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YouTube Channel Best Practices for Contractors

Welcome back to the third installment of our Video Marketing Series. As we promised in our last post we are about to get busy with opening and optimizing YouTube channels and videos.

Youtube Illustration

In this post, we will go over the YouTube channel basics. The vast majority of video views on any YouTube channel happens in the “Watch Pages”, meaning, the URL that hosts the video itself.Unless you are a YouTube celebrity, channel pages are seldom visited.

But that doesn’t mean that Channel Pages are irrelevant in Video Marketing for contractors. Au contraire, the way you customize, SEO, configure and organize content in your channel can literally make or break your YouTube Channel. So let’s get started with the basics, shall we?  

1. What do I need to consider? 

  • Channel ownership 
    This is something we cannot stress enough. A company's channel must always belong to a YouTube brand account that is owned by and accessible to the company's owner or someone he/she really trusts. They are the only ones who should have the login to the brand account. Everyone else can have permissions to manage the channel, but owners must always retain ownership and protect their logins like they would the bank account Pin#. If you ever lose access to your corporate channel because let's say, an ex-employee opened it and left with the login information, the chances that you will ever be able to recover that account are from dim to non-existent.
  • Brand vs. Personal Account
  • YouTube offers two types of accounts and channels. Personal and brand. When you first open a Google account it is considered a personal account, and if you open a channel under that account it will be a personal channel by default unless you determine otherwise. Brand channels have many features and provide many opportunities that personal channels do not, so it is a good idea to open a Brand Channel for your company.
  • Monetization & YouTube Partnership
    To monetize your channel (earn money from ads that show on your videos) you need to qualify for the YouTube Partners program. That means meeting all the criteria which include more than 1,000 subscribers and more than 4,000 hours of video watching in the last 12 months. It may seem like a long shot but with the right content and promotion that is not an unattainable goal for contractors.
    Becoming a YouTube partner provides many benefits but may not be for everyone. YouTube Partnership not only pays you for ads that appear on your videos but it significantly boosts your videos’ exposure, view count, and popularity. Google earns money with the ads too, so they make sure your monetized videos get shown to as many people as possible to increase their profits. It is a win-win most of the time, but there is one problem.
    As of now, you don’t get to choose which ads are shown on your videos, and occasionally, an ad from a competitor, for example, might get featured. So, in a way, your video is helping a competitor sell their services.  YouTube might eventually give channels more control over what is advertised on their video, but then again, they may not.

2. How do I Open a Channel under my Brand Account? 

  • Log in to the Google Account that is the primary owner of the channel and log into YouTube.
  • Click on the icon at the top right of your channel and select Create Channel.
  • You will be given the option to create a personal or a brand channel.
  • Select a custom name or brand channel and follow the steps.

NOTE: Every time you create a brand channel you also create a brand account linked to it. A personal channel can have several brand channels and accounts. If the account you are logged in already has a brand account associated with it and that account has no channel, you will be allowed to create a channel for the brand account. Otherwise, the brand account and the channel will be created at the same time.

Disclaimer: YouTube is constantly changing its platform and moving the settings around. We put together the instructions based on the dashboard features as they were at the time of this writing. We will do our best to keep the instructions updated but if you are a member of our program and have problems navigating the platform, please contact your Account Manager for assistance

Multiple administrators for your channel

One of the great things about Brand Channels is that they can be managed and administered by several people, even though they only have one Primary Owner, and as we discussed before, the Primary Owner should be the company owner or someone they trust.

Hired a new marketer or a social media person? No need to give them your login information. Simply go into Channel Settings and add them as managers. This way they can upload videos, answer to comments, look into channel analytics through their own Gmail accounts without ever needing your email and password. If they leave the company, simply remove them as channel managers.

3. As a Contractor, What are the YouTube channel SEO Basics?

YouTube Channel Best Practices - Image 2

    • Channel Name
      The channel name is chosen when you first open it. It is associated with the brand account, so if you need to make changes, you make them through the brand account. The brand account is also where you determine the headshot or logo that will represent you in the YouTube community.

    • NAP Information (Name, Address, And Phone) 
      YouTube, being a Google product, is one of the most important citations you can build for your company. As it happens with all citations, it is very important to establish consistency, so that all your local listings and social properties have the same NAP information. Members of our programs can count on a dedicated local listing team, whose job is to make sure all their listings and properties are consistent.

    • Location Information and Channel Keywords.
      As you know, YouTube is a very competitive platform, with 300 hours of video being uploaded every minute. So, in theory, your channel and videos have billions of competitors from all over the world. The good news for home contractors is that they are not trying to compete with people from all over the world. The target audience is very specific: homeowners that are researching or looking for the services they offer, within their service area.  Making sure your keywords and location are clearly set for your channel and your videos are the best way to help your content rank where it matters.

    • Content organization
      Playlists are your channel’s best friends. Think of them as the different sessions of your website. Make individual playlists for each of your services, one About Us list, one for your customer testimonials, one for your staff videos (such as Meet the Team videos), one for recruitment and job opportunities. A channel can have as many playlists as it needs. Playlists can be used in several ways, such as featuring specific content on your channel’s page.
    • An HVAC contractor can, for example, feature a playlist about heating in the winter and switch with an air conditioning playlist during the summer. You can also link to a playlist of related content from any of your videos using YouTube's Cards and Last Screen features. We will go over these two features more in-depth on an upcoming post.

    • Content Privacy Settings
      While you can upload all kinds of company content to your YouTube channel, you want to make sure the channel remains relevant for the searches that really impact your bottom line, which in the case of home contractors, are the searches for products and services that happen in their service area. The way to achieve that is to determine what kind of content is visible and searchable on your channel. YouTube offers 3 privacy settings for content
      • Public – the videos and playlists are visible on the channel and searchable on YouTube
      • Unlisted – the video or playlist is not listed on the channel and can’t be found on YouTube searches. Only people with a link to the content can see it.
      • Private – can only be seen by someone who is logged into your YouTube channel or has manager permissions.

While last years’ Christmas party, your TV ads and the little league softball team sponsored by the company might be fun features on your channel for a while, you might want to unlist them as soon as possible and leave only relevant, evergreen content set as public. Likewise, your sales team videos, who are meant only for Meet the Team pages, email marketing, and follow-ups, should remain unlisted. Customers will still be able to see them embedded on the Meet the Team pages and emails, but they will not be cluttering the channel or skewing your SEO.

4. What is Channel Configuration?

YouTube is such a full-featured platform that it is easy to miss or forget about some very important settings and configurations. Things are always changing, it becomes hard to navigate and find the settings you are looking for when YouTube makes changes to the dashboard. Below are three video tutorials with step-by-step instructions on how to verify and configure your channel. The tutorials are based on dashboard navigation as it is at the time of this writing.

5. How do I Verify my YouTube Channel? 

Always verify. Channel verification on YouTube give you access to different features that are otherwise not available. 

YouTube Channel Best Practices - Image 3

1. Click on YouTube Studio.

2. From the dashboard, click on Settings. 

3. From the settings window, click on Status and Features.

4. Click on Verify. (Use your cell phone to verify your channel as prompted. 

You will notice that a few more features will open for you, such as the ability to verify your website against your channel. 

If you plan to advertise on YouTube you can link it to your google ads. 

5. Go back to settings and click on Advanced Channel Settings. 

6. Under the Advanced Channel Settings scroll down to Associated Website, enter the website's URL and click Add.

6. How do I customize my YouTube Channel? 

YouTube Channel Customization Phase 1:

1. Click on Customize Channel.

2. Click on the About tab. To edit the description click on the pencil icon on the right and start to enter a keyword-rich description or your business; including the correct Name, Address, Phone Number and your website URL.    

3. Under the About Us tab add links like your Google Maps Listing, Facebook Page or any other relevant social media to your Lead Form page. 

4. If you have other business channels or a part of an organization, franchise or association, you can add those channels as Featured Channels in the About Us page. 

5. In this section you can set a Headshot and a Cover your channel. These are important if you plan to advertise. Your Channel Cover image is used by YouTube to put together a Companion Banner that is served with your video ads.  

In Phase Two if Channel Customization you will learn how to organize and display content in your channel. 

YouTube Channel Customization Phase 2:

1. From the YouTube Studio, click on Settings

2. On the Settings window, under the Basic Info tab add your Channel Keywords which should be service related as well as company name, city and state. Make sure you also set the location as U.S. or the country your company is in. 

3. Since your main target is not children make sure to check that on your Advanced Settings Tab

4. On the Branding window you have the option to include a watermark logo that will be shown across all your videos.

5. Including your website URL and adding your company name, city, state and phone number increases your chances for your video to rank in searches and also in the Up Next session of the watch page. 

6. Click the Advanced Setting Tab and select default category for your videos and default language. This will generate automatic closed captions for the video upon uploading.  

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