YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world. Are you using it well yet?

June 15th, 2016

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The written word may be king, but we are visual beings. We like to see things and understand better through our eyes than any other medium. The internet in its entirety is a visual delight with pictures and videos that spark our emotions. A picture is worth a thousand words truly holds its own in this day and age. Coming to the importance of the visual aspect in digital marketing, I would like to present to you the case of YouTube. Everyone uses it, most have it on their phone and not to sound too grandiose; YouTube is a phenomenon all by itself!

The second largest search engine in the world- YouTube has defined a generation

Display ads are seeing a re-growth in the United States and are going to overtake search ad spends this year. This has implications worldwide. Keeping aside the business aspect, what I understand from it is if I tie it to visual mediums, graphics and videos are in high demand. Let me list out some of the numbers that make up the behemoth that is YouTube.

  • More than 3 billion searches every month
  • 1 billion unique visitors every month
  • 6 billion hours of video is viewed every month
  • 1 billion mobile users- Thanks to Android smart phones
  • Searches on ‘how to’ videos are growing 70% per year
  • It is bigger than AOL, Yahoo!, ASK and Bing combined

The numbers are staggering to say the least, but we don’t expect anything less from the company that made search the way it is today- Google. There are many interesting things Google does to make sure that their apps are used widely. From a digital marketing perspective, since YouTube is closely linked to search rankings, it is invariable that we turn our attention to it. YouTube has been around since 2005, but has risen to prominence over the past 5 years.

To understand it better, we need to see the effect YouTube has when it comes to your search rankings. When your company name is searched on Google, our bet is that videos shared on your YouTube channel will show up prominently in the search window. Now, if it is a search term you are interested in, and you have uploaded a video that shares the same search term, you have a higher chance of ranking high in SERP. This is the most interesting aspect of YouTube’s power in search. There is a standalone search tab just for videos- Need any more proof?

If you think Google is playing it lightly and just going with the flow, think again. They made a change to Google Trends by including YouTube searches as one of the criteria. This shows how important videos are to search ranking.

The video search function on YouTube is similar to SERP’s and has paid ads at the top. When viewing a video, related videos that are picked up by Google are displayed alongside. This has been a crucial factor in the aggressive expansion of the site. The trick to get up there is to use the right tags, description, thumb nails and a good title.

Your ability to rank high on YouTube requires you to be able to do the following things well.

  • Views
  • Likes
  • Shares
  • Links

The more number of these you mark off, the more traffic you generate. It is not enough to just post the video on your YouTube channel, the distribution of the video is equally important and it is the same as you would with content. These are some of the ways you can improve the chances of your videos being viewed.

  • Embed the video on your website or use it within an article or blog post.
  • Share on all your social media accounts.
  • Embed it in your email campaigns or better- run campaigns centered on them.
  • Share aggressively on social bookmarking sites such as StumbleUpon and Reddit.
  • Optimize your thumbnails and annotations.
  • Always ensure that the video is playable in HD.

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Meta Data is also a key factor in improving rankings for your video. Ensure that you use your target keywords liberally in the description. The popular pattern adopted today is to include links to your website and social sharing links within the description. Captions are another deciding factor. They are crawled by bots now and if you are able to optimize the captions well, then your video will surely rank higher.

Creating your YouTube account requires you to follow the basic steps that are outlined. Once you are done with it, it is imperative to have a video creation calendar that supplements the channel. This video creation process should be aligned to your business need and should correspond to search needs of your prospects. Give them what they want in an innovative and easy going fashion and viewers will lap it all up. You can also get a vanity URL once your YouTube channel hits a certain standard. This adds a certain amount of structure to your channel but the path to attain this is slow and steady. If you have used YouTube marketing and benefited from it, please do let us know in the comments section!

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