YouTube is not only a video network, it is a social network, it is a search engine and it is also an excellent digital marketing tool and if used effectively can be a great promotional tool for your business. It has long been recognised that websites that include video will out-perform those that don’t on the search engines (with comparable back-link structures) because they are stickier and hold a visitors attention for longer. Google bought youTube in 2006, recognising the importance of video online and over the last few years the video channel has grown in popularity and now nearly a third of all daily searches occur on youTube compared to any other search engine.

Using youTube for your business can help with your SEO; here are our top tips on getting the most out of it:

1. If you are going to be using a video on your website then create a youTube channel and add your video on there. Creating a channel will mean that you have more areas of content to optimise using your business name and keywords relating to your services. Take some time to customise the profile, ensure that all areas have been completed with relevant keywords and content. It is very important to include the link to your website; this will help Google to correlate the information and will provide SEO benefit.

2. When you add videos to your channel ensure that your video name and your video description all include your business name, your main keyword and your location (useful for Google Places optimisation). We recommend adding the url or domain name for your website to the description of the video, this will help visitors quickly access your website from viewing the video within the youTube channel.

3. Google provides multiple thumbnail images for each video, in your account settings you can edit the still of the video that you would most like to use. Select an image that looks most appealing and will get the most attention.

4. Using youTube to host your videos means that the video will play (stream) from youTube and not your website. The main advantage relates to website speed, videos can take time to load and if hosted on youTube will not slow your website down. The other advantage is for SEO reasons, because Google own youTube, creating a direct link between the two gives you more credibility in the eyes of the search engine. Copy the youTube embed code into your website content management (or speak to your web developer) to play videos within the content of your website.

5. To attract more hits to your video you can include multiple calls to action within both the description and also overlaid on the video itself. These calls to action could include: Subscribe to my videos Please post your comments Follow me (on social media) Visit my website / blog

6. Actively promote your video by watching out for videos that are similar to yours and post your video link in response. Ensure that you do this when it is relevant and respectful and this can be a great way to get your video watched by more people.

7. Create a playlist and use the playlist to link your video to other videos. By adding your video to a new playlist and then adding other videos that are related and provide shared benefit to a viewer, you can build up your reputation and hits quite quickly. As with all areas to add content on youTube ensure that you use relevant keywords to name and describe your playlist, this will help it to be found more easily.

8. Promote your videos in as many ways as you can to increase hits and popularity, this will in turn lead to greater website traffic for the services you provide. It is important not to turn your video into a sales-pitch, use the video to direct traffic into the website passively and use the website to generate the sale.

youTube is a social network, you can add friends, join groups and circles and interact with the community. When you have built up contacts as part of the Google+ mechanism you can use the networking features to grow your videos hits and website traffic.

When your video is in place, embed it to your website, your blog, LinkedIn profile and use social media to recommend it to others. By asking people to share you can prompt the start of viral recognition and get the most out of each video you produce.

Thanks to the ease of video production, more and more businesses are using video as a promotional tool. Remember that bad video can cause more harm than good, but engaging, informative and interesting videos can help businesses to quickly raise profile, increase website hits and create a viral effect for your digital marketing.

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