YouTube doesn’t have to be the search engine you worry about most, but it’s a great way to break into a space that attracts a large amount of people (more than 1 billion users each month to be exact).
In fact, YouTube is still considered the second largest search engine in America. Regardless of your goals, most agree it makes sense to give your video and/or your YouTube page the best chance possible to rank well on a YouTube search engine results page (SERP). That means getting involved with different optimization strategies.
Creating a great title and keyword rich description is an excellent place to start, but there are methods where you can dig deeper to really set yourself apart. Unfortunately, many companies aren’t taking the time to put in the extra work and take this leap.
As a small business owner, you have to ask yourself: What strategies specific to YouTube am I still missing?
3 YouTube Strategies You Need
Whether your business thrives on video content or not, there is almost always some sort of way you can give your business a presence on YouTube (create a how-to video, record an interview, etc.). Once you have a YouTube company page and a video to work with, dig deeper into strategies to help your videos be successful. Below are some YouTube optimization strategy tips that small businesses are still missing:
Strategy #1: Use the YouTube Keyword tool (as of September 1, 2014, this tool is no longer available). But instead of finding keywords that have a high monthly search volume, find the keywords that have “not enough data.”
When people just get started in SEO, regardless of the search engine they’re working with, they often try to find keywords that have a fair amount of search volume (nothing too competitive) and optimize from there. While this can work and it is a good place to start, using the YouTube keyword tool to find keywords that don’t have enough data is a cool way to get some clicks.
All you need to do is visit the tool and type in a keyword to get a few ideas. Find one that comes up with “not enough data” and then plug that into your YouTube search. Check out the dates of the most recent videos and check the date of the most recent video along with the number of views. You’d be surprised at just how many old videos are ranking and how many people are watching. Create a video on this topic and break through to the top of the SERP. Visit this article to check out an extensive step-by-step guide we created using this strategy.
Strategy #2: If you have a YouTube channel with more than 100 subscribers, use the live stream video feature.
In the past you had to have 1,000 subscribers to access this feature. But as of August 2013, that number has been brought down to 100 making it much easier for more small businesses to get involved. All you need to do is visit your account features page and click the new “enable” button on your screen to apply for YouTube Live access.
For those who are unfamiliar, the live stream feature allows you to create videos and have them stream on your channel in real-time. This is a great way for you to engage with viewers and cover timely topics. Your video will still be on your page for your subscribers to view later if they missed the live stream, so everyone wins.
Strategy #3: Use annotations to drive traffic to your channel.
Using annotations in your videos allows you to link to an external website. For example, let’s say you were creating a YouTube video and in the video you were visiting a really cool place. With annotations, you could link back to wherever you were visiting and send readers to that website. These are great for two reasons:
1. It offers great partnership opportunities. If you link back to another company, you could work with that company to do the same for you.
2. You could help cross-promote your two companies. If you happened to own the T-shirt Company of the T-shirt you’re linking back to in your video, you’re getting double the exposure for that company.
Setting up annotations is also easy and requires just a few steps:
- Click the arrow next to “Upload”;
- Select “Video Manager”;
- Click the down arrow to the right of the "Edit" button;
- Click “Annotations” and “Add Annotation,” and
- Click “Publish.”
New to YouTube? Tell Us What You Think
In the end, YouTube is only going to get more and more competitive in business niches. It might be easy to get a ranking for your industry content now, but it’s important to get a head start so that when more businesses get involved you already have a solid strategy and foundation in place to rank well on different SERPs.
Is there a strategy you use when working with YouTube that people seem to be ignoring? What have you found to be the most beneficial for you when trying to rank well in YouTube? Let us know your story and your thoughts in the comments below.
Photo Credit: thinkstockphotos.com; Photographer: Anikei
Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from Panda and Penguin updates. She writes for HigherVisibility, a nationally recognized SEO agency that offers online marketing services to a wide range of companies across the country. Her last article for SEMrush was "How to Hold a Contest to Improve SEO and Reader Engagement."