YouTube for SEO: Best Practices

youtube icon PNGYouTube is not just a great place to post interesting videos, it’s also a great way to tap into some serious search engine results.  If you didn’t know it already take note of this:  YouTube is owned by Google and search engine rankings lean heavily in the direction of YouTube’s video content. Is the deck stacked?  Who cares?!  You need to be on YouTube and you need to do it right. If you’re serious about getting traction from organic SEO then take these best practices to heart and start uploading your content.

1. Fill in all the Channel information available:  About Me, Website, etc…

2. Brand your channel from a design perspective to be inviting and clean.

3. You can rearrange most of the boxes such as “comments” and “subscribers.”  Move them to where they look best or eliminate unnecessary ones.

4. At the top of the page above your channel select “Settings” and fill in all the tag and URL areas.

5. Make sure your videos have specific titles like “How To Fix A Lawnmower” and not “”

6. Use relevant keywords in the titles of your videos.  So don’t make a video called “yucky mess,” title it, “What A Mess: How to Change Your Lawnmower Oil”

7. Remember that a large portion of Youtube searches start with “How to…” Make sure you bear that in mind as you create your content and title your videos.

8. Fill out ALL the meta data for your videos. Write a precise and readable summary paragraph, use as many tags and keywords as you can think of and always insert a link to your website in the paragraph body.  NEVER LEAVE THE PARAGRAPH OR TAG AREAS BLANK.

9. Create playlists from your videos.  They’ll show up in search results just like another video.  Double the search results with no extra work.

10. Choose a video to be featured on your home page and set it to “auto play” so that every channel visit will also equal a view on that video.

11. Subscribe to everyone who subscribes to you.

12. Allow video responses automatically to your videos. It will create a direct link to your video from other videos.

13. Occasionally send direct messages with a link to one of your videos to other channels that have a large audience.  Ask for a shout-out or promotion.

14. Use the “post bulletin” feature whenever you upload a new video or have news. It sends a direct inbox message to all your subscribers.

youtube best practices for SEO

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Project Spotlight: isiFederal

isifederal logoisiFederal is a consulting and research firm that helps businesses win federal contract and bids. The Munich Group helped isiFederal develop and launch a social media strategy including Search Engine Optimization, video content and customer engagement tactics. The Munich Group helped re-launch the isiFederal website, set up a content development plan and target specific search engine goals. We created videos on the following topics: Government Contract Trends for 2011, GSA Schedule Secrets, Would You Rather Bid Against 4 or 50 Competitors? And more.  See a video from their video blog HERE.

Project: Cardiac Care and Safety, Inc.

CCSI LogoCardiac Care & Safety is a training and supply company based in Pennsylvania that helps companies and organizations get trained and up to date with the latest first aid products and standards. With clients such as Tastycake, The Goddard School and The Salvation Army, CCSI needed a branding and content approach that would help promote their presence across the board. CCSI approached The Munich Group for a total re-brand, website re-design and social media launch.

We developed a logo and branding scheme featuring specific medical/first aid visual cues that would create an immediate entry point for health care professionals, organizations and companies interested in CPR training. Once the fresh branding scheme was complete we re-launched the website with a similar look and feel with a full build out of features such as: home page slideshow, blog, social media components and video. Parallel to the site we researched, launched, branded and SEO’d a standard social media channel launch. We tied the pieces together and pulled everything back to the website. We also equipped CCSI to take over their content development by using a Flip camera and shooting client testimonials for YouTube. They’re off and running now and even have a special CPR video demonstration by the Philly Phanatic.  Here are a few words from CCSI President, Jim Spaulding:

“When we began working with The Munich Group we had virtually no web presence and very little branding. In a very short time they designed a great looking logo that we’ve been using for multiple marketing campaigns with great success. They also designed a very professional website that I am extremely pleased with. In addition to the website they initiated all of my social media so I can communicate more efficiently and market direct to new prospects. I would highly recommend The Munich Group.”

Take a look at their website, logo and social media build out HERE.

cardiac care and safety inc website

Project Showcase: Boy Scouts of America

boy scouts of america logoThe Boy Scouts of America recently celebrated their 100th year anniversary and has been taking advantage of the moment to renew their vision, focus direction and generate excitement about the ongoing value that the Boy Scouts provides. The Munich Group has been working with the Baltimore Area Council of the BSA to maximize social media impact, leverage excitement into their communications and develop a series of high-impact social media videos for use in donor relations and giving. We captured various interviews and footage from the annual celebration gala at the National Aquarium and transformed these short pieces into testimonial content for the BSA YouTube channel.

This was a fun project and labor of love for us because CEO, Jon Barnes, is an Eagle Scout and is always eager to reconnect with scouting related opportunities.  Secondly, the event was held at one of the coolest sites in Baltimore, The National Aquarium, which provided a unique back drop for filming. Below is one of the videos, this one featuring the Ellwein family and their story of how scouting has impacted their lives.

It’s All About The Next Step

paper piles rubber band stacked

Success with your digital or print materials comes down to knowing beforehand what you want your audience to do.

Most businesses have a plethora of marketing and communications materials out there.  Chances are that your business has a website, a couple social media channels, printed promo packs, trade show handouts, trade show displays/booths, some video content, business cards, brochures and an office of some sort.  It’s a lot of words and images all rolled up into individual assets that you hope will lead someone down the path from not knowing about you to becoming a client. But here’s the thing. A lot of these materials will not be effective for 2 reasons:

1.  They were all created in isolation from each other with no deliberate complimentary components from one piece to another.

2.  They were not created in context (where will it be, who will see it) and therefore do not lead the viewer to a deliberate and clear next step.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these.  All of your communications components fit into an inter-related web with varying degrees of overlap and interconnectivity.  Your website, brochures, print ads and business cards will all relate to and be seen with the other at some point. So you have to factor this in as you design your materials.  The questions to ask are:

  • Where will someone pick up this material?
  • Will they pick it up alone or will there be other things to take as well?
  • Will they be taking these materials without the parallel experience of personal contact or with it?
  • Will they be getting these materials in the mail, at an event or direct from my staff?
  • How does the online component complement or enhance each piece of hardcopy?

The answers to these questions won’t matter if you design your materials in isolation from one another but if you’re taking into account all these factors and all the materials you have then it will make a big difference in your success rate.  To convert a bystander to a client normally takes multiple exposures, multiple approaches and a clear next step.  The more you can do to make your materials complement each other the better success you will have.  Now let’s walk through the “next step” component.

What Do You Want Me To Do?

Every potential client you have is asking this question in their minds as they’re reading your material, “What do you want me to do?”  For every piece of printed or digital communication you have you should know exactly what you want the viewer to do after viewing it.  For example, a potential client picks up one of your brochures at a networking event.  What do you want them to do after reading it?  Seriously, do you know?  It’s amazing how much business communication is not done with the end in mind but is created because, darn it, that’s just what businesses do.  Know what you want your materials to do.  And no cheating.  This is not a good next step for all your materials; “I want everyone who reads this to become my client.”  That’s too broad and it doesn’t make any sense. Get specific.  Here are some good examples of next steps for printed and digital assets:

  • I want the viewer to go to my website and download the free resource pack immediately
  • I want the viewer to watch my promo video on youtube immediately after getting the newsletter
  • I want the viewer to fill out the free report form on my website as soon as they read my letter.
  • I want the viewer to type in their email address immediately after seeing my invitation.

These are good examples of next steps because they’re completely measurable, specific and very easy to do.  They’re low on risk/commitment and high on benefit/yield for the customer.  You have to get in the habit of knowing where your materials are going to connect with a potential customer and what the action step is going to be. You’ve got to know it. And you’ve got to know it before you type 1 word or download 1 piece of clipart for your postcard or brochure.

Start with the end in mind and you’ll find that you need less overall materials and will gain a higher level of success with the ones that you do use.  The way to fail in this area is to spend thousands of dollars on printed materials but not be clear about how they’ll find a customer and what that customer is supposed to do after engaging it.  Get wise, think ahead and everybody wins.