YouTube Optimisation & You
YouTube Optimisation is where it’s at. While the war continues to be fought for the valuable resources of Google’s front page, many enlightened souls are turning to YouTube to promote, sell or entertain through online video. Getting your video on YouTube is the easy part, it’s just being found that’s tricky, and with over 72 hours of content being uploaded every minute, that’s no big surprise.
As part of our Online Video Marketing series, we’ve compiled this list of the 6 most important areas to focus on in your YouTube optimisation efforts. What’s more, this advice is to be implemented before you even hit that big shiny button that sends your video out in to the wild. So, let the countdown begin!
1. Keyword Research
At the core, optimising your YouTube video is very similar to optimising your website for Google search. Your keywords are the most important factor in being found, and of course, being found for relevant searches. As with any optimisation strategy, do a little keyword research beforehand. Given you’re optimising for YouTube I would suggest using YouTube’s own Keyword Tool, however in practice it rarely delivers any significant or meaningful data, therefore stick with Google’s, or your own favourite platform.
2. The Raw File
While rarely touted as being a deciding factor in YouTube search, for the time it takes there is absolutely no harm in making sure your raw file is titled with your chosen keywords. YouTube quite clearly shows that the title is logged and recorded in your Info & Settings section of your video, so at the very least it’s just one other opportunity to use your keywords.
3. The Art of the Title
A damn good rule of any SEO is to get your keywords up front, and this remains the case when compiling your video title. However, crafting your title requires a delicate balancing act between YouTube optimisation (using your keywords) and creating a compelling, click-worthy hook. In my experience just a simple amendment to the start usually does the trick in reaching this compromise, “How to optimise your YouTube video” or “The secret of YouTube Optimisation” are two good examples over simply “YouTube Optimisation”.
Furthermore, If you’re a company trying to sell a product or service, don’t just name the video “Product X”, try and get in the head of the visitor. “How to train your Dragon using Product X” for example (I wonder what film I just watched?). If you want to include your company name, then you may do so, but put it at the end of the title.
4. Writing (descriptively) for the spiders
Now one of the major rules in regular SEO is to write for the visitor, not the search spider. In the case of YouTube this rule becomes a little more ambiguous as the vast majority of visitors to your video are here to watch, not to read. The description area for your newly uploaded video is a vast blank canvas that allows you to include information on the production of the video, credits, social media links and further calls to action. However, very few people choose to read the description, and certainly not all of it. With this in mind it’s always a good idea to compile a detailed description of your video content and subject, at least 100 words long and with a liberal sprinkling of your chosen keywords.
While you may be tempted, it’s still a terrible idea to keyword stuff, YouTube won’t be happy and it makes your video look unprofessional to those who do choose to read further.
5. Tags, tags, tags…
The tags section of your video encourages you to include all your focused keywords and of course a few alternatives, as long as they are relevant. YouTube has supplied a generous tag limit, so be sure to include as many as you can, at least 12, for each video. To strengthen your YouTube optimisation strategy, always have a selection of consistent keywords that are relevant to your channel as a whole and use them for every video. However, append these consistent tags with specific tags for individual videos.
Lastly, remember you can amend these tags whenever you want, so if the subject of your video becomes newsworthy for any reason then you can add relevant tags to take advantage of any fresh search traffic around the topic.
Closed-captioning is so rarely mentioned when it comes to YouTube optimisation, perhaps because of the work involved but maybe, just because it slips people’s minds. YouTube’s closed-captioning system is a way for YouTube to fully understand the content of your video (and make it accessible to the hard of hearing) by transcribing any video speech in to subtitles. While YouTube’s automatic transcribing tends to make a dog’s dinner of the process, it’s always a good idea to go to the Captions settings yourself and amend them correctly.
What this gives you is a massive chunk of extra metadata and keyword opportunities, providing they were included in your video script in the first place. Furthermore, if you have an international product, service or topic, you can translate your captions in to a variety of other languages to take advantage of potential international search traffic.
Hopefully that will now give you the knowledge to properly optimise your video before you even publish it. Be aware that just like regular SEO, this isn’t magic, and requires great content and a fervent audience to help your video elbow its way through the ranks. This information will at least elevate your video above a massive proportion of the competition and give you a head start in ranking on YouTube.
Any questions or feedback would be greatly appreciated below in the comments section.