SEO, or search engine optimisation, essentially means labeling and positioning content (web pages, videos and even images) so that users can find what they are looking for online as easily as possible. SEO is a huge topic - and an ever evolving discipline for it's practitioners - so we won't be able to cover everything here.
However, to put it simply, YouTube uses a video's meta data when deciding what content to serve people when they search. Meta data is made from things like video titles, video URLS, tags and video descriptions; these are the things YouTube's 'search engine crawlers' read when returning video results, hence the importance of having good meta data.
Mickey Tropeano, of Kill Your Idols PR, said: 'The band should pay extra attention to metadata. Description, tags and title are essential: the band needs to know who they are targeting, who their fans are and of course who are the other bands' fans they want to appeal to.'
In this post, we'll cover five tips that will help you optimise your videos for search and beyond:
- Brand your channel name - this seems like the most obvious point, but it can be overlooked and is the most important point in this post. As we mentioned earlier, YouTube looks at video URLs, but this includes your channel name too. You should ensure your artist or band name is clear and uniform across all your social platforms, including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. If you find your name is already taken, adding keywords like 'music' or 'band' to the end of it can help optimise your channel even more so people have even more chance of finding your channel via search.
- Think like your audience - what would you be searching for if you were a fan? What would you be typing in to find your video? Often terms like your artist/band name and song title are enough, or if it's a video from a live show then the word 'live' and the name of the venue would work well. Another thing to consider is how the content was previously advertised; if it's a song you're uploading, has it already had radio airplay? If it's a live recording, how was the show advertised? Search is all about common sense and putting yourself in the shoes of your audience, but not everyone thinks the same and uses the same wording. When thinking of tags, consider adding your band/artist name, song title, venue (if live video), genre... but don't over do it as YouTube can penalise you for 'key word stuffing' - just think what would someone else search for.
- Keywords, keywords, keywords - there are lots of tools you can use to help you find keywords, such as Google Adwords, which lets you know what people are searching for, both by volume of searches and by competition - how much content already exists on the internet using that keyword. Video titles should lead with the most searched-for terms, but you can add keywords to your video description and tags too.
- Optimisation doesn't stop at search - the great thing about digital marketing is that you can immediately see what is working. After you've tried optimising all of your videos, have a look to see which ones receive the most views. In order to get even more views, you should leverage your top-performing videos. Do this by adding annotations to other videos, adding links in the video description to your new videos, and creating video replies when the content links together naturally.
- Use data - data and analytics should inform all your digital marketing activity so that you can see what's working and cash in on that success. Use YouTube Anayltics - which is very similar to Google Analytics if you have ever used that - to see where are your views coming from. Important factors include referrers - websites, blogs - and keywords people searched for to find your videos. Reaching out to music blogs and online magazines with video embed links (available by clicking 'share' underneath your video) is a simple way to encourage them to host your videos, and keyword referrals let you know what keywords are working to bring people to your videos. Region information can even help inform you of where your fans are, which is useful when planning tours.
The world of optimisation can be a quagmire for beginners, but hopefully these top five tips will help fledgling YouTubers get their videos seen. For even more on optimisation and YouTube best practice, be sure to consult the Music Playbook Guide from YouTube HQ.
Read part one of our YouTube guide here - Five tips for marketing your music on Youtube.
Words: Shaun Mooney