Getting The Most Out Of YouTube

If you haven’t heard, the news regarding online video is good. Our friend Matt McGee informed us yesterday about the Pew Research Center report that found the number of adults watching online video has doubled since 2006. What does that mean? It means that now 2 out of every 3 adults online are spending time watching video. Those are some pretty convincing numbers.

As a small business owner, online video is a great way to stand out, to bring qualified traffic to your site and to get your videos into the engine’s Universal Search results. With all the talk about the online video gold rush, I thought it may be timely to take a look at how SMB owners can optimize their YouTube accounts to receive even more traffic and rankings.

Optimizing Your Account

Your first step is to obviously create a YouTube account if you don’t already have one. Assuming this is going to be a business account, do your best to secure the name of your company as the username. If you can’t, find something else that will be easy to brand. The URL for your YouTube account will look something like []. That means getting your brand in there, will almost ensure that users will find it when they perform a search for you. Once you decide on a username, you’ll also need to give up the goods – telling YouTube your country of residence, your zip code and birth date.

With your account created, go ahead completely fill out your profile. Upload an avatar, give yourself a keyword-rich description, link back to your site in the Website section, share your hometown and dig into the hobbies, focusing on activities that complement your business or line of work.

Optimizing Your Video Content

Obviously, the bulk of your optimization efforts will focus on the actual video themselves. Here are some of the most important areas you’ll want to spend time on.

Video File Name: By default, your video will probably have an awesomely lame file name like “vid012912”. This will not help people find you. Instead, rename the video to give it a more descriptive, keyword-rich title. For example, if your video shows how to arrange a floral bouquet, a good name may be “how to arrange a bouquet”. Do your best to be as descriptive as you can in 4-5 words.

Title: One of the biggest missteps we see with clients is that they want to give all their videos the same title – their business name. Problem is, this doesn’t tell users or the search engines what this video is about and it certainly won’t help people find it. When thinking up a good title, try and think of what a normal searcher would type into YouTube. Often your title will be a slightly extended version of your file name.

Description: Take some time to write a video description that accurately depicts what’s being demonstration or talked about in the video. A good description should build upon what you’ve already said in your Title and give people a reason to continue on and watch the video. I’d also recommend dropping a link to your Web site into the video description to help drive people back to your Web site. YouTube gets a lot of traffic. Capitalize on that.

Tags: The tags you associate with your video are going to be really important because they dictate what “related videos” yours will be paired up with. Your tags should be individual words, not long phrases, and should include all the keywords you used in the file name/title/descriptions, as well as anything else that may be relevant. There’s no limit to how many tags you can add to a video, so as long as they’re relevant, have at it.

Optimize Your Video Channel

Many small business owners don’t realize that they can also optimize their video channel. To do this, visit your profile page and click the link to edit your channel. From there, you’ll be able to edit the title of your channel, write a keyword-rich description (and include a link to your Web site), assign tags, and set whether or not you’ll allow comments (you should). You can also set the type of channel you’re running to help identify if you’re a director, a musician, comedian, reporter or a guru. I’m not exactly sure what qualifies someone as a “guru”, but welcome to the Internet. 😉

To help your page stand out, you should also upload a branded background to help people associate your company with the video’s they’re seeing on your channel.

Community Building

We know that at least some of YouTube’s ranking algorithm is dependent on community factors like the number of views you have, comments, rating, etc. To help your video earn these cred points, you want to become part of the YouTube community.

Find friends on YouTube by searching for your own keywords and checking out the profiles of the folks who show up. Look for people who are not only in your industry, but in parallel industries, as well. Search for you location and find users who are local to you. Not only will this find you new friends to network with, but you may find some real life customers, too.

Once you have friends, interact with their videos. One of the best ways to gain traffic to your YouTube videos is to post a video response to other people’s video. This puts your video in their comment section so that everyone who views it will see your video right below. You’ll want to target not only your friends’ videos, but also other related videos with very high popularity numbers.

Online video and small businesses are a match made in heaven. Make sure you’re taking advantage.


Lisa Barone Lisa Barone is Vice President of Strategy at Overit, an Albany Web design and development firm where she serves on the senior staff overseeing the company’s marketing consulting, social media, and content divisions.

20 Reactions
  1. Great advice that ties in very well with a recent piece over on Duct Tape Marketing. Integrated search results are becoming the norm on Google, so having YouTube videos gives you another chance of capturing search traffic.

  2. Lisa,

    Thanks for the lecture on how to optimize your YouTube account, video content & channel. I have some work to do now… 😉 At the moment you will find some cute video clips of Morris the Cat. (Click on “Martin Lindeskog” Says if you are a cat person! :)) I will start to record new business related stuff when I have got a new headset so I could record sound in a good way.

  3. Awesome info Lisa. These are important aspects that lots of people overlook. They think the only thing involved is making a video and posting it but they should follow your list to get the most benefit out of it. Now I’ve got a great checklist to use when I start making videos soon.

  4. Great post. I also try to convince my clients to add beginning and ending titles (by which I mean title frames in the actual video itself) that will include the company name, the website url, and a copyright notice. Makes it a little more difficult for people to swipe it and pass it off as their own (which can happen)

  5. Hey Lisa, this is great info. I’m in the process of taking my YouTube channel to another level. I customized my skin using PowerPoint and have recorded a series of videos to show you how (using same technique I used to customize my Twitter background).

  6. Great post Lisa. I’m a firm believer in using YouTube as an online marketing tool. That’s why one of my good friends (personal development coach) and I decided to get together and record a series of 7 free videos about how to use YouTube as an online marketing tool (he’s been successful with YouTube for his business). It covers things like step by step process to record, upload and get your videos ranked in the Google search engines, what equipment you need to get started, how to overcome your fear of using online video, great content ideas for your videos, and strategies to build trust with your prospects so they’ll buy from you. You can check out the free videos at I hope you find them useful.

  7. Lisa
    You are always right on time with the stuff I’m trying to solve for someone. This is a terrific post. I totally spaced on the filename of the video and should have known better. Now I have to upload a new, renamed video and I’ll now lose my rock solid place in Google SERPs on Page 17… Man… Should have read your post last week, but then, I would have needed a video on how to know what you’re thinking about writing next. 🙂

  8. RedHotFranchises

    Great advice!
    The core concept of video marketing on YouTube is to harness the power of the site’s traffic and that is doing all it takes to reach the daily most viewed videos tab at the top.

  9. And dont forget to look at the Statistics/Data section and Insights to find out who is watching and where your videos wind up. A Flip video camera and Windows Movie Maker are simple enough for everyone to use and make decent videos.

  10. This article has been a great resource for us. I’ve had it in my inbox ever since it was published and have referred back to it as a resource. Since your article’s post, we revamped our current account and added another.

  11. Btw, I wanted to add (there was no ‘edit’ button) that mapping the video is HUGE. By mapping the video, the video will show up in local searches (especially).

  12. Some good top tips i must admit I’ve just left my videos to fend for themselves and unsurprisingly they not getting worn out by overviewing

  13. We are moving our videos off youtube. One of our competitors is apparently targeting us by “flagging” all our videos which has resulted in the random removal of three of them without merit. No appeals process, no explanation, no way to talk to anyone. No response from YouTube staff to Emails, phone calls, help forums, even old fashion letters. YouTube is a poor platform to rely on for business needs.

  14. Hi McCain…

    Woow..that’s nuts. I can’t believe that happened. Do you have your videos on any other sites? I use a free service called TubeMogul (I have a video on my blog, search for “TubeMogul”) which uploads to multiple sites at the same time.

    It is always good to have your videos self hosted too. There has been a new product released in the past month that makes it very simple…and there is no monthly fee to use it (just a one time payment..which is very reasonable around $100)…I’ve been using it for the paste few weeks and love it. It also allows you to embed “Pay Now” and “Opt in” buttons and forms at the end of the video – directly ON the video which is also cool:


  15. Great information, thanks very much for the time you’ve put in.
    I’m a small business myself and just waking up to what video can do for my marketing.

  16. Great job with your description on how to optimize the videos. This is one area that I see people not doing what they should all the time!

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