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The Skinny on Video SEO for YouTube

What’s the hype when it comes to YouTube? How about this: YouTube is the second largest search engine (next to Google) producing 100 hours of video every minute. Why? Because 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube and 90% of information that comes to the brain is visual. So, you can see why YouTube might be a good platform for marketing your brand.

However, there are a few key factors that lead to YouTube SEO, which is optimized and organic marketing on YouTube. Here are my top five:

1. Keywordsvideo seo
Keywords play a huge part in the success of a YouTube video. Without keywords, your video is essentially unsearchable. Keywords are words that most accurately describe your video. They can include the title of your video, what type of video you’re producing (i.e. a company profile), names of people in the video, what you’re producing the video for (i.e. an event or the web), etc. Think like this: You want to target words and terms that your consumer will most likely search for.

And guess what? Adding keywords to YouTube is easy-peasey! When editing any video on YouTube (using the video manager) there is a section below the description to add “tags” or keywords to.

2. Transcriptions
Transcriptions are a great way to boost video SEO, also. A transcription is principally closed-captioning for YouTube—so, when you have a voice over, or an interview, or testimonial, etc. in a video, a transcription will provide the viewer with a text reading of the spoken message.

YouTube has a transcription icon that is easily located when you view any video on the video manager. However, you need to be careful with this. The transcript feature on YouTube has its glitches—it does not always provide accurate readings of the message. SpeechPad has been the most accurate and timely way of creating transcriptions, as an actual person deciphers the spoken message in your video, and in turn, provides you with the written transcript. The important take-away from a transcription is that every word in your transcript will act as a keyword in the search engine. Boom!

3. Thumbnails
What is the first thing you see when watching a video on YouTube? The Thumbnail! So, your thumbnail needs to be compelling, eye-catching—interesting. When choosing a thumbnail for your videos, customize it. Your thumbnails should give an accurate illustration of what your video is going to be about, while also captivating your audience. Be consistent with thumbnails. Use colors that stand out. Use people that show strong emotion.

4. Annotations
When you’re watching a video that you truly enjoy do you stop with just one video? Typically, no! You would watch videos similar to the one of your liking. Annotations aid viewers toward videos that are similar to the one they’re watching. An annotation is essentially a speech bubble that appears on your video (you can choose the placement of the annotation). The annotation can say something along the lines of “Visit our website” with a link to your website, or “For more videos about video SEO check out our SEO playlist” with a link to the corresponding playlist. By adding annotations, your viewers will be curious to continue watching your videos and/or check out your website.

5. Engaging Video
Engaging your viewer and targeting a specific audience is huge! Viewers want to be moved by your videos—and when viewers continuously watch your videos because of the engaging content, this boosts your video SEO. Think Chipotle’s Scarecrow video. This video not only illustrates the brand and the principles that form the brand, but it also connects with the audience, striking up an emotional response. Because the viewer is able to enjoy what he or she is watching they don’t feel a forced pressure to learn about your brand and why they should purchase your products—even though this is exactly what they’re doing. More on engaging your audience by video to come!

Timmerman, John. “Syracuse Business Needs to Step Up Their YouTube Game.” Good Monster Syracuse Business Needs to Step Up Their YouTube Game Comments. N.p., 31 Mar. 2014. Web. 04 Nov. 2014.
“The Scarecrow.” YouTube. Chipotle Mexican Grill, 11 Sept. 2013. Web. 03 Nov. 2014.