5 Steps for Optimizing YouTube Videos

Not sure if your business should have a YouTube channel? Did you know that YouTube is the 2nd most popular and used search engine, with more searches than both Bing and Yahoo?

YouTube Logo

So yes, your business should most definitely have well branded presence on YouTube. YouTube can be one of your most powerful  tools for reaching and engaging with customers. To reach your customers, you not only have to create a YouTube channel and add videos, you need to make sure that your customers can find your videos and even drive them back to your website.

SEO for YouTube Videos – Get Found & Increase Views

As with most search engine optimization tactics that you use on your website to increase rankings, it is all about keywords. Optimizing YouTube videos is no different, you want to focus on incorporating (but not spamming) your keywords into the different components of YouTube videos. The main areas to incorporate your target keywords are:

1. Video File Name 

Most video files default to a number or letter combination, such as vid123456.mov. For SEO purposes, it is important that the video file name be descriptive of what the video is about. For example, the video file for a Twitter training video may be intro-to-twitter-for-businesses.mov

2. Video Title

When determining the title for your YouTube video, focus on incorporating relevant keywords that correlate with the content in the video. In addition, always keep the title below 70 characters. If the title of the video is more than 70 characters long it will get cut off in search results. Always make sure your YouTube video titles are:

  • Under 70 characters
  • Descriptive
  • Incorporate target keywords

3. Video Description 

The description for your video will appear in search results to entice users to view your video. Similar to meta descriptions on website pages, YouTube only shows a limited number of characters in search results. In YouTube search results, only the  first 160 characters will appear with your video.  Within the first 160 characters of the video description, focus on incorporating keywords while maintaining a natural voice and enticing users to choose your video to watch. Your full video descriptions can be longer, to provide more detail to viewers who select to watch the video, but don’t go overboard. Rather, try to keep the entire description below 300 characters. One of the most important components of a video description is the inclusion of a link back to your website. If possible, add a link to a page on your website with corresponding information, instead of the homepage.

4. Video Tags and Categories

Video categories and tags are a critical component for video optimization. By selecting the most appropriate tags and categories your video will show up along side other relevant content, and more likely to reach your target audience. You would not want your video on cooking tips to show up with videos about designing websites. That is like knowingly advertising to people you know are not your target audience.

  • Categories: When adding your video to YouTube, make to to select the most relevant category that your video can belong to.
  • Tags:  Use the tag area to not only add your target keywords, but also to add the keywords that did not naturally fit into the video description. Try to add 5-7 relevant and quality tags to each video.

Note: make sure to not spam your tags with keywords that are not relevant to your video or dozens of different keywords. By doing that, your video will most likely be penalized by YouTube in search results or even removed from the site. 

5. Playlist Optimization 

Playlists help to organize your videos by topic. By grouping videos by topic, you will more easily drive traffic between videos, because videos grouped into a playlist often appear alongside each other when watched. When creating playlists, make sure to pay close attention to the playlist title because it is a highly weighted factor for search results. Playlist titles should be short, descriptive, and keyword focused. Don’t forget to write an engaging description of  the playlist to entice searchers. Playlist descriptions are also a factor in search rankings, so it is important to try to naturally incorporating keywords not stuff or spam the descriptions.

Optimizing your YouTube videos is just the first step in building a successful YouTube community for your fans, customers, and potential customers. In upcoming blog posts, I will focus on the power of adding annotations to your videos, branding your YouTube page, and promoting your page.