More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month, making it potentially a very powerful tool for businesses with the right strategy in place. But with over 100 hours of new video every minute, simply uploading a video without properly optimizing for search will pretty much guarantee it will be buried under a mountain of cat videos and video game walk-throughs.
Following these 5 YouTube video search optimization tips will help give your video a fighting chance of rising to the top.
1. Optimize Titles, Tags, and Description
Your title is one of the most important things to work on to help your video to show up in search and related video results. Make it catchy and try to include some keywords that people might use in a search.
Tags are the keywords you specify which most accurately describe the content of the video. They can be entered as single words or phrases. Think outside the box on this one, considering regional attributes, and possibly even the terms of competing products or services.
The description should be compelling and concise. Try to include any relevant keywords, as well as a link to a related website and other social media channels.
In all cases, think of search terms which would be used by a layman, not necessarily the industry terms with which only you are familiar, and remember to write 'for the eye' and avoid keyword stuffing.
2. Use Closed-Captioning
Titles, tags, and descriptions play an important role in how your video is indexed, since YouTube has no way of really understanding your video's content. That is, unless you provide transcriptions using closed-captioning.
Transcriptions can be uploaded in multiple languages, and can even be transcribed and translated automatically by YouTube - though with varying results. Closed captioning and subtitles also make your video accessible for the hearing impaired.
3. Don't Neglect the Thumbnail
Although thumbnails do not directly affect your ranking within the search results, they can have a dramatic effect on someone's decision to click on your video – so choose something interesting and relevant.
Close-ups tend to work better than wide shots, and 'action' shots better than static ones. Your thumbnails don't even have to necessarily be a frame from the video, provided you have successfully verified your Youtube channel using a phone number. Consider creating a custom thumbnail using text and a relevant but intriguing image. This would ideally be planned in the creative development process and considered during filming, in case a specific shot is desired.
5. Start With Great Content
Many of your views may come from within YouTube itself. YouTube is fundamentally a social network, so participating in the community by commenting on the videos of others might be a good way to increase your channel views.
YouTube also values quite highly what they refer to as 'watch time', something akin to a video's version of bounce rate. Users who stumble upon your video as a result of a misleading title, tag, or thumbnail and then immediately leave can therefore have a negative effect on your video and channel's ranking, so be sure to be relevant when following the tips above.
At the end of the day, creating great content is the most important thing, which means focusing on videos that are entertaining, educational, and engaging. The better your content is to begin with, the more likely it is to be shared.