The Car Dealer's 10-step Guide to Optimizing a YouTube Channel

By: Robert Wiesman   |   02 Sep 2015

Your auto dealerships YouTube channel is a massive opportunity for highly targeted traffic to your website 24/7 365. Better yet that not only is the traffic highly targeted it is also FREE.

Your YouTube channel is your dealerships hub for all your video content. There is so much more to really tapping into the power of YouTube for your auto dealership than just creating the right kind of videos and uploading them to your channel.

Youtube has a number of tools and features that will help you get the most out of your videos as well as its targeted viewers.

Is your dealerships YouTube channel optimized? There is tons of chatter and content about the optimization of your videos but beyond that the proper optimization of your channel is just as important to a successful YouTube strategy for your automotive dealership.

Here is 10 actions you can execute and reference to anytime to ensue your dealerships YouTube channel is optimized to the max like a pro!

1.Update/Change YouTube Channel Title

change channel title Now of course as an auto dealership you will want your YouTube channel name to represent your brand. It is important your channel title represents your business, brand, or an individual.

Get creative and add some of your keywords to your title will never hurt.

For example, if my dealership was “Wiesman Hyundai” I would probably name my channel “Wiesman Hyundai TV” or something else along those lines. It is important you have one of your main keywords in your YouTube channel title.

To change your YouTube channel name all you need to do is click the pencil icon you see to the far right of the section from your channel view (as you see in the image above) then click the channel settings and then once inside settings just click change right beside your name and you're all set.

2. Your YouTube Channel Icon

Changing YouTube Icon


Your channel icon is basically the profile picture for your YouTube channel, kinda like your Facebook profile picture.

It makes sense for you to upload your dealerships logo as your YouTube channel icon because it is very important that your channel reflects and represents your brand but studies show that online users tend to engage more with pages and channels that use an actual photo of a person as the icon as opposed to your brands logo. Just some food for thought.

If it was my dealership I would as the dealer principal use my picture as the channel icon.

To add or change your YouTube channel icon is really a piece of cake.

Just click that pencil icon that hovers over your channel icon image. From there they will forward you to your Google + page which the way Google has it set up you have to change your channel icon there.

You just click on the image on your Google + and it will prompt you to select or upload a new image. Like I said… Piece of cake but very important to your channel.

3. Your YouTube Channel Art

changing channel art

Your channel art is the header/banner graphic that is located at the top of your channel.

Your YouTube channel art should be 2560×1440 with the main element of your art positioned on the inside 1546×423 area so when the user views it via smartphone tablet etc the channel art is still viewable.

Your channel art is the main brand representation on your YouTube channel so it is important to make sure the graphic is professionally designed represents your brand to the fullest. You can add calls to actions to your website links and many other promotional branding opportunities.

Be sure that your channel art conveys what exactly your dealerships YouTube channel is going to do for them (the viewer).

To update your dealerships YouTube channel art from the “My Channel” view just click the small pencil icon in the top right corner on your channel art and in that drop down select “edit channel art” then from there you can select a image or upload a new one. Super simple. 

4. Your YouTube Channels About/Description

updating about description

If you optimize your YouTube channel description not only will it increase and improve your search rankings, it also can help convert a viewer into a new subscriber.

It is very important you make your description keyword rich. Make sure to add the keyword phrases that your target audience is searching for.

The channel description is also where you lay out to the viewer exactly what is in it for them by subscribing to your channel. How is your content going to benefit them because the last thing you want to do is try to sell them via your YouTube videos.

To update your dealership's YouTube channel description start with clicking on the About tab you will see when you are in the My Channel view.

From there all you need to do is click that famous little pencil icon you will see to the far right of your channels description and from there you type in your keyword rich channel description.

Since your already in there go ahead and scroll down right below your dealerships YouTube description and you will see where it says “For business inquiries” where you can add an email address.

Click on where it says email then just enter the email address you want any inquiries from your car dealerships YouTube channel forwarded to. Just like that.

5. Your YouTube Channels Keywords

channel keywords

The keywords for your dealerships YouTube channel is another opportunity to improve your rankings in Google and YouTubes search results.

Your channels keywords should be the keywords and phrases you are trying to rank for and also the types of videos your dealerships channel will be uploading.

To update and add to your YouTube channels keywords you will start with same steps as when you were updating your dealerships channel title.

From the My Channel view you just click the pencil icon to the far right of where you see your channels title/name right under the channel art.

When the drop down pops up then just click the Channel Settings link and you will see where you enter your dealerships YouTube channels targeted keywords. Again not the hardest thing to do in the world and will only take a few minutes but also very crucial to the proper optimization of your car dealerships YouTube channel.

6. Add Your Dealerships Website and Social Links To Your YouTube Channel

adding web links

The more places on the web you have links for your dealerships website, Facebook and other social profiles the more likely you are going to receive some traffic from those sources.

YouTube has to much traffic coming to it every second of everyday to not take advantage of this feature on your dealerships YouTube channel.

To add your dealerships links, again we start in the My Channel view and click the pencil icon you see in the top right corner of where your Youtube channel art is.

Once you click that pencil icon the drop down will appear and from there you click the Edit Links link. (there is a few different ways you can access these links but I prefer this way because its easier to demonstarte).

Once you have clicked the Edit Links link you will land on a page that should look familiar. It is the same page you updated your dealerships YouTube channel art.

YouTube allows you to add 15 links to your channel so max them out if you can but I suggest your first link be to your website. It would be best to make it to a landing page or some kind of page that provides the viewer with even more value. You can add a call to action to your link telling them why to click.

Take a look at the image and see how mine says “Get FREE Branding Checklist”. When the viewer clicks there they are directed to a landing page/download page where in exchange for their email address they get access to a valuable resource. Make sense?

I suggest taking that approach as far as your website link then in the other sections add all your social links and anything else you would want to drive traffic to.

7. Upload A Channel Trailer To Your Dealerships YouTube Channel

adding a trailer

A YouTube channel trailer is the featured video only non subscribers to your dealerships YouTube channel will see when they land on your channel. Once they become a subscriber they will not see this video anymore.

Your channels trailer sole purpose is to educate the viewer on exactly what they will get from your dealerships YouTube channel and also ask them to subscribe to your channel.

Now to be clear you do not want to be selling anything in this video except for selling the viewer on why your content is valuable to them and also selling them on the subscription. Thats it.

The video should be as short as possible but do not cross the 2 minute mark. Even 2 minutes is a little long but that is the cut off time without a doubt.

Now to add this video is a piece of cake. When you are in the My Channel view click the now famous pencil icon you will see on the far right of where you see your channels title.

Once the drop down appears click Edit Channels Navigation. After doing that you will be on the Channel Navigation page and at the very top you will see the word Browse to the right of that you will see the word Enable. Click on Enable then return to your dealers channels Home page which then you will see the option to Add A Channel Trailer. Click on that and select the video you want as your trailer. And that is that.

8. Verify Associated Website To Your YouTube Channel

verifying website

It is very important that you verify your dealerships website on your YouTube channel.

The benefit of verifying your dealerships website is you will then be able to add your website to clickable annotations in your YouTube videos as well as the new YouTube Cards feature. Both of these features are how you get your YouTube traffic to your dealerships website.

Verifying your dealerships website for your YouTube channel is super easy.

Again click the pencil icon to the far right of where your channels title is which is right below your channel art.

Once you do that the drop down will appear and then you click Channel Settings. Scroll down the Channel Settings page until you see Associated Website. Add your website url then click verify. From there Google will forward you some further easy to follow and execute instructions to finalize the verification of your dealerships website for your YouTube channel.

9. Enable Custom Thumbnails & External Annotations To Your YouTube Channel

enabling thumbnails

Thumbnails and Annotations are major players in the success of your dealerships YouTube channel.

Lets start with Thumbnails… When you add custom thumbnails to your YouTube videos you will see a increase in views on this videos. Point blank. Custom thumbnails not only look so much better but they also visually inform the viewer of what they can expect inside your video.

Clickable Annotations within your YouTube videos are a key component to getting your dealerships YouTube viewers off of YouTube and onto your website but also will help increase video views as well as increase your channels subscribers.

To enable both custom Thumbnails and Annotations to your YouTube channel you will need to be in the YouTube Creators Studio.

Click on your channels profile in the complete top right hand corner of your page. It is the very small and is in a circle.

Once you click the icon the drop down will appear and from there click Creators Studio.

On the far left menu you will see Channel in the columns navigation, click there and then click Status and Features. Scroll down that page just a tad and you will see External Annotations and Custom Thumbnails right below that.

10. How To Add Playlists And Sections To Your YouTube Channel adding playlists

Playlists and Sections are an amazing way to organize your video content on your dealerships YouTube channel but they are so much more than that.

Creating Sections for your YouTube channel is a awesome way to not just organize the videos your dealership has created and uploaded to your YouTube channel but also serves as a great way to promote those videos.

YouTube allows you to add 10 sections to your channel and although there are a few different types of sections you can add, I only think the Single Playlist Section is where you should be focusing when it comes to your channels Sections. We will talk more about this in a second.

Playlists are a great way to create groups of videos that are about the same topic which makes it easier for your viewer to find them.

Another awesome feature about YouTube Playlists is if you title them properly (with keywords) and write a detailed keyword description (YouTube allows 5,000 characters) YouTube and Googles algorithm will rank those playlists in search.

To create a Playlist first click the Playlist tab in the menu right below your dealerships YouTube channels title.

Once you are on the Playlists page click the New Playlist button where then a drop down will appear to enter the title of your Playlist. After you create the title you then click on the Add Videos button you will see to the far right which then another box pops up to add videos from there you will click the far right option “Your YouTube Videos” where you then select from your YouTube videos which ones you want to add to that Playlist.

Now that you have created the Playlist you will see the option to “Add A Description” to your Playlist. Click on “Add A Description” and add a keyword rich description up to 5,000 characters.

Now that you have created a Playlist you need to “Add A Section” to display your Playlists.

To do that you will need to click the pencil icon to the far right of your YouTube Channels title and if you have not done so already click enable next to where you see “Browse” at the top of that page.

When you are back in the “My Channel” view after enabling the “Browse” feature scroll to the bottom of the page and you will see a “Add Section” button. Click that and in the drop down that appears select “Single Playlist” and then select the Playlist you want to add to that “Section” and just like that you have a new “Section” displaying your new “Playlist”.

Now you just have to go out make some killer videos

So now that you have the 10 step playbook to fully dialing in your dealerships YouTube channel, now you just need to upload some videos.

Go out and execute on any or all of the above steps and watch your results from your dealerships YouTube channel explode!

What is working and what is not working for you on YouTube? I want to hear it… Lets connect in the comment section.