Would you like to create an additional, self-serving and steady source of traffic for your blog?
YouTube is a great option and here’s why:
It can work for almost any blog, in just about any niche, and it won’t break your budget.
YouTube is not a regular marketing channel: It’s a publishing platform. This means that you need to create content to publish on YouTube in order to build your presence there.
But you can generate traffic from it.
And the traffic generation potential is huge thanks to YouTube’s built-in audience.
For one of my personal blog-based projects YouTube is actually the #1 source of referral traffic. The engagement metrics are excellent too:
In this post, I’ll show you exactly how to scale your blog traffic using YouTube. In the process you’ll reach a new audience and establish an extra revenue stream in the process.
1. Always accompany your blog article with a video
The first step here is creating content to publish on YouTube. As I have already mentioned, YouTube is a publishing platform. Without regularly added content there’s 0 chance to build the following or traffic from your channel.
Don’t get me wrong:
This article is not about creating a popular YouTube channel which would become powerful enough to bring in income. This would require a full-time job, and most bloggers reading this article already have one.
This article is creating a YouTube presence that would support your main site, and bring in additional traffic.
If you are planning to grow your YouTube channel beyond that, this article would still provide you with some tips but it wouldn’t be enough.
So where should you start?
Make it a good habit to create a quick video every time you are working on an article.
This is easier than you may think.
Gone are the days when you needed to master some fancy skills or download an expensive software to create a video. These days video creation is for everyone, no huge budget is required.
InVideo is a tool I’ve discovered to create quick videos and short video tutorials. Firstly, it costs $10 a month which I think is the lowest in the market. Secondly, it takes minutes to put together a professionally-looking videos, especially if you already have a text article:
- Choose “Article-to-Video” option and copy-paste your content (best ideas is to copy-paste your takeaways so subheadings)
- Choose YouTube in the list of options
- Select your template
- Let the tool generate your video, using your text as subtitles (Keep “Auto-Suggest Images/Videos” option checked for that)
The video will have stock photos, subtitles, transitions and music in the background. You can change and edit any of these elements, as well as upload your own images to use. You can even upload a voiceover to use in place of music, but adjusting it would take more time.
Your video doesn’t have to be too long or too comprehensive. In fact, keep it short but engaging. You want your video to generate a click to your site, after all.
Note: There is free video editing software available. DaVinci Resolve is a good example but the learning curve is extremely high. This is why it’s a good idea to use a paid tool like InVideo – it makes the process far easier.
2. Optimize your YouTube profile for Google
There is one powerful reason to optimize your YouTube video page for organic Google: It is incredibly easy to get a YouTube-hosted video rank in Google’s organic search listings.
YouTube rankings may be a mystery: It is never possible to identify YouTube ranking signals. Plus, it is heavily personalized (you will be recommended totally unrelated videos based on your viewing history and preferences). In the meantime, Google rankings are still quite predictable. And when it comes to YouTube, they require minimum effort:
- You need a doable keyword (with some search volume, and not a crazy competition)
- You need to put that keyword in the video page title
- You need to write some original content for your video description
2.1 Identify your keyword
Since you are creating a video based on your already written content, you may already have some search query you were targeting. But just for the sake of making each step actionable, here’s a quick tip for you:
- Open Ahrefs “Keyword Explorer”
- Type your core term in there (something you were writing about)
- Choose “Having same terms”
- Set maximum keyword difficulty (KD) to be 20 (the lower, the easier it would be to rank your video for it)
- Select a keyword that best describes your video content
Don’t be afraid to optimize your article and your video for the same search query: Videos have a unique placement within Google’s search results, so they are not going to compete with your article:
Note: Ahrefs is a paid tool but they offer a low-cost free trial you could use for this research and it has YouTube specific keyword data which is incredibly useful. Alternatively, you may want to check out our post on keyword research tools for alternatives.
2.2. Optimize your video page
Now that you know which keyword(s) you are targeting, it is time that you optimize your video page. This step may well take more time than putting the actual video together. But this is an important step, albeit boring.
YouTube video page SEO is no different from any standard on-page Google SEO strategy (or Bing SEO for that matter):
- You need an eye-catching title that contains your target keyword
- You need to write textual content around the topic
Here’s a quick checklist of all the fields you need to complete when uploading your video to YouTube:
- Title – 100 characters max, best to keep it between 65 and 80 characters
- Description – 5,000 characters max: the more the better!
- 150 characters will be visible before <<More>> link (make the most of them)
- Make sure to include #hashtags for increased discoverability
- Max 15 #hashtags
- First 3 will be visible above the title
- Thumbnail – Select a thumbnail for your video, try to be consistent with your brand and make it eye-catching
- Tags – 500 characters max
- Playlists – Sort videos into playlists
Here’s also a more detailed tutorial on getting your YouTube video to rank.
Your video description will probably take most of your time as it will need original content written from scratch. In an effort to make your life easier, here’s a cool tip for you: Use Text Optimizer’s “Sentence building” feature allowing you to quickly create optimized context around a phrase:
- Type in your target query you identified in the step above
- Select Google and then “New text”
The tool will generate the list of related concepts for you to cover in your content. You can click any phrase in the list and the tool will generate more optimized context for it:
The tool will make your job writing original content for your description much easier. Keep checking concepts that make sense for you and create well-optimized context to develop.
2.3. Link to your video page
Finally, make sure to provide a text link to your video from your blog article, not just embed it. A link will help your video page to rank in organic Google search, so don’t miss this step.
3. Add clickable links to your video page
Video creators used to be able to create clickable links from inside their own videos to their verified sites. Those days are gone. YouTube has tightened the rules to the point when it is impossible to qualify for this option, especially if you are a new or a part-time video publisher.
There are still two places where you can link from:
- Your video description. Only the first 150 characters of your video description will be immediately visible below your video, before the “More” click, so it is a good idea to put your associated article link there.
- Your pinned comment: Video creators are allowed to pin one of the video comments for it to always be on top. It is not unusual (or frowned upon) if the video creators pin their own comment. When pinning a comment with a clickable link, make sure it is visible when you are signed-out of YouTube (check it in a different browser). Sometimes YouTube would ghost-hide comments with external links, especially from newer accounts. So if this happens, it is best to only add your link in the video description.
You can play with your wording to make it less promotional and more interesting. For example, you may invite to click a link for the full (downloadable) list of materials, tools, or steps.
4. Monitor your progress
This step is essential because you want to know which of your tricks worked. You need to build your own unique style and strategy, and there’s no other way to do that except for keeping a close eye on your numbers.
Over time, you will see some signs as to where you need to direct your attention from your YouTube stats.
Go to studio.YouTube.com and there click the “Content” link in the left nav. Now sort your videos by views. These are the videos you may want to look into first:
You can also look inside the “Reach” section for each of those videos and see if Google is one of the traffic sources for any of those videos:
YouTube won’t show you which queries are generating views for your videos from Google’s organic search results (you can only see which keywords are driving views from YouTube search engine). But you can run Ahrefs to find Google rankings of any individual video page:
Knowing your video’s organic rankings is useful because this tells you if your optimization efforts above proved fruitful. It will also help you understand which questions (i.e. search queries) your viewers are typing in Google to find your video.
However knowing your YouTube stats is not enough as this article is about driving traffic from YouTube to your blog. So it is necessary to build a YouTube traffic conversion funnel to watch using your on-site analytics.
I use Finteza to watch my traffic and analyze my conversion funnel. To set it up, follow these steps:
- Add Finteza’s tracking code to your site (you will see your initial traffic stats right away)
- Go to “Referral” report, locate “YouTube.com” and click it. This will filter all further reports to traffic coming from YouTube:
To create and monitor your conversion funnel, you need to set up events it consists of. Events can be clicks or destination pages. You can set up your events using Finteza WordPress plugin.
Once you have events set up, you can build funnels using them, or you can let Finteza create automatic funnels.
For example, here’s my YouTube referral traffic responding to four various “Download” CTAs which are events I am tracking. You can see that YouTube traffic is very low, as compared to overall traffic, but it does a good job sending those people to my CTAs:
You can slice and dice your traffic reports based on which video people came from, which CTA they prefer and more. If you are selling services or a SaaS platform, you also need to set up a sales pipeline to catch all the leads you can. Nextiva offers a solid tool for that.
Takeaways: Building a YouTube traffic generation strategy
Video creation is easier and more accessible than ever before.
While you could opt for an expensive camera and pricey editing software, you can get a lot done using just a smartphone and low cost video editing software.
And while this strategy allows you to tap into YouTube’s built-in audience, your videos will have a good chance of ranking in Google’s organic search listings as well.
This is why it’s so important to focus your videos around specific search queries.
Be sure to include your target keyword in your video title and create a minimum 300-word description.
Include links back to your site from the video description (and possibly your pinned comment).
Then, monitor your Google rankings and traffic performance to figure out what is working (and what isn’t) – you can then adjust your strategy accordingly.