Sunday, 1 July 2012

Youtube Videos and SEO

If there were to be an eighth wonder of the world, surely it’d be Youtube, right?

Youtube is the second largest search engine in the world right now, after Google. It is a brilliant tool and a great social networking tool that gives access to a plethora of information and resources to people in the form of videos. Tons of data moves through Youtube’s servers on a daily basis, and millions of people looking for information on the internet do so through Youtube.

Youtube, like many of its other social networking counterparts, is also a great tool for generating referral traffic back to your blog, and getting some valuable backlinks. If your video is seen by a large group of people, any links that you put in the description also stand the chance to be seen by an equally large number of people.

However there is a lot of competition on Google at the moment, similar to what we see on Google’s SERP. The following set of tips should be useful for optimizing your Youtube videos in order to have them rank higher on Youtube’s search results, and maybe even have them appear on Google’s SERP for their keywords.

1. We start off from the basics – choosing the right filename. Keeping in mind some of the best practices when it comes to optimizing images on your blog, ensure that your video’s filename always gives the viewer a clear idea of what the video is about. For instance if it’s a video of a Bugatti Veyron breaking the land-speed record, make sure it’s titled ‘veyron-breaks-speed-record.mpg’ instead of untitled.mpg or MOV5478.mpg. Youtube will almost always check filenames for keywords in order to rank your videos.

2. The keywords you want your video to rank for should ALWAYS be the first keywords in the video’s title, description and tags. All other keywords, such as your company name, brand name etc. should come after the main keyword(s). Try to structure all required meta information in this manner. For example if it’s a video of a game that you attended last night, make sure the names of the teams, or the tournament that they were playing in, comes in the beginning. 

3. Give interesting titles to your video that attracts people to click on it and watch it. An attention-grabbing title would quite obviously have a higher clickthrough rate.

4. Being regular with Youtube videos is also quite beneficial, in the same sense as putting up regular posts on your blog is good for traffic. Uploading videos on a regular basis or regular intervals will ensure that you rank well on Youtube and Google, and your channel gets many subscribers and views as well. A regularly updated channel will bring you a steady stream of traffic, subscribers and quite possibly, inbound traffic to your blog.  

5. If your video is some sort of a tutorial, walkthrough, a guide or something similar and has a voiceover, include your keyword as frequently as possible by saying it throughout the video. Youtube, apart from the text-based clues that you provide to it, also ‘listens’ to your videos (using speech-to-text algorithms) and picks up important key terms from your videos. It then ranks you for these key terms, so it is important to use these keywords during the voice over. The best way to do this is write a script of the video, which includes your main keyword(s), and then use this script during your narrative.

6. In addition to point number 4 above, Youtube also lets users upload a transcript file for all videos, and Youtube then indexes these captions, scans the information and picks up keywords that have been used in the file, ranking the video for these keywords. I personally recommend uploading your own caption transcript, as opposed to Google transcribing your video instead. It allows you to control which captions appear in your video.

7. Be active and sociable on Youtube, just like you would on other social mediums. From what I’ve seen, replying to each and every comment is a sure-shot way of getting more comments on your own videos, which means more views and possibly, more subscribers as well. For instance one of the people I’m subscribed to on Youtube makes it’s a point to reply to all comments on his videos and his channel, and even tell his viewers that he does so in each of his videos. Understandably, he gets a LOT of comments! P.S. It is also important to be prompt with your comments and replies.

8. Off-site backlinks, especially from authority and high-PR sources, will be immense. Just like how backlinks are important to blogs, websites and webpages, your Youtube video will rank better in Youtube search, as well as on Google’s SERP if you can get some valuable link-juice. For this purpose, share your website on the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, other social mediums, and submit it to social bookmarking sites and directories such as Reddit and StumbleUpon.

9. Lastly, encourage people to ‘thumbs up,’ ‘favourite,’ and like you video and post video and text responses. The more, the merrier. This is precisely why just about everyone with a channel on Youtube makes it a point to ask their viewers to like, subscribe, thumbs-up their videos.


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