Just think, when you watch that cute cat video…
-You are one of 2.8 million New Zealanders using YouTube each month
– Every minute there are 100 hours of video uploaded
– Six billion hours of YouTube video are watched worldwide every month
The numbers are staggering. So the question is, are you optimising your YouTube videos properly or are they getting lost amongst the six billion others?
YouTube was purchased by Google early on in its infancy. Because it is part of the Google family YouTube punches well above its weight in ‘searchability’ and in rankings. Google also wants to please its audiences and audiences love videos, so if you search for ’fast cars’ you are likely to get video content options high up in your search results.
Video content isn’t always guaranteed to be high ranking, it does depend on how visual your search query is. For example the search for ‘algebra proofs’ is unlikely to bring up strong video links. But very visual terms like ‘cute’ or ‘cat’ will give you a number of video links on the first page of your results.
Like all popular platforms, YouTube is crowded so you need more than just a funny or cute video to get to the top of the search heap, you need good optimisation to help you get in front of those viewers so they can ‘like’ and ‘view’ your video to the top.
When you do it right your video has a great chance of becoming the next Gangnam Style or Mutant Spider Dog phenomenon.
A great example is this ‘Katy Perry Shark’ video which has over a million views and comes in on top of the search results for ‘left shark’.
How to optimise video for YouTube
Here’s the secret to success…Google can’t see your video it needs to ‘read’ the information you provide to rank it. So more specific and targeted the information you provide to Google and YouTube, the more they will like your video. Here are the best ways to attract Google’s attention and get your video at the top of the search results page.
Tagging and Titles
1. Because Google can’t see your video it reads a number of signals to see how high to rank you video.Make sure the title of your video is relevant to the content. Because Google now prioritises ‘watch time’ (or the duration of viewing time) over the volume of views or hits the longer the watch time the better. Don’t mislead your audience to get more hits. Aim to capture the attention interested people how will stay to watch the entire video.
2. Transcribe the content and upload closed-caption files for all of your videos, it really helps boost your optimisation. Transcribed videos rank higher since they allow access to information in multiple formats, depending on preference and need. Remember to translate your content too, to reach a global audience. There are plenty of tutorials online to help here and here.
3. Check your keywords to see if they rank as a ‘video’ keywords. Some topics are just naturally visual (for example cute cat vs math or technical information). Find keywords for your video title that will get your video ranked Google and YouTube.
4. The more words you include (especially targeted keywords) the better Google can ’read’, understand and file away your video to be recalled by search. So include long detailed descriptions of the content because – Google can’t watch your video, it needs to read it.
Encourage subscribing /liking/comments
5. Don’t be shy to ask for the likes and subscription. If someone has spent the last few minutes of their life watching your content, you might as well give them a little encouragement to like it or subscribe and watch some more.
The more likes and subscriptions you get the more Google will like your content as well. The internet is really just a giant popularity contest.
Call to action
6. Include a call to action, whether it is to go to a website, or subscribe or like the video. Give your audience some way to react to your content and engage with the ideas. Or you could ask your readers to comment on the video and get people talking about your videos.
Playlist with keywords
7. Organising your video into the right category can make a huge difference. YouTube automatically plays the next video on your playlist so keep your audience engaged with content on similar topics organised into a playlist or channel.
Keywords are important. It gives YouTube more information about your content and directs traffic to your content. So make sure you don’t skimp on text.
If you have spent a reasonable amount resources on your content you definitely want to increase its mileage and to keep your audience on your playlist as long as possible.
There are many factors to great content and reasons why a video goes viral but it’s certainly worth spending a little time to increase views and build a fan base. Once you know the basics, have optimised your video or image file correctly and have put it in front of the right audience, ‘likes’ and ‘views’ will come your way and your rankings will rise.