Everybody knows YouTube, everybody uses YouTube – in any given month, the site attracts a billion users who, all put together, watch 6 billion hours’ worth of videos. And the users are constantly off ered new things as content creators upload 400 hours of video material each minute. So there is a lot of potential – but also for the adult industry?
The adult industry is using social networks within the limits of its possibilities. Performers and popular adult websites usually have one or several social media profiles to win over new users, to keep the existing fan base entertained, and to let them know about their latest projects. Twitter is particularly popular with this group because the barriers and rules for adult-related content are rather lax.
But is there an easy (and successful) way for adult providers to use YouTube as a traffic source? After all, it is well-known that YouTube wants to be a clean site. Overtly adult-related content such as explicit erotic or porn clips do not stand a chance on the platform. Nonetheless, there are several performers who have managed to mobilize a fan base on YouTube, with some of them having tens or hundreds of thousands of subscribers and millions of views each month. Their content, be it videos, thumbnails, or texts, is just within the limits of what YouTube tolerates.
So yes, it is possible for adult businesses to use YouTube as a traffic generator. Now, all we need to do is clarify how we can use a YouTube channel so it will be successful and generate both, views and traffic.
YouTube is basically the second biggest search engine on the internet. And given its affiliation to Google, it is no wonder that SEO plays a major role if you want to have a successful YouTube channel. Organic views, i.e. views that are the result of search queries or video suggestions, are particularly valuable – just like organic traffic on Google. After all, these users find your content because they have been actively searching for a certain topic.
Google also indexes YouTube videos and it is believed that they get preferential treatment when it comes to search engine result pages, or SERPs. Consequently, there is a positive effect on your SEO and backlinks. How do your videos get better search rankings? Simple: keywords, keywords, more keywords … and a pinch of links!
Your channel is your face on YouTube, and ideally, it is also a representation of your website or your network. Of course, it is also your content hub on YouTube. Therefore, picking the right name is vital, not just for branding purposes but also with regard to SEO. Choose a name based on the predominant topic on your channel, for instance, if it’s a channel about dating tips, call it “Dating Guru” or something like that. Naturally, you have to check on YouTube (and Google) if that name is already taken or if it is used by another brand. On YouTube, search for a name by using the search bar and then filter for “channels” to get to the channel names. If you already use a name that has some kind of recognition value, for instance the name of your network, you might also use that one.
Enter a short and informative channel description that sums up your channel and its topics. The maximum length for this text is 1,000 characters, so keep it short. Also pay attention to the keywords you use. These keywords have to be in line with your channel content. Misguiding keywords usually get you a poor ranking from YouTube.
The channel keywords are general tags for your channel, helping to further define the content and the topics of your channel. They also play a role in SEO as YouTube keeps an eye on them.
When a user sees the preview image for your video, the title is one of the first things they will look at. Therefore, it is important to have an attention-grabbing title, one that also fits the video content – you do not want the user to cancel the video after a few seconds – and is not too complicated so it is easier for people to search for it. Additionally, you want the major keywords at the beginning of the title, and the branding at the end. If it is part of a series of videos, place the episode number after the content summary. Whenever it fits the content, use popular keywords that have great search volume, for instance “Tutorial”, “How to”, “Top 10”, “Best”, etc. Since our channel is about adult-related content, double entendres and sensational titles can be effective because they often get a lot of clicks as long as they are in line with the video content.
Here’s a simple formula for a good title: “„[if necessary: Video type:] + [if necessary episode no. (Ep. #).] | + [branding]“.
And here are examples of what such a title might look like:
“Tutorial: Dating mature women online? #2 / The Dating Guru”
“MY FIRST TIME! My first experience with online dating! / The Dating Guru”
You can add tags or keywords to individual videos, which is very similar to adding channel keywords. Beside the video title and video description, these tags rank among your most important tools, and they are vital if you want a favorable rating. You should try to use 20-35 tags per video. The users do not see them; the tag list can only be accessed using special tools. When placing your tags, you should stick with the following sequence: branding + product name (if necessary) + video-specific tags + general tags.
As far as the branding tags are concerned, use the channel name and other branding terms if you have any. Video-specific tags are purely about the content of the video, e.g. “date”, “dating”, “dating portal”, “meet”, “rate”, “tutorial”, “experience”, etc. General tags can include the channel keywords. Speaking of which, once you’ve added tags from these three categories, fill up the rest of the tag field with channel keywords. But be careful not to use the same tag twice.
The video description allows you to sum up all the important information about your video in 5,000 characters or less. There are three elements that you need to bear in mind – from top to bottom: specific video description, link section, unspecific video description.
The specific video description is a short summary of what the video is about, what entertainment value it offers, and what the users can expect. So it is basically a synopsis. Two to three sentences with a grand total of 30-60 words are absolutely sufficient. You can also include the most important link in this description. The first sentence should be as informative and interesting as possible to get the users to click the video. After all, only the first part of the description is displayed in the search results. And do not forget to implement your major keywords in these sentences.
The link section contains the most important links: to your websites, your social media pages, your landing pages, etc. They are providing directions to the users, telling them where to go next, but at the same time, they also represent backlinks for these sites, meaning they have an impact on SEO. An effective call to action can improve the chances of users actually using these links.
Last but not least, there is an unspecific description to be added to the mix. Usually, it is just the channel description, sometimes in a condensed form. That will help you get more keywords in your video description.
One more thing about YouTube SEO before we move on: The most important thing on YouTube is the right content. Misguiding keywords and tags are penalized with bad rankings or even erased videos. It might also happen that a user clicks a video but then gets to see something entirely different from what he expected based on the topic. Consequently, the user quickly cancels the video, which has a toxic effect on the video’s watch time. In case you didn’t know, YouTube rates the quality of video content based on the watch time. If many users watch a video from beginning to end, that constitutes a sign of quality for YouTube, and as a result, this video ranks higher among search results or video recommendations. This is actually one of the most important ranking criteria on YouTube.
Likewise, you should steer clear of so-called “tag stuffing.” Yes, tags help users look for content, and they help YouTube optimize their search engine, but you really shouldn’t add the individual tags to a video description or video title without any context because things like that could lead to your video being kicked from YouTube.
As far as YouTube is concerned, it is not just “content is king”, it is also “context is king!” If you incorporate your keywords in meaningful sentences and use the right tags, it will have a positive effect on SEO and make your videos easier to find.
Apart from texts and videos, pictures also play an important role on YouTube. They are eye catchers that create additional interest, and they can also contain important information for the users. First of all, you need a good channel avatar so the users will remember your channel. The channel itself can be adorned with a header image. The header is not just there to look good, it should also convey information about the channel. Think “The Dating Guru! I will get you great dates!” or “New videos every Sunday!“. Keep in mind that YouTube trims the sides of the header image for smaller screens, so make sure that the information is placed more or less in the center of the screen. Additionally, you can place various links – for instance, to your website, your social media profiles, etc. – on your channel. Just go to settings and add them. These links will be displayed at the bottom right of your channel header.
You can place watermarks in the videos themselves. The watermark will automatically appear in all of your videos, which has a strong branding effect. The watermark is in at the bottom right of the video, and if users click on it, they will be directed to your channel.
The video thumbnails are also extremely important. Just like the video title and video description, they provide information about the nature of the video, inviting the user to click and watch. For the users, the thumbnail is usually the first thing they look at when deciding whether or not they might like the video. Thumbnails that are created specifically for a video attract much more attention than generic thumbnails that are usually just a screenshot. It is important that the content is well-represented, and that it is front and center. Adding some well-placed keywords can also help draw the users’ attention. If you want to make sure that the users immediately recognize videos from your channel, stick with a cohesive style for all your thumbnails. Using a frame or the same type of font also helps.
Content and restrictions
YouTube has its own rules and regulations for content on the website. What Google wants is a clean video platform that is kid-friendly, family-friendly, and, most importantly, advertiser-friendly. Therefore, YouTube also sets its own rules regarding adult content. Only recently they tightened the screws on what is considered “not advertiser-friendly content.” Among other things, they have excluded videos with lewd or sexual humor from monetization via banners and pre-roll ads. Of course, it is up to you to decide if you just want to create awareness with your YouTube content, or if you want to make money directly through the video platform. I think it is at least worth a try. And if you focus on specific content that is not at odds with YouTube’s guidelines, it may well pay off.
Another thing you need to know regarding content is that “openly sexual content such as pornography” is a red flag for YouTube, and it is clearly classified as non-admissible in the site’s guidelines. Fetish content is tolerated “depending on the extent of the actions”, but if the content crosses a certain line, it will be removed as well. Unfortunately, this line is not clearly defined. YouTube also reserves the right to keep spicy content on the site – as long as it doesn’t cross the aforementioned line – but slap age restrictions on these videos. As a general rule of thumb, you should not try to put explicit content on YouTube. There are no clearly defined rules regarding links on YouTube, but one has to assume that the same rules apply here, so to be on the safe side, do not use direct links to x-rated content (or even softcore content). With PG-13 content, you should not have anything to worry about. You can find more detailed information on YouTube’s policy concerning “nudity and pornographic content” online.
What YouTube’s guidelines mean for content creators in the adult industry is that we need to be creative. For instance, you can upload tutorials, How To’s, and experience reports about dating or certain web portals without crossing over into explicit territory. Dating stories you would see on a blog can also be adapted to fit the video clip format. And it is not even necessary to use filmed content. You can also have a slideshow of images to underscore and accentuate the narration, and that can be just as interesting to the user. You can also get inspiration about new formats from other YouTubers in the adult biz. Ideally, you have a performer as a figurehead – obviously someone you feature on your site a lot. That attracts the fans and it adds an identification figure to your channel. But please, make sure you have the rights to the material you are using, or that you use copyright-free material.