Essential YouTube Optimization Tactics

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During the YouTube: Optimization Tips For The Second Most-Popular Search Engine session at SMX East we were treated to smorgasbord of tips, tricks and sound advice for marketers wanting their video marketing to leap-frog the competition.

Manny Rivas, Online Advertising Director at aimClear got us all excited by saying “B2B can be sexy” and started his talk by giving us a pep talk in digital storytelling, explaining that successful video online is all about the narrative and that it’s the story that keeps it sexy, not necessarily the product.

How do you measure success with online video? Well, think about the purpose of your video; what is it for? Is the campaign integrated with all your other marketing efforts (something we heard a lot yesterday) and have you established goals and KPIs?

YouTube Marketing Tips

YouTube Marketing Tips Session

Your obligation is to entertain, engage, inform and empower your viewers, Manny suggested as part of a list of optimization steps that included making great content, targeting your audience, making sure you have a connected user-base, being discoverable and allowing a little budget to seed engagement through some of the paid tools Google has to encourage viewing on YouTube.

For content, he suggested they fall into these kind of categories: thought leadership, tutorials and how-to, infographics, branded yet catchy and thematic series. He also evangelized doing lots of competitor analyses and mining comments for ideas and what people like and don’t like.

Purna Virji, Senior Marketing Manager at Stroll, gave an excellent presentation on how to build a solid infrastructure for your YouTube presence:

  • Make sure your channel name is short and memorable
  • Note your channel icon can appear as different sizes, so avoid text and ensure it’s a high-resolution image you upload
  • Think about your video titles like you do your email subject line: what’s going to make someone click on it?
  • Have your branding at the end of the title and core keywords towards the start
  • Test and optimize your video title like you would a PPC ad
  • Add tags that are descriptive but not misleading
  • The first few sentences of the description really count, plus you can add links to it too
  • Think of your video thumbnail as a calling card. Make sure it is visually compelling to increase CTR

Your strategy should follow the 60% entertaining, 30% inspiring and 10% branding rule, so ensure you’re uploading videos regularly, creating playlists, embedding strategic calls-to-action, and that you’re taking a community approach with timely responses and engagement with your audience.

Measurement was touched on by Purna, too. You can connect your YouTube channel to your Google Analytics package, but make sure you “add a new account” or it won’t report separately. What helps inform your optimization is knowing who your users are, so use all the reports to understand their demographics, needs and desires. Where are users finding your videos? Look at your traffic sources. How much are you engaging users? Check out comments etc. Lower retention rates mean you’re less likely to end up in search results. Try to figure out why are people subscribing. Which videos do they like? How are annotations performing?

All this information can be found in your analytics, so use it to optimize what you have and inform your content strategy going forward.

Mat Siltala, President of Avalaunch Media, listed the 6 signals Google uses to determine which videos get visibility in YouTube.

  • Likes and dislikes – so make sure your content stimulates that kind of reaction
  • Comments and likes/dislikes in comments – so try and get people debating
  • Complete views of the video – which is why he suggests not having videos that are longer than 2 minutes
  • Shares
  • Video replies – echoing Purna’s advice on community engagement
  • Subscribers – so use every tool possible to encourage new viewers to subscribe

Mat also gave some local tips, suggesting many businesses fail to give out their address and telephone number in videos which can be a huge miss if their video creates a need for their service.

My big three takeaways from this colorful and engaging session were:

  • Sometimes we overthink creating content and are too afraid to dive in
  • Once you have dived in, use all the analytics resources you can to learn from reaction to yours and your competitors’ content
  • Think long and hard about your title: it’s very important for discoverability and not just a label

Well done to all three speakers. The audience left with some really solid actionable insights ringing in their ears!

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

Related Topics: Channel: Other | Google: YouTube & Video | SEM Industry: Search Marketing Expo - SMX


About The Author: is founder of Delightful Communications -- a Social Media, Digital PR and Personal Branding Consultancy. Former Microsoft Digital Evangelist and Author of Pioneers of Digital living in Seattle when not traveling the world speaking at conferences!

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  • Chuck Reynolds

    so nothing has changed then :)


    It has to be hard to find good ideas from YouTube videos when YouTube is bombed with negative trolling!

  • Mel Carson

    Maybe not for you Chuck, but remember SMX is about learning and many of the people at the event were new to internet marketing or novices and the response to this session was very positive.

  • Mel Carson

    Manny showed some great examples of how to mine comments to get past the trolls and into the meat. Hopefully the SMX guys will post the presentations soon so you can see his tips.


    Cool! I look forward to it!

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