A Guide to SEO for YouTube Channels

Understanding the Opportunity

With an average of over 30 million daily visits and an estimated 92 billion views a month, YouTube presents a unique marketing opportunity for video based businesses to thrive. This brief guide to SEO strategy for YouTube provides solutions for improving Google and YouTube channel rankings.

YouTube Engagement APIs

Views  Core metric for total number of views a video received.
View Duration  Core retention metric for avg number of minutes’ users viewed video.
Shares  Core metric for number of times video was shared.
Subscribers  Core metric for channel subscribers gained after viewing a video.
Comments  Core metric for number of users that showed verbal engagement with a video.
CTR  Core metric for average rate of clicks on a video.
Likes/Dislikes  Number of times user indicated they liked or disliked a video.
View Percentage  Explains what portion of the total video was viewed.

Video Title and Description Keywords

A high portion of first page results in Google are reserved for video. Using free tools like Google Trends or Keyword Planner to find keywords with a minimum volume of 300 searches a month can drastically improve the SEO of a channel. How-to, review or sporting activity terms are a few of the popular keywords used in video titles. The first few lines of a description can also be vital to ranking high in search engines. Metadata descriptions are another area for placing keywords relevant to your video.

Engaging & High Quality Production

Posting high quality videos with appealing graphics, professional editing & good length are key to building loyal channel viewers. Tags present another chance for strategic keyword placement during the upload process. Unless it’s an ad, longer videos on YouTube tend to outperform shorter ones.

Leveraging Your Network

As a part of Google’s ad & search network, YT channels easily link to Google + profiles so videos can appear in results for both platforms. Viewers enjoy destination videos that direct them towards new content. Similar to the impact of a landing page, linking the channel to a website will increase viewer engagement.

Ranking in “Recommended”, “Suggested” and “Up Next” Columns

YouTube’s “watch time” algorithm for internal rankings also factors in viewer engagement, topic relevancy and CTA’s encouraging your users to engage with your video. Connecting videos to playlists can lengthen user sessions & total view times. Posting videos on popular topics is another way to boost internal & search rankings. Instructional and testimonials are topics that generate massive user engagement.

Kitty Kommercial: How digital video wins engagement

A good creative concept can go a long way. When you pair that with an effective online medium like video, the results can be mind-boggling.

Take Furkids Animal Rescue and Shelters’ recent viral phenomenon for example. Since its upload date two weeks ago, the video has garnered more than four million views on Youtube and filled TV and radio spots around the world.

Staff and volunteers at the animal shelter in Atlanta, Georgia got together to create a funny, effective “Kitty Kommercial” promoting the adoption of its cats. Since the video went viral, the shelter has received a plethora of donations, gifts, volunteer applications and most importantly: adoption inquiries.

What can local businesses learn from “Kitty Kommercial”?

Your campaigns don’t have to be perfectly polished to win results.

There are plenty of high-quality, expensive commercials that don’t win the same results as this low-budget idea. This online video was hosted by Paul Preston, the brother of a shelter volunteer, who also came up with the idea and produced the video.

Preston is no bigwig TV producer. He actually works in property management. But one creative spark and some novice video recording/editing put him and Furkids in the Internet spotlight.

Strong creative reaps rewards.

Furkids’ witty campaign resonates well with viewers, probably because it takes a drastically different approach than ASPCA’s famous TV ad featuring Sarah McLachlan, who also cannot bear to watch the depressing commercials.

In contrast, Furkids’ “Kitty Kommercial” is light-hearted and adorable. Watching Preston exaggerate over-used sales tactics is entertaining. And as we see time and time again, the Internet will reward you for good entertainment.

Video = high engagement and great website content.

Video can stretch across multiple platforms, from TV to Youtube to your website. Strong multimedia can be your most compelling marketing tool and ought to have powerful placement on websites, social media and in search results.

If you haven’t considered spreading your TV ads or videos across digital channels, you’re missing out.

On Furkids.org, the viral campaign sits front-and-center, accompanied by the heading “Hello World!” Engagement will likely drop as the next trend takes over, but Furkids’ cheap, innovative “Kitty Kommercial” shows us just how effective digital video can be in 2017.

View the “Kitty Kommercial” here: