How To Do YouTube Video View Optimization Part 1

Looking around the net this political season, it’s amazing to see the number of conversations I’m seeing that discuss YouTube Video View Optimization in non-SEO communities. It’s a unique ecosystem with distinctly different rules and people figuring out how to optimize the current system. It would be impossible to summarize all of the things I’ve witnessed, so this is a summary that is a work in process and I welcome your contributions and discussion.

There are three primary prizes you are shooting for:

1) Becoming a “featured video” on the Youtube homepage.

This is apparently an internal process at YouTube and the system is not transparent. Andy Mckee’s “Drifting” was added to the Youtube featured videos after thousands of views, while Mike Huckabee eating a hamburger named after him in NH yesterday was added when it had zero views. One thing is clear, being featured on the YouTube front page can provide rocket fuel for perpetual viral status. For example, Andy Mckee’s “Drifting” now has 10,000,000+ views.

2 ) Ranking well on the any other social, tagging or metadata metric.

Most Viewed, Most Discussed, Top Favorites are all categories accessible within one click of the home page. The later two categories have been dominated lately by supporters of Ron Paul who have been actively doing the work necessary to get their videos featured. Each of these has subcategories to think about when you chose a category, tags and content wording – Autos & Vehicles, Comedy, Education, Entertainment, Film & Animation, How to & Style, Music, News & Politics, People & Blogs, Pets & Animals, Science & Technology, Sports, Travel & Events and Watch on Mobile. Do you have a community to mobilize?

3) It’s not a complete one to one correlation, but videos with higher views, comments and favorites tend to be the ones featured in Google universal search results.

This can keep the viral traffic going to that video long after the YouTube event. Critics would note that this creates an echo chamber effect that is as entrenched as a Wikipedia page.

OK, how do I do this?

- Start with making quality content that creates passion.

– Start with standard SEO of your video content.

– Build links via best practices – consult these expert entries on how to optimize for: StumbleUpon, Digg, del.icio.us, link to the videos on blogs etc.

– If you have a community get them to view the YouTube video content, favorite it, rate it and comment on it in a tightly clustered time frame.

I’d also experiment with some new tools such as:

- Tubemogul (thanks to Karl Long for the suggestion)

Video Sitemaps – though it’s not clear whether that is only for self-hosted videos.

For the gray hats out there:

- Tags appear to be valued highly in YouTube’s current search relevancy process. Yet unless a viewer clicks to see all of the content the tags will never be seen.

– After a video is popular on YouTube, you can edit the category and get it to rank in a new category using the traffic that was built in a different vertical. This tactic surprised me in that I did not know you could change the video after publishing in that manner, though I’m surprised by how well it works. Please keep in mind this only works for videos with existing high traffic.

There is an amazingly thin amount of content on this subject, I’d highly welcome other people’s thoughts on the subject for inclusion and expansion of this research to date. But for now I hope this serves as a useful guide to you for your YouTube video view optimization!

UPDATE 1/16 – this has been translated and expanded upon in German!

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16 Responses to How To Do YouTube Video View Optimization Part 1

  1. Emi February 14, 2008 at 1:07 am #

    I wanna be up date about seo on you tube.

  2. hey February 21, 2008 at 8:10 am #

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bmk5h-R4avQ

  3. Becky R. July 22, 2008 at 6:39 pm #

    Any updates on this topic? I’m trying to do more video optimization on a number of my videos, including one for youtube.com/watch?v=_njahisJ2Z8. Any better ideas on how to do this?

  4. Spunky August 5, 2008 at 3:09 pm #

    I find it hard to get views. I can’t manipulate the video in anyway because the video was submitted for a scholarship contest. How do I promote my video knowing I can’t change it?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvNp6eDXw58

  5. Maggie February 19, 2009 at 8:10 pm #

    The Tags are really important when it comes to getting good ranking for your video.Including tags that users will search on. However, avoid using techniques such as keyword stuffing. This will ultimately hurt your videos rankings.

  6. Rob - SEO April 20, 2009 at 3:23 am #

    I agree with maggie – tags are important. Also links from blogs and other websites are important. But the best bet is to do everything in moderation – if you rush it you may end up harming your listing in the long term.

  7. Harish April 20, 2009 at 12:04 pm #

    This post seems to be more intresting i want to know more tips and tricks how the video indexing or how the video optimisation works so plz let me know more details abt it.

  8. Don't click the Noobi! December 24, 2009 at 10:07 pm #

    Important keywords should be in the title, the description and tags. Miss one, and the guy who has it in all three fields, gets ranked higher ( if other criterias are comparable).

  9. Katharina Fall October 19, 2010 at 3:25 pm #

    hey there I read your blog all the time, you have many wonderful things to say. My reviewers would like your flair, do you imagine you could be a invitee blogger for me?

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