As you’ve probably heard before, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the entire world. That means aside from Google (which owns YouTube) no website is used more frequently each month than YouTube. In fact, the most recent statistics suggest Google attracts an estimated 1.1 billion unique monthly visitors. YouTube brings in approximately 1 billion. That’s more than Facebook, Yahoo!, Amazon, Wikipedia, Twitter, Bing, and other popular sites. And this equates to big bucks.
According to data curated and published by ExpandedRamblings.com, YouTube produced an estimated $4 billion in revenue last year alone. They accomplished this by enticing users to view approximately 4 billion videos per day. That equates to 6 billion hours of video watched per month. While that may seem like an outrageous figure, keep in mind that 300 hours of video are uploaded every single minute.
Despite all of these numbers, only 9 percent of U.S-based small businesses currently use YouTube. That’s despite the fact that 72 percent of millenials — the demographic with the highest buying power in the country — frequently use YouTube.
And while it’s critical that business owners focus on traditional SEO to drive traffic to their homepages, blogs, social media profiles and landing pages, it’s foolish to ignore video SEO and YouTube rankings. To put YouTube on the back burner would be akin to saying you don’t care about the second largest search engine in the world. Assuming that’s a statement you don’t want to make, you should begin focusing on how you can enhance your business’s online appearance by improving YouTube search rankings.
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Here are three important SEO tips for YouTube.
1. Building your presence
You have to start with the basics. If you want to be seen as an authoritative and relevant brand on YouTube, you need to create a profile and establish a name for yourself. The first step is to register your brand by signing up for a profile. Next, you’ll want to select a channel name and incorporate your logo by uploading a unique banner. You should also fill in some information about your brand and what value it brings to YouTube.
One important, yet often overlooked aspect of building your YouTube presence is the vanity URL. A vanity URL is simply a custom, easy-to-remember URL that allows users and customers to effortlessly find your channel. While creating a vanity URL was once as easy as filling in an entry form on the signup page, the policy is now a little stricter.
In order to create a custom URL, YouTube asks that your channel is more than 30 days old, you have more than 500 subscribers, and your profile has a unique icon and channel art. In other words, you can’t create a unique URL when you sign up. But keep it in the back of your mind. A vanity URL can greatly enhance your searchability in the future.
Related: 10 New Features YouTube Is Rolling Out for Creators (Hint: 3-D Is Getting More Immersive)
2. Keywords are critical.
Yes, keywords are still important in video SEO. Try leveraging Google’s keyword planner tool to discover which keywords your customers are searching for. You can then plug these into the field that says “channel keywords” under your account information.
There’s also plenty of demand for relevant keywords when it comes to individual videos. Generally speaking, Google and other search engines like to display videos for keywords that revolve around how-to’s, reviews, funny topics, tutorials and fitness-related content.
As with traditional SEO, the focus on long tail keywords is becoming very important. In other words, instead of building a video around the keyword “woodworking,” you should try something like “how to build outdoor furniture with 2×4’s.” The goal is to use keywords in the same ways users are searching for videos.
3. Description is key.
The little snippet that appears in the search results below the video, or the description, is very important. Aside from the video thumbnail, this is really all the user has to reference when deciding which video to click on. Make sure your description clearly and concisely explains what your video is about, while also remaining engaging and creative. It’s also a good idea to brand your description by including links to other pages and videos.
YouTube’s growth rates are astounding and every business owner should focus on the benefits of producing high quality, engaging video content on the world’s second largest search engine. While this is by no means a comprehensive guide to video SEO, you should use the tips mentioned here to get started. As more and more millennials turn away from traditional search engines and flock towards interactive content, YouTube’s value as a traffic generator will only increase. Don’t miss out on this evolution!