How to Optimise Your YouTube Channel for Search

It has only been a decade and a half since marketers have started thinking about optimising their content, so now it is possible to discover your content through search engines. We learned that publishing a high volume of content is not just enough. Instead, the content should be of high-quality and search engine optimised for higher traffic and engagement.

And the ‘content’ is no longer limited to the written word. Today, a comprehensive content strategy includes blogs and articles, ebooks, as well as pictures, videos or podcasts. When it comes to videos online, since its launch in 2005, YouTube has allowed its users to contribute video content and continues to be one of the most important video-sharing websites globally.

Importance of YouTube

YouTube is an online video streaming website that allows you to upload, tag and share videos with the world.

According to a survey conducted by Alexa’s global traffic rankings, YouTube is ranked as the second most visited website after Google. According to the State of Inbound 2018 report, over 45% of marketers are willing to spend more on YouTube than any other marketing platform. This Google-owned (now under Alphabet Inc.) video streaming site now counts 2 billion active monthly users globally as announced by YouTube CEO, Susan Wojcicki, during a marketing event in May 2019. According to recent reports by We Are Social and Hootsuite’s Digital 2019, YouTube is, undoubtedly, the second largest social network in terms of its monthly active users, after Facebook.

Since you are dealing with such a large user base, it is only common sense that you optimise the content for better reach. So, what are the essential steps to optimise your YouTube channel and videos for search?

  • Use a target keyword to create the video file name
    Make use of an SEO tool to identify the keywords you would like your video to focus on. After deciding on the target keyword, use it as the original video file name. Once uploaded, the YouTube algorithm crawls through your video file name and other codes associated with it. So, instead of naming your file ‘business_file_010_FINAL.mov’, name it using your target keyword (for example, ‘ten Christmas home decoration tips’).
  • Write smart descriptions
    Even though the character limit for YouTube video description is 1000 characters, it is not mandatory to use all of that space. If you are planning on using a lengthier description, remember, a user will only be able to see the first 100 characters of your entire text. The viewer has to click ‘show more’ to read the rest. Hence, it will be only a smart move to add CTAs and crucial links towards the start, where there is more visibility.
  • Use Keyword-optimised YouTube tags
    Even though the importance of YouTube tags is not as important as before, it can still help you with improving your ranking. So, make use of the tags to better explain the content and context of your video. However, using irrelevant tags aimed only at increasing viewership can get your channel penalised by YouTube.
  • Categorise your video
    Once the video is uploaded, you can categorise it under the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab. Categorising your video is a way to group your video with the content under a similar topic. Grouping your video in this manner on YouTube can help your content to windup in various playlists, thus increasing the visibility.
  • Use custom thumbnails for your video’s result link
    Your video thumbnail plays a vital role in signalling the viewers about the content. It is usually the first thing a user notices as they scroll through the YouTube results page. According to reports by The YouTube Creator Academy, 90% of the best performing YouTube videos use custom thumbnails to convey the key information about the video.

No matter how much you promote on YouTube, or any other platform for that matter, a successful channel starts with good content. Remember, optimising your YouTube videos only increases your chance of getting discovered.

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