Did you know YouTube is the #2 search engine? And the average session on YouTube is 40 minutes! If you’re not capitalizing on the power of YouTube, you’re missing out. A video is the fastest way to build your know, like, and trust factor while ranking for keywords. Sure, there are some hurdles. Video marketing is relatively new and slow to adopt because the barrier-to-entry to create video is high. It takes more time to produce video, video editing is not always easy, and it can take a long time to rank great videos. On the positive side, this provides an early adopter advantage. To give you an understanding of the power of YouTube, think of YouTube subscribers like email list subscribers. Whenever you create and publish a new video, they get notified. They come. They watch. In turn, the secret behind optimizing YouTube videos for SEO is focusing on growing your subscriber number and retention rate. All other metrics matter less. To analyze retention, go to your YouTube Creator Studio, then click on Analytics. Here, you can dive into Audience Retention to see if you’re improving over time. This is the primary determinant of if your YouTube channel is on a successful track. The idea is to test many different types of content for getting subscribers. See what sticks! When you find something that works, then double down on it. Again, don’t double down on content because it has a large number of shares, likes, and views. It’s a distraction from building your “list.” In the screenshot below, we have an overview of where our subscribers come from. If you don’t have much data to rely on to know what content you should double down on, then analyze watch time. Watch time has the highest correlation to more subscribers, video likes, and shares. To see where this watch time is coming from, you want to analyze the traffic sources: Suggest Videos, YouTube Channels, and YouTube Search. If you can find out how people found you through YouTube, then you can optimize for it. Analyze the number of views compared to average watch time. Then, look at how many subscribers those videos attract. Next, we want to understand what keywords are pushing traffic through the highest performing channel. Now, we want to optimize for those keywords. Ensure to pick the keywords that lead to subscribers and a long video watch time.
Put the best keywords in the title of your video and use 400+ word descriptions stuffed with the right keywords for each video. The description should cover the main points of the video and the benefits of watching. It should also include time stamps (i.e. “11:15 How viral loops work”) to guide the viewer. To take it one step further, I like to include an email address with an autoresponder thanking them for their inquiry and asking them to sign up on my list. Lastly, I include a link straight to the landing page to collect emails. Sometimes I use the link to my Facebook Group instead. Next, find out what videos are referring you traffic and subscribers (maybe your own), then optimize for the keywords in the video title names and channel names. For example, if Justin Bieber's channel is sending me a lot of traffic along with one particular video of his, then I’ll insert his channel name and video title name into my keyword list when optimizing for traffic. If you’re interested in how much traffic keywords can pull, then log-in to your AdWords account and go to the Display Planner, enter a keyword (or several) and hit Get Ad Group Ideas. By selecting under Filters “Ad formats and sizes video,” you’ll get a better overview of what keywords people are searching specifically when watching YouTube. I tend to find a few golden nuggets from the suggestion under the “Individual targeting ideas” tab. If you’re looking to optimize your videos for SEO, remember subscribers and retention rate are your two most important metrics. Always optimize your videos for these metrics when you upload them. Don’t wait. You’ll have a massive headache from having to go back and look through hundreds of videos and historical data points from your traffic sources. Trust me. I’ve done it. If you can lock down how to use YouTube Analytics to optimize SEO, then you’re ready to become a player on the number two search engine. You just need figure out what content you like to create. It’ll take a little experimenting before you know. Once you do, you’re off to the races.