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Why You Should Optimize Your YouTube Channel: Three Unexpected Benefits

YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine. About 1.3 billion users watch over a billion videos every day. Five hours of video are uploaded every minute. YouTube optimization is critical to getting your video found, but that’s just the start.

For SEO clients, the appeal of YouTube goes beyond the rabbit hole of cats riding robot vacuums, stupid human tricks and unboxing videos. We’ve found it provides greater brand awareness, a new pool of users, and improved visibility and indexation.

How do you make sure your videos are getting found and driving traffic to your website?

Improving Indexation and Referral Traffic

Lever Interactive’s standard practice is to link to two or three related, high-value pages in each video description. This provides multiple additional paths into the client’s site for search engine spiders and helps improve indexation.

For one client, a lawn equipment manufacturer, we added links to the product pages for a line of mowers to seven videos in January of 2016. Immediately after the optimizations, the four pages we included saw traffic increases of 92%, despite a decline in traffic sitewide.

Besides improving indexation, YouTube is a great source of qualified traffic. When we began SEO for the lawn equipment manufacturer, their YouTube referral traffic was essentially non-existent. While still a fraction of total referral traffic, year-over-year growth has been steady:

And 87% of YouTube referral traffic represents new users to the site.

Driving Brand Awareness and Increased Views

As optimizations improved views, we collected YouTube search data. Keyword sets got bigger, including an increase in brand searches. At the same time, optimizations for long tail terms and product attributes grew non-brand keywords driving video views from 26% to 39%.

July – All Views from YouTube Search Growth (YOY)
2015 5,530
2016 5,599 1.25%
2017 8,877 58.55%
2018 14,574 64.18%

Capturing Organic Clicks When a Site Isn’t Ranking Top of Page One

While we worked at moving high value keywords from the top of page two onto page one, we used optimized, related YouTube videos to capture organic clicks. After we optimized YouTube videos related to the keywords that were struggling, several of them became the top result on the SERP. This gave us much needed brand visibility until such time as the keywords rolled onto page one.  Now that they have, we have a pool of keywords where both the YouTube videos and their product page are ranking on page one.

Woman on mobile phone looking at tabletExpanding YouTube and Site Keyword Set

Reporting on where keywords rank in YouTube Search is nonexistent, but the keyword reports provide a lot of information if you can develop a process for getting at it. We identify search trends and roll those into both video and on-page optimizations. In some cases, we’ve taken comparison keywords found in YouTube search results and created onsite content for them. We’ve also tested categories of keyword modifiers like deck sizes, transmission types, and closely-related terms, into our on-site testing. While not all of these have worked, YouTube search has provided us with a great set of test optimizations.

Is YouTube Optimization Right for Your SEO?

We recommend that all videos and channels be optimized for visibility within YouTube search. The ideal channel to reap the kinds of benefits we’ve seen will be fairly large (at least a hundred videos), with new videos added regularly. Video content should be diverse and able to answer review, comparison, product detail, and how to type queries. The site you’re driving links to should be large enough to provide a pool of at least 50 unique URLs.

If you’d like to see the benefits of YouTube optimization for your company, but aren’t able to go through all of the steps above to achieve those results, reach out to the Lever Interactive team to see how we can help you.

– By Melanie Datz

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