YouTube still claims to be the second largest search engine in the world. Just think about that for a minute. If you produce online video and it's not on YouTube, you're probably missing out on a great deal of potential viewers. If you're not producing video at all, you're missing out a lot of searches.
Do you consider YouTube important to search marketing? Let us know.
However, just uploading content to YouTube is not going to be enough. Like with any other form of search engine, content needs to be optimized to be found. At SXSW in Austin back in March, WebProNews spoke with Margaret Gould Stewart, who leads YouTube's user experience team. She talked about some reasons a lot of content producers are missing out on some tremendous opportunities when they use the world's most popular online video site.
"When you're building a sustained audience, you have to continually create great content that connects with your audience," says Stewart. "I think the secondary part is understanding your audience - understanding who you want to reach, and proactively cultivating a relationship with the people in your audience. And on YouTube that means not just creating great content and uploading it to the site, but actively building your subscriber base, so that you can be in direct and regular interaction and conversation with those people."
"We find that video producers who are really active in the conversation, whether it's comments or uploading 'how this video was made'- you know, kind of the behind-the-scenes - people are really fascinated by that stuff, and we see some our most successful partners really having that, again, kind of ongoing conversation - not an arm's length relationship to the audience, but very engaged," she adds.
"We sometimes see content producers not investing enough time in attaching great meta data to their content, because like I said, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, and we all know that for Google, it's important to think seriously about search engine optimization, because you can have the great content, and ideally the cream will float to the top, but there's definitely things you can do to help yourself along, right?"
"Good clear, direct titling of your content, putting the right kinds of tags...because the fact is initially when content goes viral, people may discover it through search engines, or embed it in blogs, but then it reaches that really exciting word-of-mouth status, where I just may mention it to you person-to-person, and then what most people do is just go to YouTube.com and they search for it," she continues. "So if you're not indexed well in the search engine because you haven't attached great meta data to your content, you're going to miss out on that audience."
"The other thing that is really important is enabling embedding," notes Stewart. "It's probably the number one most important thing, because what we see in videos that become very popular, very quickly and take on that kind of life of its own, a lot of that initial traffic in the first 48 hours happens actually off-site."
Note: This actually plays to a point I made about Twitter embeds as well.
If you want more success from your online video endeavors, read 35 Ways to Improve Your Online Video Performance, and Tips For Ranking Higher On and With YouTube, which features an interview with YouTube Product Manager Matt Liu. If real-time, live video is your thing, check out 8 Tips for Real-Time Video Blogging.
By the way, YouTube is renting movies now, and while it's not exactly taking over Netflix at this point, I would expect this to grow significantly and get more people spending more time at YouTube, where there is a YouTube search box very close by, and relevant related video suggestions served to viewers constantly.
Is YouTube a significant part of your marketing strategy? Comment here.