10 Tips For Using YouTube To Kill At Local SEO

Here’s a local search optimization tactic that is a staple in the repertoire of many professional SEOs: YouTube Optimization. It’s particularly effective in local search since relatively few businesses have created and published video promotions for themselves.

Before launching into the technical tips for optimizing your YouTube videos for local search, it’s worthwhile to mention the content itself. While my tips below will provide benefit somewhat independently of whatever the video is actually about, all benefit derived from the work will be magnified if the video is compelling. So, subject matter and the way it is conveyed are of primary importance. I don’t mention “quality” (although that can contribute) because there are many videos of poor production quality or low resolution that are extremely popular. The subject matter of a video and the way it’s conveyed — its “interestingness” — are more likely to determine whether people will watch it, whether they’ll watch all the way through, and whether they’ll share it with friends.

YouTube Local SEO

Some businesses simply make an ad about themselves when they do a video. While these can be informative for prospective customers, they are typically not all that imaginative (and usually not as effective as less overtly promotional videos).

A better approach would be to publish a series of brief videos over time about aspects of your industry, its products, and its services. Provide how-to videos that demonstrate how to do what you do. Obviously, if you sell a service, you won’t make money off of do-it-yourselfers, but these videos are typically more popular and will therefore convey more ranking potential to your business. They can also serve to establish you as an expert — and sometimes, when you show what’s involved in what you do, it will persuade people to pay to have it done.

Other types of videos can teach consumers about how to select the sorts of products you sell, or tell them how to discern qualities about services offered. These “public service” sorts of videos may train consumers in how to be more discerning and, in the process, train them to choose you instead of your competition.

Videos can be simpler to produce than you might imagine these days. Cellphones and digital cameras can shoot your videos, or higher fidelity video cams. You can also create and edit videos using numerous inexpensive software packages. A video I shot just a few years ago of the old Texas Stadium demolition was fairly low resolution compared to the dozens of videos shot with far better equipment by local news organizations, but my optimization work with the video enabled it to rank highest for a while, gaining tens of thousands more views than the videos created by the pros at the news stations! So, quality helps, but don’t get too obsessive with making a perfect video – create and publish your video, rather than get mired in the time and expense of doing something super-slick.

And so, without further ado, here are 10 tips for YouTube Optimization for Local SEO.

1. Geotag Your Video

First, you obviously should “geotag” your video in order to associate it with the geocoordinates of your business location. To do this, go into the Advanced settings for the video within the Video Manager. YouTube makes it simple by providing a search field — enter the address location here and click the Search button. The location is then displayed on a little popup map where you may further refine the location by dragging the pinpoint marker. Once saved, YouTube converts your location information into longitude and latitude coordinates for storage.

YouTube Location Map - Geocoding Videos

It’s grown a little unclear as to how Google uses this information at this point. In the not-too-distant past, these videos could be accessed via a layer in Google Maps, and YouTube offered an advanced option for searching for videos within an area. Both of these options are gone, but the data is still there in the background and may continue to impact whether a particular video is deemed to be more relevant for searchers according to geographic proximity. (The YouTube Trends Map displays the most popular videos on a map, but that seems to be based on the locations of the people viewing the videos.)

Contextually, other things associated with the video might also be considered more relevant for its location area as well. Google may bring this data back to the surface once more, so long as the Video Manager interface continues to collect this data from end users.

2. Link To Your Business In The Description

Include a link to your business website at the beginning of the video description. Now, these links are automatically “nofollowed” by YouTube, but there seems to be ranking value of some sort conveyed from the videos to the business’s local search ranking ability. Perhaps Google transfers keyword associations with the link, while no PageRank is transmitted — or perhaps local citation value is being conveyed, since there is no way of “nofollowing” citations.

3. Include Your NAP (Name, Address, Phone), Part I

Include your business name, address and phone number in the frames near the end of the video (and perhaps your website URL as well). Text within videos can be “read” out of the data by Google’s interpretation algorithms, based on the application of optical character recognition.

4. Include Your NAP, Part II

Actually stating your business name, address and phone in the video’s audio will be worthwhile, since this may be automatically converted into the text transcripts produced by Google’s systems.

YouTube Transcripts

Text transcripts are now automatically generated on YouTube, if the video contains recognizable speech.

5. Utilize The Description Field

Mention your address, city location and phone number in the description text. The description field in YouTube is actually very generous, so while your initial paragraph or sentences should clearly describe what the video is about, you could also include a section after that which provides a short biography about your company (and differentiators that might persuade consumers to choose you above your competition).

6. Tag Your Video

Include your business category name and your location names as tags on the video. The keyword tags have long been one of the “secret weapons” for YouTube optimization, so add in a handful of relevant tags for each video. Tags can be multi-word phrases as well as single word terms.

7. Associate The Video With Your Google Places Listing

You will need to add the video to your business listing in Google Places.

Adding YouTube in Google Places

When adding the YouTube URL in Google Places, be sure to use the full page URL and *not* the shortened YouTube URL provided for sharing — the shortened URL will not work in Google Places for unfathomable reasons.

8. Associate The Video With Your Google+ Local Page

Add the video to your Google+ Local page. Once you’ve added the video there, you and your employees can share the video on your personal Google+ streams. The numbers of shares are and indicator of popularity.

Adding videos on your Google+ Local page

9. Embed Your Video

Embed the video in your website page and/or on your blog. The number of embeds is another factor that indicates the popularity of videos.

A frequently recurring question in video optimization is whether you should host videos natively (on your website) or store them on YouTube. I have come to believe that housing the videos on YouTube is the more beneficial option. The embed code can allow your video to be displayed elsewhere, and I think having the ranking factors and integration of YouTube as a top Google property provides too many benefits to ignore.

10. Promote Your Video

Further promote the video via your social media accounts, particularly on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Google+. If you provide the video through all the various channels where you’re promoting your business, potential customers can run across it and view it.  All the various views add up to help your video in rankings. All the popularity measures may not only help the video itself to rank, but the citational value conveyed to your business may help with rankings in local search results as well.

Bonus Tip: if you’ve got more than one video, it’s worthwhile to optimize your YouTube channel with a description, link to your website, and links to a few of your main social media profiles.

Google likes videos because people like videos. This has given videos fairly good influence in search. Using these tips to optimize your video content may provide you with a very strong tool for augmenting your local search rankings!

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Local | Local Search Column | SEO: Local


About The Author: is President of Argent Media, and serves on advisory boards for Universal Business Listing and FindLaw. Follow him @si1very on Twitter.

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  • http://www.frogmo.com/ Jereme Thomas

    Good tips. I see more and more people and business leveraging YouTube these day but not very many of them are optimizing the videos to gain the most attention and traffic.

  • Coherent Media

    While your SEO tips are spot on, companies should ensure video quality standards are not amateurish. Just because something can be shot on a phone doesn’t mean it should. Poor video production standards can backfire on company marketing objectives. The implicit message is if this is the company’s approach to quality in their communications, that’s their approach to quality in the products or services they offer. Quality materially affects perceptions and positioning. If a company is going to produce video, do it properly and make sure it matches the quality standards of the company.

  • healthytimes

    Amen to that. Someone told personal injury lawyers how to do this and they ran with it creating the most god-awful stream of drivel…but it ranks

  • Ashwin Ramesh

    What we’re missing here is the fact that local businesses do not have the bandwidth or the time to sit and create information videos. Moreover, they perceive that these videos drive business away from them.

    I was talking to a local plumber that works with me about creating a series of “how to” informational videos; he never warmed up to the concept and his response was — “But, I don’t want them to do it themselves, I want them to pay ME to do it”.

  • Chris Silver Smith

    Do-it-yourselfers aren’t likely to become clients, but the popularity of the video can help promote the business in local search results for the qualified leads. The same is true for blogging in many cases. If a company publishes some content that’s more interesting and popular than the content of their competitors, that popularity gets associated with their business when search engines determine who should appear first.

    The activity boils down to a form of advertising. If they wish to rank well, it’s going to either cost some effort or they need to pay someone else to assist them. But, videos don’t need to be difficult — it’s possible to do a good job with relatively little muss or fuss these days.

  • http://localsearchforum.catalystemarketing.com/ Linda Buquet

    Ashwin, re: how to videos…

    I can watch a video about web design or car tune-ups. Does not mean I’m going to do it myself. Many folks are not going to take the time and will still hire a pro. BUT your client can prove in the video how much they know about the problem.

    But if a client has that type of concern I’d tweak the subject slightly. Instead of how to, think along the lines of “Most common reasons your XYZ leaks” or “10 ways avoid problems with your XYZ” “How to re-cover from water damage after a leak” or whatever. So focused more about problems and general solutions as opposed to “how to”.

  • Andrew Shotland

    Ashwin, per Linda & Chris’s response, i often say to potential clients – you can watch a video to learn how to switch out a toilet, but wouldn’t you rather get a professional to do it for you?

  • http://www.eyewebmaster.com Rosendo A. Cuyasen

    Informative tips. Yes we’re planning to create a video for our outsourcing web services and we believe through video this can be more beneficial to us. Looking forward to create a good video and apply your tips here. Many thanks.

  • Jason Messina

    I used many of these tips successfully on my channel (optimacyllc). You can check out our channel for sample description model.

    However, I think the article left out some important points.

    1. Choosing the right vidcap is essential – no matter what location people are searching for, they will be led to the most attractive vidcap.
    2. Enable comments – it’s a big mistake I made until recently
    3. You can enter in the transcript for CC and include your location instead of relying on optical recognition of video frames.

  • http://chrisdesrochers.org/ Chris Desrochers

    Chris – How about keywords in the video title? Have you seen any benefit trying to rank for local generic keywords using a YouTube title? For example: “About Dr. Clog – A Dallas Plumber”.

  • http://www.ottingerlaw.com/ Robert Ottinger

    Great article Chris. One concern about putting Youtube videos on a website is that it takes visitors off your site to Youtube. Isn’t it better to use a service like Wistia for videos on your site so the users stay on your site?

  • Beverly Mapes

    Great tips Chris. I’d forgotten about including NAP in the video’s description. A question on that though, what NAP strategy should one use if a retail store has three locations?

  • Beverly Mapes

    Great tips Chris. I’d forgotten about including NAP in the video’s description. A question on that though, what NAP strategy should one use if a retail store has three locations?

  • http://www.afixi.com/ Jyoti Nayak

    @chrissilversmith:disqus, Really very informative.
    Truly some parts are really useful like “Associate The Video With Your Google Places Listing” & “Associate The Video With Your Google+ Local Page”.
    Very helpful tips for me & going to implement on this asap.

  • Pankaj jain

    Nice information about how to promote a you tube video.Thanks for sharing

  • Morgan Akchehirlian

    I totally agree with your point of hosting your videos on youtube but why to embed code on site?
    How this point plays a role in Local SEO ranking?

  • Navjot Singh

    Great tips from YouTube video promotion point of view. Just one query why to embed YouTube video in a website??

    We can upload videos direct into our website, optimize a page/ video there also and promote that video page.

  • Navjot Singh

    Great tips from YouTube video promotion point of view. Just one query why to embed YouTube video in a website??

    We can upload videos direct into our website, optimize a page/ video there also and promote that video page.

  • Navjot Singh

    That’s a valid query. Why to move your website visitors to another external site when you can add video on your site?

    Better is to add video on YouTube with a link referring to your site.

  • J.S. Gray

    Basic Marketing 101

    Identify the pain they’re in, and make sure the solution involves hiring you.

  • J.S. Gray

    Many times people want to know YOU are the expert, if they don’t see it, then they’ll move on to someone who will.

    The trick is to show them that you are without showing the 3-4 things they need to complete the whole project.

    Make the “Call Me” hook the cure for the incomplete information.

    Its marketing 101…

  • Nicky Helmkamp

    Hey Chris – we loved your article and included it in our resource roundup! http://www.aseohosting.com/blog/2013/10/seo-content-marketing-and-social-media-the-best-of-september-2013/ Cheers!

  • RatatoskMalice

    why the hell would you try to convince a local business to make “how to” videos, thats just idiotic. Your plumber friend was smart to say no. Jesus kid, you want to convince him to make videos about his company to inform people about his services, not how to do it themselves. Also tell him about the aspects of ranking local seo and his website with youtube. Videos are loved by local businesses and they already know it will drive them more business, well…not if your making how to videos….why…why would you even think to recommend that is beyond me. If I was a local business that hired you and you recommended that I would FIRE you immediately and bring on someone that actually knows what they are doing. Also why the hell would a local business need any bandwidth? That doesnt make any sense! You’re doing it wrong! I really hope companies arnt paying you to help them because obviously you don’t know what you’re doing at all. Go home Ashwin You’re Drunk!

  • Jasmine Kaloudis

    LOVE these tips…. I just went though client videos and implemented them. One thing that wasn’t mentioned was the title of the video…. shouldn’t it be KW rich? Also the actual file name of the video ( before the mov file gets uploaded) I love youtube – both personally (for entertainment value) and I’ve learned so many health and medical things on there too . Also not mentioned…. when a prospective client calls about a product or service, offer to email them a youtube video… helps ALOT with conversions.

  • http://www.thelightwurx.com/ Benjamin Dara

    Thank you Chris, as we have begun implementing some of the aforementioned things in this post. It’s crazy/cool what SEO has become/is becoming.

  • Jimmy

    Great tips,

    What I wanted to share with you guys is one strange effect, I recently found after the last Google updates.The example is with Youtube optimization, which it is similar to normal SEO.Here is the video that I was working for:


    I was trying to optimize it for words “paid surveys” and “surveys for money”.And I started to link it with these keywords.If you type these words into Youtube, you will see that my video is on third page.What I notices is that my video ranks on the top positions of the word “surveys”, which is much more competitive, and I have never got any links with this anchor text.That makes me believe that Google probably have penalized me for overdoing with this anchor and probably now we have to lower our keywords in our backlinks.What do you think?

  • golfnerd

    This can work both ways. A video that is obviously professionally produced is regarded with a lot more skepticism an often viewed as “not real”. The trick is to find the right balance and that will depend on your market niche.

  • golfnerd

    This can work both ways. A video that is obviously professionally produced is regarded with a lot more skepticism an often viewed as “not real”. The trick is to find the right balance and that will depend on your market niche.

  • http://makewebworld.com/ Sanjeev Mohindra

    Good tips, YouTube also has an option to add captions. It is also a good place to do some sep work, also it goes without saying that we need to use that keywords in the video also…


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