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Optimizing YouTube Videos for SEO

Published on 08 July 13
Faster processors and Internet connections have transformed the way businesses use videos on their websites and in their marketing campaigns. Although it is not yet a perfect replacement for text, video provides a more engaging experience for visitors and has the added benefits of illustrating content or combining words with diagrams in one seamless package. When done well, a video can feel both professional and personal, building trust and leading to higher conversions.
YouTube is the video host of choice for most, simply due to its massive audience. About 500 years' worth of YouTube video is watched every day on Facebook alone. With the right SEO strategy, any video can become a popular and consistent performer for its publishing company.
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Producing Videos
Every video you create should serve a role as part of a larger media campaign, with a well-defined subject and purpose. The most helpful videos answer questions or demonstrate a product or service. Others might summarize a long page of text for visitors who would rather watch than read. Before beginning any project, write out a sentence or two explaining what it will show and how it will benefit a customer.
Videos are best kept short to appeal to viewers with limited time or attention spans. Quality is important; whenever possible, film against clean, crisp backgrounds with dedicated equipment. Edit as needed for a smooth user experience, and remember that each new video is a potential first impression for your business.
Uploading a video to YouTube or a similar hosting site is relatively quick with proper planning. YouTube accepts almost any file format up to 15 minutes long. Hit the upload button while logged into the site and select the necessary file from your computer. It will begin loading while you have the opportunity to fill in information such as the title, description, tags and more. Depending on the length of the file and your Internet speed, it may take several minutes or several hours for the process to complete.
Setting Titles, Descriptions and Thumbnails

No matter how helpful and entertaining your video is, it will be buried in the avalanche of YouTube's new content without a way to distinguish itself. Think of YouTube as just another search engine. Every video must be optimized to attract the right audience.
The most important step when optimizing a video is to give it an appealing, descriptive title. It is the first thing searchers read as they scan down a list of results and decide whether or not they will click through for more. Include your main keyword phrase naturally in the title, making it as short as possible while still conveying the necessary information.
A description is nothing more than an expanded title. Think of it as a rough outline of what the video contains without needing too much detail. This is also a space to refer back to keywords, in a natural context, and to your business, should the viewer want more information or to make a purchase. Finally, a thumbnail is set by selecting a single still from the video to represent it on the search page or before it is played. Choose a moment that represents most of the content or otherwise draws attention.
YouTube allows the use of tags to help categorize videos when searchers enter a query. The practice has largely fallen out of style in SEO but is still vital for video marketing. YouTube allows up to 500 characters in keywords, so do your research beforehand and don't be afraid to go after more obscure phrases. Even a file's name contributes to SEO on YouTube.
Maintaining Videos
Once everything is filled out, confirm your submission and wait for the video to go live. At this point, it is wise to feature it in a blog post, send it through a mailing list or embed it in pages for greater exposure. Allowing comments and ratings encourages user interaction and sharing. Video statistics, including viewership demographics, can be accessed through YouTube's Analytics feature located on the main page of the video. The more popular a video, the higher it will appear in search results, and the more likely it is to convert for months or even years.

SEO Consultant Paul Teitelman has years of experience helping businesses adapt to the world of online marketing. If you would like to hire an SEO expert for your website, visit today.

This blog is listed under Development & Implementations , Digital Media & Games and E-Commerce Community

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