Posted by Sam Battin, Senior Natural Search Specialist Social media is changing from a sideline to a necessary part of visibility on the Web. Since the second-biggest repository of search queries after Google is YouTube, the content you post on this site should be made with interaction in mind. While visibility on YouTube isn’t the same thing as visibility on Google, in certain cases content can cross over into traditional search visibility. This article discusses one aspect of improving visibility by getting comments on your YouTube videos. Why Seek YouTube comments? Comments are posts that registered users make on YouTube after they have finished watching a video (or sometimes before, if they’re in a bad mood). Comments generally discuss the video and sometimes involve the user’s personal feelings. Other times, comments are aggressive and can start arguments which end up having nothing to do with the video in question. Given the unpredictable nature of crowd-sourcing comments on your video, some video uploaders will disable YouTube comments entirely. While this makes sense for some videos, cutting off comments does miss two important opportunities for search visibility: 1. Comments tell YouTube that your content was engaging enough to inspire viewers to remark on it. When a video has a high ratio of comments to views, YouTube will be more likely to include that video in results for relevant search queries. 2. Comments increase the amount of text on the page that search engines can index. Unless people completely misunderstood your video, their comments will likely be about the content and thereby help search engines better understand what’s actually in the video. If there are a lot of comments, the content of your YouTube page will potentially match a larger number of search queries. How To Get YouTube Comments If you’re ready to get comments, be prepared to engage your audience. Other things being equal, comments are hard to come by, and only about 1 viewer in 1,000 will leave a comment. Here are some ways to boost this ratio: 1. Ask for comments in the description. You can try the simple approach and write something like “Please comment!”, but YouTube viewers see these blunt appeals very often. Instead, try posing a question to your viewers that connects with their sensibilities and invites an answer. For example, if your video is about your favorite book, you write something like “Let me know in the comments what some good books are!” Remember, the way you phrase your request will be an extension of your corporate voice, and this can be formal or informal, whichever helps you connect better with your audience. 2. Post content that provokes a response. As a very simple example, many videos that prominently feature cats will get comments just because there are a lot of people that like cats. Obviously every one of your videos can’t include a cat, but your content should seek to strike a positive chord with your viewers. 3. Post back occasionally and answer the most interesting comments. Again, the words you use reflect your corporate persona and must be chosen carefully, but a good dialog can provoke additional commentary and further the goals of your business.