There’s no denying the power of YouTube. It’s the second-largest search engine in the world with over 2 billion monthly active users and 500 hours of video uploaded every single minute. And, 68 percent of YouTube users watch videos to make purchasing decisions. With usage statistics like that, you might be wondering how to start a YouTube channel yourself.
Consider this: If YouTube is responsible for one-third of all internet traffic — reaching nearly 95 percent of online users every month — then how can your business afford to not have a presence on the platform?
To get in front of your consumers when they are searching for information and forming buying decisions on your products and services, you simply need to be on YouTube.
Today we’ll explore how to start a YouTube channel to attract new viewers and convert them into customers in the following sections:
What is a YouTube channel?
Frequently asked questions about YouTube channels.
How to start a YouTube channel.
Important YouTube channel elements.
Let’s jump in.
What is a YouTube channel?
I still remember the first YouTube video I ever watched back in 2005. My friend booted up his laptop to show me this site where some random guy posted a video about how cool elephants are because they have long trunks.
I was mesmerized by the video and asked my friend to play it over and over again. It wasn’t the charismatic elephant expert who kept me coming back for more, but the idea that he was able to take a video from his camcorder and upload it to the internet for everyone to see.
Back then, video stars like our zoo host (and famed YouTube co-creator) Jawed Karim, would record their video, log in to YouTube.com and upload their finished work to their YouTube channel, which was more like a basic Myspace profile with name, age, gender, relationship status, and last time logged in.
In 2006, YouTube was purchased by Google and has dramatically improved over the years, now offering a more robust YouTube channel experience for creators and viewers alike.
YouTube channel frequently asked questions
Before we can dive into how to create a YouTube channel, I’ll take you through some frequently asked questions about YouTube.
What is a YouTube Creator?
YouTube Creators (sometimes referred to as YouTubers) are the heart of YouTube. They are individuals who produce content for the YouTube platform. If you upload a video to YouTube, you’re officially a Youtube Creator.
What kinds of videos can I upload to YouTube?
You can upload almost any type of video to YouTube. Creators make YouTube videos about everything from personal vlogs, to how-to videos, to travel and lifestyle journals, to comedy skits and much more. Keep in mind, there are community guidelines for YouTube Creators which prohibit adding videos with deceptive content, nudity, violence, hate speech, or misinformation.
Do I need to create a YouTube channel to upload videos?
Yes! Although you can watch and like videos and subscribe to channels on YouTube with a Google account, you need a YouTube channel to upload your own videos, comment on others’ videos, or make playlists.
What if I just want to make YouTube videos?
The world’s your oyster when it comes to your presence on YouTube. Some business owners upload videos randomly in hopes of them going viral while others leverage their YouTube channels to strengthen their brand and drive repeat viewers.
Humans are creatures of habit, and the concept of channels reinforces the habit of consuming video content.
For example, as a kid in the 90’s, my favorite show was ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” I can’t recall the exact day and time it aired, but every week, I knew when to plop down on the couch, so I could watch Will from Philadelphia navigate through the cosmopolitan life of Bel-Air like a fish out of water. If Fresh Prince hadn’t been on NBC, how would I have known where to watch it? Instead, I would have endlessly hit the channel up button until I happened to see the last five minutes of the episode.
Why is a YouTube channel good for my brand?
There are three main benefits in starting a YouTube channel:
1. YouTube channels build a community around your brand
When viewers repeatedly see your logo, your products and services, and your team on screen, it breeds familiarity with your brand. As a result, there’s a stronger sense of community, which helps to drive word-of-mouth referrals and repeat business. The larger the community, the more likely viewers will become customers.
2. YouTube channels allow you to educate customers
In marketing, it’s important to know your cost of acquiring new customers (also known as COA.) By creating a YouTube channel with videos that educate consumers on your products and services, you’re bolstering their trust in your brand and reducing the amount of time you will have to spend selling to them, thus reducing your COA.
3. Your YouTube channel feeds branded content directly to Google
Last, but certainly not least, we can’t forget that YouTube is owned by Google and acts as the second largest search engine in the world. When you upload videos by themselves, it’s like giving Google a gift straight out of the Amazon box. When you add your videos to a branded channel (following the best practices below) it’s like wrapping your gift in search engine optimized wrapping paper with a sparkly, custom-branded bow.
How to start a YouTube channel
If you’re still with me, then you’re probably wondering how to start a YouTube channel for your business. If you’re a visual learner, feel free to play, pause, and put into action this helpful video tutorial:
Sign into your Google account in order to create and/or manage your channels. If you don’t have a Google account, you can create one at http://www.google.com/accounts.
To create your channel, head to YouTube.com. You can either create a channel under your Personal Name (i.e. Bryan Caplan) or your brand name (i.e. Bigger Better Biz.) Choose whichever fits your marketing strategy best.
Once your channel is set up, you need to remember the three essentials:
Your YouTube channel name should give the audience an idea of what your channel is about. Your channel name can be the name of your business, or it can play to a big picture topic. For instance, my business name is Bryan Caplan Marketing, but we opted for Bigger Better Biz as our channel name because it conveys our goal in helping viewers to grow a bigger, better small business.
The process of naming a channel on YouTube can be very similar in practice to how you would name a company, especially when it comes down to determining what the main focus of your channel will be. Good brands often devote substantial resources to brainstorming their brand names to give the audience a particular impression of their products and services. This rings true for a YouTube channel as well.
If you have an existing business or have spent the time to build a buyer persona, you have an idea of who your core audience will be and what they might expect from watching your videos.
Does your channel description (also known as the “About” section) even help the YouTube algorithm? Heck yes, it does! The YouTube search crawler reads and indexes your channel’s description, video titles, video descriptions, video tags, and more to determine if your content is relevant to a viewer’s search.
Crawling your channel’s description helps YouTube comprehend what your channel is about. As a result, YouTube gives you priority by showing your video to the YouTube searchers using those particular terms mentioned in your description.
But make sure not to stuff keywords! Try writing a lucid and honest channel description that includes keywords but speaks to your viewers.
Write a unique value proposition for your viewers. Explain why people should watch your videos over someone else’s channel. Clearly explain the value your audience will get from watching your videos.
When your channel exceeds 10,000 subscribers (which is very possible) you may find that companies and brand sponsors will reach out to you for sponsored content. You don’t want to miss such an opportunity to monetize your channel.
Your channel email is your gateway to networking with your audience and earning through potential brand deals. Make sure to include your email address, as it helps your audience, brands/sponsors approach you.
Other important YouTube channel elements
The following elements can be added under the “Customization” tab in the YouTube Studio. These items show on your YouTube Channel homepage and can play a major role in your ability to drive video views, gain subscribers, and get clicks to your website and social media profiles.
Your channel logo is important because it shows up next to each of your videos in YouTube search results. Your logo can be your actual business logo, a professional headshot, or a photo of your product.
The video watermark is an image that shows up on the bottom right of your videos in an attempt to help you gain more subscribers. This can be any image you choose, but to increase your click-through rate, be sure to use an image that will catch viewers’ attention.
Website and social media links
You’re able to include links to your website and social media accounts — Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat — in your channel banner. This will help the YouTube audience to connect and engage with you around the web.
If your audience lands on your Instagram or Facebook page and loves it, then you just bagged one loyal follower. Hence, social widgets help boost your social media reach & engagement.
Adding channel art to your profile hugely aids your channel branding because it sets an expectation for your viewers. The ideal size for a YouTube channel art image is 2560px by 1440px. The safe area that will display on all devices is the central area of 1546px by 423px. Keep any logos, text, or image focal points in this area.
Imagine you run a YouTube channel that covers diverse topics (like vlogging or interviewing). When YouTube users come across your channel, the video trailer gives them a brief idea of what your channel is about and why they should watch your videos.
Be sure to instruct channel trailer viewers to watch your other videos and subscribe to the channel so they don’t miss any new videos you publish. This is a great way to build your subscriber count.
I used the Bigger Better Biz channel trailer to welcome new viewers while pointing out my video playlists and prompting them to subscribe to the channel.
In this article, I’ve taken you through the process of how to start a YouTube channel for your business. With nearly seven out of 10 consumers consulting YouTube to help them make purchasing decisions, there’s no better time than now to create your YouTube channel to promote your products and services.
Be sure to choose a channel name that either mirrors your business name or reflects the nature of your business. Also, put some time into your channel graphics including your logo and channel art, as they’ll help you to win new views.
Share your Youtube channel everywhere
Once you follow the best practices above to optimize your YouTube channel (and improve your chances of showing up in YouTube search results) be sure to share your channel around the web. Some of the best online places to share your channel include:
But equity rounds aren’t the only way for a company to raise money — alternative and other non-dilutive financing options are often overlooked. Taking on debt might be the right solution when you’re focused on growth and can see clear ROI from the capital you deploy.
Not all capital providers are equal, so seeking financing isn’t just about securing capital. It’s a matter of finding the right source of funding that matches both your business and your roadmap.
Here are four things you should consider:
Does this match my needs?
It’s easy to take for granted, but securing financing begins with a business plan. Don’t seek funding until you have a clear plan for how you’ll use it. For example, do you need capital to fund growth or for your day-to-day operations? The answer should influence not only the amount of capital you seek, but the type of funding partner you look for as well.
Start with a concrete plan and make sure it aligns with the structure of your financing:
Match repayment terms to your expected use of the debt.
Balance working capital needs with growth capital needs.
It’s understandable to hope for a one-and-done financing process that sets the next round far down the line, but that may be costlier than you realize in the long run.
Your term of repayment must be long enough so you can deploy the capital and see the returns. If it’s not, you may end up making loan payments with the principal.
Say, for example, you secure funding to enter a new market. You plan to expand your sales team to support the move and develop the cash flow necessary to pay back the loan. The problem here is, the new hire will take months to ramp up.
If there’s not enough delta between when you start ramping up and when you begin repayments, you’ll be paying back the loan before your new salesperson can bring in revenue to allow you to see ROI on the amount you borrowed.
Another issue to keep in mind: If you’re financing operations instead of growth, working capital requirements may reduce the amount you can deploy.
Let’s say you finance your ad spending and plan to deploy $200,000 over the next four months. But payments on the MCA loan you secured to fund that spending will eat into your revenue, and the loan will be further limited by a minimum cash covenant of $100,000. The result? You secured $200,000 in financing but can only deploy half of it.
With $100,000 of your financing kept in a cash account, only half the loan will be used to drive operations, which means you’re not likely to meet your growth target. What’s worse, as you’re only able to deploy half of the loan, your cost of capital is effectively double what you’d planned for.
Is this the right amount for me at this time?
The second consideration is balancing how much capital you need to act on your near-term goals against what you can reasonably expect to secure. If the funding amount you can get is not enough to move the needle, it might not be worth the effort required.
Elon Musk said Sunday he “somewhat agonized” over the font designs for his companies Tesla and SpaceX.
The billionaire businessman added he “loves fonts” and has tweaked the logos over the years.
He revealed the SpaceX logo also holds a hidden meaning, representing a rocket’s arc to orbit.
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In a series of Sunday tweets, Elon Musk said he “somewhat agonized” over his choice of fonts for his businesses and revealed a hidden meaning behind the SpaceX logo.
Responding to a tweet about serif and sans-serif fonts, the billionaire businessman took a break from posting cryptic memes and discussing politics to say he loves fonts and put significant consideration into how his companies are presented to consumers.
“I somewhat agonized over the Tesla & SpaceX font design (love fonts tbh),” Musk tweeted. “There are some similarities, particularly use of negative space. We’ve made many little tweaks over the years.”
The Tesla logo — a T-shaped design with a custom, sans-serif font spelling out the brand name — is meant to resemble a cross-section of an electric motor. The SpaceX logo, written in a similar font with an extended X, references the reusable rockets made by the company.
“The swoop of the X is meant to represent the rocket’s arc to orbit,” Musk tweeted.
Other business logos have also held hidden messages: Baskin Robbins, a chain that sells 31 flavors of ice cream, has a secret ’31’ hidden in the letters of its logo. Likewise, Amazon’s arrow logo is meant to represent a smile, while the circular ‘B’ logo for Beats by Dre represents a person wearing the popular headphones.
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The internet has revolutionized the business world and changed how we conduct business. Any business that aims to increase its visibility and boost profit needs to pay much attention to top ranking factors, including local SEO — which introduces the topic of the local search algorithm.
Local SEO is one of the top practices that help boost a business’s visibility and generates more sales.
However, achieving better local SEO rankings is not a walk in the park, especially due to increased competition. To appear higher on local results, businesses and marketers need to understand how the local search algorithm works.
Knowing this helps guide the steps for improving rankings in the local pack.
The competition gets stiffer as more businesses open and optimize for local searching. Besides, Google is updating its algorithm consistently, meaning only businesses that can keep up with these updates can appear at the top of local search results.
Luckily, you have come to this post as this article looks at everything you need to know about Google’s local search algorithm and what you can do to get that top spot in the local pack.
Understanding the local search algorithm
Google aims to provide the best results that match a specific local search query. It constantly updates the local search algorithm to determine which business to rank on top of local search results.
Ideally, Google wants to provide local content that is relevant and valuable to users. As with search engine optimization, keyword stuffing cannot give you that top spot in local search results.
SEO specialists and marketers should consider Google’s local search algorithm updates and make the necessary changes to rank higher. Failure to consider these updates means losing your local search presence, resulting in fewer leads and conversions.
Local algorithms check the Google My Business (GMB) listings to determine where to rank a business in local search rankings.
Ideally, Google’s local algorithm ranks businesses with information that matches a searcher’s query. And the higher a business ranks in local search results, the more chances a potential customer will click on it.
This post looks at the three major pillars that determine local search results to better understand the local search algorithm: proximity, prominence and relevance.
Of course, other factors make up Google’s local search algorithm, but since we cannot identify all of them, we’ll focus on the most crucial ones in this post.
By understanding these pillars, marketers can better position themselves for local search success.
Proximity is one of the major ranking factors when it comes to local search. That means the distance between a business and a searcher is a ranking factor in local search.
When a searcher searches for something, Google considers how far the searcher is from the location of the term they use in the search. When a searcher doesn’t specify the location, Google calculates the distance based on the information they have regarding their location.
Ideally, Google aims to provide the most relevant results to a search query. For instance, why would Google provide a list of coffee shops in Los Angeles if the searcher is searching from Colombia?
That would be irrelevant local search results that won’t benefit the searcher.
Unfortunately, while proximity is a major local search pillar, it’s one of the factors that businesses have little control over. After all, you cannot change where your business is located, right?
You can only ensure your business location is as clear as possible, so that it appears for related nearby queries. Here are steps you can take to achieve this:
Claim and verify the Google My Business listing
Ensure local listings are accurate and optimized for local products or services
Get the Google Maps API Key and optimize for your location and routes
Set up your profile correctly (for Service Area Businesses) to avoid violating Google’s guidelines
Users can perform several types of local searches, including:
Users will perform geo-modified searches when they are planning to visit somewhere. For instance, a searcher in Los Angeles planning to visit Toronto, Canada, may search for a “coffee shop in Oakville.” The results will differ from if they searched for “coffee” while physically in Oakville.
To be specific, geo-modified searches are mainly based on relevance and prominence as opposed to proximity when a user searches for something when outside the city included in the search.
Searchers perform this type of search when looking for something around them. For instance, a user in Los Angeles performing a local search for “coffee.”
Ideally, the user only needs to search for something and is shown results based on proximity. They will get the results that are closest to them.
“Near me” searches
“Near me” searches have been so popular in recent years. Although their popularity has significantly declined, users still perform this type of search when looking for something locally.
For instance, some users could add “near me” when searching for a coffee shop, hoping to get the most relevant results near them. As we’ve stated, this trend has lost popularity because when you perform a local search, you are searching for something near you.
It is not necessary to add “near me” to what you’re searching.
Prominence refers to how important Google thinks your business is, which gets factored into the local search algorithm.
In other words, it refers to how well a business stands from the rest in various aspects, including directories, links, reviews, mentions, among other things.
If search engines view your business as trustworthy and credible, they will likely show it on top of related search query results.
The local search algorithm views businesses/brands with a stronger online prominence as credible and trustworthy. Some of the factors that determine prominence include:
A local citation is the mention of a business’s information online. The mention can include the partial or complete name, address, and phone number (NAP) of a local business.
Citations are an excellent way for people to learn about local businesses and impact local search results.
A business with high-quality citations can rank better in local search results, although businesses must continually manage citations to ensure data accuracy.
Backlinks play a crucial role in local business prominence. Gaining relevant backlinks from high-quality sites is an excellent way to build a business’ online reputation.
If you’re trying to outrank your competitors without much success, your backlink profile could be the reason.
In that case, you should check your competitor’s backlinks and compare them with yours. When doing this, pay attention to the number and quality of their backlinks.
As a rule of thumb, aim to have high-quality local backlinks pointing to your site to improve your page’s authority.
Next, you need to pay much attention to reviews to improve local prominence. Many customers look at a business’s online reviews before deciding whether to engage more with the business or not. Besides, many positive online reviews can increase a business’ ranking factors.
Consider this scenario. A potential customer is looking for a pub around Oakville. When they perform a search, they are presented with two results: one with over 100 reviews and another with less than 10 reviews.
Which business do you think the searcher would trust? The one with 100 reviews, obviously.
As with search engines, customers need to trust a business before they decide to do business with it. Similarly, search engines can view online reviews and analyze them to determine a business’s online prominence.
That said, here are strategies you can use to boost your online review signals:
Have a strategy
You won’t have a strong online prominence if your products or services are not of a high standard. So, the first step to having many great reviews is to develop great products and services.
After that, develop a strategy to encourage your happy customers to leave honest but valuable reviews of their experience doing business with you to help boost your online reputation.
Monitor and manage the reviews
Having many reviews is one thing; you need to develop a plan to engage with your customers for better results. Responding to reviews shows people that you care and are genuine about your products and services.
People will avoid businesses that don’t respond to customer reviews (whether positive or negative).
Search engines, too, can tell whether you engage with customer reviews or not and will use the information to determine where to rank on local search results.
When responding to online reviews, pay special attention to negative reviews and how you respond to them. While no business likes getting negative reviews, how you respond to them can positively impact your business — respond positively to turn the negative reviews around.
As earlier stated, Google wants to provide the most relevant results to a local search query. This key ranking factor will determine a business’s position in local search results — how well does a local business match a search query?
Even if your business ticks the above pillars (prominence and proximity), if the content on your page isn’t well structured and doesn’t cover the topics that a searcher is looking for, you won’t appear on top of local search results.
Here are factors that businesses should consider to create a relevant listing:
Local page signals
Local listing categories and attributes
Social posts and responses to online reviews
Local listing signals and categories
A business GMB listing and category can impact its relevance score for local searches. As such, complete your business profile carefully and continually add quality content to the web page to ensure it is relevant for proximity searches.
More specifically, ensure that all information on all listing pages, including Yelp, Bing, and Google, is complete and accurate. Aside from these factors, here are two crucial features you should pay attention to:
Selecting the right categories for your local business listing is among the crucial factors for ranking locally. With over 4000 GMB categories, you want to choose categories that best describe your business — ensure they are relevant and specific.
Here are guidelines to follow when selecting a category:
Describe your business as opposed to your services
Be specific to minimize competition
Reduce the number of GMB categories to describe your business better
Without a proper description, users won’t know what your business is about. This section is about adding an introduction to your business so that customers and search engines can know more about your business.
However, don’t use this section for marketing your business. Just give users and search engines descriptive info that can help determine whether your business matches their needs.
Local page signals
Another way a business can improve its standing in the local search algorithm is by optimizing web pages for specific keywords. For multi-location businesses, it’s essential to have separate, localized pages for each location, with relevant information and contact details for customers to reach you.
Performing competitor research is advisable to determine what terms or keywords to use for a specific query. Here are top on-page signals to consider when trying to gain relevance for a given topic:
Keyword research — Before creating local content, you need to find keywords that matter to your business. Perform keyword research to determine highly relevant keywords with high intent. When finding relevant terms to use in your content, base your research on the customer perspective; think about what they search for and the type of content they are looking for.
Create local content — After finding the right keywords, it’s time to create your content. Google values the quality of content more than the length of the content, so keep this in mind when creating content. Another crucial thing to pay attention to is localizing the content. For example, you can create content on local news and events or use your city’s name within your content.
The goal is to create a connection between what’s happening in your local area and your business. Also, use pictures with your specific geolocation to increase your content relevance.
Creating quality and relevant content is only the start. You need to optimize your content for on-page signals so local search algorithms can discover and rank them better. Here’s how you can optimize your local content for on-page signals:
Meta descriptions — Include keywords in your meta descriptions to encourage searchers to click through and increase visibility
Title tags — Title tags are some of the factors that search engines use to determine where to rank content. Incorporating keywords naturally in your title tags can help boost local rankings
Image tags — Another way to improve local rankings is by including relevant keywords in your image tags. Including geotags also comes with an added advantage
Headings — Users and Google value pages with clear structures. Consider creating headings within your content to capture readers’ attention and encourage them to read on. However, ensure your heading tags describe the content that comes after them well. Also, include keywords in your heading tags to help search engines understand them and their importance.
Off-page local signals
Gaining high-quality backlinks is a great way to boost credibility and trust. Backlinks refer to external links from another website to your site. Aim to have more high-quality backlinks to boost your website authority.
Ideally, having many quality backlinks shows search engines that your website or page is credible and trustworthy, which boosts the chances of ranking it higher in search engine results.
Guest posting is one of the best examples of link-building strategies you can use. Finding great guest posting opportunities provides an excellent opportunity to share your content to a new but relevant audience, which helps boost your website authority.
Another strategy you can use is to create longer and better content than what is already available on the web. When your content is high quality and relevant, it will be easier to get high-quality backlinks.
Review and social signals
Online reviews can also help boost relevance for your local business. Aim to get as many positive reviews from your happy customers as possible.
Remember, when customers perform a local search, they get not only the relevant businesses but also reviews related to the search. The more positive reviews a business has, the higher chances a potential customer will do business with them.
Closing thoughts on the local search algorithm
Ranking on top of local search results can seem daunting, but it shouldn’t when you know the vital things to focus on. As you have seen above, the local algorithm is based on three pillars: relevance, proximity, and prominence.
Of course, other factors determine local search rankings depending on your industry and competition.