‘When a need arises, people turn to YouTube to look for answers, discover new things, and make decisions”.
-Lisa Gevelber, Google’s VP of marketing
YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, second only to Google Search. When it comes to the hospitality industry, having a YouTube SEO strategy is essential. Viewers use YouTube to help them decide where they want to go, what they want to see, and where they want to stay. Google discovered that 56% of people traveling on business and 35% of those on pleasure trips, interacted with hospitality-related videos at some point during their booking journey (2020 data, Cvent).
So, what is a YouTube SEO strategy, and how do we implement it?
Search engine optimisation is the consistent and ever-changing practice of designing and curating online content in a way that allows the content to rank highly on the search engine results pages (SERPs). Optimising content correctly for the SERPs helps your website to increase traffic, and revenue, organically.
Just like an SEO strategy for Google, a YouTube SEO strategy also relies heavily on keywords for discovery. When uploading your video to YouTube, make sure the file name includes your target keywords. It’s also essential to include your target keyword(s) in the video title. Make sure your copy is attention grabbing and concise (max 50-60 characters).
Similarly, your description should include target keyword(s) and be concise and unique. Using a minimum of 200 words, make sure to include your keyword and call-to-action in the first few sentences, as only a few will show in the SERPs before a user has to click “see more”. Remember – for some keywords Google might reserve a chunk of the first page of the SERPs for YouTube videos. Helpful “how-to’s” are normally excellent for this.
If your video has dialogue, try to find the time to incorporate closed-captions. These are essential for accessibility for hearing-impaired users, but uploading transcripts can also help YouTube understand what the video is about, and recognise those ever-important keywords.
Thumbnails are also an important feature to drive organic views and CTR. As they’re the first part of your video that a viewer sees, they should be recognisable, informative and eye-catching. Ensure that it accurately describes the content of the video and has a high-quality resolution. Thumbnails should also have consistency in branding for each video on your channel.
Lastly, taking advantage of tags and hashtags can assist in making sure that your video is discoverable. Tag your video with descriptive keywords and in order of importance.
Audience engagement is essential for any successful YouTube channel, mainly because it’s an indicator of user enjoyment. Engagement can be anything from comments, likes and shares, to link clicks and watching the full length of the video. So, how do we get our audience engaged?
YouTube has a number of useful features that encourage users to stay on the platform and even on your channel. One of the most successful of these features is cards. Cards show throughout and at the end of YouTube videos and allow creators to add clickable links to relevant content within the video (as opposed to in the description).
Including a call to action (CTA) is also essential for any video on your channel. This is particularly important when creating video ads to encourage users to visit the website & make a booking.
Now that we’re discoverable on YouTube and have optimised our video for our audience, how do we know that it’s performing well? This is dependent on your goal, but the key with video marketing is not direct conversions or traffic to the website. It’s brand awareness. So, we measure engagement – it’s not just important for the algorithm!
Audience engagement, like we mentioned previously, can be anything from comments, likes, and link clicks. However, in order for us to know that we’ve produced a successful video that was helpful to our audience, we need to look at the number of views themselves, as well as the view rate and watch time.
Having a successful YouTube channel and strategy is a great way to improve your brand awareness and organic traffic to your website while also increasing your online visibility. Through the creativity of the video ad campaigns and organic videos on your channel, you can personalise your hotel experience for your audience, tell a story and appeal to your target demographic while developing a real and personal connection with your guests.