Today, we take a look at how to optimise videos for YouTube. It’s a beast of a platform that has one of the biggest audiences online, yet, many tourism businesses undervalue its potential. YouTube has over a billion users – almost one-third of all people on the internet – and each day those users watch a billion hours of video, generating billions of views.
Watch and session time is critical
One of the biggest ranking factors is on watch and session time. This is a combination of the amount of time your audience watches a video on your channel, which leads them to watch more of your content, or, other creators on the platform.
Hook the viewer in straightaway
With so many distractions online, we live in a time where people’s attention spans aren’t what they used to be, so it’s important that your content keeps the viewer hooked.
Getting straight into the video, and not starting with long intros is a smart move, especially for people who aren’t subscribed but have found your video through search. Let’s have a look at five ways that tourism businesses can optimise their videos on YouTube.
Make your videos search friendly
It’s important that your video is search friendly – what I mean by this is that your video title, description and tags must include a search term that people are regularly searching for on YouTube. A great tool for finding search terms that are popular on YouTube (and any search engine) is keyword.io. It’s free to sign up, and when you register it gives you the feature to export the identified keywords into an Excel or other documents.
For the past year, I have been using a very useful tool called TubeBuddy, and this gives you many features that save you time and helps you optimise your videos. The tool is a Chrome plugin and is free but I highly recommend that you at least subscribe to the ‘Star’ package as this gives you more functionality when it comes to keyword research.
I’ll go much more into detail on this topic in a future article.
Give your video a title that stands out
While the title of your video has to be search friendly, it’s important that it stands out. There are millions of videos on YouTube and your title has to make people want to click. Make sure that your title answers the question that your audience has searched for otherwise, the watch time will be low, especially if you have not satisfied the viewer within the 15-30 seconds.
For many, creating titles that have a high click-through rate is a challenge, so it’s worth spending time researching the title of your video before you even create it. The mistake many tourism businesses make is to think of a title after creating the video, and this often means that it’s not a title that is search friendly, or, regularly searched on YouTube.
Create Eye-Catching Thumbnails
Make sure that your channel is verified (usually through your mobile phone number) so that you can create and add your custom thumbnails to the video. Like your title, make sure that the thumbnail stands out when people are browsing through the search results and also suggested videos. We’ll go through suggested videos in more detail, in a future article.
It’s good practice to have some aspect of the thumbnail the same for every video, maybe your logo, or, a specific style where when people view your thumbnail they say, “Ah, yes, this is a video by ….’ Use colours like red and yellow because they stand out, and include bold text within the thumbnail so that the viewer knows exactly what your video is about.
If you are not a designer (like myself) then use a site like canva.com to create your own thumbnail. You can use one of the layouts for YouTube thumbnails on this site and tailor it to your requirements, then save it for future use.
Spend time tagging your video
Along with the description, another area that many tourism businesses neglect is tagging their videos with keywords that you want the video to rank for.
Let’s pretend you have a video ‘Things to do in York’. Make sure that you tag the video ‘things to do in York’ ‘tourist attractions in york’ ‘york’ ‘things to do’ ‘attractions’ and other similar search terms. As I mentioned previously, TubeBuddy will help you find tags that will rank your videos in the search results.
Think about how people will search for your video not just on YouTube but also Google search, where videos also appear. In my opinion, keyword research is an essential part of the video creation process, and this needs to be completed before you create the video.
Give viewers a Call to Action
Within the last six months, YouTube has rolled out video cards where you can promote your website to drive people to your email list, or, to a sale that you are hosting. YouTube will only allow you to link to your verified website and other third-party platforms.
With cards, you can promote similar videos to increase the session time on your channel, or even better, share a playlist which includes videos within a specific topic. Cards also help you increase subscribers, or sell products like merchandise on third-party platforms.
Point the viewer in the right direction
It’s really important that you give your viewer a call to action at the beginning and end of every video, so tell them to subscribe, share the video or visit your website to sign up to your email list for more great content. Point them in the right direction and do not assume that they will click on the cards within your video.
Over the coming weeks and months, I’ll be going into more detail about to optimise videos on YouTube and drive views to your videos, which will hopefully convert into customers. If you found this article useful then please give it a share and follow me on Twitter.