I know we’re all caught up in the latest sightings of hummingbirds and penguins lately.
And in general, we stare ourselves blind on the usual SEO suspects, like link building, co-citation, anchor texts, on-site optimization, and so on.
And we’re all doing this to please and appease the Big Guy.
For a good reason, of course: the overwhelming majority of search volume comes from “The Big G”.
But what about those sites that come next, in terms of visitors and usage?
You know, a place like YouTube?
(Google owns it, as you know).
In sheer size, YouTube is something like 789.4 Petabytes. And that kind of size matters.
But more importantly for us, some of the statistics are pretty nuts:
- More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month
- Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube—that’s almost an hour for every person on Earth, and 50% more than last year
- 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
- 70% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US
- YouTube is localized in 56 countries and across 61 languages
- According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults ages 18-34 than any cable network
Pretty crazy, right?
It has a few billion searches more than, say, Yahoo and Bing.
I’m going to come with the mild suggestion that if you’re not taking advantage of this tsunami of potential traffic and visitors, you’re doing something wrong.
You can glean interesting data from their trends page:
It comes with its very own Keyword Tool, too:
And How Can You Use YouTube For Local SEO?
Sure, you probably already use YouTube for SEO. Google’s desire for freshness can be capitalized on with video (you’ll start showing up in the SERPs with your videos), let alone for the potential traffic you can send to your website from said videos.
Now, right now, it can be especially effective since very few businesses are creating and publishing videos online.
And it’s not like you have to go out and dump $30,000 on a video team and production — if the content is interesting enough for your market, you can sometimes get away with a lower-end production.
Please note: I’m not saying your homebrew-esque, crappy cellphone camera in low-light conditions is good enough — it’s not — but don’t shy away from using video just because you think it needs to be of professional production.
A local business (or any business, really) could make how-to videos, short advertising snippets, about their industry, any products on sale, services provided, even testimonials.
How To Optimize YouTube Videos For (Local) SEO
So now that you have a video uploaded for your channel, what do you do with it?
Place Your Website Link In The Description
This one is so obvious but needs to be included. Sure, they’re “nofollow”, but these days you’re looking for local citations and keywords associations with the link, and not necessarily straight-up anchor text optimization. Links are becoming more and more contextual, so surround mentions of your business with relevant content and keywords.
Make Sure Your NAP Is Included (Name, Address, Phone)
One key factor in local SEO is the citation of NAPs. You should add your NAPs in the frames near the end of a video. Why? Google’s interpretation algorithm can catch on to text within videos (based on optical character recognition).
And guess what? You should speak the business name, address, and phone in the video’s audio, too. Google can provide a transcript of your video — your NAP (and other keywords!) should show up there.
Use Geotagging For Your Videos
Since you’re interested in local customers, you should “geotag” your video with the geographical, co-ordinates of your business. You’ll find these settings under Advanced Settings inside the Video Manager.
Enter your address location and refine the search by dragging the market if you have to. You’ll get the latitude and longitude co-ordinates.
Seeing as Google is constantly making moves towards personalizing results, if you’re searching for how to sharpen your chainsaw and you’re in Boston, you could end up seeing more geographically relevant videos because of this.
More Tagging Of Your Video
Obviously, please make sure you include business category and location names as tags. Also, this would include keywords as tags (make sure they’re relevant and for the love of SEO, don’t spam this).
Juice Up Your Description Field
We’ve already covered that you should link to your website, include your business name, address, phone number, and location.
Next up would be to actually make use of the description field with content that describes what the video is about, add some info about your company, such as products or services.
This is also a great place to make use of that expensive copywriter you hired to cook up some compelling headlines and paragraphs, filled with value bombs to your market — and compelling reasons why your stuff is worth buying.
Associate Your Video With Google Places Listings & Google+ Local Page
You should add the video to not just your business listing (Google Places)…
…but also make sure you add it to your Google+ Local Page — and then share it in your Google+ stream.
Bonus Tip: Quick Primer On YouTube Optimization
Alright, so I know we’ve already covered some of this ground, but let me just add a few more thoughts on optimizing your YouTube videos.
Titles & Description
This follows the same basic principles of any headline and title writing, ever: use keywords and a compelling title to inspire click-throughs. Your headline has one job only: get people to click.
Your title should be fewer than 66 characters (longer titles will be truncated) so pack a nice punch here.
The description gives you more room, as we talked about above, but remember that only the first few lines are visible by default (the rest you have to click “show more” to see) so you probably want to include a link early on.
Since you can edit the description, you could experiment with different Calls-to-Action, as well.
Yeah, use relevant keywords but don’t spam. As for exact number? Your call, but aim for at least 5-7 tags. You can re-use tags by other videos, as that will make yours show up as “related video” and get additional views from those who were watching other videos.
Believe it or not, the total number of views and number of views in the past 24-48 hours are a factor in how your video ranks in search results.
YouTube favors popular videos, as they seem to indicate quality content, but most likely because they earn YouTube more ad revenue.
There’s about 60 hours of new content uploaded every minute, so the competition is pretty tough.
So, getting eyeballs early on is important — you might end up on the front page and get extra traffic, too.
Comments & Ratings
Comments and higher ratings also seem to improve your rankings, as YouTube takes that as indicators of interesting and quality videos.
And sending people to your videos, from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ can certainly only help in gaining some traction.
Should You Become A Movie Star To Make YouTube Work For Your SEO?
So, all in all, that makes sense, right?
YouTube is massive in regards to visitors and traffic.
There’s also a deluge of videos uploaded every minute of every day.
But, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, videos show up more and more in the SERPs, sometimes taking up most of the top results for competitive searches, even.
I’ve only covered a few broad ways that it can help your local SEO efforts, and by extension also your SEO in general.
Armed and primed with this information, go forth and multiply.
How are you using YouTube in your Search Engine Optimization?