How to Optimize Your Brand’s YouTube Presence


By Assemble

October 18, 2017

lot of businesses dabble in video.  They may post a video or two on social media, or maybe start a YouTube page.  After all, it’s free, right?  Unfortunately, like everything in life:  you get what you pay for.  If you’re not doing professional quality videos, optimizing both your placement, and your marketing efforts, you’re wasting your time and money.

Why You Need To Optimize Your YouTube Efforts

When it comes to video, YouTube is the undisputed champion.  It has more than a 76% share of all video views online.  It has more than a billion users.  In the search category, it’s second only to Google. In the social media category, it’s second only to Facebook in sheer number of users, but may be more popular.  A Pew Research Center survey in March showed 73% of adults in the U.S. say they use YouTube versus 68% for Facebook.

It’s easy to get lost though.  300 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute.  In fact, more video content is uploaded every month than the TV networks have produced in the last three decades.  It would take you 49.3 years to watch all the video uploaded to Youtube in just one day.

What do you do to make sure you maximize your efforts?  Optimizing your YouTube efforts can increase lead generation, sharability, and grow your audience.

How To Optimize Your YouTube Efforts

Optimizing your YouTube efforts starts with your channel’s home page.  It’s important to create a professional environment that tells visitors immediately what you’re all about.  It may sound simplistic, but making sure your business, product, and services are immediately recognizable, getting your contact information correct, and featuring any offers are often overlooked.  Take time to fully fill out your About page.

Use keywords liberally in your profile, and in your video description.  Pay special attention to the title you give your videos. Think first about how people might use search to find your video.  Google’s Keyword Planner can help.  You can also type a keyword that’s relevant to your channel in the YouTube search bar and see what other words pop up. 

You can also check and see what’s trending on Google.  If you’re in the financial sector and changes to the tax code are trending, you might have some content worth watching.

Make sure you include a link to your website in the video description.  If they like what they see, you want to make it easy for them to get directly to you.

Being original is great, but don’t be afraid to borrow good ideas.  Find the videos that are trending in your category and see what they’re doing.  While you don’t want to steal their idea, you do what to analyze their strategy and see what you can learn.

Both your title and your visuals have to make people want to click.  After all, if they don’t stop and click on your video, commercial, or video production, it won’t matter how good it is.  

Deliver Value

Above all, you need to deliver value.  If it’s a commercial, you need to grab their attention and give them a reason to keep watching.  If it’s a brand video, you need to have content that goes beyond just selling. 

Think about what expert advice you can pass on to your customers, or potential customers.  Is there a trending topic in the news in which you have particular expertise?  

Optimizing For SEO

Google cites more than 200 signals in evaluating content, whether it’s written content or video.  While they all play a role in determining page rank, videos on YouTube need to focus on five specific goals to maximize your SEO:

  • Quality Content

  • Engagement

  • Relevancy

  • Backlinks

  • Social Signals

Quality Content & Engagement

Quality content and engagement are closely related.  While a high CTR (Click Through Rate) is important, it’s the engagement which suggests quality.  This is why “Watch Time” is a factor.   

“Videos with consistently high audience retention and watch time have the potential to show up more frequently in Search and Suggested locations on YouTube,” Google reported on its YouTube Creators blog.  

Significant watch time signals your content is of value to those that view it. 

While longer videos tend to have longer watch times, don’t bury the important information.  We live in a short-attention-span-world.

YouTube itself counsels users to “pay close attention to the first 15 seconds of every video — that’s when viewers are most likely to drop-off.”


Obviously, the closer your video is to the topic someone’s searching for, the better chance you have to show up.  However, you can increase your chances of being found by crafting a title around keywords and using YouTube tags.  Keywords helps YouTube understand what your video is about so it can match up when someone searches for it. 

After identifying the relevant keywords, use these as tags.  In this example about Identity Theft, some of the tags might be: Crime, Identity Theft, Privacy, Theft, Fraud, Credit Card, etc.

Social Signals & Backlinks

Search engines also look to see where your content appears.  Getting backlinks from high quality websites can do wonders for your SEO.  The more often your content shows up in quality environments, the more likely it will be seen a quality content. Search engines will also look at social sharing as a factor in determining viewability.

YouTube makes it easy to get started.  When editing your video, link up your social media channels and check the box when editing to automatically push it out to social.  Also, be sure to add the video to your YouTube channel playlist.

Once published, clicking Share on the video pops up a menu to make sharing to 10 of the most popular platforms and email simple.

In addition to social media, consider marketing outreach efforts to significant websites in your field.

Pick Powerful Images

The thumbnail you pick won’t necessarily help with your SEO.  However, it can make a huge difference in performance.  In searching for video, YouTube (and search engines) will display a thumbnail along with the result.  It’s important to have a compelling image that creates interest and represents your content. It’s the one thing that may differentiate you from the other videos on a search page.

While YouTube will automatically generate a few thumbnail choices for you, you can also click on Custom and upload your own.

Make sure the main focus of your image is front and center and fills the screen.  Remember, many of your views will come on mobile devices with small screens.  You’ll want a high-quality, crisp, visually interesting image:  think of the action shots they use in movie theaters signs to stimulate interest.

Faces and emotions appear to be click drivers for the most popular videos.  The thumbnail needs to represent the video, or a key theme.  Since you’ve only got a few seconds to hook people into watching when they click, it should be consistent with visuals in the first 15 seconds if possible.

If you are a well-known brand, adding your branding can help invite users to click.

Power User Tip:  Avoid putting important visuals or information in the lower right hand corner.  Search engines shows thumbnails with play icons or time stamps when displaying in search.

Transcriptions, Captions, And Text

Putting a transcription on the web page where you display your YouTube video helps with SEO for search engines.  It can also attract people that prefer to read content rather than watch video.  If they find it interesting, it may encourage them to watch.

YouTube claims that 96% of its users watch video with the sound on, but that’s not the case with other places your video might show up.  When videos are shared on Facebook, for example, estimates are that 85% of videos play with the sound off. Consider adding text and titles to your video to maximize both audiences and drive home key points.

YouTube provides automatic captioning on some videos. You can click here to learn how to enable automatic captioning, but be warned it’s not too reliable.  To manually add captioning or key titles in your videos, follow these steps.  From your edit screen, you can also click Subtitles/CC and either upload a file, transcribe and auto-sync, or even create subtitles or add titles at key moments on the video.  

Advertising, Marketing, And Promotion

Once your video is complete, there’s still plenty of work to do.  Now you’ve got to get it in front of people.  You may need to use other social media sites, email lists, embedded videos in your blogs or websites, or buying ads (or video ads) on various platforms to improve your visibility.

You Can’t Manage What You Can’t Measure

In order to effectively measure your results, you need to understand YouTube analytics.  Through YouTube’s Creator Studio, you can measure:

  • Watch time

  • Audience retention

  • Demographics

  • Playback locations

  • Traffic sources

  • Devices

The Engagement report will show you how people are interacting with your video content.  Whether they are liking, sharing, commenting, or subscribing to your channel.  By adding Google Analytics to your website, you can track traffic and conversions from your videos.

Analyzing the performance will give you greater confidence in making decisions on where to spend your time and money.

Quality Videos Drive Traffic, Shares, And Search

If you’re thinking about how to get your message out, consider these statistics:

  • Videos generate 1200% more shares than text and image posts combined (Brightcove)

  • Videos drive a 157% increase in SERP (search engine results page (Brightcove)

  • 62% of Google searches now include video (MarketingLand)

Not only does it position your brand with a quality message, but it also helps you show up better in search. Optimizing your presence on YouTube with professional quality video production and marketing can help your business be noticed and help it grow.

If all of this sounds complicated, you’re right.  With all the talk of user-generated video, if you look at the list of most popular YouTube videos, with rare exceptions, every video is professionally done.  According to Pivotal Research, just 82 brands account for 50% of all YouTube consumption.  These are companies that are spending millions of dollars each year to attract an audience.  You need expertise to compete effectively.

Video Cost

Videos can be expensive, but they don’t have to break the bank to be effective.  If you’re looking to find video production that is affordable and efficient, it can be done.  When it comes to film and video production, advertising and marketing, get in touch with the experts at Assemble. They can create video and commercial content that truly stands out and gets attention.

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