YouTube Optimization: How to Make Your Video Stand Out in a Sea of Content
YouTube is the second largest search engine on the internet behind Google. If you are not utilizing this medium to share content about your brand, you are missing out on a massive marketing opportunity.
Video is an extremely rich medium that generates high user engagement. According to Hootsuite, 70% of marketers plan to use social videos in the next twelve months. Video makes up 60% of online content, and Google reserves space on the first page of results for video related to search queries.
The positives of the medium are endless. However, before you jump the gun on creating a new video, check out these optimization tips to make sure your hard work lands on the right eyes.
As with all social marketing efforts, content is king. Previously, YouTube ranked the validity and quality of a video based on the number of views. Now, the length of time a user watches a video is what primarily determines its rank. The more captivating and quality your content, the better it ranks.
Aim to make your content engaging, entertaining, informative, and shareable. Staying on top of trends and focusing on valuable content will get viewers to watch longer.
There are few practical things that will encourage longer views. To start, give a summary or thesis of your video in the first few minutes. People stay longer when they know exactly what they are about to watch. Longer videos always rank better than shorter ones, so aim to make every video at least five minutes long.
The highest ranked videos on Google are How-To videos, reviews, tutorials, fitness or sports related videos, and funny videos. You can help your video succeed by capitalizing on these already high-ranking content styles.
The title of your video has a big impact on SEO. Incorporating keywords into the title phrase will significantly increase its ranking.
Titles are max 100 characters, so be as descriptive and accurate as you can. Keywords should be at the very beginning of the phrase – the closer to the front, the better. Be as specific as possible and include niche keywords into your title.
For consistency and increased SEO, use the same keyword optimized phrase in the name of the video file itself. Be sure to separate each word in the file name with a hyphen
YouTube cannot always read and comprehend the audio and visual content in a video. Instead, the algorithms make sense of the video using its description.
Don’t make the description a company plug. Write unique, descriptive and keyword-rich content that explains what your video is about. It can be up to 980 words long, so take advantage of this space – it is there for a reason!
Include the keyword you are trying to rank for in the first 25 words, and include it 3-4 more times throughout the description. This is an essential place to rank for long tail keywords.
The description is also an excellent place to add URLs that link to other content you have produced. Always add a link to your website, specifically to relevant content such as a blog or another video. Add a call to action that encourages viewers to click-through. You should also include links to your social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. This will provide easy access for a viewer to look at your other content and networks.
Tags are what make your video discoverable on YouTube. To improve ranking, classify and associate your video with tags that are related to your target keywords. YouTube allows 500 characters in tags, and you should fill the space with anything that is relevant to the video. Don’t just describe the video with tags – describe the problem your video solves.
Don’t be afraid to create tags specific to your brand. Tagging your videos with that keyword will help promote them in the sidebar and view next card. Tags are the easiest way to categorize your videos. You should take full advantage of them!
Language and Closed Captioning
Adding closed captioning to your video is also a great way to increase optimization. Transcribing and uploading closed captions gives YouTube access to exactly what is in your video, providing information in multiple formats which can aid varying needs and preferences. YouTube also offers translating functions, which should be utilized if you are trying to reach a specific target audience.
The thumbnail provides a small preview image of your video. This is a great way to catch a browser’s attention and drive them to view your content.
Thumbnails should be bright, captivating and interesting. Try using bright backgrounds, contrast and outlines, text, and a logo or brand. Strong emotions and close-ups of people making eye contact can also catch a viewer’s eye.
Call to Action Card
Although viewer retention is the biggest factor in YouTube’s ranking system, user engagement comes in close second. The ranking algorithm considers a video’s comments, the number of subscriptions directly after watching, shares, favourites, and likes.
The best way to achieve this kind of engagement is to directly ask viewers to engage, but a call to action card can also be effective. For the last 10 or 20 seconds of the video, insert a card that has links to social media channels, other videos, and the subscription button through the overlay function.
Check out YouTuber Grace Helbig’s call to action card below as an example.