You can optimize your YouTube channel just like your website, blog and social media profiles. YouTube optimization is important because it helps you gain more customers and improve return on investment, like all SEO. While the goal of optimizing YouTube might be the same there are some very different strategies for YouTube Channel SEO Tips.
If you don’t yet have a YouTube channel, you should get one, whether your company deals in travel, real estate or another industry. It’s best that you first ready up the YouTube SEO tips we’ll give you in just a minute, so you can easily and efficiently coordinate set up and optimization. If you already have a YouTube channel, you’ll want to optimize it according to the following tips.
There are a variety of tactics to employ, which will vary slightly based on your product or service, and you related goals. However, the tips we’ll talk about are pretty universal and will apply to you in some way or form, no matter your type of company or niche.
Because Galileo Tech Media works primarily with multi-location brands, our tips will speak mostly in terms of optimization for a single location and then you can follow the guide again to set up your YouTube channel for other locations.
Let’s call our example business “Punk Lobster” (a fictitious punk clothing store in NYC), and let’s get to discussing our 9 YouTube SEO tips to implement today.
Choose an Optimal YouTube Channel Name
In short, good SEO is good branding. Back in the early days of search engine optimization, you might have chosen to create a YouTube channel name that was keyword dense, such as “Punk Clothing NYC.” However, in 2017, keyword-dense channel names are not ideal.
Google wants to share legitimate brands offering genuine and useful content, and it’s quite good at finding these businesses based on real value, not stuffed keywords. In fact, old-school tricks like using generic keyword dense names are suspect and they should be avoided. They’ll likely get you penalized by the search engine giant.
To illustrate this, visit YouTube and browse any of the main categories off the homepage. You’ll see that in all categories, all of the top channels are either a brand name or a person’s name, which is actually a brand in and of itself.
So, based on the objectives we mentioned prior, name your YouTube channel the same as your business name. In the event your ideal name is taken, you could make a variation by adding Inc., Company, LLC or something else applicable. You might also choose to add a geo location if appropriate. For instance, let’s assume our business, “Punk Lobster NYC,” is already taken. We could try a variation like “PunkLobsterLLC” or “OfficalPunkLobster.” You get the idea.
Populate Your YouTube Channel Profile.
Once you’ve set up your basic YouTube account and channel, ideally before you upload your first video, it’s important to populate all the basic data fields. You can access the page for editing via the Edit Links function on the Cover Image. Optimize the following:
- Profile Image/Avatar – Adding an Avatar is good for SEO because it increases the aesthetic value of your channel, which results in a better user experience. When you create a better user experience, you increase engagement. Increased engagement is good SEO.
(You can edit the Profile Image/Avatar through the View Channel control panel. Just hover over the image and click the pencil icon).
- Cover Image – Your Cover Image should be 2560×1440 pixels, and it’s added for the same reason you add your Profile Image: it’s good SEO (it increases user engagement)
- Links – Integrating Links into your channel profile is good SEO for a plain and simple reason. You’re adding links from your YouTube channel directly to your other official brand links. This is the perfect example of super-low hanging fruit in the “link popularity” aspect of search engine optimization. In short, it’s a no brainer (Be sure to add your parent website and your prime social profiles, or any other important website related to your brand).
- About Us – The About US section is the channel description field. You can add up to 1000 characters. Here, you may want to use some keywords, but be natural and don’t over do it.
Consider this example of “About US” section optimization:
“Punk clothing from the crib to the grave! Subscribe to our channel to get tons of cool punk fashion advice and “how to” videos, such as: How to make your liberty spikes glow in the dark, How to pierce your nose with a bobby pin, How to trash your hotel room like Sid Vicious, etc. We also carry loads of t-shirts, flannels, leathers, Doc Martins, wristbands, skull necklaces, razor blade jewelry, and everything your little punk heart could want. Need something custom? We do that too. Got a question about what it means to be punk? How to be punk? Leave a comment in any of our videos or visit our website at https://www.punklobster.com.”
*NOTE: Google has been mucking around with YouTube channel functionality and layout. If you can’t easily get to the appropriate area to edit your “About Us,” follow this path: LogIn to YouTube > Creator Studio > View Channel > Edit Links > Switch to OLD YouTube.
Notice the use of https in the domain name. As of October 2017, Google is forcing all websites with forms of any type to be secure (https). Eventually, Google will require all websites to have an SSL.
- Add Country – In the Country field, select the country where your business is located. Since we’re optimizing a geo-local retail outlet in NYC, we chose United States. Doing this helps Google associate your channel with the correct country. Seems obvious, right? It is, but remember SEO is about many little details. Companies often forget to care about the important little details. Combined, optimization of these details helps you beat the competition in the search results and gain new clients.
- Add Email – Adding your email address helps with SEO by increasing potential for “engagement” with your channel. Engagement is a key factor on YouTube and relating to SEO in general. The more people who interact with your content, the better, even if this means they need to fill out a captcha to get your email address. That extra “time on site” counts. When you add your email, make sure you also have some strong spam filters on your server. Remember, it’s good customer service to provide an email address so clients can reach out to you. The end goal of SEO is to increase your client base. So, give potential customers as many opportunities as possible to reach you.
Create a Custom YouTube Channel Trailer
YouTube has 2 functions on the HOME tab of a channel. New Visitor view and Returning Visitor view. For the New Visitor view, it’s ideal to create a custom Channel Trailer video. A custom trailer video done right gives an overview of your brand, services and products. It provides your channel with more content, which is always good for SEO, and it encourages people to subscribe to your channel.
The number of ACTIVE subscribers you have is part of the bigger YouTube SEO algorithm. The more active subscribers your channel has, the better the ranking in YouTube as well as the in the SERPs.
Even if you don’t have any video yet, you can edit the Playlist channel. Here, we recommend you create keyword-dense lists. For example, “Punk clothing” should be in your keyword-dense list for this page if you were our fictitious business. Add a description that also reference the targeted keywords, but that does so in a natural, grammatically correct way. Take your time with this.
Think about what your long-term SEO goals are, what videos you intend to make and what you want to say. Be sure you reference your keyword research charts/ goals and proceed accordingly. In the Playlist Description field, you have up to 5000 characters to play with.
You can have multiple playlists, and you can add your own videos as well as others to multiple playlists. For example, let’s say you have a video about how to dye your hair blue and you sell a particular kind of blue hair dye. In this case, the “How to dye your hair blue” video might go into a couple different playlists, such as “How to be punk” and “Hair dye.” Additionally, in the hair dye playlist, you might want to link to a manufacturer’s video or another cool video you find on YouTube, perhaps one that talks about hair coloring or punks with cool hair.
Verify Your YouTube Account
To verify your YouTube account, you’ll need a valid phone number. Go to Creator Studio > Channel > Status. You’ll see the option to VERIFY. Click that link. A new window opens, and once there, you’ll have 2 options: Call me with an automated voice message or Text me the verification code. Choose the one you want and proceed accordingly. The whole process takes about 3 minutes. How does this help with SEO? We’ll start by letting Google answer that question.
“We take spam and abuse very seriously. Using phones to verify identity is one way to protect our community and combat abuse.”
YouTube uses the phone number you enter to send you a verification code, and to check that the phone number is not being used on a large number of accounts.
Galileo Tech Media finds that our clients with verified YouTube channels see better rankings than business with channels that aren’t verified. It stands to reason that if Google offers a verification function, and knows you’re a REAL person behind a real company (because you have a phone number and you are playing by their recommend rules), you’ll enjoy a better standing in the eyes of the search engine king.
Keep in mind though, spammers get penalized and ultimately banned, even if they have a verified account. In short. Don’t spam and DO verify your account.
Add Channel Keywords:
Populate the Channel Keywords in Login > Creator Studio > Channel > Advanced. We’ve never found that there’s any limit to the number of keywords you can populate. However, GOOGLE HATES SPAMMERS. So, we limit the number of keywords to 5 or 7, maximum. If you don’t spam, you’ll help your SEO, as Google then associates your channel with specific topics of value, along with many other factors, of course.
Connect your Google Analytics Account
To connect your Google Analytics account to your YouTube channel, follow this path: Login > Creator Studio > Channel > Advanced, add Google Analytics ID. Presumably, you’ve connected your Google Analytics account with your Google Search Console account. If not, be sure to do that as well.
How does this help SEO? Though this is not a public “backlink,” what it does do is tell Google that your YouTube channel is associated with a 3rd party website and Google Search Console. It gives you a big overall official branded network, which is good branding and good SEO.
Allow Other Channel Recommendations
Follow the path LogIn > Channels > Advanced > to allow your channel to be included in other channel recommendations. This helps with your SEO, as it may garner you some relevant traffic through other YouTube channels. Number of visits/views/time watched/subscribers is part of the Google YouTube SEO and SERP algorithm.
Allowing other YouTube channels to recommend your channel helps in all of these mentioned areas. Especially if the other channel is a big, established channel with millions of followers. Their recommendation of you is, in effect, a backlink within the YouTube universe as well as a citation. This factors into the Google YouTube and SERP algorithms.
Optimize YouTube Video Default Settings
When you post a video, there are a variety of options that you can preset. The most important items to set as defaults are:
- Location (Whether or not a geo location is relevant to your target audience, it’s still a good idea to include it. Google provides the option to specify, so you might as well).
Now, let’s clarify YouTube SEO with some examples. In general, when writing a YouTube title, you’ll want to at least include the brand name and you should add a geo location. So, referring to the “How to dye hair blue” video, we would want to title it “How to dye hair blue – Punk Lobster NYC”. (You have up to 100 characters to play with, but note that search results will clip it to 70.) The default title setting you would enter is “- Punk Lobster NYC” . Using the same idea, you should write a default description such as follows.
Punk Lobster NYC sells punk clothing and accessories from the crib to the grave. Check out our website https://www.punklobster.com and be sure to like this video and subscribe to our channel for all the latest, greatest news from Punk Lobster.
#punklobster #punkclothing #NYCpunk”
When we post a new video, we would write a specific description ABOVE the — in the default description copy. We might also slightly modify the default copy, just to make it unique. Unique copy (text) is very important to SEO.
NOTE: Did you notice we used hashtags (#) as part of our default description? The use of hashtags is different than the tags field in the default settings. The tags field should also be populated with some content. Typically we use the same keywords, but without the hashtags. Though we might use variants. For example, in the tag field of default settings we might populate it with the following:
- Punk Lobster
- Punk clothing
- NYC punk
- Manhattan punk
- Punk fashion
Update your default description and tags every 10-20 videos, just to keep things fresh, is good SEO.
The other items to set defaults for include language and location as appropriate. In the case of Punk Lobster NYC, we would set the language to English and the location to the specific location of the retail location/office, as that’s where we make all videos. Of course, if the specific video happens to be about an outside event at a remote location, we would definitely set the location to the specific event location.
This is one way to gain some hyper-local SEO traffic without having a permanent address at a remote location. For example, if our fictitious company did a fashion show in Los Angeles (even though we’re a New York company) and we made a video for the specific LA event, we would modify the default settings for location to the exact location of the West Coast event. We would also modify the hashtags and the YouTube tags to be relevant to the specific location.
Defaults for specific videos are pre-populated when you post a new video. YouTube allows editing of the default data at the individual video level, at the time of posting or any time after that. Using the default settings helps assure that your basic YouTube optimization is completed on every video you post. Of course, if you already have a channel with a bunch of videos, be sure to go back and optimize each video.
If you take the time to follow the 9 tips above, you should see an increase in organic traffic for your videos in YouTube, as well as in the SERPs. For more YouTube SEO tips, and help with other SEO strategies, contact Galileo Tech Media.
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Article and voiceover: Michael Zittel
YouTube video production: Galileo Tech Media
Custom Graphics: Galileo Tech Media
Other graphics: Rocker by Clem Onojeghuo: https://www.pexels.com/photo/adult-amplifier-band-bass-guitar-375893/. Woman Stare by Valeria Boltneva (Adapted for graphic) : https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-wearing-black-mascara-and-red-lipstick-165579/
Music: Urbana-Metronica (wooh-yeah mix) by spinningmerkaba (c) copyright 2011 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.
http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/jlbrock44/33345 Ft: Morusque, Jeris, CSoul, Alex Beroza