How to Turn YouTube Into an SEO Gold Mine for Your Brand

goldmine, gold pieces

Type any word into Google followed by the word “video” and you’ll see a number of YouTube links load at the top of your browser.

That’s because YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine next to parent company Google. And as such, it’s a crucial tool for communicators to make YouTube part of their search engine optimization efforts, says Nati Katz, director of global agency Burson-Marsteller’s technology practice.

PR News talked about YouTube strategy with Katz, who will speak at PR News’ Google for Communicators Boot Camp July 19 at the Yale Club in New York.

Burson Marsteller, Director of Technology, Nati Katz
Nati Katz, Director, Technology Practice, Burson-Marsteller

PR News: What’s the connection between YouTube video and SEO?

Nati Katz: What people need to remember about YouTube is that, yes, it’s fun and entertaining, but it’s still a search engine. What makes it a search engine is the use of keywords in your description and title, used to draw the right audience and the broadest audience. Those keywords are the same as those used in your SEO strategy to optimize relevance, to highlight the brand and stand out.

PR News: What are some best practices for high-quality video content?

Katz: High quality is the ability to convey your content well below 5 minutes. The average best practice for length is about 4.2 minutes or less. That takes a lot of planning, high-quality script writing.

Always make it relevant and timely. A lot of teams want to make it right in terms of production, but they don’t realize that so much time has gone by that by the time it’s ready to run, the content is no longer relevant.

PR News: How can communicators convince senior leaders that YouTube is worth the investment?

Katz: That’s the gold mine, because today the numbers speak for themselves. Video being the number one medium for consumption of content, the advanced proliferation of embedded content both on your site and on other sites in the [online] ecosystem and the fact that you can leverage YouTube on other channels.

And that’s before we talk about the numbers in terms of YouTube’s popularity as a video platform. You’ve got retail shoppers, information seekers and other groups that are all on the same platform and you can draw them to a number of topics.

PR News: What are some brands that are doing great work on YouTube? What makes them unique?

Katz: LyftOreo CookieWalmartDeloitte US and Boeing.

What they have in common is a healthy balance between a product or service, and the relevance of their values to our daily lives, aspirations and interests. Brands that offer a human-interest perspective are proven to draw optimal outcomes.

PR News: How can you use YouTube Analytics to measure ROI?

Katz: ROI can be measured by traffic you’re seeing to YouTube and to other channels, especially if you’re using it as a traffic generator to your core site. Or the conversion of viewers into subscribers—YouTube is great at helping you manage your progress there.

There are many small areas that make a big difference, like the graphic design of your channel. Taking the extra effort to fix your avatar, banner and video thumbnails and descriptions. It’s a terrific dashboard.

 PR News: What about videos that have been sitting on YouTube for a while? Are there any ways to make an old video fresh again?

Katz: You can definitely revive old videos for new audiences and new reach. YouTube allows you to edit keywords and metatags and other textual elements, and each change may bring about renewed reach on videos.

Sometimes, people will come across a video that has great tips, and then they see the date and it was posted 6 years prior. But that’s OK because that means someone did something right.

Learn SEO best practices from Nati Katz and from nonprofit, B2B and B2C communicators at Cisco, Verizon, Professional Services Council, CFA Institute and more at PR News’ Google for Communicators Boot Camp July 19 at the Yale Club in New York.

Follow Nati: @N_Katz