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How to optimize your YouTube content for organic search

Last Updated 
Posted on
May 12, 2021

Video marketing has been a growing media for the past five years and is now a preferred method of consuming content. Videos are also an effective tool for communication. Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch a video compared to just 10% when reading. 59% of executives say they would rather watch a video than read text. With statistics like these, it is clear that video marketing is a B2B online marketing mainstay.

There are many options for video marketing distribution: Loom, going live on social media, Vimeo, Wistia, and the list goes on. But YouTube reigns supreme as the video distribution channel of choice. Let’s explore why YouTube is the best avenue for B2B video marketing and how to optimize your YouTube content for SEO.

Why choose YouTube for your video marketing strategy?

YouTube has over a billion users, and more than 500 million hours of video are watched on YouTube each day. It is the second most popular website in the world. At the same time, YouTube is less crowded for B2B than other popular platforms, like LinkedIn. The platform offers a unique combination of a large user base with low competition for business-to-business marketing.

If you are a B2B company, you have the opportunity to stand out on YouTube.

How to optimize your YouTube channel SEO

YouTube is a Google company, so naturally, search engine optimization (SEO) is a key strategy for getting noticed on this platform. Think of YouTube as simply a search engine for video content. Just like with Google, the more engagement your video content gets, the higher it will rank in search results.

9 tips for YouTube SEO for B2Bs

  1. Research keywords – Take the time to research keywords by doing a Google search for “[insert keyword]:youtube.” The higher the number of search results, the more competitive it will be to rank with this term.
  2. Target low-competition keywords – You want your video to show up on the first page of YouTube search results. Target keywords that have less competition so that when a viewer uses those terms, your video is more likely to show up.
  3. Optimize video title – The title should be at least five words and contain your target keywords.
  4. Write keyword-rich descriptions – Video descriptions should be 100-500 characters in length and contain keywords.
  5. Use tags – Tags improve reach through keywords and show up more often as related video content. A good strategy is to research competitors and customer tags and include those in your YouTube videos.
  6. Include subtitles and closed captions – Include subtitles and closed captions in your videos. Your videos become accessible and it adds important keywords.
  7. Say the keywords in your video – YouTube transcribes videos for you, so be sure to say the keyword or keyword phrase you want to rank for.
  8. Spruce up your channel description – Use target keywords in your channel description. This will drive viewers not just to one video, but to your entire channel.
  9. Encourage audience retention – YouTube ranks videos higher based on how long viewers watch your video, so be sure to encourage retention by creating engaging content, making short videos, or teasing segments of your video in your introduction.

How to boost video engagement and audience retention on YouTube

According to Briggsby, a YouTube SEO ranking study found that retention and engagement are top factors in ranking well on YouTube search. Your YouTube analytics are a great source of insight for understanding why your audience is interested in your videos as well as what makes them tune out. Be sure to leverage these analytics to your advantage.

Let’s take a look at a few key metrics you should be tracking on YouTube to boost engagement, audience retention, and ultimately, video SEO.

⏰ Watch time

Total number of minutes all viewers have spent watching your video
The higher the watch time on a video, the more engaging the YouTube algorithm presumes your video is. Videos and channels with higher watch times will rank better in search results, so it’s important to monitor this metric. Regularly audit your video watch times to understand what content and video lengths resonate most with your audience.

Tip: Create playlists
Most YouTube viewers watch the same types of videos. Create a playlist with all of your similar videos on it, so they stay on your channel. Playlists increase watch time on not just one video, but on all of them.

🧑💻 Audience retention

The percentage of viewers who leave your video at every moment of the video
This metric is key for understanding how long your content can hold a viewer’s attention and at what exact point they lose interest. The YouTube algorithm rewards videos with high audience retention rates because viewers are signaling that the video is worth sticking around for.

Tip: Add a strategic call to action
Note the point where people are leaving your videos and add a call to action (CTA). For example, if people are usually leaving at 2 minutes 40 seconds, add a CTA right before that time to hook them back in. If your video is about a Burndown strategy and you have an Agile framework template available, add a CTA at this point, announcing that you’ll be providing the template URL at the end.

▶️ Impressions click-through rate

The rate at which people watch your video after seeing it on their homepage
A high click-through rate indicates that your title, topic, and thumbnail were compelling enough that viewers wanted to watch your video. Consider this metric in conjunction with others, like audience retention, to ensure that you’re not just capturing a temporary audience but truly engaging them.

Tip: Create unique YouTube thumbnail image
Be sure to create a relevant and eye-catching thumbnail image. Don’t use a freeze-frame that YouTube grabs from your video. Instead, create a custom thumbnail (you can use Canva, Visme, or Photoshop) that accurately represents the content you created. Don’t mislead viewers with a click-bait thumbnail. Improving your click-through rate is not worth risking your audience’s trust.

📈 Subscriber growth

Gain or loss of subscribers over a time period and on which videos
When viewers subscribe to your channel, they are indicating to you and to YouTube that you have valuable content that they want to see more of in the future. YouTube will notify subscribers when you upload and subscribers watch twice as much content as those who don’t subscribe. Improving subscriber growth will benefit other metrics like watch time.

Tip: Ask your viewers to subscribe to your channel.
The ask is simple. Viewers can easily subscribe with a click of a button, but unless you ask it may never cross their mind. Let viewers know that if they want more of your content, the best way to stay up-to-date on your videos is to subscribe to your channel. You can also use this call to action as an opportunity to tease future video content that you plan to publish.

🚗 Traffic sources report

Use traffic sources reports to learn how viewers are finding your content
The Traffic Sources Report, located on the Reach tab of YouTube Analytics, will offer you useful information about where your viewers are coming from. Within the report, you can see what keywords users are viewing to find content. You can also see where your viewers are coming from, like social media or your website.

Tip: Refresh your SEO work and video marketing strategy.
Use the keyword information to align your SEO work, like your video descriptions and tags, with the keywords people are actually searching. Look carefully at where your viewers are coming from and adjust your marketing plan accordingly. Are your videos a hit or a dud on your social media channel? Are viewers consistently coming from an industry colleague or another YouTube creator? Considering partnering with them on a future video or webinar.

Improve the quality of your videos

While optimizing your video SEO is important, don’t overlook your video quality and content. Make sure you’re creating videos that are packed with valuable information for your viewers and have a high production value.

Use a great mic that makes it easy to hear you. We recommend the Bue Yeti microphone. While poor audio is the number one gripe that viewers have, poor video quality is also on the list. We recommend the Logitech C922 webcam for a clear picture and high quality. As we mentioned earlier, use subtitles, captions, and a relevant thumbnail to improve your audience’s retention.

Video marketing is here to stay and YouTube is the distribution channel of choice. If you follow our optimization tips and consistently deliver great content, your B2B has a unique opportunity to grow your YouTube audience now while competition is low.

Aimtal is an online marketing agency specializing in content creation and digital campaign creation & execution. In 2020 alone, we helped our clients grow their YouTube channels by 130% and it has become an effective channel for audience growth and online lead generation.

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