Blog > YouTube > How to Maximize Your Referral Traffic from YouTube

How to Maximize Your Referral Traffic from YouTube

James Parsons • Updated on September 7, 2014
Written by


YouTube is a great source of traffic to your website. Generally, a user sees a video they like and explores your site to find more content. If you promise value beyond your videos, they need to leave YouTube to find it. This is an opportunity for your site to capture the attention of new users and keep them coming around for more. Some businesses can put YouTube to use more easily than others, of course, but they can all use it at least in basic ways. Here are some tips on maximizing your referrals from YouTube to your website.

Create Compelling Videos

Before you can even consider referring users from YouTube to your website, you need to have compelling videos. If your videos suffer from poor production or audio quality, poor scripting or another such issue, you’re going to have trouble attracting any attention.

You can try to get into a narrow niche or you can compete with larger channels in established niches. Both have their benefits; a larger niche has a larger audience and the potential for more conversions, while a smaller niche has less competition and a higher immediate referral rate. In either case, you need to be producing the best content you can make.

Post Videos Frequently

A regular schedule is extremely beneficial. Treat it like a television channel; get people to anticipate and look forward to the time you release a new video. A better schedule is a better draw for returning users, who are your biggest source of referrals.

A good idea is to create a series – see the next point – and schedule a video drop once each week. Even if you produce the majority of your content ahead of time, hold off on posting it until the designated hour. Consistency is the key. You can always delay a video in favor of a more timely video, or supplement your regular schedule with additional special updates.

Create a Regular Series


As mentioned above, it’s a great idea to create a regular ongoing series you can tie around a theme. Selling computer parts? You can easily do a weekly computer build review or PC part review. Providing a marketing software or service? Review content marketing techniques each week, discuss Google developments and interview thought leaders.

The point of a series is to get viewers invested in an ongoing production of video. If they come in and watch a video, and they like it, and it turns out to be episode 6 of a 52-week series, they’re more likely to stick around to watch more, while simultaneously going back to watch older episodes to see what they missed. To encourage this, reference past videos and link to them via annotations and in the description.

Optimize Videos for Search

There are a lot of ways you can optimize your videos so they’re more visible, both in YouTube’s native search and in Google search results.

  • Use keywords in the title.
  • Make the title compelling.
  • Fill out as many relevant video tags as possible.
  • Write a long, useful description.
  • Optimize your channel page in the same ways.
  • Include calls to action in the description and the video itself.
  • Create video playlists.

In general, you want to put as much focus on YouTube SEO as you do SEO for your blog; all of the same factors apply, except you don’t have the benefit of a page or three of optimized content to help you along.

Upload Video Transcripts

YouTube has implemented an auto-captioning system for some videos. Unfortunately, it’s not very good. Even with the best quality audio, the system still creates some embarrassing miss-transcriptions.

Rather than gamble with the quality of auto-captions, upload your own video transcript. This doesn’t, unfortunately, become a publicly accessible and searchable file. It does, however, give you a bump in video visibility. This is because YouTube gives a bit of preference to video producers who go out of their way to help other users make use of the site.

You can paste the transcript into the video description, but I recommend not to. Your description can be filled with better information to supplement the video. Instead, when you post the video on your website, post the transcript there.

Share Videos Everywhere


If you want people to view your website after seeing your video, you need them to see your video. That means putting your video anywhere it can possibly go. Post it on your website – yes, referral traffic that way doesn’t do anything for you, but it’s a start. Share it on every social network you can. Facebook, Google+, Pinterest; they all work. Share it on StumbleUpon and post it on Reddit if you can find a relevant place for it. Do this more than once whenever possible, to keep the video in circulation as long as possible. Whenever you find a relevant conversation, drop in the link.

Encourage Blogger Embeds

In addition to sharing your video everywhere, encourage other bloggers to also share your video. At the most basic level, you can send out a press release when you publish a high quality new video. Send it to prominent bloggers in your niche, and anyone else you think may have an interest in the video. If you’re lucky, you’ll get some of those content creators writing posts that include your video.

If you want to go all-in on this technique, one thing you can do is appeal to the vanity of the bloggers you target. Mention one of their posts and use it as a jumping off point for a discussion of their methods and your opinions on the subject. This can start a lucrative partnership between you and the other blogger.

Use a Video Endcap

You know how, these days, when you finish watching a video, there’s a brief moment of the video creator talking directly to you and showing you previews of other videos, complete with links and a call to action? That’s a video endcap, and it’s very valuable.

The general format for a basic endcap is a 10-second or so addition to the video with some credits, some social media information and you as the video creator thanking users for watching. Typically these endcaps have 1-4 preview panes for other videos, typically other videos in the series. Link to these videos via your annotations. You should also have a link to your website with an annotation to help encourage that referral traffic.

Use Annotation Links Liberally

Annotation links are powerful, because they appear in the video itself, overlaid on top of the content. On some videos, they are incredibly intrusive. In other videos, they’re valuable supplements. Try to make your videos the second kind.

Your goal with annotations is to augment your content with other content off-site. When you mention an article you wrote, make an annotation link to that article. When you want to link to another video, pop up a preview with an annotation link. When you talk about subscribing, put an annotation link to your subscription page over the screen.

Link in Video Description

Your description is important for a number of reasons, primary among them being the space’s value for links and SEO descriptions. You should always – always – in every instance, have a link to your website in the video description. You can even create a small bank of links, to your website, Facebook, Twitter and any other relevant sites, to include at the top of any video description. These links allow you to link to your website without disrupting a viewer’s experience.


No comments yet. Be the first!

Leave a Reply