Last week, we took a look at how to optimize your Facebook (with a little help from Mari Smith) and Twitter posts for search and social sharing. Now let’s take a look at the social network that’s grown into the Web’s second largest search engine: YouTube.
Remember the skit “Wayne’s World” from Saturday Night Live? That’s kind of how YouTube was when it first got rolling: Any idiot with a camera could create and star in his or her very own show … and many idiots did.
Fast forward to 2011 and YouTube is serious business, literally. Even conservative B2B companies like Caterpillar and Dow Chemical are getting on board and turning YouTube viewers into revenue-generating customers.
The good news is, anyone can do it. The bad news is, anyone can do it—and many, many thousands of “anyones” do.
But the additional good news is, once you know the secrets to getting found and getting shared, you’re much more likely to rise above the riffraff and get your message out to your chosen target audience loud and clear.
1. Be clear and use keywords in your title and description
Save the clever wink-wink headlines for your creative writing classes and just come out and tell the nice people what they can expect to see in your happy little vid. There’s no quicker way to tick off viewers than to give them something totally different from what they thought they were getting. And remember to use those SEO keywords whenever possible.
2. Start the description with your website URL
Yes, YouTube’s very nice, but it’s not an end in itself. In the end, you want to drive people to an interaction with your business, which usually begins at your website. You want to make it super-easy for the viewers who like your video to find you so that your relationship can progress … and the easiest way to do that is to begin your video’s description with your website URL.
Two important things to remember here:
- Place the URL at the beginning of the description to make sure it’s seen.
- Include “http://” at the beginning of the address; otherwise it won’t be clickable.
3. Use tagging
Unlike blog posts, articles, and other pieces of text, a search engine can’t peek behind the thumbnail of your video and guess what it’s about. You have to spell it out, and one way to do that (besides an effective title and description) is through tags. You tag a video the same way you tag a blog post or any other piece of sharable content, and it works much the same way … only in video it’s a bit more vital since you don’t have body copy to fall back on.
So those are my best practices for making your YouTube videos search- and share-worthy … what are yours? Let us know in the comments—we’d love to hear from you!