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Using YouTube for your business is not a new concept. While the video sharing site was originally created as a social networking platform, it has been heavily commercialized ever since Google purchased it over a decade ago. Google’s promotion tools, analytics, and sharing features allow the website to be used as a marketing tactic by businesses and organizations of all sizes. Creating quality videos is difficult and time consuming, but a proper YouTube business strategy can make it all worth it. This guide will detail six important steps a business or organization should take to see success.

Why is YouTube important for Businesses?

YouTube is an effective platform for businesses for the same reasons as any other social media is important: You want to be found by new people and stay in the minds of your current audience. While creating a video is much harder than writing a tweet, using YouTube is definitely worth it. After all, it is the second most popular website in the world, only behind Google itself.

Using YouTube for your business offers a different medium for interacting with your audience. Many people prefer videos over reading because it is easier to multitask and easier to visualize concepts, and accommodating the needs of your customers is the main goal of business.

YouTube is also beneficial for your pre-existing content. Pages including relevant videos get a boost in search rankings, so having your own videos can improve the search ranking for your website and traffic to your YouTube channel all at once.

Using YouTube for your Business: 6 Steps

There are six main things you need to do if you want to use YouTube as effectively as possible; know your intentions, make a plan, create content, optimize your content, promote, and bring it all together for your niche. Each step will be described in detail below.

Step 1: Know your Intentions

First, you need to know why you’re using YouTube. Do you expect to use YouTube as a supplementary source to better explain your content, OR as a primary resource to expand your audience?

In other words, who do you expect to see your videos? People who have found your company already (supplementary), or people who are just browsing the site (primary)? This is not a rhetorical question, either is a fine option.

If you’re expecting to use YouTube as a supplementary resource, you don’t need to put quite as much time into search engine optimization or keyword planning, as most of your traffic will be coming from your business.

If you’re using videos as a primary source to expand your audience, you’ll need to be more tactical with your methods. Odds are your business is hoping to do both, but knowing which end of the spectrum you’re on can be important for planning what types of videos to post and which strategies to focus on.

(Primary-only) Step 2: Keyword Planning

This step is most important for people trying to be found in Google’s search engine. Keyword Planning is a common step for nearly any type of digital marketing, and can be a complicated process if you hope to do it effectively. Because I don’t want this article to turn into “how to plan YouTube keywords”, I’ll keep this step somewhat light and simply offer a resource or two at the end. To effectively plan your YouTube business strategy, you need to know what types of videos you plan to make, and then figure out what people would search for to find a video like yours.

The most obvious and basic first step could be to find which words and phrases current videos are using. You can do this simply by searching by looking at popular videos. Take note of the words used here, but don’t copy big videos’ strategies directly, as that would just give you a bigger mountain to climb. Also take note of the phrases that appear with YouTube’s auto-complete function. These offer valuable insight into what people are searching. Regardless of your methods, come up with a short list of search queries that you’d like to be found by.

Using keywords found from other videos or your own keyword ideas, try to find lower competition keywords (where there are less total search results). Low competition with high search traffic is the ideal, although not always possible.

Here are a couple of resources to help you learn more about keyword planning

Keyword Planning Tools

More Strategy Tips

Finally, remember that the reason for taking time on keywords is to get your video ranking high for as many people as possible. Notice how that reason doesn’t include “ranking high on YouTube for…”? That’s because one extra tip is to try search your keywords on Google. As you’ve likely noticed, certain Google searches will include YouTube videos in their results. If you have the opportunity to get a video on Google’s front page, take advantage of it. If none of your keywords yield videos on the front page, don’t worry about it.

Step 3: Content Creation

Every business is different, so it’s not really possible to give specific tips about content creation. Still, every successful YouTube channel needs to do this step well. Your goal when creating videos is to increase viewer retention and audience engagement.

Viewer retention refers to how long people watch your videos. It is one of the most important ranking factors for your video, as it reflects how interesting your video is. You want to keep your viewer interested, and keep them wanting more. Here are a few ways to create engaging and interesting content:

  1. Find out what people want to see. If someone has expressed interest in a topic, there are likely other people who are also interested. Listening to your audience or even asking yourself what you’d want to watch is an easy way of making interesting content.
  2. Use knowledge of your business. Why do people go to your business? Your organization likely has an expertise or a popular product/service that drives a lot of your success. If people have an interest in your product or service, find a way to make a video around it, because there’s certainly interest.
  3. Have a clear purpose for making each video. Knowing what you hope to accomplish with a video helps you organize your video and keeps it relevant to the subject.
  4. Ask for video engagement. Be careful here. Don’t spam people with requests for likes, comments, or shares. Still, including a request for video engagement actually works, and will improve your search ranking.
  5. Avoid short videos. Unless YouTube is supplementary for your business, try to avoid videos that are shorter than three minutes. High ranking business videos tend to get a boost in search rankings and get found easier. Sometimes short videos will be necessary, but don’t expect them to rank as high in most situations.

Step 4: Optimizing Videos for Search

If you want a lot of people to find your video, you need to know how YouTube search engine optimization works. Because Google owns YouTube, it stands to reason that there would be a lot of overlap between YouTube’s ranking formula and Google’s. Even still, video is a fundamentally different platform than text, meaning there will be plenty of differences. Here are some of the most important ranking factors to know about when using YouTube for your business:

  1. Keyword Matching. How often does the keyword appear in the four text fields? There are four fields where text can be read by the search engine; Title, Description, Tags, and Captions. You want your keyword to appear in each of them, especially the title and description. Using your keyword too many times will hurt you, but too little and it won’t appear relevant. Try to use your keyword once or twice in the description, and once in the title.
  2. Viewer retention. How long do people watch the video before clicking off? This goes back to creating quality content. If your audience watches your video all the way through, it tells YouTube that the video is relevant and high quality, so your search ranking will increase.
  3. Click through rate. How often do people click on your video when it appears in search? If people are clicking on your video more than the videos above or below it, you’ll get a boost. Improving click-through rate can be done by having a compelling title and thumbnail, which will be discussed in more detail later.
  4. User engagement. More likes, shares, and comments usually are signs of high-quality video. Asking for engagement can improve this quite a bit.
  5. Views. Plain and simple. If a lot of people have watched a video, it gets a better ranking.

After you’ve uploaded your video, there are five fields that need to be addressed to help your ranking; title, description, tags, captions, and thumbnail.

  1. Title. Make your title precise and insightful to help the viewer know what to expect. Most importantly, include your keyword. Try to make the title interesting enough to click on, but avoid click bait. Google is working to counteract click bait, so use of all caps in your title or a misleading claim is a ticket to getting your video hidden from search.
  2. Description. As mentioned previously, you should include your keyword once or twice in your description. Also be sure to see what how much of your description appears without having to click “see more”. If your description contains something important for their viewers, tell them in your video or at the very top of your description to see more. 
  3. Tags. Include your keyword in your tags, and also include similar keywords.
  4. Captions. If possible, go through the closed caption options yourself. There is no optimization that should be done here since you’re only typing what is being said in the video, but creating an accurate transcription can help your ranking and ensure your keyword is being noticed in the video itself.
  5. Thumbnail. Having an appealing thumbnail doesn’t directly affect search engine ranking as far as I’m aware, but it certainly can help your click through rate and increase viewers.

Step 5: Promoting your Video

Promoting your video is usually easier if you’re using YouTube for your business than it is for non-business YouTubers, and is a step that is much more necessary for those using YouTube as a primary tool. The first step to do is implement your video into your pre-existing content. Adding videos to pages on your website and sharing your videos on social media will help every aspect of your business as well as your video.

You can also do paid promotion of your video, depending on the topic. Promoting your video goes through Google Ads, and works well to get views. If you created an engaging video, the paid viewers will increase shares, likes, and comments, which will help your search ranking and increase your following for your next video.

Paid promotion isn’t always recommended, and is at the discretion of your business’ marketing strategy.

Step 6: Creating a Niche

Lastly, you’ll want to bring your channel together for your own niche. A successful business channel will optimize their channel description, title, logo, and background to appear professional and appealing. If your channel itself is optimized for a keyword, your videos will appear more authoritative for relevant keywords.

It would be beneficial to create a video series, and a corresponding playlist. Increasing the connectivity of videos within your channel and improving user experience will help people stay longer and increase the chances of them interacting with your business beyond your channel. Creating videos that relate to one another will also fill the “related videos” section with your own videos, which will keep your viewers where you want them: watching you. As an added bonus, public playlists can appear in YouTube’s search engine, which means a greater chance that your content is found.

This step continues throughout the process of managing your channel. Tailor your channel towards your audience, and engage with them often by responding to comments. Once they find your video, you want to keep them coming back.

Additional Tips

There is a lot more that could be taken into account when using YouTube for your business, but these six steps will cover the general process you need to successfully plan, create, and market your videos. For additional assistance, Checkerboard Internet Services can help with all things digital marketing.

When it comes to optimizing content for search, no one knows the exact formula that YouTube or Google use. When you search for SEO tips, whoever comes up at the top of the search probably knows what they’re doing. Seems simple enough if you think about it. For more tips about YouTube SEO, see who pops up first on YouTube and put some trust in them, because they clearly optimized their own video properly.

Need help with your website’s SEO? We start every project with a complimentary competitive analysis. Start yours today and we’ll provide you with a plan to get found in search.