I am not sure how many realize this, but for now Youtube is the second largest search engine in the world after Google. After a tough start (the first owners of the site were having troubles getting founds to keep it online and with optimum bandwidth), its acquiring from Google and its later development (as scripting and content) put it on the second place in the search engines.

Search engine optimization is often compared with the real world marketing because, beyond the technical specification, that's exactly what it is: online marketing. You have a web site and you have to promote it in order to have traffic and potential customers to whatever you are offering or selling and you have to optimize it for the search engines using all the accepted methods.

As the largest video search engine, Youtube is the best place to put your video marketing for your web site (your products and/or services)... and you have to comply to the same rules that the rest of the SEO world deal with. Youtube does not fit to the fields of activity of every company or every campaign you want to get over the internet, but in such case you can improve the image you are sending with additional subjects and information. You don't have to create entire commercials (online or traditional TV commercials) to get people talking about your brand.

The search engine optimization for Youtube (like any other SEO project over the internet) can be broken into 3 distinct parts: contentlinking and architecture. I've already wrote about the value of the content in other articles, so I do not repeat the same thing. Just remember that the people will return only for the content of your message (whatever you are placing it) and not for something else. There is nothing you can do about the on-page SEO on Youtube since the site is dictating how the page is built architecturally (how it will appear to its visitors), so you can only do what in other articles I've refer to as off-page SEO (the linking over the Internet).

Can engagement and community factors increase your rankings for the videos on Youtube?

The short answer is “yes, it looks like they do”. There are several factors that contribute to rankings on Youtube. Some of them are the the following:

  • title
  • description
  • tags
  • views
  • ratings
  • playlist additions
  • flagging
  • embeds
  • shares
  • comments
  • age of video (since uploading)
  • channel views
  • subscribers
  • inbound links (links from outside of Youtube pointing to your videos).
  • There are primarily two places you can rank well for your target keywords: on Youtube and on the search engines.

    Rank your target keywords on Youtube

    For example, if I type "web design Europe" or "seo Romania" or "Dan-Marius Sabau" into the search bar, the results are my choice of "All," "Channels," and "Playlists" with the default view being "All." It is possible to sort the results from the list in different ways, but the default sorting method is "Relevance". So the way you see results on a YouTube page is similar to how you might see them on other search engines.

    Rank your target keywords on the search engines

    Remember that every video on YouTube has its own page, called a view page, that can be optimized the same as any other page on the web. Also remember the the video themselves are invisible for the search engines: Youtube converts the video files (whatever the format you have initially) you upload into Flash and that is still outside the reach of the search engines.

    Pay attention to your keyword research

    The keywords have the same values on Youtube as all the other search engines over the internet, so the keyword research is important in video SEO because Youtube is a competitive landscape just like Google, Yahoo and Bing. There are a lot of terms that are easier to rank for, you just have to spend some time to research the subject.

    Titles, descriptions and tags

    Once you have your keywords ready to target it's better to follow a fairly similar format for all the titles and descriptions for your videos. You can not change the URLs of the video in what it's called friendly URLs, but you can get the most benefits from the title that have to contain some (or all) of the keywords.

    Writing the description of the video is just like SEO content writing (or copywriting). I've already written about that, so it should not be a problem finding the information. We (my team and I) can help you in writing the content as a part of the services we are offering. You won't get any backlinking from this description (as for the moment Youtube attach a rel="no follow" to any URL inside a description of a video), but you may convince the visitors to visit your site if the content of your video and your description is OK for them.

    Definitely want to use several “related” terms that are highly relevant to your keyword.  Please don’t keyword stuff, and make sure to write the content in a compelling manner that drives the user to take action.  This description is what the user will see before view your video so write it for the user and not for the search engine.

    Just like with a blog post or any dynamically generated web page, you can add tags to your videos.  I recommend sticking to around 5-10 tags for each video.  If you think you need more than that, you should consider targeting additional video content at the specific phrases you want to rank for.

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