find out how and get it done.
#2 Use keywords correctly
Your YouTube videos are involved in your SEO on both the front and back ends. Front end, the videos are themselves content that needs to be optimized to rank well. On the back end, each video should serve as a pointer to your main site to help it rank. The only way to do this is to use keywords just as intelligently on YouTube as you would anywhere else:
- Know which keywords you want to rank for. As Tony says, “Select keywords that are related to your business and that have search volume.” Like always, the AdWords Keyword Planner is an easy tool to use for this.
- Set official keywords. Under Account Information you can set Channel keywords, and these do influence the searches that you show up in. Use quote marks to identify exact strings if needed.
- Use keywords in your content. Remember, search engines can’t guess what words are said in your video itself (yet), so the writeup needs keywords. That includes both individual video write-ups and your channel description. Video titles should also use keywords where possible, but above all they need to be written to get the attention of viewers.
#3 Link (in both directions)
Your main site should link to your YouTube channel. This helps you gain viewers and subscribers. But the description of each individual video should also have a link back to your main site (preferably to specific, relevant content). This is how YouTube videos act as backlinks to your site and boost overall SEO.
#4 Build likes and subscribers
Like all social platforms, building up social signals on YouTube acts as a positive feedback loop. Videos with more likes rank better in YouTube search results. Videos that rank better get more views, likes and subscribers. And subscribers are more likely to come back and see more of your videos, leading to likes for that content as well.
Tony suggests sharing each video widely on your social media profiles, and he’s right. This is probably the single biggest driver of good video content. (Social shares also contribute to your video’s ranking on YouTube, so it’s a double bonus.) He also suggests including videos in email newsletters, but I would be cautious with this; do it only where the video clearly adds value to a newsletter topic. Ideally, build a newsletter topic and a blog post around every video you release.
The Right Kind of Content
One thing Tony really doesn’t touch on is how content affects ranking. Some content tends to perform better (get more interest, likes, etc.) and thus ranks better. For a business this tends to be how to videos.
Are you ready to take your YouTube presence to the next level—and leave your competition in the dust? EverSpark is here to help. Get your company’s SEO consultation for free today.