Video is one of the most important ways to reach your customers. YouTube has found that mobile video use is rising 100% per year, and 90% of shoppers surveyed say videos about products are useful to their decision-making process. Video also boosts you in Google’s search rankings, as it’s considered evidence of more in-depth, quality content.
But simply posting a video and letting it languish isn’t going to net you the views you’re looking for. There are proactive steps you can take to make sure your video connects with people who need it. Let’s do a rundown of our YouTube video optimization checklist.
A YouTube video’s title will also be the blue heading on your entry in Google’s search results—and the phrase on your site’s tab in a web browser. Naturally, you’re going to want your title to grab attention and accurately represent the content. YouTube gives you a generous number of characters for your title, but keep in mind that only the first 50 or so will be visible in search results on Google or YouTube. That’s why you’ll want to keep one or two important keywords close to the beginning. If you have a longer title, make sure that the first 50 characters clearly express what you need viewers to know.
Tags are keywords that you add to your video to make it easier for search engines to find you. When choosing tags, it’s easy to start throwing spaghetti at the wall, but a few specific choices on your part will seriously pay off. Include subject keywords, of course, both those that are specific to this video and a few that are a bit more general, though still genuinely related to the topic. Also include keywords that identify your brand, like your business name, your name, and the name of your channel. Just as importantly, keep some of these tags consistent from one video to another. This will make your other videos more likely to show up in the “suggested videos” sidebar. Viewers will arrive to view one video, then stay for the others.
Your video description is the biggest chunk of text you give Google to crawl. Lead off with a link back to your site. Don’t feel obligated to link to your main landing page. If you’ve got a page that’s more related to your video topic, the connection between the two will be more organic. Then write an actual description of your video. It doesn’t need to be agonizingly long, but if you can keep it above 200 words, it will give Google the information it craves for ranking purposes. In your description, hit your keywords again. Another strategy that will boost you in the rankings is to include several outbound links at the end. These might lead to other videos or good information on another site. Make sure they support or expand on the content of the video.
There’s obvious overlap between tags and keywords, so we’ve already discussed them a bit. But what if you’re completely unsure how to choose them? Keep in mind that you know your product and brand. Think about words that you consistently use to identify your company and its key resources, and the questions you’re asked the most. Look at the inbound search terms for your site. Think about why you thought this video would be helpful to potential customers in the first place. If you’re still feeling stumped or unsure, both YouTube and Google have keyword tools that will offer you options. This is also a great time to reach out to your marketing partners for suggestions.
Remember what we said about suggested videos earlier? When you build a playlist, you’re creating your own suggested video sidebar. It’s an opportunity to craft user experience, and to be useful by always having the next thing viewers are looking for. You can also use playlist titles to reverse engineer video ideas. What’s a topic your viewers might want to know more about? Brainstorm it, then break it down into a series of videos that will keep ’em coming back for more. Use a playlist to list them in the right order so they’re easy to navigate.
Here’s one more opportunity to include those search terms. While this wasn’t always the case, YouTube now considers the relevance of your filename in its rankings. Be descriptive, and use hyphens between words to make them easy to distinguish from one another.
While it’s important to master the rankings game, you also need to get out there and promote your videos! After all, you’ve put in a chunk of time making and optimizing them. Cultivate your viewership by talking up your latest offering on social media channels and your blog.
While these things may sound a bit intimidating at first, they’re less time consuming than making the video in the first place, and they pay off. Video can increase conversion rates by as much as 80%, so make sure yours are fully optimized!