I can’t get YouTube off my mind. With apologies to Gil Scott Heron, the revolution is being videoized. Contrary to popular opinion it just may be an ad revolution. H&R Block’s recent promo for their TaxCut online filing includes the most linked to comedy video in the history of YouTube.
There has also been a recent spike in my search traffic from the keyword “optimize YouTube tags” to a post I did about 6 weeks ago. Since the content of that post did not necessarily focus on ways to optimize YouTube tags (or any social media tags for that matter) I thought that in the sprit of SEO and the strategy of meeting the unmet needs of your audience here are ways to optimize YouTube tags.
Note: I have no idea how YouTube selects the order of their search results in relation to relevance. Sometimes I don’t even see exact keyword/tag matches fill the first page of results but there are exact tag matches on subsequent pages. I’ve done a bit of reverse engineering and I see no rhyme or reason relating to how the title, tags, views and rating data influence results. If anyone has insight on this let me know. So for the moment:
1. Make sure your tags are relevant to your content. Seems obvious but this takes some thought to get into the minds of users similar to keyword discovery.
2. The more tags the merrier. I see no penalty for using all your available tag space.
3. Spread your tags out among your clips. Adding more tags can help snag some tail.
4. Use adjectives. Remember lots of folks are browsing and they’ll use adjectives to find what they are in the mood to view.
5. Have some category descriptor tags. It’s important to remember YouTube’s default search settings are Videos, Relevance and All Categories.
6. Match your title and description with your most important tags. Basic SEM practice applies here as well.
7. Don’t use natural language phrases and waste tag space on words like “and” or “to.”
Let’s take a quick look at leveraging the YT results filters:
Date Added – make sure your clips are not too long. Keep them short enough so that you ensure frequent posting on the same tags to keep attracting views.
Views – It’s important to leverage the social nature of YouTube to help maximize views. Ideally you want to get on user subscription lists as well as get exposure on favorites.
Rating – Quality matter though the rating system is has so many videos with similar star ratings that it’s somewhat pointless to optimize for.
Tags are only part of optimizing YouTube. Keep in mind the influence that your title has in attracting CTR. You need to pull every lever to build an audience. The social nature of YT requires getting on users subscriptions and favorites. Again, it all gets down to quality. This is what inherently what makes YouTube great. You build attention by being incredibly interesting.
There truly are some incredible videos on YouTube…and with new ones coming all the time getting your video seen will become more difficult… and at the same time more valuable.