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I recently attended an industry-leading show called SMX East in New York City. The amount of information at this three day conference was staggering, and it is amazing how quickly the search marketing landscape changes from year to year. One thing which has been consistently on the increase, however, is YouTube’s share of the search market. Here are some interesting statistics, as well as YouTube best practices to help you succeed on your own.

  • YouTube Users: >1 Billion worldwide (as of 4/21/14)
  • YouTube estimated 2014 revenue: $4 Billion
  • Average time spent on YouTube per mobile session: 40 minutes (as of 7/19/15)
  • Percentage of small businesses that use YouTube: 9% (as of spring 2015)

*These, and many more statistics, are available here and here. What does this mean? You’re missing out if you’re not participating in YouTube with your small business. As of this past spring, only 9% of small businesses are taking advantage of this free resource! And most people don’t realize it, but YouTube is the second most popular search engine on the web. Yes, YouTube is most definitely a search engine. Particularly for product research and how-to, YouTube is a highly trusted source for information. Being a company that delivers to customers what they are looking for on YouTube is a recipe for success.

Here is a consolidated list of YouTube best practices you should follow:

(Drawn largely from a presentation by Gene Skazovski, full presentation listed at the end for further learning)

  • Name your video wisely! A good title directly impacts your click through rate (CTR)
    • Bring attention with relevant terms, such as: Official, New, DIY, Tips, How-To, Testimonials, Reviews, Free, Video, Amazing, Case Study, Tutorial, and more.
  • Provide an accurate, relevant description. Don’t “stuff” it with keywords. Use them in ways where it makes sense to the user who wants to learn about what you’re offering.
  • Use video tags – up to 20 RELEVANT keywords. Think Brand Name, Competitor Names, Interest Groups, Audience Types, Genre, Geography. Note: Update/Swap tags on videos 2-3 times per year. More information here.
  • Closed Captioning: There are over a million YouTube Viewers who are hearing impaired and even more who don’t speak the language your video is in. Creating a closed captioning file for your video not only serves a wider audience, but the text also serves as meta data to help your video be more visible! Learn more here.
  • Promote the video by linking to it! Use relevant anchor text, allow embedding (if applicable), Share your video across the web via referral sources and social media.
  • Make your video useful! Don’t just post a video for the sake of posting it. Create something useful to your targeted audience. If you ignore this one, you have a lot of potential to waste time, effort and money, none of which small businesses can afford to do.
  • As your channel grows, organize your videos into playlists – YouTube uses AutoPlay, and many users take advantage of this, increasing their watch times significantly.
  • Monitor your comments! Users are going to give you feedback if you let them. Respond to comments and engage with the viewers. They’ll likely give you ideas for more content in the process too.
  • Advertising on YouTube – There is a whole science and strategy behind this which won’t fit into this space. Just know that if you don’t have the capacity to create your own content, there are opportunities to advertise on YouTube if you have a budget. Companion Banners, In-Video overlay ads, and many more are available.
  • Don’t forget your call to action! Include contact details such as website or phone number; overlay details for resources mentioned in the videos; include your brand on the video. If your content is good, a percentage of users are going to want to go to the next level. Not giving them that avenue is a wasted opportunity.

Here is Gene Skazovski’s presentation in its entirety:

YouTube is an outstanding resource. For me personally, my car would probably not be running today if it wasn’t for some great how-to video resources. I also turned to YouTube to research a new rifle I bought for this hunting season. A model which I had never considered in the past, but after seeing the results on YouTube I was sold. Many other users just like me are looking for answers on YouTube, the question is: will you be there to answer them?

Still want more? Here are more recommendations from Google themselves.

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