Optimizing for YouTube

There are, according to some estimates, as many as 120 million videos on YouTube, with 220,000 being uploaded daily.  These statistics underscore the tremendous importance of optimizing your YouTube videos.

Not to do so risks losing you some valuable traffic. Viral marketing may have made overnight stars of Susan Boyle and a dancing wedding party, but with universal search results, or blended results, SEO can’t be ignored.

There are several ways to reach searchers, or, more accurately, have them reach you.  Because of the mass of videos, it is essential that yours is optimized. The first step in doing this is to use descriptive title tags.  Sounds simple enough, right? Yet many sites give titles that simply don’t give the searcher the information he needs or that do not make use of targeted and popular keywords.  Be specific and to the point while using appropriate and informative keywords.

Another way to optimize your video is to use internal linking. You can do this in two ways: you can use video responses to catch traffic from people browsing related videos, and you can add your video to a playlist.  This is beneficial in a few different ways: playlists are typically ranked highly on YouTube results pages, so you’ll have more traffic there.  Also, when your video is included in a playlist, it is automatically linked to in the sidebar, which greatly increases the chance of more traffic as people search for related video.

Here’s one more way to optimize your videos: encourage users to rate and/or comment on your video. Ratings help because as people search for a particular term, the universal searchers will place higher rated, or more popular, videos higher on the results page. Comments add additional content and can improve the number of internal links for your video because a link will appear on the commenter’s profile page. More traffic.

There are other optimization strategies that you can incorporate into your video, but the important thing is to do it. You can’t always depend on viral marketing, though that would be nice. Solid SEO is a good way to drive that traffic to your video.

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