YouTube Video Optimization
Just like the many other social media platforms, YouTube also has intensive SEO and metadata criteria that are vital for getting your video seen by relevant audiences. One of the most critical of these is the recommended video bar you see on the right side of the screen when watching a video. This is based on viewers’ watch history and also the keywords, title, and description as well as playlist features and viewer demographics.
Written by Rebecca Roberts
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Optimizing Your Video for YouTube
Just like the many other social media platforms, YouTube also has intensive SEO and metadata criteria that are vital for getting your video seen by relevant audiences. One of the most critical of these is the recommended video bar you see on the right side of the screen when watching a video. This is based on viewers’ watch history and also the keywords, title, and description as well as playlist features and viewer demographics. Over 90% of people aged 18-44 use YouTube so you should make sure your video is clean and professionally presented!
We have created this guide to help you make sure you hit the mark and aren’t letting the hard work you put into your unique content go to waste.
Upload to YouTube
To start, come up with the original video title (under 70 characters is best; YouTube’s limit is 100 characters). To get some ideas, here’s a free tool that supports YouTube and helps you adhere to standards easier.
Next, try to write an original video description using your target key phrase at least once. Here are some tips on how to make this perfect for YouTube:
- Tip #1: The YouTube character limit for descriptions is 5,000, so write a long, original description to improve the video’s chances of ranking in Google.
- Tip #2: About 150 characters of the description will be visible below the video without a click, so put your most interesting part first.
- Tip #3: If you are covering an event or featuring a person, mention it (him/her) in the title of the video and include the official hashtag. This attracts other attendees to your video.
Be sure to add at least 10 tags – the more tags, the better. YouTube has a 500-character limit in tags and each one will increase your odds of hitting a search criteria.
Next make sure to add an eye-catching, high-resolution (1280 X 720) video thumbnail i.e., the image people see in the “Suggested” and “Related videos” areas as well as the YouTube and Google search results. This will help your video stand out. Make sure the image is on brand and clearly represents what the video is about. A popular method is to include the title of the video creatively over the top of the image.
Don’t forget to group your videos into playlists. This will increase your exposure in search as well as add relevant metadata to your channel. Make sure each playlist has a purpose and is dedicated to a goal your videos are trying to achieve. Random groupings will only hurt your search results.
- Tip: YouTube allows each playlist to have a title and description. Make sure you target your major keywords in each one.
When your video is live, there is a new set of steps to follow to optimize it and get it max exposure:
First, add a call to action. Annotate the video with community CTAs, a subscribe button, and links to related content (learn more about Annotations vs. Cards here).
- Tip: You can link back to your site from inside the video with the call to action of your choice, provided your domain is verified with that YouTube channel. You can also link to related video you’d like visitors to view next.
- Note: YouTube uses video engagement metrics to rank your videos (namely, how many people actually viewed your video instead of bouncing), so driving people away from your video may decrease your video organic visibility. If you want your videos to rank, it may be smarter to include your calls to action closer to the end.
- Make sure you are always engaging with all the comments on your video. Thank users for views and positive comments and even hint at upcoming events. Try to be as on-brand as possible in your comments to cement your image to existing and new viewers.
Finally, create a video directory on your site that organizes your videos and gives your users a single place to access them. FirstSiteGuide is the perfect example of getting this right. This will direct traffic to videos very well while also demonstrating your professionalism and value to potential customers. The less work your site viewers have to do to get value, the more likely they will be to participate.
There you have it! Follow these steps with your YouTube channel and uploads to ensure you are giving yourself the best chance at success and are stacking up to the competition.