I decided to couple his notes with my own best practices to develop the ultimate YouTube Optimization guide. But first, a little overview of the platform:
YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine, and the third most visited website on the Internet. The YouTube algorithm is based on keywords, views, and finished videos; therefore, it is important to have optimized, keyword-rich descriptions that will increase your videos’ placement in channels, playlists, and algorithmically chosen video suggestions.
Videos that work for television do not always work for YouTube, as the two mediums have very different purposes. The goal of television advertisements is to sell products, while the goal of YouTube videos is to educate the consumer, and provide them with useful, relevant information. People do not generally visit YouTube with purchase intent.
In addition, on YouTube, consumers share videos that they feel communicate their own identity, and it is not common for users to sell to their personal friends, but rather help their personal friends. Hence, every video should be valuable to the customer, and should be content that they think will also be useful to their own networks. Therefore, it is recommended that all videos be focused on educating consumers about tips, ideas, hacks, or other useful information that pertains to your industry and product.
— Use the Google Keyword Planner tool and SEO keyword research to determine high-traffic organic keywords within your products industry
- Take your selected keywords and do a YouTube search. Any search with less than 50,000 results will be relatively easy to optimize for. Anything above 50,000 will be more difficult.
— Include relevant and strategic keywords toward the beginning of the video title
— Make the title as concise as possible
— The title should have a cohesive relationship with the thumbnail, and they should reflect each other
— Continually update video titles as keyword trends change over time
— Video file names should include both branded and non-branded target keywords, with words separated by dashes
- Example: burts-bee-chapstick-application-tips.avi
— Begin the description with a URL directing to the website
— Include the base keyword in the first and last sentence of the description
— The first three sentences should be an accurate and concise summary of the video
— Include time codes to specific chapters or sections of long-form video, if relevant
— Include other important links that may be useful to the user, such as social media profile links, related videos, playlists, and subscriber links
— Provide calls to action at the end of video descriptions
— Upload full transcripts of each video
- Double check any automated transcripts- these services are notorious for mistakes
— Include video-specific as well as more general industry-specific tags
— Do not overuse tags; make sure all tags are relevant and help to thoroughly describe the video
— Include strategic keywords in both title and description
— Consistently update tags as new trends emerge
— All thumbnails should be high-resolution
- 640px x 360px
— Use good composition and framing practices
— Accurately represent content
— Provide close-ups on faces (or products if there are no faces in the video)
— Ensure that they look good for both small and large thumbnail formats
Annotations are clickable text overlays on YouTube videos. They may be used to increase engagement, provide background information, and increase conversions. Annotations should be considered in pre-production, and should drive users to continue to watch your videos on YouTube, or to drive them to your owned channels.
— Use annotations to provide additional information on specific tips or tricks shown in the video
— Ask users to subscribe to newsletters and content
— Provide links to additional owned resources
— Link to other playlists, channels, or shorter and longer versions of videos
— Link to your social media platforms
— Encourage users to provide feedback and engage with the videos
— Do not overuse annotations; use only one at a time, and never more than 3 per minute
— YouTube algorithms place strong algorithmic ranking weight on videos played to completion, so it is recommended that links directing away from YouTube only be placed at a video’s end