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YouTube Video Optimization for Your Business

Now that Google incorporates video into their universal search results pages, and YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world, high-quality video is an essential component to any strategy for increasing online visibility. How can you make sure you get the most out of your YouTube uploads?

Create Content That Gets Results:

1. Create compelling content

You don’t have to be quirky and viral to create successful, high-ROI video for your business to promote on YouTube. Successful examples of video content that work for most businesses and brands include:

  • Product demonstration: to show your wares in action
  • Introduction to your team: to build a more personal connection
  • “How to”: to highlight a product or service in action, to decrease customer support burden
  • Office/factory tour: to highlight your capabilities, to bring your business to life
  • “Hot topic” discussion: to show your expertise on cutting edge and controversial topics

At the moment, YouTube limits videos to 10 minutes in length for most users (some partners may get special privileges). Make sure to keep your video to this length. If you want to create longer content, make sure to divide it into coherent sections of less than 10 minutes each.

2. Record high-quality video

Use H.264 or MPEG-2 encoding. Record at an “HD” level resolution – this is 1920×1080 (1080p). Record in 16:9 aspect ratio if possible. Thumbnails are now set to show in 16×9 (prior wisdom used to be to upload in 4×3 because thumbnails showed at this ratio, this is no longer the case).

3. Highlight your brand

Don’t forget to include your company name in the video, both verbally and in writing. You can include your logo and company name as a title card at both the beginning and end of the video, or you can overlay it at the bottom or top of the video throughout. If you do not have video editing software, you can include these additions after you upload the video via YouTube’s Annotations feature.

4. Include a call-to-action

Your customer watched your video, now what? Let them know how they can contact you by highlighting your website and phone number in the video. Once again, this can be shown at the beginning and end or it can be displayed as an overlay throughout the video. Using YouTube’s Annotations feature, you can create fields in your video that display your phone number or URLs for relevant areas of your website.

Rank High:

1. Research keywords.

First, you must know which keywords you want to target. You want phrases that are relevant, descriptive, and are searched on. You can determine search traffic on keywords using Google’s Keyword Tool.

For example, more people search on “how to use chopsticks” than “using chopsticks” even though it is a longer query. Also, more people use the compound “chopsticks” than “chop sticks” with a space between the words. This knowledge helps determine which words are best used in title, description, and tags.

2. Use keywords in title, description and tags.

Make sure to keep themes tight and relevant. For instance, you would not want to target “how to use chopsticks” and “Chinese restaurants” at the same time. Instead, you might target “how to use chopsticks,” “chopsticks demonstration,” and “learn to use chopsticks.”

3. Choose the right category.

Make sure to review all the categories before choosing where your video fits. Once you have looked at all the categories, choose the most relevant one.

4. Share your video!

Don’t be shy about promoting your new video. If you use twitter, tweet about it. If you blog, blog about it. Embed the video into your site. Link to it from your email newsletter.

5. Don’t stop at YouTube

Gain incremental traffic by uploading your videos to Metacafe and Vimeo as well. Vimeo allows for significant customization of their channel pages as well as longer-format video uploads than YouTube. Videojug.com and 5min.com are also great sites for uploading instructional and how-to content.

Look Your Best:

1. Be aware of character limits on YouTube.

  • Title: Keep your title to 45 characters or less to make sure it is not cut off (…) when displayed in search results.
  • Description: Optimize the first 140 characters of your description to include keywords and encourage clicks. This is likely all that will be displayed within YouTube search. Include a functioning link to your website within the first 200 characters of the description. To ensure that it functions, do not remove the http:// from the URL. If the URL is longer than 27 characters, it will be truncated, so it is probably best to link to your home page. You may need to remove the “www” to save characters.

2. Make sure to select the best thumbnail possible.

The thumbnail is the image preview of your video, and the right thumbnail can make a big difference in views. In YouTube, you will be able to choose from three thumbnails, which are taken from the frames at 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 into your video. In most cases, at least one of these thumbnails will represent your video well. However, if you find yourself having to choose between three bad choices (frames that are unclear, unrepresentative, etc.), then you can slightly modify the length of your video and re-upload. You will have new thumbnails to choose from.

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2 Responses to "YouTube Video Optimization for Your Business"

  • Mark McCulloch
    January 19, 2010 - 7:43 am Reply

    I have been researching social media for a very long time now and I have not been able to find such top quality information untill I came to your blog today.

    Mark McCulloch

  • ethnicomm
    January 19, 2010 - 10:41 am Reply

    Don’t forget that removing the www to save characters may mess up your SEO. You should do a 301 redirect.

    A better way of shortening your URL is to use bit.ly and add a custom URL which is your brand or keyword.

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