On the last episode of Internet Marketing This Week, Paul Colligan mentioned that YouTube is now the second largest search engine on the web.
This is exciting news, and has everyone rushing to upload videos and also take advantage of YouTube's new pay-per-click advertising option. But before you drop everything and invest all your chips in YouTube ads & optimization, let's talk logistics for a second...
Very cool that YouTube can now claim the title "The 2nd Largest Search Engine". Good for them! But let's be honest... search volume is irrelevant.
Let's backtrack and drill down to the actual searcher. Have you ever searched for a video on YouTube? I have - and probably do it on a weekly basis. Ask yourself: What do I search for on YouTube? What do I do once I find what I'm searching for?
It's all about the intent of the searcher.
If I do a search on Google, I intend to find and click on something specific in the search results. If I do a search on YouTube, I intend to consume the content I was searching for - right there on YouTube.
Out of all of the searches you have done on YouTube, on how many of those would you say you clicked an external link that took you outside their site?
Out of all the searches you have done on Google, what percent result in a click-through from you? For me I would say at least 98%. The exception being when I ask a direct question, such as "how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon?"... and Google answers it at the top of the results.
Again, I say search volume is completely irrelevant (outside of YouTube's bragging rights). What we are interested in is the intent of the searcher, and CTR - which stands for Click Through Rate.
Obviously you can use YouTube to get traffic to your website. I'm certainly not suggesting that you cant. We even discussed that on the podcast, so be sure to listen in to the last episode to hear that conversation - including Ed Dale's results with video marketing.
Video can be used in two ways - as a means of driving traffic to your website, or as a means of achieving a higher conversion rate on your website.
If you plan to capitalize on YouTube's search volume (and you should), you'll want to make sure that you give your viewers a reason to click through or visit your website. Try this simple YouTube tip for creating a visible hyperlink (and NOT to your homepage - click to find out why, and see a screenshot example).
But you'll have to do more than that to compel your viewers to visit your website. Consider the fact that your video may be syndicated, or may "go viral" and be published on related blogs & websites across the web. What with your link then? And so you must also include a text overlay or annotation so that viewers can still see your website address.
In addition to making your link visible to video viewers, your video must include a reason for them to visit your website. This is referred to as a call-to-action and is simply a compelling invitation to click through for more information or a special offer on that same topic.
As with all things marketing, the goal is to get targeted traffic. Keep your marketing strategy streamlined, and know exactly who you want to reach and what you want them to do - or what action you want them to take next.
Be smart, get creative, stay focused... and funnel some of that YouTube traffic your way strategically
p.s. In case it seems like I missed the mark with my point here, let me add this:
Google is the #1 search engine in regards to search volume. Yahoo would rank next, with MSN trailing 3rd. Interestingly traffic from MSN converts highest, with Yahoo coming in 2nd, and Google last.
This varies by niche and you'll have to conduct your own tests to see if the results are the same on your end, but it was worth pointing out that the numbers can sometimes be deceiving...
All I'm really saying is that you shouldnt drop everything you're already doing to focus on YouTube 110% (ie jump on the latest bandwagon). Test it out, track your results closely, and figure out what works best for your e-business.