Kevin Partner of PCPro Magazine reveals how you can boost your SEO by using Google’s video service, YouTube
Ask 100 people to list the main social networks and very few would include YouTube; yet just like Facebook, it provides a way to view, recommend and share content (although YouTube users share video rather than text and humorous photos).
Despite Google’s reluctance to reveal precise user numbers, YouTube’s active audience runs into the hundreds of millions, placing it alongside Twitter and Google+, but it has a lower profile.
Most people see YouTube as a video library, or end point for search engine queries, but I believe Google’s ambition to own a social network will make YouTube increasingly social and collaborative.
YouTube will play an increasingly important role in driving traffic to websites
Unlike many commentators (even some on PC Pro) I don’t believe Google+ will sink like its half-baked predecessors Wave and Buzz, because Google is integrating it into so many of its other services. For example, whenever you comment on a post, all further interactions can take place within a single Gmail thread, and it’s becoming hard to get the most out of a Google account without using Google+. If you have a YouTube account, you’ll be invited to merge it with your Google+ account when you next log in, and it’s likely that at some point in the future the two services will effectively become one.
In my view, video is a critical part of Google’s vision of the future, so YouTube will play an increasingly important role in driving traffic to websites. It’s possible to achieve front-page position for a sufficiently precise key phrase using a video – whether it’s easier in practice than using standard SEO techniques is beside the point, since a video thumbnail is more likely to catch the eye than a line of text. The biggest advantage of video, however, is that it can be used to generate traffic from multiple sources.
Say, for example, you run a laptop repair business and a customer brings in his Samsung Series 3 to have its screen replaced. Record the technician at work, edit it down to a sequence of steps, and embellish them with voiceover and captions (no more than a couple of hours of work). [However, in Little Orchard’s experience it always takes a lot longer – a couple of days typically to prep a good looking, professional video.] Upload the finished video to YouTube under the title “How to replace the screen on a Samsung Series 3 laptop”, and repeat for every major laptop model repair.
Google will index your videos automatically, and they can also be embedded into your firm’s website, its Facebook page and Google+ stream. This will drive traffic both from YouTube itself and from standard Google searches, where I’d expect it to appear on the front page.
What’s that I hear you cry? You didn’t learn to repair laptops only to give away your trade secrets in a video? Won’t it reduce business if potential customers learn to do it themselves? No, because most users will be searching for those phrases in case it turns out to be very easy, but also to find practitioners if it isn’t. Look at it from their point of view: they typed “how to repair an HP dv6 keyboard” and up pops your video. They’ll take that as a recommendation from Google that you’re an expert. They may watch your video and are likely to conclude that they’d rather have you deal with it than try it themselves. Either way, you’ve become visible to them in a way that your competitors aren’t.
That’s all very well if they’re using Google Search, but what if they’re looking on YouTube? If they find your video, and you’ve included your branding and a URL prominently, they’ll very likely click the link through to your website. The likelihood of them coming across your video in the first place, however, depends on how high YouTube ranks it, so it’s essential to understand the factors that contribute to this before you upload it. My research suggests that YouTube relies on four main criteria to decide where your production appears in search results.
The first, and the easiest to get right, is the quality of the match between the user’s search term and your video’s title. For sufficiently long-tailed phrases, this can be enough on its own to secure you a prominent position, but if you want to rank well for higher traffic searches you’ll need to consider three other criteria: views, likes and comments. It makes sense that the more often a video is viewed, the higher it will rank, but what constitutes a view?
YouTube is coy about this, since revealing such information could enable people to game the system, but it’s very likely that it keeps count not only of the number of times a video has been started, but also how often it was watched all or most of the way through. Rumour has it that this second metric strongly influences ranking, since it indicates the video was relevant in both content and length. A practical consequence of this is that you should make your video no longer than necessary. I thought I was being helpful by creating a 15-minute candle-making video, as it was so thorough, but I was almost certainly damaging its chances of a high rank.
Video comments are also very powerful: YouTube considers a heavily commented video to be engaging and relevant to its target audience . This means that by disabling comments to protect yourself from abuse and spam, you’re also reducing your ranking. By responding to comments, you can generate more interest and a further boost. Finally, the more “likes” a video receives the better, although I suspect this is the least important of the four factors, since a user doesn’t have to be particularly engaged to click that button.
Drum up interest – views, comments and likes – as you launch each video by promoting it heavily on the other social networks and keeping an eye on any discussions that develop.
Finally, use the embed code provided by YouTube to include the video in your own site – that way, any “likes” or comments will contribute to its ranking.
Let Little Orchard make your video – and get you those views…
Now Kevin here is not really saying anything you haven’t already heard – and seen – from other people. You Tube has been going a while after all. But with so much content on YouTube, how do you ensure you get it right – the first time? If in doubt, or you just want to talk through your ideas about your video, talk to Little Orchard. Video production has gone beyond just cameras and edit suits. As the above shows, it’s about the entire life=cycle of your video. Call us on 0845 838 7396 for a free quote today.