One common mistake many small business owners make when uploading videos to YouTube is failing to optimize them. YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google. There’s no sense going to all the trouble of recording a video for your business if no one’s going to find it. That’s just a waste of your time and money.
In order to make your videos visible during a YouTube search, you need to start by doing some keyword research. And ideally, this research should be completed before you even begin writing your video script. You can use the same keyword research tools you use for your website, like Google Adwords and SEMrush. Choosing words from these sites should help your videos get found during a Google search. But people don’t always search YouTube the same way they search Google. So, I recommend using the YouTube keyword suggestion tool (as of September 1, 2014, this is no longer in use) to find the particular keyword phrases people are using to search the video sharing site. Once you’ve chosen one or two keyword phrases to include in your script, you can record your video and upload it to YouTube. During this process, you can create a title for your video that incorporates your main keyword phrase. Next, you’ll want to write a one or two sentence description of your video that also includes your keyword. It’s a good idea to include the URL for your company’s website or landing page (if you’re selling a product or service in the video) in the description as well. Then, you can include several keywords in the Tags section.
Add Video Transcript
Another way to help your videos get found online is to provide captions and/or a transcript. Captions allow your content to be made available to a larger audience of hearing impaired viewers, or those who speak another language. A caption file contains both the text and time codes for when each line of text should be displayed.
A transcript includes only the text of what is said during your video. If your video is short, you can copy and paste the transcript into a box provided by YouTube, or upload a file and press the “Sync” button. YouTube will automatically synchronize the words with the audio.
Manage Channel Settings
Another key optimization factor that sometimes gets overlooked is linking your company’s website to your YouTube Channel. Look for the “Associated Website” heading under your YouTube Channel’s advanced settings. Linking your website to your channel helps YouTube improve the quality of their search results and verifies your channel as the official representative of your brand on YouTube. Once you add your URL, you will be directed to Google’s Webmaster Central, where you’ll be instructed to upload an HTML verification file to your website.
YouTube also makes it easy for your videos to get seen by your followers on Facebook and Twitter. Go to “Connected Accounts” under your YouTube Account Settings to enable activity sharing. Now, whenever you upload a public video to your channel, a post will go out on Twitter and/or Facebook with a link to the video. You can also indicate whether or not you want those social networks to know when you comment on a video, add video to a public playlist, and/or like a video.
Connecting with Your Target Audience
Video marketing is a terrific way to connect with your target audience. When you combine video and audio, you create a bond with your prospect that is much stronger than if you use written text alone on a blog or website. But if you want your videos to be effective as a marketing device, it’s important to follow these key points:
1. Content must be useful & relevant – Your videos must be produced with your audience in mind. Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine them asking, “What’s in it for me?” and then address that in your video. Answer customer questions about your products and services. Provide useful tips.
2. Keep it short – Attention spans are short. The optimal video length is about 2-3 minutes. The exception to this rule involves video sales letters, which often run 30 minutes or more.
3. Prepare, Tell, Summarize – Focus on one main idea per video, especially if you’re on camera and don’t have a teleprompter to help you read a script. Start your video by telling them what they’re going to learn, then share your main idea, and close with a summary. Always include a call to action at the end, such as directing them to your website.
Get Your Videos Maximum Exposure
Optimizing your videos for search is certainly one of the most important ways to ensure your videos get found online. But it’s not the only way. Be proactive. Share your videos on other social networking sites like Google+ and Pinterest. Include video in your email marketing. Use a video in place of a blog article every now and then. And, of course, display videos on your website.
How do you get your videos in front of your target audience? Share your ideas in the comments below.