Since launching in February 2005, YouTube has grown massively and is now ranked as the second most frequently visited website worldwide. Especially popular with Generation Z (those born since 1996), YouTube also has incredible marketing potential for your business - when you use it right. Posting vlogs or incorporating videos into your blog posts is becoming more important as consumers demand more visual, interactive content. We’ve put together a guide to how YouTube can be used to your advantage.
Your YouTube Ranking
Many businesses dedicate a lot of time and effort to their Google ranking SEO but don’t think about ranking for YouTube searches. It’s a great opportunity that’s often missed out on. Like regular Google search results, YouTube search results are related to keywords, quality, authority and so on. However, with YouTube ranking, there are some other aspects that are more specific to video content. Let’s have a look at these and how you can optimise to get the best results.
The number of views that your video content gets has a considerable impact on ranking. The more views you get, the higher you rank, because it’s evident that consumers are seeing your content as valuable. Therefore, ensuring that your videos get plenty of exposure is essential to improving where your content shows up in the video search results.
To maximise the number of views that your videos receive, targeting is important. When you target your videos at the right audience - the people who will find your content valuable - there is a positive impact on views. Get the targeting wrong, and your video will get impressions but not views because it’s not valuable to the people it’s appearing in front of. Correct targeting means that you not only get more views, but you also get more social shares (see below for why that’s important).
In addition to views, the proportion of people who view your videos and react to it by liking it also impacts on ranking. Obviously, there is no way to guarantee that people who view your content are going to hit the like button, but there are ways to increase the likelihood of them doing so.
The most effective means of increasing reactions to your videos is to create interesting and engaging content. Use high quality footage, relevant, current topics, and focus in on your target audience. Consumers in the twenty-first century won’t appreciate second-rate content, so give them the best content possible.
Social sharing is one of the most important tools for getting your content in front of a much wider audience, but it’s also a factor in your ranking. Social shares mean your content has value to your audience - to the extent that they want to share it with their network. In SEO terms, this means that content that gets a higher number of shares will rank higher than content that doesn’t get shared much. For ranking algorithms, shares equal quality content that people want to see.
YouTube looks at the amount of comments your videos are getting as part of the ranking process. Therefore, it’s good practice to do some research. See what content in your niche or industry is getting large amounts of (positive) comments and use your research to guide your own video creation strategy. Current hot topics and topics that inspire a lot of debate are perfect for creating content that your audience will be eager to engage with and comment about.
Views, likes, shares and comments are all immensely valuable when it comes to ranking in YouTube searches. Another similar type of indicator that is used to determine ranking is the number of people who view your videos and then click the subscribe button. If someone is wanting to subscribe to your channel, it shows that they’re interested in your content and think that it’s worth watching. They appreciate it enough to want to receive notification when you post something new.
If you get a lot of people subscribing, then that tells the ranking algorithm that your content is popular and valuable to your viewers, putting you one step closer to being viewed as an expert in the eyes of the search engine. A perfect way to increase subscribers is to post regular videos, and to post videos are the same time or on a specific day in order to raise expectations and anticipation in your viewers.
Compared to the other engagement factors we’ve listed, subscriptions are less important in ranking terms, but they still matter to an extent. You can rank well without them, but gaining extra subscribers is going to give your ranking a boost.
When we talk about length in terms of ranking, it’s not the actual length of the video in terms of minutes, but the length of time viewers keep watching for. Imagine your video is 15 minutes long - which is the average length of a YouTube video (although some are much longer) - and 75% of your viewers hit stop and surf elsewhere after 3 minutes. That suggests to the bots in charge of ranking that your video isn’t really worth watching.
Now imagine you have another 15-minute video and 80% of viewers watch through to the end. That kind of watch-length figure screams loud and clear that you’ve created a video that a majority of your viewers love. That video will shoot up the rankings, because YouTube want the search results to give people quality content that’s popular with viewers.
Keep your audience’s attention by sticking to these principles:
• Don’t make your videos longer than they need to be
• Maintain interest throughout by ensuring relevancy and targeting
• Pilot test your video before you post it to get other people’s opinions. You’re biased because you created it, but other people can give you honest ideas about improvement
7) Keywords in Tags
The importance of tags in terms of ranking has dropped in recent years, but they’re still a factor in the algorithms so don’t quit using them just yet. It’s a good idea to use at least one keyword tag that’s targeted to your content. YouTube has gotten cleverer over the years and now has the ability to use spoken words in your videos to figure out the topic all by itself, but it’s still a good idea to tag with a keyword that you want your video to rank for, just in case.
8) Exact Match Title
Low down on the list of ranking factors - but still a little valuable - are exact keywords. They can have a positive impact on your rankings, but not a significant one. YouTube uses synonyms of keywords when pulling search results so that videos are shown in relevant searches that don’t actually include your keywords. Obviously with exact matches your videos are going to sit higher in the list, however.
9) Keyword Rich Description
Whilst keywords in the video description only have a very small (1%) impact on ranking, it’s still recommended to use them. The reason for this is that optimised descriptions tend to help your videos feature in the suggested videos sidebar, which can increase your reach and gain new views, likes and subscribers - which do improve your ranking.
10) HD Quality Content
This is an important factor in ranking and is becoming more so every year. HD videos rank higher than SD videos, and this may be due to several reasons. Firstly, viewers prefer HD content so are more likely to view a HD video as opposed to an SD one. Secondly, HD is more enjoyable to watch, so (as long as you get the content right) there’s a higher chance that your viewers will watch to the end.
Finally, YouTube themselves seem to have a general preference for HD videos, aside from HD’s impact on views and watch-length. Combined, these reasons mean that if you want your videos to rank well, you’re going to need to invest in HD equipment.
Some YouTube Facts That Will Blow Your Mind
Now we’ve looked at how you can improve your ranking on YouTube, let’s take a look at some interesting facts about YouTube that you might not have heard before.
1) Stats That May Surprise You
• Over 1,300,000,000 (1.3 billion) people use YouTube
• Every minute, more than 300 hours of video are uploaded onto YouTube
• Every day, 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube
• Around 30 million people visit YouTube each day
• 80% of 18-49-year-olds watch YouTube every month
• 60% of people would rather use online video platforms than watch live TV
• More than 80% of YouTube viewers are located outside the United States.
• There are around 1 billion YouTube video views logged each day
• 44% of YouTube viewers are aged under 35
• 20% of people who start watching a video don’t last more than 10 seconds - meaning your intro is the most important part of the whole video!
2) YouTube’s Reach
In 2015, YouTube was available in 61 languages. Now in 2018 that number has risen to 76 different languages, which means that 95% of the Internet population is able to navigate YouTube in their own language.
In 2015, YouTube had localised services in 53 countries. Three years on and that figure stands at 88. That’s an impressive growth and shows YouTube’s commitment to delivering high quality content to users all around the globe.
3) YouTube Stars
The number of YouTubers who have become internet stars increases every year - at a rapid rate. These YouTube stars have earned impressive incomes from their videos, with six-figure revenues becoming more common - in fact, the number of six-figure earners has been doubling year on year for several years now.
In 2018, the youngest YouTube star was a little boy named Ryan whose channel reviews toys. Six-year-old Ryan made $11,000,000 in 2017! During 2017, the highest paid YouTube stars earned a combined total of $127 million. In 2015 the combined figure was $54.5, so there’s been a massive increase in this area.
4) Top 5 YouTube Stars in 2017
1) PewDiePie - $15 million
2) Ryan ToysReview - $11 million
3) Roman Atwood - $8 million
4) Lily Singh - $7.5 million
5) Smosh - $6 million
5) YouTube Marketing Facts
The branded channel that was most popular in 2018 was Lego, amassing more than 6 billion views. That’s quite an impressive number, although resulting revenue figures aren’t yet available.
TrueView ads are becoming more important from a marketing perspective, with viewers who watch at least 30 seconds of these ads being around 23 times more likely to visit, subscribe or watch more videos by the featured brand.
Even viewers who watch TrueView ads for less than 30 seconds are 10 times more likely to engage with the featured brand’s channel. Brands who use TrueView have reported increases in views on their existing content of up to 500%.
6) YouTube Education
One massive area of potential for businesses looking to exploit the benefits of YouTube is in the area of educational, how-to videos. Whilst these won’t be relevant for every business, for many they’re a great way of increasing subscriber numbers, raising brand awareness and building a customer base.
YouTube report that every day around a billion learning-related videos are viewed on their platform. More and more people are turning to YouTube as a means of learning skills that they need or would like to have. Examples include people who have learned how to code using YouTube, people who have embarked on ambitious home improvement projects using YouTube as a guide, and much more. Videos that teach skills are extremely valuable to viewers, and they can open doors to a greater level of customer engagement.
YouTube is sometimes overlooked when you’re drawing up your marketing strategy, but it shouldn’t be. I hope that this article has explained why you need to start thinking about how you can leverage the massive potential of YouTube for your business. If you have any suggestions or comments you’d like to add, please get in touch. We love to hear from our readers!