Optimising your Youtube video submissions for maximum organic traction

by Peter Young on May 11, 2010 · 5 comments

I do a lot of work with F1 Commentator James Allen, something which has allowed me to enhance my skills across a number of avenues I would not easily have access to. In particular social media has played an increasingly growing part in that strategy, not least Youtube. We have done a number of recent videos including

First flying lap of Silverstone with Martin Brundle – courtesy of James Allen
Launched: 29th April 2010
Views: 100000+

Organic traction has played an important part in driving traffic to these videos without having to rely on the paid means to drive traffic to the video and secondarily to the site itself.

1) Dont just do videos for the sake of it
This is a conundrum often associated with other factors such as SEO but its just as true with video optimisation. Rather make a couple of really good videos a month, than 10 or 15 videos of limited quality. A clear message and target audience is crucial for video success and videos created just for the sake of it are often easily spotted and usually not very successful in terms of online pickup.

2) Optimise with targeting in mind
Taking the point above, each video should have a clear focus. You wouldn’t optimise a page without knowing what keywords you are optimising it for, so why would you optimise a video any different. Before you start make sure you have a clear idea of what may drive traffic to the site, and build your campaign accordingly.

3) Think of users and pickup
Its all well and good optimising your video so that it has a great chance of automated pickup via the results – however one has to consider how potential browsers are likely to find the video. Issues such as the title and description need to be crafted to attract clickthrough – particularly the title.

Try and include your target keyword in this title where applicable and further in the description if this is feasible. Further to this try and embed your URL into the description and if possible on the video in some format. This should tie in any external seeding or access via Youtube – back with the website (using the video above – you will notice reference to both Santander and James Allen’s F1 site in the top right corner – which create a subtle but effective reference back to the source sites.

However at all times bear in mind who is going to be looking at this….

4) Don’t forget your keywords
As with any other aspect of search, keywords are crucial. I have already highlighted the importance of including keywords in the title and description however one should not forget integrating these into other areas as well, such as the tags. Don’t restrict yourself to one or two – ensure you reference any keywords which are relevant to this as well. Think long tail – go mad but don’t, don’t, don’t just include the one or two….

5) Don’t keep it to yourself
One of the most important aspects I have often found with video optimisation is to ensure we don’t merely rely on organic Youtube traffic to drive traffic to the video. To do so is incredibly naive.

One of the most effective ways of driving credibility to the site is to embed your video in your website, or other peoples website, or press releases, infact consider sources that are going to drive eyeballs. For James Allen we embed the videos on video specific posts – which are subsequently often picked up by a number of other third parties.

All these views count – and it should subsequently be noted this helps organic traction in Youtube, which can subsequently feed organic traction in the mainstream search results – all of which drive traffic to your video….

6) From small seeds, big trees do grow
Social media is a wonderful way of spreading awareness of your videos. Take for example the recent IPad Blendtec video. Whilst much of the success of recent Blendtec videos is down to the initial successes of earlier incarnations there was a real buzz when Blendtec released the latest variant to ‘celebrate’ the launch of the ipad particularly on social media sites such as Twitter.

However there are more ‘straight to market options out there, budget permitting you may want to look at:

  • Homepage takeovers
  • Promoted Videos
  • Branded pages

Further to that services such as TubeMogul can significantly open up your online distribution. We were however focussing on organic traction so I would suggest particularly the homepage takeovers and promoted videos really anything thats likely to help raise awareness of your video to the wider public

7) Test, Learn Refine

Rome wasn’t built in a day, most people learn their trade by testing, learning, and refining their strategies based on what they have learnt. That process happens over and over again, each time ,something new tested, more lessons learned and strategies further tweaked and refined.

It should be noted like that of SEO – is that video optimisation is also a case of ticking boxes. Think of your keywords, think of your content, and think about how you are going to promote it. By doing that you have already won half the battle

Google+ Comments

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Dan Alderson May 12, 2010 at 9:14 am

I do agree with the points you have made Pete, but it must be noted that for the 2 example video’s, they both can get many views very quickly because of the “brand” that both Blendtec and James Allen have.

For smaller companies or those which are only just starting out on YouTube, another optimisation technique is to choose a good, clear preview picture and optmise the keywords/tags so “your” video appears in the relevant video section of other relevant, highly viewed videos.

Peter Young May 12, 2010 at 9:36 am

Agree with your points re the power of the two examples used – howevever Youtube is littered with videos out there where people simply haven’t done the basics ie.
- Not considered what keywords the video is in context of and what users amy search for
- Not thought of promoting their videos so that people can find it. More views = more visibility – its not a dificult equation
- Agreed with keywords point – its up there above

I think many people underestimate the work required to optimise your video and simply uploading the video no matter what is enough – and that is unfortunately the exeption rather than the norm

Dan Alderson May 12, 2010 at 3:25 pm

YouTube makes it very very easy for (almost) anyone to upload a video, and yes many aren’t optimised but the same could be said about many websites, people may know the basics on how to build a site but don’t know how to optimise one, although that is a good thing for us! If everyone knew we would be out of a job!

Terry Van Horne (SEO Training Dojo) May 12, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Excellent piece Pete! I disagree with the post above “brand” is a small part of the whole thing. Figure out what the audience wants and give it to them! In your case, who doesn’t want to get the feel behind them wheel of an F1!

I have worked on a YouTube page where all they sold were brands. Those they let the brand add were the least liked because “brands” fall over themselves trying to pitch their shite while we did more how to’s which over 3 years have generated over 14M views. Has seen their site able to turn PPC off and definite conversion improvement.

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