Implementing SEO best practices is essential to succeed on YouTube. As the platform continues to grow and as consumers/patients, caregivers and healthcare providers consume more information, it’s important to ensure content and technical best practices are implemented by your SEO team to expand the potential of your video assets.
YouTube Channel and Content Creation Best Practices for Strong SEO
YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google and is the third most visited website alongside Google and Facebook. HCPs also use YouTube for professional purposes, as 35% of healthcare professionals utilize YouTube to learn about the experiences of their peers with a particular treatment and to understand clinical data on existing pharmaceutical products (CMI/Compas Media Vitals, 2019/20). It is an absolute powerhouse for distributing information in the health space and, if properly utilized, can generate a significant amount of exposure and opportunities to connect with your audience via highly engaging content.
SEO Can Influence Your YouTube Channel’s Performance
Because YouTube is essentially a video search engine, standard SEO concepts can be very helpful for identifying content opportunities that align with your audience’s needs. A SEO team can make all the difference when creating content and can even help you leverage optimization tactics that will allow you to obtain premier placement in video results pages. For example, keyword research is a basic function that any SEO team can perform, but did you know that the keyword data pulled can be used to spark video topic ideas? Videos rank on YouTube according to relevance of searched keywords and SEO best practices can generate priority placement on the results page that further help generate views.
By increasing visibility and engagement utilizing SEO best practices, brands can effectively capitalize and improve their YouTube presence.
Whether Video or Basic SEO, Content is Still King
Strong YouTube performance begins with quality content which should be thoroughly planned out and approached with your overall digital strategy in mind.
A few priority content best practices include the following but are not limited to:
• Set your channel goals – Prior to creating your YouTube strategy, it is important to set goals to understand what your team is expecting from the content and YouTube channel. Whether it is to create brand awareness, ensure patients are adhering to treatment, or educating your audience about the condition itself, it is important to define what success means for your channel. Once your goals are determined, make sure they are factored into each video you create and use specialized Calls to Action in those videos as measurement.
• Plan a content calendar – It is beneficial to develop a content calendar that defines what video concepts will be launching each month. With this plan, you can lay out any milestones and can ensure that you give yourself enough time to write scripts, find the right actors and film your videos.
• Content should be informative, entertaining and original – The more engaging, interesting and relevant your content is, the longer your audience will watch and return for more. Originality is key as well. People want to view content that they have not seen before.
• Identify topics and themes that your audience is interested in and turn them into videos – It can be very valuable to identify common questions that patients and HCPs are asking and information that they are looking for when planning your content. A SEO team can help you with this. At CMI, we have proprietary tools that provide us with information and insights on how HCPs and patients search online. There are other tools available that can be utilized to identify keyword targeting opportunities as well, including TubeBuddy, vidIQ and BrightEdge. By using this available data and analyzing keyword trends, we can recommend highly relevant content themes that can translate to very engaging video content.
• Ensure branding alignment with other social and paid channels – Branding and theming should align with what you are promoting through other social and paid channels such as Facebook, paid search, email and banners. Ensuring ad text and creative across these channels aligns with your YouTube creative can aid in brand recall and can also further increase awareness.
• Have videos regularly uploaded to your channel to keep your audience coming back – This might mean approving multiple videos at once and then staggering their upload to your channel to keep your audience hungry for more content.
SEO Technical Best Practices Can Increase YouTube Performance
Basic technical best practices can also help expand your YouTube viewership. Like other search engines, YouTube thrives on text-based content, but struggles with understanding videos. This is why it depends on the following elements to determine what a video is all about:
• Title of the video – One of the first things a user sees is the video’s title. The title should not only be compelling but also be clear, concise and include keywords.
• Video descriptions – These summaries help search engines understand a video’s intention and help viewers decide which videos to watch.
• Custom thumbnail – Video thumbnails let viewers see a snapshot of the video while browsing YouTube. Ensure your YouTube thumbnail accurately represents your video content.
• Tags – Tags are keywords that help viewers find your content by specific topics, like a filter. No need to go overboard; 5 to 8 tags per video will suffice.
• Subtitles and closed captions – Closed captions are readable to search engines and allows you to use your script to provide them with context.
• Interactive elements – Interactive elements such as ‘cards’ and ‘end screens’ are designed to complement videos and enhance the viewer experience with relevant information.
Your SEO team can optimize these elements to help make a stronger association between your content and searches that are being performed in YouTube, which will increase the exposure to your desired audience.
Important to Note
It is vital that your YouTube channel is made public to ensure organic visibility. You cannot gain a following and engage your audience if they are unable to see your video content. Like websites, YouTube also has other technical best practices that should be implemented to ensure peak visibility, but, if your channel is private, optimizations for increasing its visibility won’t work.
SEO is Here to Help You Get the Most Out of Your YouTube Efforts
Although it’s tempting to jump right in and start creating content, it’s important to ensure that your SEO team is involved in your overall content strategy for YouTube and the creation and optimization of the YouTube channel itself. A strong channel that aligns with your brand goals means working hand in hand with your SEO team to ensure your channel is fully visible, the content on your channel is engaging and that best practices from a compliance perspective are followed and implemented. Your CMI SEO team can provide necessary research for trending topics and subjects, which can help inform strategic direction and video creation. With vast industry and subject matter expertise, they can also work with creative teams to align on any compliance procedures for technical YouTube additions.