Listening to the CEO of a small not-for-profit entity, I heard the disappointment in her voice when she said they had not gotten much mileage from their videos. A quick glance at their YouTube channel confirmed this.
To help her and others in a similar quandary, I offer some tips for optimizing videos in general and on your YouTube channel, specifically.
If you follow these tips, you will most definitely attract viewers. Otherwise, what’s the point?
First, create a Google video sitemap. Here is a useful page explaining what this is and how to create a video sitemap in Webmaster tools.
For all videos:
• Create titles using strategic keywords. Titles should be short and succinct primarily using strategic keywords. For example, “What you haven’t heard about Israel” may be a good teaser, but the only keyword or phrase that folks would be searching is “Israel.” A better title might be “FAQs re Israel’s Crisis Response to Humanitarian Disasters.” Why? People might be searching on FAQs, or crisis response, or humanitarian disasters. All might be relevant to your content.
• Descriptions should mirror keywords in titles while being compelling. You may add additional strategic keywords. Descriptions should not be lengthy (try around 150 characters). Using “How to” and offering solution-oriented information should perform well for certain types of businesses or non-profits.
• Each video should target different strategic keywords to get the largest reach.
• It is not necessary to optimize for your business’s name as a term itself in videos. Aim for the widest reach possible.
YouTube specific optimization:
• Access the videos via the Video Manager link.
• Update Titles and Descriptions as above.
• Choose precise tags for each video where possible. Do not overtag.
• Privacy setting should always be “public.”
• Feel free to choose the best thumbnail option for each video.
• Via the Dashboard, add sections to organize the videos where possible. Add channel art so that the background graphic is not that ugly black and grey default.
• Use the closed captioning tool to create a caption file in place of the auto-generated transcript. Be sure to review the captions and edit where needed. Add the keywords into the captions, where they make sense, even if they are not actually verbalized.
• Connect to your Google+ page. Make one if you don’t have it, and share to Google+.