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Grow Your Youtube Channel Through SEO with Tom Martin (TECHIE)

Grow Your Youtube Channel Through SEO with Tom Martin (TECHIE)

Staying relevant on the right platforms

 

You gotta love YouTube

The expansive pool of cat videos, How To recipes for muffins, music videos, and beauty vloggers are an endless source of entertainment. But it can also be an endless source of new clients.

Getting your lovely little face onto people’s screens is a powerful way to help them remember you – and to stick in their blobby pink brain like a lollipop to a car seat in summer. 

Today we’re talking about how to come out on top of the Youtube algorithm through the magic of SEOoooo…

 

Tune in to learn:

  • Should everyone be on YouTube?
  • What the fundamentals of a successful YouTube channel are (the three C’s of YouTube).
  • How to create a YouTube strategy based on Keyword research.
  • Optimizing your Titles, Tags, and descriptions based on Keyword research.
  • Improving your click-through rate.
  • Optimizing for watch time and session time.

 

Listen to the podcast

 

 

 

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If you like what you’re hearing on The Recipe for SEO Success Show, support the show by taking a few seconds to leave a rating and/or comment on iTunes, SoundCloud, Spotify, or Stitcher. Thanks!

And big thanks to Hayley from Pittsburgh for her lovely review:

“Great SEO Resource for this Newbie Blogger.

 

This podcast has been an amazing resource for me as I prepare to launch my parenting blog. What started out as a fun hobby is now looking more and more like a potential money maker, and it’s thanks in part to what I’ve learned from Kate Toon and her funny, down-to-earth podcast. Thank you Kate! Hopefully one day soon I’ll be able to take your course and really get The Centered Parent blog off the ground!!”

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About Tom

 

Tom Martin is Certified by YouTube as an expert in both Channel Growth and Digital Rights.

He’s led the YouTube strategy for some of the world’s largest and most successful media companies gaining them millions of subscribers and billions of views.

He’s also consulted with YouTube Creators and Fortune 500 companies to improve their results on YouTube via his company Channel Fuel.

Tom once had Tony from East 17 in a headlock.

 

Connect with Tom

 

Useful resources

 

Transcript

Kate Toon:
You’ve got to love YouTube. The expansive pool of cat videos, how-to recipes for muffins, music videos and beauty vloggers are an endless source of entertainment.

They can also be an endless source of new clients.

Getting your lovely little face onto people’s screens is a powerful way to help them remember you and stick in their blobby, pink brain like a lollipop to a car seat in summer. Today, we’re talking about how to come out on top of the YouTube algorithm through the magic of SEO.

Kate Toon:
Hello, my name’s Kate Toon and I’m the head chef at The Recipe for SEO Success, I can’t speak this morning, an online teaching hub of all things related to search engine optimization and digital marketing. And, today I’m talking with Tom Martin. Hello, Tom.

Tom Martin:
Hello, Kate. Nice to speak to you.

Kate Toon:
Hello. It’s the middle of the night for Tom and it’s first thing in the morning for me, so neither of us are really that fueled up this morning really, are we? We’re both a bit brain dead.

Tom Martin:
We’re still excited, though.

Kate Toon:
That’s a really great advertisement for this podcast. This podcast at best won’t be appalling. No, it won’t. It’ll be great. Let me explain who you are, just in case you’ve forgotten because it’s late at night for you, Tom. Who knows? I don’t know. It’s an existential question. Who are you?

Kate Toon:
Tom is certified by YouTube as an expert in both channel growth and digital rights. He’s led the YouTube strategy for some of the world’s largest and most successful media companies, getting them millions of subscribers and billions of views. He’s also consulted with YouTube creators and Fortune 500 companies to improve their results on YouTube via his company, Channel Fuel. And, Tom once had Tony from East 17 in a headlock. Now, I always ask this tough question, what happened? I’ve interviewed East 17 when I used to be a music journalist, they were one of the bands. I wanted Take That, but I got the cheap Cockney version. What happened with you and Tony?

Tom Martin:
Well, he was in my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class, so it’s a bit of a cheat. I had him in a headlock. It was only like my second class, and so I didn’t know how to choke him out. We just laid there in an embrace for five, 15 minutes. It’s just totally awkward.

Kate Toon:
That’s brilliant. See, I just thought-

Tom Martin:
I was a big East 17 fan.

Kate Toon:
I know. Deep, deep down. Can you remember any of the lyrics? Deep, deep down. That’s the only one I remember.

Tom Martin:
I want sweet sugar.

Kate Toon:
If you can’t remember East 17, I don’t blame you but I highly recommend you go and check them out on Google. I once slow danced with [inaudible 00:03:00] and it wasn’t in a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class, so there. I could go further with that story, but it’s not appropriate, so we’ll move on. Too early in the morning for that kind of filth.

Kate Toon:
Anyway. Let’s talk about a different kind of filth, which is YouTube which is, honestly, the bane of some people’s lives and the joy of others. We all know that it’s the second biggest search engine. YouTube has been obviously the top video sharing platform for some time, obviously a bit of competition these days from Vimeo. What are the stats though? I’m not expecting you to pull a stat out of your bottom, but what market share does YouTube have in comparison?

Tom Martin:
That’s where most of my stats come from. It is the world’s second largest search engine, but in comparison, it’s like an ant compared to a giraffe in terms of numbers. That is huge. What other stats have I got up my bottom? About 500 to 600 hours of content are uploaded to YouTube every single minute. Lots and lots of competition. Yeah.

Kate Toon:
Look, let’s start with the absolute basics, assume you have people listening who have no idea what video is, that have just been born from an egg. How can creating videos enhance your business, because lots of people will be thinking, “Look, I’m an insurance salesman. What’s videos going to do for me?”

Tom Martin:
I’m not going to hard sell because I don’t believe it’s for every single person on the planet, but there is space for a lot of people on there. Good reason is that people can see you. You’re more exposed. It’s definitely a way to increase that know, like, and trust factor. They can see your body language. They can see the whites of your eyes, your facial expression. They can pick up on your personality. Are you exciting, like you Kate? Or, are you boring like me?

Tom Martin:
Even things like looking at people’s backgrounds. I actually been trapped out of my office today by my wife, so my video background is not great. I always say to people, especially if they’re trying to sell high-ticket stuff, is, “Your video is an extension of your brand, so if you’re selling high-ticket stuff, then you need to have high-level production.” But, if you’re just kind of a rough and ready, mom-and-pop kind of business, then you don’t need to worry too much about looking like a Hollywood studio.

Kate Toon:
Yeah. I think it’s interesting. I mean, I’ve dabbled a little bit in YouTube, I must admit. Obviously I’m very much into organic search and I’m a copywriter, so I tend to go more with words than video. I think the know, like, and trust factor is huge. The whites of your eyes, I think that’s a big reason that puts people off because you can’t hide as well on YouTube. All your flaws are visible, no matter how much you edit it in Camtasia. The background thing is interesting, too, because I do sell high-ticket items. This is the background that I use and I’m open about it because I am not putting myself against the Marie Forleos and the Amy Porterfield, and that can be a point of difference. There’s a way to backwards… I can’t remember the word.

Tom Martin:
Reverse psychology?

Kate Toon:
Reverse psychologize anything. You know what I mean?

Tom Martin:
Well, it looks like you’re a creative type and your background it looks like you’re in a studio. Is that an oversized pencil?

Kate Toon:
It’s a giant pencil, two giant pencils. There you go.

Tom Martin:
Yeah. There you go. It does say something about you, as well. That’s another thing. There’s other cues to your personality. You’re attracted to people that kind of get your vibe and other people might go for the-

Kate Toon:
The person. You’ve got a beige wall behind you, so what’s that saying?

Tom Martin:
It’s actually turquoise, but yeah. My usual background is actually pretty cool. I’ve got movie posters and little Saved by the Bell toys and stuff like that.

Kate Toon:
I’m going to go and check it out after. We’re obviously all going to go and check out your YouTube channel because obviously now we want to see if you’re up to the scratch. No. This is the cobbler’s shoes.

Tom Martin:
This is actually an interesting point, and I’ll stick to it. I don’t have a YouTube channel. I have a YouTube channel that has nothing to do with teaching people how to do YouTube. I don’t have the typical, “Here’s how you get more subscribers,” “Here’s how you get more views,” type channel. Again, and this is probably really interesting and useful for your audience, is that, before I start anything I do the research and have a look at the competition. How big is the competition? How far ahead they are of me? How easy would they be to displace? Do I also have the want and the drive to do what it takes to unseat them?

Tom Martin:
When I looked at my business and the people that were like, “I’m just starting,” in terms of getting on camera, and they’re at half a million subscribers and they’re ranking for all of the big keyboards. For me to usurp them, that’s a good word, I probably need to basically make videos full-time and I can’t afford to do that because I’ve got a business and an agency to run and whatnot. I decided, instead, that I can compete on iTunes and in Google with words, so I have two podcasts and a blog. I do have other YouTube channels that don’t teach people about YouTube stuff.

Kate Toon:
Yeah. Your Petri dishes where you can experiment. Yeah. I love that because, obviously, again, I’m in the SEO space and every man and his monkey has a YouTube channel showing people how to do everything. I was like, “This is going to be really difficult for me to compete in,” so I went down the podcast route and also the Facebook group route, with a very large Facebook group. Hey, join it, it’s called I Love SEO.

Kate Toon:
I still use YouTube and I still have a channel, but it’s not my main channel. I use it to pop up little tutorials and videos that I’ve made, but I’m not expecting them to set the world on light, or even, to a degree, to be organically found. I direct people to them through my email marketing or through my courses or whatever. I think that’s a really great thing to start off with, to think about where you can fit into the ecosystem and just being realistic about your results. Not expecting to take off straight away.

Kate Toon:
I think that’s a good question that leads into the next one: Who should be on YouTube? You said it’s not for everybody, but what kinds of businesses do you think really benefit from having a YouTube channel and pushing content there?

Tom Martin:
I think online businesses definitely benefit more brick-and-mortar businesses because it’s very much a global platform. If you’re trying to rank for car mechanic in Massachusetts, that’ll be easy to rank for but there’s no one searching for that specifically on YouTube because that’s not the way people use YouTube. But, if you’re selling copyright services or copyright training or insurance, even, something that can be bought from anywhere, that’s a lot more beneficial. It’s hard enough to get the leap from someone to be engaging with a piece of content to take the action to go and download a book or buy a course or buy an online product. But, to get them to take the leap, especially in the current climate, to leave the house and visit somewhere physical is a lot harder.

Tom Martin:
Yeah. If you’re selling online products or even e-commerce, that makes a lot more sense. Of course, again, if you’ve got a global reach, if you ship worldwide, if you’re selling digital products, of course they’re available pretty much world-wide generally, that makes a much easier win if you’re trying to convert someone from the channel to a pay-in customer somewhere else off platform.

Kate Toon:
I think we’re talking there about being able to drive audience and traffic and conversions, but there’s also a little bit of a functional flip side to YouTube that it’s a good little place to host your homepage video so you can embed it on your site because you should never have your videos actually hosted on your site. It can be a good little place just to kind of store some bits and bobs and have your video not necessarily, as I said, set the world on fire. You’re a real estate agent and it has all your real estate videos on it.

Tom Martin:
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I think another good benefit that we haven’t mentioned is that, obviously, YouTube is owned by Google or Alphabet, whatever you want to say. I can’t remember this stat. My friend only messaged it today, but it was an ungodly amount of properties that took up placements on the Google first page because obviously they want to promote other Google products, so it was just ads. One of those is YouTube. So, you often see Google results that contain a number of YouTube videos. Now they’re getting really clever and showing you snippets of actual answers to questions. Even if you don’t necessarily dominate for your space on YouTube, it may be a way for you to get into those Google page ones, even if you’re a blog or your shop can’t. You might be able to do it through the backdoor of YouTube.

Kate Toon:
Yeah. I think that’s really important. We had an episode about branded search or branded search engine results page with Jason Barnard last week. Owning that first page for your brand, for your name, where you’ve got the first couple of results and maybe your Twitters are coming through, there’s a couple of videos from your YouTube channel, all that can be really powerful. It just says, “I am the definitive result for this brand term,” and that can be really powerful, as well. Yeah. That first page is super important with the blended results now.

Kate Toon:
As we know, some people do search in the YouTube channels. Some people search using the video tab, but they’re less likely to search for branded terms and for who you are. They’re definitely going to be more in the question based, the how, when, what, why, where type content. We obviously now have featured videos, coming through the featured snippets as well. I’ve kind of jumped ahead to talk about keyword strategy. When we’re thinking about the kinds of videos we’re going to make, say we’ve made a branded video, great. Tick. This is who we are, this is what we do, and this is who we do it for. What are the next videos that you would be recommending that, say, a marketing services company starts to make?

Tom Martin:
It’s definitely going to be, when you’re getting started, the how-to content. It’s not going to be things like “how do we work with our clients?” or “how to hire us.” It’s going to be “why do you need a digital marketing strategy?” I don’t know, I’m talking out of my experience.

Kate Toon:
It can be big, broad topics. Other things I find work really well are very specific questions. “How do I change the dimensions of an image?” Something like that. Obviously there’s going to be super heaps of competition for that, but if you can drill down into the real particular pinpoints of your customers. There’s so many different ways to phrase the question and there’s so many different questions out there that you might be able to find something that you can compete on.

Tom Martin:
I think, as well, what is really important, even beyond the content that you’re making, when you make the content, it has to be content that stands on its own two feet. If mention of your brand was removed from the video, would it still make sense and would it still deliver value of its own accord? If the meat and the potato of the videos is just an advert like, “Come and get a quote now,” and “Sign up to the five day challenge,” that’s not going to work for a couple of reasons.

Tom Martin:
One is, if that’s the viewer’s first engagement with you, you haven’t earned that yet. You can’t always control in what order you engage with a viewer. Secondly, YouTube, if they keep sending you traffic and you keep sending their viewers to somewhere else that’s not YouTube, i.e. your website or an e-commerce shop to buy your products, they’re going to stop sending you traffic after a while because they realise every time I send someone to Kate, she sends them over to katetoon.com or whatever it is that she’s promoting. You have to find that really good balance between delivering that value and being able to promote your product. You need to be a little bit more subtle. Of course you’re going to have certain videos that were designed to really drive high the call to action, but you might want to find a balance. Maybe they only appear once in every five videos or something like that, so it’s not just a constant battering over the head of “visit my website, get my ebook, join the challenge,” whatever it may be.

Kate Toon:
As I’ve said, I’ve dabbled and a little bit of personal experience is that one of the videos I made was a video about how to create a link to your Google Reviews. I can’t speak today. Now it’s changed. It’s very easy to get your Google My Business reviews and provide a link to people, but back in the day when they first set it up it was very difficult. It’s a very long URL and it’s very ugly. So, I just made a little video showing people how to do that, which I primarily made for my own followers and that’s had so many likes and shares. Now it’s obsolete, but, again, it was helpful, it stood on its own. Yes, I mentioned myself

There’s a lot we could talk about with YouTube. We could be here for seven hours, but you need to get to bed and I need coffee. Let’s dig into some of the fundamentals. If you had to say to me, “Look, these are the top three things you should do when starting a YouTube channel to make it successful,” what would you say they are?

Tom Martin:
First would be to choose one niche and one niche only. Hopefully your audience already have their niche sorted because they’re working on their websites and their businesses. You’d be surprised how many people have a YouTube channel and one week they’re talking about their trip to Florida and then they’re talking about their business, then they’re having some kind of political rant. YouTube doesn’t like that. YouTube likes, just like Google does, subject matter experiences, high authority channels that talk about one subject in detail consistently, again and again and again, week after week after week. That’s the most important.

Tom Martin:
Number two would be to do some research up front, some keyword research, and there are number of tools on the market you can find to do YouTube keyword research. Just like Google keyword research, if you’ve dabbled in that, I’m sure Kate’s got many good episodes all about that, basically tools will provide you with data around what people are searching for on YouTube specifically. We’re looking for keywords and key phrases that, again, good amounts of search value but low competition. They’re underserved by the market. What we’re going to do is we’re going to make content that targets those key terms and key phrases. Then, we’re going to optimise our videos and our titles, tags, and descriptions so that basically we show up for those searches and hijack that search traffic that’s currently being underserved by the market.

Tom Martin:
Then, third tip would be kind of similar to what we already discussed around not always sending people off-platform. But, I’d go a step further and say the number one call to action you should have at the end of the video is to send someone to watch another highly-related video. Let’s say Kate’s done her video on how to get the link for the Google Business reviews. Then, at the end of that video, you point to something where you put the clickable link later and you’ll say, “If you found that useful, here’s my video to how to get a link to My Facebook Business reviews page.” That journey, one, YouTube want people to watch more videos because they can serve more ads, collect more data, which makes more money. That keeps YouTube happy. If you make YouTube happy, they’ll keep sending you traffic. It’s simple. And, to get people to watch more of your videos and stay on the platform for as long as possible, really.

Kate Toon:
Yeah. It’s interesting. Going off questions here, but if the goal is to keep people watching, keep them on platform, people could be thinking, “Well, this is going to take a long time to get to an actual conversion.” Generally when we’re looking at keywords, especially if we’re at that conversion stage and the brand awareness stage, we really want to get people to take the next step and come and buy our thing. I guess you’re saying that YouTube is much more around building brand awareness and trust. How do we eventually push them off the bloody channel and get them to buy from us?

Tom Martin:
Yeah. I think there are ways that you can do it via osmosis almost. You’re mentioning your products, you’re mentioning your courses. In the middle of the video, you might say, “Click on this card,” or “There’s a link in the description if you want to check that out.” The people that are ready will go and take that action, but for the new viewer, it’s not intrusive to them getting the answer to their question. Same as having a little box in the middle of your blog that says, “Get the PDF Guide.” They can skip it if they want and the interested people will stop and get it. The rest of the people will just scan through it and continue on reading.

Tom Martin:
Yeah. I think you are right. It is a long-term play, just like there’s certain podcasts I’ve listened to for five, six, seven years and I’ve not bought anything from them or even looked at their services for maybe five years. But, when I was ready to buy, they’re the first people I thought of. I think that’s what it is. I had a friend who ran a very, very successful YouTube channel for a huge radio station. It was almost a business in its own right, the YouTube channel.

Tom Martin:
The station is aimed at younger people. He said something that resonated with me, “None of my viewers probably listen to radio, but if they ever do, they’re going to go listen to my station,” basically. It’s, like I say, by osmosis. When they’re ready to get that done for your service, you’ve helped them so much over the years with the free content. No different than any other platform, really. You’ve helped them for years and years, so you’re going to be the person they go to when they’re ready to either go to the next level and get some coaching or put down for your service, something like that.

Kate Toon:
Yeah. I think it’s very similar to podcasts. I think that that’s a very slow path to conversion. What that says is that you really need to have your whole bigger picture strategy worked out. Lots of people dive into YouTube, start making a few videos, don’t get immediate results and think YouTube is a flop. It has to a part of your overall ecosystem. Generally, is it going to be there for your top-of-funnel people who are usually trying to build some brand awareness and, as you said, get that word of mouth out there? You’re having that very low barrier to entering your universe. Giving them something really high value, a really good quality lead magnet that’s really high value that maybe gets that theme out. Then you can start having a dialogue with them or whatever.

Kate Toon:
It’s a long game, just like podcasts. But, as you said, some people, and maybe you’re listening now, have been listening to this podcast for three or four years, then they joined my Facebook group and other things. And then, eventually, they buy. It’s not a straight route and it takes a long time. Yeah.

Tom Martin:
I think, as well, growth on YouTube is not a 45 degree angle. It’s not like you just grow a little bit every day. It’s a lot more like a stair step approach, where you’ll be flat and low for maybe six months and then you’ll have a spike. You have good, what they call at YouTube, retention after the peak, which is like you’ve got a new floor. Then, you’re kind of flat again and then something else happens and then another peak, and then you’re flat. It’s more like a staircase than a diagonal line.

Kate Toon:
Let’s get into some basics. You’ve talked about some of the three core things to get started with. But, when we’re uploading a video to YouTube… I’m going to quickfire some questions to you, okay?

Tom Martin:
Yeah. Okay. Go.

Kate Toon:
What is the optimal length for a how-to-video? What’s a good length for a video on YouTube?

Tom Martin:
Contrary to what was common wisdom, everyone used to say never make a YouTube video longer than three minutes because people have got short attention spans, I’d say it’s almost the opposite now. There was a quote unquote scientific test that said the ideal length of a YouTube video is 16 minutes because then people will watch for around 10 to 12 minutes and that’s what YouTube wants. Not everyone can make a 16 minute video about how to get a link for my Google Business Review. I’d say, generally, you’d want it upwards of five to six minutes if you can. You then also don’t want to artificially inflate that by filling it with fluff.

Kate Toon:
Fluff. I think this is it. People always want simple answers, and it’s always like it depends. People are like, “What’s the ideal blog post length?”

Kate Toon:
It’s like, “It needs to be as long as it needs to be to answer the question.” The example I always use is, the idiom is, “When it gets to feeling like too-little butter scraped over too-much bread, then you need to stop.” That’s not mine, that’s J.R.R. Tolkien’s.

Kate Toon:
Length, five to six minutes, ideally longer if you can. Make it super engaging and make it worth watching. I guess a three minute video is better than no video at all if it’s got some good content.

Tom Martin:
Yeah. I would say it’s definitely niche-dependent. If it is how to change a tyre, it is what it is. How to boil an egg. It is what it is. You can’t do with that. If you’ve got something like copyrighting, like how to write the perfect headline. It’s not going to be five quickfire tips. You can sit there and it could be five tips, but it could be like three minutes on each tip. Something like that.

Kate Toon:
Yeah. Or, it could be a live review of something.

Kate Toon:
Then we get to titles and tags and descriptions. Obviously there’s limitations around characters, which are easy to google. We’re not going to go into that. What are your tips on titles? Do you think that it’s a good idea to actually use the question that you’re answering as the title or should we be more click bait-y or playful? What’s your recommendation?

Tom Martin:
Yeah. Especially when you’re starting out, I would be as exact match as you can with things that you’re trying to rank for. When you get a bit bigger and you’ve already got eyeballs on you, you can then start to broaden and do the kind of sexier stuff, the more clickable stuff, I like to say. When you’re getting started, you’re just going after that search traffic pretty much. It is “How to boil an egg.” You might get a big frisky and say, “How to boil an egg the right way.”

Kate Toon:
In two seconds or less.

Tom Martin:
Yeah.

Tom Martin:
What you can do, as well, is you can have a very straight-laced title then on your thumbnail image, you could have something that’s a little bit more provocative or evokes more of a reaction. It could be a picture of a ticking clock and it’s like, “Three minute eggs in two minutes.” Something that’s like, “Oh. Well, I’ve got to see how to save that one minute.”

Kate Toon:
Yeah. I want to talk about something else. My son’s obsessed with this YouTube channel where they make giant food. It’s just like, “Giant pizza! It was bigger than a car!” He loves all that kind of stuff. He’s 11.

Kate Toon:
That’s an interesting question about the thumbnail, because often what people will do is have the gormless, mid-video shot that YouTube generates, where you kind of look like you’re drooling. You can use tools like Canva, they have a nice template you can use to create your own thumbnail. You do recommend having a pic of the person talking and some text and making it quite sexy.

Tom Martin:
Yeah. It depends. For example, if it’s a cooking channel, then probably just the food porn will sell itself. Same with like gadgets, gadget porn works, car porn works, most of the porn are pretty clickable.

Kate Toon:
Let’s just talk about porn, come on.

Tom Martin:
Yeah. How do I say… If you’re working in a more-

Kate Toon:
Boring.

Tom Martin:
Yeah. More boring-ish or more technical niche like-

Kate Toon:
SEO.

Tom Martin:
… coding or SEO, then you’re much more likely to have a human’s face and some kind of text on the thumbnail. There’s a couple of things to think about. When you’ve got the face on the thumbnail, you really want to be able to see whites of the eyes, whites of their teeth. Open mouth, even, is something that YouTube tell us that works. It doesn’t have to be that what I call YouTube Face, you use that over-the-top, shocked face which I hate.

Kate Toon:
What if you haven’t got white teeth?

Tom Martin:
Well, what if you got teeth like me? Yeah.

Kate Toon:
What about no teeth? What do you do, then? Do you just Photoshop some in there?

Tom Martin:
That’s all Photoshop. Yeah. Photoshop. You can have lovely teeth on Photoshop.

Kate Toon:
Don’t do YouTube if you’ve got no teeth.

Kate Toon:
What about descriptions? You’ve got quite a chunky amount of copy now for the descriptions.

Tom Martin:
Yeah, I think there’s 5,000 character limit for descriptions.

Kate Toon:
Yeah. What would you do there? Obviously, we’re not going to recommend stuffing keywords, but do you tell a story? Do you do bullet points? What’s the best form?

Tom Martin:
You can do a mix of both, actually. What is most important is the above the fold, which, in YouTube terms, is going to be, it changes over time, but somewhere between three and five lines. You want to make sure the first three lines one, have got the main keywords in. Two, read well for humans and are enticing because that’s what will be shown in their YouTube search results page is a short synopsis. Sorry, not a separate synopsis, but it will be a truncated version of the description, which is usually the first three lines. If someone has search for, say, copyrighting costs, if that appears in the first three lines of the description, that will be bolded by YouTube in the search.

Tom Martin:
You want it to be keyword rich but well written for humans, above the fold. Below the fold you can get a bit more trigger happy. Bullet points, these are the things that we discussed, you can have time stamps so you say, “This is what we cover at two minutes,” code on 05 and people can click on that and it will skip to that point in the video.

Kate Toon:
Pop your URL in there as well?

Tom Martin:
Yeah. You can have a subscribe link. “Click here to subscribe.” Probably the biggest trick that people miss is pointing people to other related videos and playlists. Again, get people to watch more videos. Then you can have like, “Here’s our Instagram link. Get the free ebook.” Blah blah blah blah blah. That kind of stuff.

Kate Toon:
A final question. I might have one more because there’s lots. I keep on thinking I should do YouTube but it’s like just another thing to do.

Tom Martin:
Well, actually, can I touch on that?

Kate Toon:
Okay.

Tom Martin:
I would say, you either do it properly or don’t do it at all because you will not succeed. Not you, one. One will not succeed if you don’t publish regularly.

Kate Toon:
What does publish regularly? Once a week? Once a day?

Tom Martin:
Once a week, minimum, I’d say. Yeah. Once a week minimum for some years.

Kate Toon:
For a couple of years. Yeah. It’s a big commitment, it’s like doing a podcast. I’m going to do a whole episode on SEO for podcasts because I think that’s something people don’t quite understand.

Tom Martin:
Yeah. I don’t understand that and I’ve got two podcasts.

Kate Toon:
There you go. You can listen to that one.

Kate Toon:
Again, it’s a slow growth. You spend a long time not having very many listeners. And, we can’t really get the data that we need from Apple to tell us how many people are really listening and subscribing. You can feel for a long time that nothing’s happening. I know a lot of people stop podcasting, give up after a year because it just didn’t give them the results they’re expecting. It’s such a commitment, it’s such a long game. The YouTube channel people that you still see, yes, some of them get successful over night. But, they don’t really. Even the vloggers that was all in vogue about three or four years ago, all the youth vloggers and they’re all living in Brighton, I think, for some reason.

Tom Martin:
They are, definitely. It’s the epicentre of YouTube.

Kate Toon:
Let’s just talk about one of the things that those vloggers do really, really well, which is optimising for watch time. You said earlier, five to six minutes, 12 minutes is what YouTube will consider… What does Google consider an actual watch for starters? How do we increase that?

Tom Martin:
Ah. That is a good question. I think it has actually changed. Yeah. When you look in your audience retention stats, if you click on a video, it’ll show you exactly where people drop off. Some people drop off after the first few seconds but that still counts as a view. You don’t want views like that. The more views you get like that, the worse it is for your channel. This is why you should never pay third parties for views because they’re actually going to hurt you in the long run.

Tom Martin:
It’s not exactly a click, but it’s probably not far off a few seconds. Especially when somebody’s actually clicked on the video, because now they’ll generate a gif type preview in the search results. That won’t count as a view. If someone clicks, even if they’re there for a few seconds, it will count as a view but you don’t want views like that for the sake of it.

Kate Toon:
A lot of the YouTube videos I watch, I do watch instructional ones. Just the other day, I was looking how to do a particular thing in Camtasia. I searched for how to do the thing in Camtasia, a lot of the videos were brought back because some keyword phrases if you type them into just general Google, will generate video returns. It’s generally the how-to stuff, things that Google thinks you’d rather see than read about. Gosh. The waffle at the beginning. There’s a good two or three minutes of, “In this video, I’m going to show you how to.” Lordy! And I was jumping, jumping, jumping. Is there a reason to do that or are these people just generally boring?

Tom Martin:
Yeah. There is no real good reason to do it. The perfect thing to do is, if you’ve got a thumbnail and a title that’s set up what the video is going to do, “Here’s how to boil an egg,” and the thumbnail is a picture of a boiled egg, you don’t need to take the first 30 seconds to say, “Today, I’m going to teach you how to boil an egg.” Greet your audience, your tribe if you’ve got a nickname for them. That’s what a lot of YouTubers like to do. Say hello and just get into the meat and the potatoes, no need for one of those graphical intros where your logo is being fake hand-drawn. A five-dollar animation from Fiver. Cut all of that out.

Tom Martin:
Cut out the “Click here to subscribe and ring the bell,” because, again, you haven’t earned that yet. Someone has just clicked on you for the first time and you’re asking for something from them. You just need to get straight to the point. Same when you’re finishing. When you’re wrapping up, you want to finish really succinctly because you don’t want people to abandon early. That’s going to also hurt your retention time. Wrap up quickly. Strong call to action to watch another video. Don’t have anything really obvious like the music changes or whatever it is. Just be really succinct and just keep it really tight.

Kate Toon:
I like the fact that you said in that call to action, direct people what to do at the end of the video is to watch another video, maybe “Click the thumbs up button. Subscribe.” Whatever it is. That leads me to my final question, I guess, which is, from your viewpoint what are the top two or three metrics that YouTube uses to rank videos? You’ve talked about watch time, but how does it decide that your video is worth watching more than mine?

Tom Martin:
Yeah. Absolutely. Watch time is calculated inside of YouTube Analytics as average view duration and average view percentage watched. If you grow those two numbers, your YouTube channel will grow. That is quite easily the biggest levers that you pull is growing those two numbers. After that, the kind of metrics that you want to track… Sorry, what was the question?

Kate Toon:
What would you say? If I was to talk about websites, I’d probably say speed is a major factor.

Tom Martin:
Okay. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Tom Martin:
Watch time, session time, authorities, sticking to the same topic. That’s not only in your content, but also the way that you’re optimising for your keywords and stuff like that.

Kate Toon:
Subscribes and likes don’t really…

Tom Martin:
Less so. Less so.

Kate Toon:
I guess they’re more easy to manipulate, aren’t they, to a degree?

Tom Martin:
Yeah. Subscribers are less and less valuable as time goes on. Likes are a signal, but not a huge weighting, I’d say.

Kate Toon:
It’s engagement factors, really, which is [crosstalk 00:38:51]. What we’re moving towards in websites, as well. The time on-site, the what people do, where do they go, do they return to the search results very quickly because your video wasn’t delivering? That pogoing out. I like that because that’s really genuine and transparent. If someone genuinely watches the video, it’s worth watching rather than just paying someone to click all your likes on all your videos. It’s good but it makes it harder.

Tom Martin:
I think the fundamentals of YouTube SEO are exactly the same as Google SEO in that you want to make quality content because that’s what gets linked to, that’s what people stick around with, it keeps your bounce rate down or keeps your average view duration up. And, also you want to optimise it on page, same as on YouTube with your titles, tags, and descriptions so it gets discovered in the first place. The execution of it is slightly different on YouTube than when you’re writing a blog post or whatever it is, setting up a website, but the fundamentals are exactly the same. If you’ve got a good, logical grasp of Google SEO, you have no problem adapting that to work on YouTube for sure.

Kate Toon:
That’s a great note to finish on. There’s so many more questions we could ask and they’re bubbling up in my head. I’m going to have to get you back for another episode. Tom, if we do want to learn more about YouTube and YouTube SEO and just getting started, where can we learn from you? Where can we find you online?

Tom Martin:
Yeah. Probably the best place to start would be my book, which you can find at optimizationebook.com, spelled both the American way and the English way because I’m smart like that. If you want to go a little bit further, I’m just launching some courses and stuff over at prochannelmanager.com.

Kate Toon:
Fantastic. Well, I’ll include links to those in the notes of this episode, so we can go and check you out. Tom, I love talking to you. Thank you for staying up late to chat to me tonight.

Tom Martin:
Pleasure. I’ve got one more YouTube story for you before you go.

Kate Toon:
Is it about East 17 or no?

Tom Martin:
No. I know that your tribe are called Master Chefs.

Kate Toon:
Yeah?

Tom Martin:
I helped to launch the global Master Chef YouTube channel, so that was pretty cool.

Kate Toon:
Well, boo-pity-boo. Get you.

Tom Martin:
I thought you’d laugh or you’d like that one.

Kate Toon:
I actually find the show really annoying. The chefs on it are just quite obnoxious, but it seemed a good name. It was an extension from the Recipe for SEO Success, so the Digital Master Chefs, check it out. It’s pretty cool.

Kate Toon:
All right. There you go. Thank you so much, Tom!

Tom Martin:
Thank you. Bye.

Kate Toon:
That’s the end of this week’s show. If you have a question about YouTube SEO or YouTube in general, then you can head to my I Love SEO group on Facebook. I’d like to end the show, as you know, with a shout-out from one of my lovely listeners. This week it’s Haley from Pittsburgh. I can’t tell you how thrilling it is to know that people are listening to the podcast all over the world. In Pittsburgh! How cool.

Kate Toon:
“This podcast has been an amazing resource for me as I prepare to launch my parenting blog. What started out as a fun hobby is now looking more like a potential moneymaker and it’s thanks, in part, to what I’ve learned from Kate Toon and her funny, down-to-earth podcast. Thank you, Kate. Hopefully one day soon, I’ll be able to take your course and get the Centred Parent Blog off the ground.”

Kate Toon:
I love that little mention, Haley. Good for you. Thank you, Haley, and thank you for listening. Sorry it’s a little bit babble-y today. As I said, it’s pre coffee, very early, so that I could nab Tob. Tom. I can’t even say his… Nab Tom, who I think was a fabulous guest. If you like the show, please don’t forget to leave a five-star rating and review on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you heard the podcast because that will help more people find the show and learn more about the lovely world of search engine optimization. If you are willing to leave a review, I would be super, super grateful and you’ll get a shout-out.

Kate Toon:
Don’t forget you can head to The Recipe for SEO Success to learn more about this episode and check out all of Tom’s links to his amazing resources. And, I highly recommend you join the Facebook group, I Love SEO with Kate Toon. That’s me. Just search for that and I’m sure it will pop up. You can also listen to my other podcast, the Kate Toon Show. It’s a personal podcast about living life as a misfit entrepreneur, my tips and advice on how to have a happier and more successful business.

Kate Toon:
So, until next time. Happy SEOing.