Online video consumption in the U.S. has reached staggering levels. Consider these numbers reported by comScore for the month of September 2010:

  • 175 million U.S. Internet users watched online video content. This represents nearly 84 percent of the total U.S. Internet audience.
  • Viewers engaged in more than 5.2 billion video-viewing sessions during the course of the month with an average of 14.4 hours per viewer.
  • During the month, YouTube was the top online video content property with 144.2 million monthly unique viewers. That’s nearly half of the U.S. population!
  • On YouTube alone, people are watching over 2 billion videos per day which is nearly double the prime-time audience of all major U.S. TV networks combined.
  • More videos are uploaded to YouTube in 60 days than the traditional television networks created in 60 years.
  • By the time it takes you to finish reading this blog post (2 minutes) there will be 48 additional hours of video content uploaded to YouTube.

YouTube Search
We all know that if you want to search for something you go to Google, but YouTube is now the second largest search engine with more searches than Yahoo! and Bing. YouTube has become the new encyclopedia. If you want to learn how to dance or how to play the guitar solo in “Stairway to Heaven,” you search on YouTube. If you want to laugh with a baby, watch your favorite music video or relive the best goals of the World Cup, you search on YouTube. The chances are, whatever random question you have or whatever you are searching for, someone, somewhere, has created a video with that content. The question becomes, how does your organization take advantage of these searches and have your videos viewed by your target on YouTube? This is where video SEO or video search engine optimization plays an important role when uploading your videos to YouTube.

Video SEO
The success of your video on YouTube is based on three important concepts: quality content, video tagging and audience engagement.

Quality Content – Quality content is not about the production value of your video. It is about the value of the subject matter to the video viewer. Online video viewers want to be entertained or educated. This means that creating quality content for YouTube is beyond posting your 30-second commercial. Developing quality content for YouTube starts with research into what your consumer wants to see. Does your consumer want to see product demonstrations or hear client testimonials? Do they want to see a presentation from one of your in-house experts? And, what differentiates your content from what is currently on YouTube?

Quality content will help draw outside links to your videos and users will embed your videos on other websites. Each of these plays an important role in video SEO.

Video Tagging – When uploading a video to YouTube, there are several fields that allow you to provide additional information about your video to the viewer. Using targeted keyword phrases to describe your video for each of these fields will be important when optimizing your video for YouTube search. Review your current website SEO strategy and use this information to optimize these fields. To optimize your video, you will need to include this data:

  1. Keyword rich title (65 characters with spaces)
  2. Relevant video tags (8-14 keywords)
  3. Keyword and content-rich video description (2-3 paragraphs)
  4. Choosing the most relevant category
  5. Uploaded video transcriptions
  6. Keyword-rich captions where appropriate
  7. Geographic location information
  8. Annotations with links to other YouTube videos

Audience Engagement – Posting a quality video is not the end of the optimization process. Video SEO also includes the marketing and promotion of your YouTube video to increase audience engagement. These are a number of key factors that define audience engagement, and these factors directly affect the search engine ranking of your YouTube video:

  1. Video views
  2. Frequency of views
  3. Likes or dislikes
  4. Playlist additions
  5. Flagging
  6. Shares
  7. Comments
  8. Video responses
  9. Subscribers
  10. Friends
  11. Video embeds and incoming links

Measuring Success – Video SEO Case Study
YouTube’s video analytics provide great insights into how your videos are being viewed. At JPL, we recently optimized a client’s YouTube channel and videos. After using the optimization process described above, video views increased 583% in three months; website visits and leads from YouTube also increased substantially. Have you tried this for any of your YouTube videos? What were your results?

Additional Resources:

http://www.youtube.com/t/fact_sheet

http://www.reelseo.com/seo-for-video/

http://www.twistimage.com/archives/the-second-biggest-search-engine/