Using YouTube to supercharge your SEO strategy
If video isn’t part of your content strategy, you may need to reconsider your plan.
Not only is YouTube the second biggest search engine in the world (after it’s parent, Google), but the platform offers a host of opportunities for advertising, influencer marketing and sharing branded content.
YouTube’s statistics tell the story of a remarkably successful platform:
- Nearly 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every day
- Over 3.2 billion hours of video are watched each month
- More than half of their traffic comes from mobile (in fact it’s closer to 70%)
- The average YouTube session lasts 40 minutes
How video content can help your SEO
Video content is beneficial for a number of reasons. Firstly, engagement metrics such as the time spent on the page is a ranking signal for search engines.
If someone clicks on your link and then immediately bounces back to Google, it’s a strong signifier that the searcher didn’t find what they were looking for on your site. However, if someone clicks through from Google and stays on your page for a longer time, it indicates to the search engine that the searcher found what they were looking for and that your website was a useful resource for that specific search query.
Video content helps keep people engaged with your page. Think about it – how many times have you searched for something and immediately clicked back after being confronted with a wall of text? Sometimes it’s easier to show rather than describe, especially if the aim of your content is to show your customers how to use or troubleshoot one of your products. If you’re in a service industry, the value of your service can often be conveyed more convincingly by having a video of a customer or spokesperson talking passionately about your product or service. Similarly, animations and graphics can help to convey your key points, as well as clearly demonstrate your product’s benefits and features.
Secondly, video content opens up new channels of discovery. Having video hosted on YouTube provides a new opportunity for searchers to discover your brand or content, which can then lead them to your site.
People between the age of 18 and 34 are now spending more time watching video content streamed on the internet than watching content which is broadcast on TV. This statistic is evidence of a trend which has long been anticipated by many; that audiences of old media and audiences of new media are converging into one.
YouTube is the perfect platform for sharing content which appeals to this younger demographic. Branded content, when executed well, can be a huge driver of brand recognition and traffic to your site. Red Bull are arguably the kings of this, as their out-of-this-world Stratos campaign proved. It was streamed live on YouTube, cutting out traditional media entirely, and generated a huge amount of press coverage for the brand. While many smaller brands won’t have the same budgets as Red Bull, it’s still a great example of how YouTube as a platform can accelerate a branded message to a huge audience.
Use video content to find your niche
YouTube is now becoming so gargantuan that it plays host to a whole host of communities, both large and small, which your brand or company can tap into. Gaming has always been popular on the platform (the highest subscribed channel is a gaming one), but it’s also a go-to platform for music lovers (both producers and consumers), foodies, travellers, comedy, sports and more. Even within these categories, there are multiple niches with incredibly passionate viewers; whether that’s an online community focussing on a specific genre of music, delivering make-up tutorials or catering to fitness enthusiasts.
Some media channels have verticals even within their own YouTube channel. Vox, for example – a general news website – uploads content relating to current affairs, health, science, culture, technology, music and more. YouTube has grown into an incredibly diverse treasure trove of content.
What YouTube is doing now
YouTube has grown exponentially over the past few years, and Google is gearing up to expand further. The launch of subscription-service YouTube Red has brought original programming and removed advertisements. However, all is not particularly rosy at YouTube.
The platform has been in the middle of ‘The Adpocalypse”. What is the Adpocalypse? Well, there’s currently an ongoing three-way struggle between content creators, advertisers and YouTube itself – all of which started in 2017. Content creators on YouTube earn money from the adverts shown on their videos (which are placed by Google Display Network).
There were a number of controversies last year, from Jaguar Land Rover’s adverts appearing on pro-ISIS videos (yes, even those exist on YouTube despite their best efforts to remove them), to some of YouTube’s biggest content creators releasing offensive or controversial videos which advertisers didn’t want anything to do with.
This has forced YouTube to rewrite their rules on monetisation and advertising standards, and the implementation hasn’t been particularly smooth. They’ve started to take a much harsher stance on which videos are eligible for adverts – leading to many YouTube channels closing down their operations or seeing their revenue drop by as much as 80%.
The bigger picture for your video content
So what does this mean for marketers? Well, if you’re treating YouTube as part of the Google Display Network then it should lead to your adverts being shown in more relevant places. However, if you’re banking on YouTube for generating some revenue on your content then the chances are that won’t happen. Nevertheless, it’s a great place for coverage opportunities for your businesses niche. Established YouTubers are always looking for more opportunities for content, so why not try reaching out to someone?