YouTube is by far the most popular video site on the web both for uploading and consuming video content. In fact, YouTube refers to itself as the second largest search engine. How can you help drive traffic to your online video content on YouTube when the site is already so crowded?
YouTube wants to make it easier for you to get more views of your videos (and of course, more views on YouTube overall) by offering a Tips for Partners series on the YouTube blog. So far, two posts have been published since the series kicked off in September, which provide immediately actionable tips for video publishers. Each tips post has been followed by a video interview with an actual YouTube video publisher who has found success implementing those tips into their own activities. In other words, the tips YouTube is offering really work.
- Don’t overdo it. Use 3-5 annotations per video.
- Annotations are great for guiding viewers to an action that you want them to take after watching your video. For example, include an annotation telling them which video they should watch next, asking them to leave a comment or feedback, or asking them to add your video to their favorites or share that video with their own audiences.
- Playlists are indexed separately from individual videos. That means when you create a playlist you add another way for YouTube users to find your video content. Use them!
- Playlists work best when they are theme-based rather than a group of random videos.
- Use playlists to guide viewers through your video content in the order you want them to view those videos.
- If you have a video that isn”t getting enough views, add it to a related playlist to give it another chance to be seen.
- You can embed playlists into your blog or another website to increase views and engagement.
- YouTube allows you to enter up to 5,000 characters in your video description and up to 120 characters in your tags. YouTube suggests that you set a goal to use every single one of those characters for each of your videos. YouTube explains in the Tips for Partners series, “the more words you include in your description, the higher your chances of being discovered by searchers.”
- Update your tags regularly to optimize them for current search patterns.
- If you have a transcript of your video content, YouTube suggests that you upload it and turn captions on in your video to make your video more discoverable and to give YouTube more points to index your video.
Remember, YouTube can’t index the actual content of a video. Instead, the site relies on your metadata to do that. By implementing the suggestions above, you’ll increase the discoverability of your videos as well as the number of videos viewers watch from you. However, YouTube also offers some warnings related to the above tips, which are highlighted below.
- Don’t use spammy tags in your metadata. YouTube will find out and punish you.
- Don’t repeat the same words in your description and tag over and over in an attempt to boost traffic to your videos. YouTube clearly states in the Tips for Partners series, “this will not help you.” Instead, YouTube suggests that you, “use different words and variations that users might search on to find your video.”
- Make sure that the links to additional videos on YouTube or off-site content that you provide in your videos actually take people to the place or content your link suggests. In other words, don’t tell users that a link will take them to the next video in a series you created but instead take them to a commercial. YouTube considers this a spam tactic, and you will be punished.
I’m looking forward to reading the next post in the YouTube Tips for Partners series. It’s great to see a popular brand offer truly useful information through its blog rather than corporate rhetoric and noise.