YouTube Guide to Traffic and SEO

YouTube Guide to Traffic and SEO

One thing I’ve learned through the creation of this website is that I love to learn and I love to share what I learn with others. Over the past week, I’ve been working on my YouTube skills and getting comfortable with the HD webcam I have and recording myself. Let me tell you, from an introvert like myself, this has been an interesting learning experience both about myself and video technology.

In this guide, I am going to share with you the many tips I’ve learned to help you increase the views to your YouTube channel and how to increase your subscribers. When I started playing around with the advise I’ve found online, one thing is certain, this stuff works! My channel went from 301 subscribers to 362 in just one day on my main public account. The strategies have also worked on my affiliate marketing channels extremely well and even boosted my leads from these videos!

So let’s get started. Here’s the advice I have for you on building traffic to your YouTube channel videos and also, how to build traffic to your websites and funnels.

YouTube Traffic Guide Table of Contents

  1. YouTube Video Creation
  2. Video File Optimization
  3. Optimize Your Video Title
  4. Use Video Descriptions
  5. YouTube Video Tags
  6. Transcribe Your YouTube Video
  7. Ask and You Shall Receive
  8. YouTube Playlists
  9. Build Your Subscribers
  10. Using Thumbnails
  11. Engage People

YouTube Video Creation – Keep it Short!

Most people when creating video typically create longer drawn out videos with multiple topics based around the niche. Where I see this problem most prevalent is Google+ Hangouts where videos cover several topics and traditionally last an hour or more. I strongly recommend creating smaller 3-5 minute videos for each topic so you can focus your video on specific keywords in your niche.

Smaller videos target the majority of video watchers who want to find out what they are looking for in the shortest time possible. I don’t know many people willing to sit down and watch a one hour video to find out a strategy or tip that will help them in whatever your niche is. Remember, the attention span of your potential client is shrinking as technology advances, so keep it short and to the point.

One of the biggest benefits you’ll have with shorter video is video SEO. Each video you make should be based around primary or secondary words in your niche. If you do this, you’ll have a greater chance at building traffic to your videos and ultimately, your website(s).

YouTube Video File Optimization

When preparing your video for upload, name your video files with your keywords in mind.

I’ve had no problems with spaces in file names. I’ve seen other sites recommending dashes in your file names which might be necessary depending on your operating system. An example would then be top-widgets-for-wordpress.mp4.

The reason for this YouTube will give your video preference if you use topical keywords in your file name.

Optimize Your Video’s Title

Give your video an appealing title with your keywords in mind. If your video shows your kid making a giant mess with his/her spaghetti dinner, you’ll want to create some curiosity while keeping your keywords in mind. In the spaghetti example, try “Spaghetti Dinner Disaster” which should pique your viewer’s interest.

For business purposes, you’ll notice I put the primary keyword in the above example first. As with traditional SEO techniques, you’ll want to put your most important keywords at the beginning of your video title. This will help your video come up for those keywords.

With your shorter videos, you’ll have multiple video titles based around your niche primary and secondary keywords, so you’ll be able to maximize the chances for your videos appearing in search results both on Google and on YouTube.

YouTube’s Video Description – Use It!

YouTube Video DescriptionThis is obvious to many, but for many videos I see out there, it’s apparent some aren’t aware. When you are uploading your video and waiting, spend that time optimizing your video title (of course) but don’t forget to write a decent video description!

I highly recommend writing at least two paragraphs and include the video’s secondary keywords to your niche. Your video title will take care of the primary keyword you are focusing on, but don’t forget that YouTube and Google search use the video description for relevancy!

Keep the description relevant to your video while making it interesting and precise. Pretend the viewer isn’t going to watch your video until after reading the description, what would you say to get them to watch?

Pro Tip: If you’ve taken my advice and created shorter topical videos in your niche, put links to your other videos at the bottom of your video description. This will help your videos progress through your series if they are interested but not quite ready to preform your call to action.

Pro Tip 2: Below, I talk about YouTube Playlists. You can also create a playlist for your video series and link that playlist in your video descriptions!

YouTube Video Tags

Use the best tags for your video for the keywords people search for in your niche. The more relevant tags you use, the more often your video will appear when people search for those tags. Your primary and secondary keywords should go in your tags. Think about what your potential audience would search for in your niche. If you are an affiliate marketer, who created the program or tool? What’s the product called? What purpose does the tool serve?

Besides those, did you know that people occasionally search for video IDs of popular videos? Perhaps they don’t trust a link or found out about a video online and are looking for it on YouTube, they will often search for the video ID. If you have room for additional tags, find popular and relevant videos on YouTube and put those IDs in your tags so your video will appear as well. Tricky, but it works!

Transcribe Your YouTube Video

YouTube Closed CaptionsOne of the obvious benefits of Closed Captions is for the hearing impaired. If you are a fast speaker or have a strong accent, many will turn on closed captions to understand you better.

One of my favorite programs for recording myself through the webcam is Camtasia. That software has a powerful speech-to-text feature that will attempt to transcribe your speech to captions for your video. You’ll then need to play back your video and edit the mistakes before saving your SRT file which YouTube supports.

Advanced Filtering Closed CaptionsAnother benefit to using Closed Captions is the fact that both YouTube and Google have advanced filtering options that allows people to look for only videos that have closed captions enabled.

Lastly, there have been several tests done by SEO sites that prove that closed captions are used for your video’s relevancy score and therefore, improves the probability that your video will rank for obscure, but related, words in the niche your video focuses on.

With all of these benefits, it is worth your time to create closed captions for your video. There’s a reason that the majority of my videos I upload have the CC option available.

Tip: Name your closed caption file with your main video keyword.

Share Your Video Immediately

Now that you’ve covered all the video settings, you can publish your video to YouTube and make it available to the world to see. When you hit that publish button, don’t call it quits and walk away. You should immediately share your video to as many people as possible to drive viewers and engagement. Some suggestions include:

  • Embed your video on a Google+ post with a description.
  • Share your video on all social media including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • Create a blog post around your video.
  • Email your video link to your website email subscribers.
  • Email your video to family, friends and coworkers.
  • Join Empire Avenue (free) and create missions for people to visit your video.

When sharing, ask engaging questions with your audience. Statements like “I can’t wait to hear what you think!” “Leave a comment in the video and let me know if you have any questions” “Tell me how I did. I’m new to this!” etc.

YouTube Playlists

Playlists Edit NotesYouTube allows you to create an unlimited amount of playlists. Meaning, you can create a ton of different niche-based playlists based on your interests or based around your channel’s niche. Each play list is individually indexed in Google which provides you with another chance to have your videos found and watched.

You can add a specific description to each of your videos in your YouTube Playlists for extra SEO optimization as shown in the screenshot to the left. Choose the title and description of your playlist carefully knowing that the phrasing you use will be used by Google for indexing.

Playlists allow you to rearrange your videos and sort according to your tastes. So once again, if you followed my advice about creating short videos, you’ll benefit because you can create a playlist for these videos. Before, if you created a single 2 hour video covering your topic, it would be pointless to create a playlist. Awesome right?

Tip: If you create a playlist for your video series, remember to link your playlist in your video descriptions.

Ask and You Shall Receive!

I’ve tested this in experiments before and found that if you ask people to do what you want, you’ll end up with better results almost every time. At the end of your video, tell your audience to subscribe, thumbs up and to leave a comment. Ask for questions. Ask for shares to social media.

  • Tell them what to do.
  • Tell them how to do it.
  • Tell them why they need to do it.

The bottom line here, if you ask people to do something in your video, you’ll increase your chances of your viewers doing what you want.

Build Your Subscribers

YouTube SubscribeI know, I know, easier said than done, but the bottom line, it needs to be done. Without subscribers receiving notifications of new uploads in the main YouTube stream, what chance do you have of getting organic views to your videos? After optimizing your videos, you’ll need to start focusing on getting subscribers. Here’s some tips to help you:

  • Be Consistent – As with all social media, being consistent is key! You should be uploading videos as frequently as possible for the best results.
  • Provide Epic Value – If you aren’t providing real value to your viewers and just uploading promotional videos, you’ll struggle building your audience. Don’t be afraid to film yourself speaking and give your audience someone to identify with.
  • Video Annotations – Use video annotations to create a call to action to ask for subscribers. If you’ve got video editing skills, you can add a “Subscribe” image to your video and draw a “Spotlight” annotation that links to your subscribe page. The more creative you can be, the increased chance you’ll have of your viewer performing the task you want. Hint: There’s a subscribe button above. Use it. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Popup Link Method

You guys probably saw one of my links already that causes this amazing popup screen when you use it to visit YouTube. If you are not subscribed to me, check this link out and see what happens. Note: You will not see the popup if you are already subscribed to my channel.

When you use the URL above with ?sub_confirmation=1, it will cause the trigger for people to subscribe. Use this to share your channel on social media because it works extremely well!

The Website Badge

You may have noticed on the right sidebar of this site, I have a widget that has a subscribe button. I just learned about this yesterday and guess when I added it here? If you said immediately, you’d be correct! There’s a couple ways I’ve found to add this to your website.

The iFrame Method (my favorite)

I like this method because it is customizable to fit your website needs. If you want to display a box like that under your video and you have your video set to display at a certain size, you can add this below the video at the same width and it adds an amazing call to action for subscribers and looks like it is supposed to be there. Here’s the code:

<iframe frameborder=”0″ id=”fr” scrolling=”no” src=”” style=”overflow: hidden;height: 72px;width: 300px;border: 0″></iframe>

Again this is customizable. You can increase the height and width to suit your needs. I used 300px because that’s the width of my sidebar.

This method is the older way of embedding your channel on your site. I have no idea how long YouTube plans to support this method since they have the newer method below. I’m unable to find this older method mentioned on YouTube currently so use it at your own risk (if I see it quit working, I’ll update then).

YouTube Javascript Subscribe Button Method

YouTube has ways to embed your channel on your website. For my purposes, it looked out of place and ugly in my sidebar, but for you, it may be the better option. Follow this link to see your options and to build your HTML code for your website.

Note: All of these website methods are great if you have a website. Have you always wanted a website but not quite sure how? Check out my web hosting training site that teaches you how to create a website. The whole thing is in screencast video form, walking you through the entire process step by step.

Using Thumbnails on YouTube

I do not recommend sticking with the standard thumbnails that YouTube randomly grabs from your video. Instead, create an eye-catching thumbnail for your video. The first impression is often crucial and will determine whether someone will click through to your video or skip it when browsing search results.

One of my favorite things to do is just take a hand-selected frame and edit it with large block-letter text with “stroke” in the opposite color. I use Photoshop but you can use any image editor including free ones like Pixlr or LunaPic to accomplish this task. I see this particular method being used by extremely popular YouTube stars…. it works!

Tip: Name your thumbnail file with your main keyword of the video.

Engage People on YouTube

In finishing this guide, you may notice a theme. Links. This guide covers building links to your videos from within YouTube and via the web, but there’s something most people miss which could be the difference between your channel getting noticed or ignored.

YouTube comments. This is extremely obvious to me, however, I’m noticing that other people either don’t know to comment or ignore commenting out of pure laziness. When you take 20-60 minutes of your day and spend that time commenting on other people’s videos, you are effectively spreading awareness to your YouTube account name and to your account in general. Each time you comment, your name is linked and points to your main YouTube profile for other people to find out more about you.

If you don’t comment and engage with other people, then you are missing the chance for other people to stumble on your channel! Anytime you find yourself watching a video, you need to make sure you leave a comment. Not sure what to comment? Find other comments others have made and reply to their comment adding to what they have said.

As you progress in commenting, you may notice that your comments on videos ending up under “Top comments” with upvotes. Once again, here’s an opportunity for people to find out more about you.

Last Tip: Don’t be afraid to piggyback on Top comments. It works!

What Are Your Tips for YouTube?

Did you enjoy this guide? It would mean a lot to me if you shared this guide on social media and your website if you have one. Please leave a comment below and share your tips for YouTube success! I look forward to reading what you are doing to build your following and traffic. As always, join my newsletter to stay up to date with all things Scott Buehler!

About Scott Buehler

Scott is the owner and founder of Top Five Advisor. He specializes in business to business products and services. He offers digital marketing services to any local business that wants to drive traffic and customers from the Internet including search, pay per click and social media marketing. This page is maintained by Scott Buehler.

Andy Nathan - May 3, 2014


Another reason why I probably need to get Camtasia 8 (currently have 7). They can do speech to text on the software. That is awesome! Time to save up for it. I was going to go to SOBCON this summer, but it got cancelled. I guess that will now be Camtasia money.

Thanks for a great post Scott! I Buffered your post last night in an EA mission. Pinning it and Stumbling this post now.


    Scott Buehler - May 4, 2014

    Hey Andy, this link suggests speech to text is available in version 7. Might check that out first. I thought I remembered using it in the older version before upgrading. Mind you, speech to text isn’t perfect and it does require a bit of editing, but at least it gets the text spacing down so it is merely simple text editing.

Markus Allen - May 8, 2014

I’m just finding out about you, Scott.

I appreciate you. Your content is on :snip: and it’s top notch – I bet you get members from it.

I’d like to find out more about your piggyback top comment strategy… Any more thoughts on that?

    Scott Buehler - May 9, 2014

    Hey Markus, when browsing YouTube videos, check out the comments and look for the “Top Comments” filter and reply to those comments. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Markus Allen - May 12, 2014

      I really appreciate the reply, Scott.

      You’re certainly the real deal – you have a TON of views at your G+ page – most who teach this stuff claim to be good at it, but you’re obviously doing what you teach.

      About piggybacking…YouTube has a very sophisticated formula to weed out these piggybacked comments that contain URLs. That’s why I was surprised you mentioned it.

      Even the top comments seem to change positions based on the browser used.

      It reminds me of Reddit… a very tough nut to crack for lead-generation purposes.

        Scott Buehler - May 17, 2014

        I was tripping out over here, I keep asking myself why I know your name and couldn’t figure it out until I saw the football player pop up, then I knew. Haha.

        I don’t recommend piggybacking with links, I wouldn’t expect that to work. All I’m saying is if you comment relevant replies to top comments, you’ll have a chance for your comments to appear at the top as well. This attracts people to find out more about you, especially if it is a popular video based around your niche and videos you have on your account.

        Now, you are correct, the top comments to shift around, however, they are always the ones that stay visible and don’t get buried when people browse the comment stream. ๐Ÿ™‚

Chase - June 12, 2014

Couldn’t agree more about transcripts and closed captions for video, a lot of people still don’t realize how important that is. Nowadays it’s also very affordable to have a transcription service do your captioning for you. Services like charges only $1 per minute and you can also upload your YouTube video directly by just pasting the link to the video.

Stacks Spivack - August 6, 2014

You really go into great depth and provide details on so many helpful hints, external links and codes for creating the ultimate website! Very nice ๐Ÿ™‚

    Scott Buehler - August 6, 2014

    Thanks Stacks! Glad your finding the value I put into this YouTube Guide.

faizan - October 28, 2015

You really go into great depth and provide details on so many helpful hints, external links and codes for creating the ultimate website!

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