A Guide to YouTube SEO
Are you new to YouTube SEO? Do you need to polish up your knowledge? Here is a guide with comprehensive information you need to get on the road to professional quality YouTube SEO and, ergo, reach the widest audience possible. After all, you may create videos that are creative, insightful and spot-on for your YouTube audience but this only half the battle. YouTube is home to a ton of great content and if you want your channel and videos to succeed, you need to optimize them.
YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine. Therefore, if you publish content on the platform, you better make sure you write optimized titles, tags and descriptions so your videos are easily discoverable and well indexed. The title of your videos, for example, is important for YouTube’s discovery systems and audiences to make sense of your content. A good practice is to keep them concise and include descriptive and relevant keywords early on in the titles. A video’s description field is also valuable real estate. As a matter of fact, put together, your video’s title, thumbnail and description should tell a cohesive story that compels people who come across your video to click on it. Tags, which are descriptive keywords, also play an important role in making sure YouTube’s discovery systems surface your videos to audiences.
If YouTube is a platform where you publish content then you would know that thumbnails appear all across it in different sizes and formats and sometimes outside of it, for example, if you shared a link to a specific video in a post on your blog. Basically, thumbnails act as miniature marketing posters for your content and if you want to attract viewers and make them click through to watch your videos, you need to choose a strong and vibrant image that’s eye-catching and that accurately represents the content of your video. In particular the image needs to be clear, in-focus and of high resolution. It also needs to be well framed and have a good composition.
Use Annotations Wisely
By definition, annotations on YouTube are clickable text overlays on published videos. When used wisely, they can increase viewership, community actions on your videos, and subscribers. The challenge is to use relevant and helpful annotations and not obstruct the actual content of your videos. Other best practices for annotations are:
– Avoid positioning them in the lower third of videos and/or along the very top of the frame.
– Don’t overwhelm your users. This renders the feel of your videos “spammy”.
– Set annotations to open a new window or to open in the same window when clicked as appropriate making sure they are adding maximum value and not taking viewers away from your videos prematurely or getting in the way of the viewing experience.
Your Channel Could Use Some Optimization Too
As of late, channels have started to appear on YouTube more often and in more varied placements. A well-organized and optimized channel page can make for a richer destination for both current and future subscribers. To optimize your channel:
– Optimize your channel name. Your channel name will appear across YouTube and it should therefore be short, memorable and concise.
– Optimize your channel description. It should draw a pretty accurate picture of what your channel is all about and include relevant keywords. You can also choose to include your upload schedule in the description.
– Optimize your channel icon. This should be a square and high-resolution image. Avoid text, which can be illegible at smaller resolutions.
– Optimize your channel art. This should be customized and visually compelling to reflect and best represent your channel’s unique personality.
– And finally, create organizational sections and playlists for your channel to help viewers understand the flow of your content, categorized by theme, genre and so on.
Think about Captioning Your Videos
Last but not least, YouTube is a global platform. To make your videos accessible to any viewer from anywhere in the world including hard-of-hearing, deaf and foreign language speakers, consider captioning your videos. Captions also have another advantage and that’s increasing the discoverability of your content by acting as additional metadata.
A Quick Checklist
In summary, when publishing content on YouTube, consider the following:
1. When uploading
– Write detailed and comprehensive metadata
– Create an eye-catching thumbnail
2. When publishing
– Annotate the video as appropriate to be maximally helpful
– Optimize your channel’s branding and metadata
– Caption your videos
Then of course, all you have to do after that is to engage with your viewers and build a genuine community around your channel highlighting what it stands for.