About the author : Daniel Griffith

Daniel is an Author, Designer, and Entrepreneur. With over 10 years of industry experience, Daniel utilizes his unique blend of mathematics and poetry, engineering and creative thinking to solve both technical and business challenges to ultimately co-create the world he wants to live in.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock since 2005, you know that YouTube is one of the most popular sites on the Internet. To paraphrase Ron Burgandy: it’s kind of a big deal.

Based on the latest data–April 2014–there are…

  • 1 billion users on YouTube
  • 60 hours of video watched every minute (2012)
  • 6 billion hours of videos watched each month
  • 100 hours of videos uploaded every minute

Small businesses have a huge opportunity to capture some of YouTube’s success–drive web users to their websites, brand their products and services, and increase their bottom line.

But how to make your message stand out on YouTube? How do you make a small business’s message heard in a crowded and cacophonous social-media platform?

1. Put keywords or key-phrases in the title of your video

In many ways, title tags are the bread and butter of search engine optimization. Both Google and YouTube take them very seriously, and they are central to having a good click-through-rate. When web-searchers view a search-engine-results-page, they often look at the title tag first.

The good news is that you control the title tag for your video: YouTube automatically populates the title tag with the title of your video, so choose your title wisely.

If your video is about hand-made porcelain mugs or portrait artist in Cleveland, Ohio, don’t title your video “06 May 2014 IMG.MOV-4”.

2. Write lengthy video descriptions

Google and YouTube cannot access the content of your video. When a search engine sees your video, it only sees 4.5 MB of data–not what the data actually contain. So, tell Google and YouTube what your video is about with a long description. Use keywords phrases to describe what is in your video. Don’t make it “spammy” — but don’t waste this valuable part of the YouTube video.

3. Optimize for video keywordscute-cats-video-results

Google, through a complex algorithm, gives YouTube videos an edge in the search-engine-results-pages. Search for “cute cats” or the name of basically any popular song today and you’ll see what I mean.

But Google only does this for certain keywords, called “Video Keywords.”

It knows that when its users search with certain keywords and key-phrases, they want to see videos, and so Google typically puts videos on the first page of results.

How do you find out if a key-phrase you want to optimize for is a “Video Keyword”? While there’s no sure-fire way to figure that out, the best thing to do is search for your key-phrase and see if videos come up. Try searching on multiple browsers and perhaps even multiple devices (mobile, PC, etc).

The bottom line is this: Before choosing a key-phrase for your video, check to see if there are video results on the first page for that key-phrase. If there is, you should strongly consider that key-phrase.

4. Ask viewers to like, comment, and subscribe in every single video

When someone enjoys your video enough to “like” it–or, even better, subscribe after watching it–it sends a signal to YouTube that your video is great.

YouTube depends on the user’s experience. It all comes down to whether or not people enjoy their time watching videos, so YouTube automatically ranks videos with likes and subscriptions higher than those with less.

Was it hilarious? Insane? Ridiculous? informative? Educational? YouTube only knows if your viewers tell it.

Here’s the key: encourage people to “like” your video and, most importantly, “subscribe” to your page at the end of the video.

That’s it. These tips are in no way exhaustive, but you are no ready to start optimizing on YouTube. What do you think? What YouTube marketing strategies have worked for you?