YouTube SEO: How to Optimize Videos for YouTube Search
Don't miss out on this powerful branding and engagement opportunity.
As a business, you could be creating the most helpful, visually stunning YouTube videos imaginable, but if your channel fails to communicate that value upfront through thoughtful branding, you’ll struggle to build an audience for those amazing videos.
That’s where channel art — like YouTube thumbnails and banner images — and videos descriptions come into play. These channel elements provide you with visual real estate and SEO necessities to show off your brand and encourage watchers to consume your content over your competition.
According to YouTube, 90% of the best-performing videos have custom thumbnails. And when it comes to channel banners, the best brands are making good use out of them. We’ve also included a YouTube channel growth strategy template to help you gain more subscribers.
Insert your keyword naturally in the video title.
When we search for videos, one of the first things that our eyes are drawn to is the title. That’s often what determines whether or not the viewer will click to watch your video, so the title should not only be compelling, but also clear and concise.
Although your keyword plays a big part in your video title, it also helps if the title closely matches what the viewer is searching for. Research conducted by Backlinko found that videos with an exact keyword match in the title have only a slight advantage over those that don’t. Here’s a linear representation of those findings:
Optimize your video description.
First things first: According to Google, the official character limit for YouTube video descriptions is 1,000 characters. And while it’s okay to use all of that space, remember that your viewer most likely came here to watch a video, not to read an essay.
If you do choose to write a longer description, keep in mind that YouTube only displays the first two or three lines of text — that amounts to about 100 characters. After that point, viewers have to click “show more” to see the full description. That’s why we suggest front-loading the description with the most important information, like CTAs or crucial links.
As for optimizing the video itself, it doesn’t hurt to add a transcript of the video, especially for those who have to watch it without volume. That said, Backlinko’s research also found no correlation between descriptions that were optimized for a certain keyword and the rankings for that term.
YouTube SEO Tips.
- Rename your video file using a target keyword.
- Insert your keyword naturally in the video title.
- Optimize your video description.
- Tag your video with popular keywords that relate to your topic.
- Categorize your video.
- Upload a custom thumbnail image for your video’s result link.
- Use an SRT file to add subtitles & closed captions.
- Add Cards and End Screens to increase your YouTube channel’s viewership.
YouTube SEO Tools
- Ahrefs Keyword Explorer
- HubSpot Content Strategy
- VidIQ Vision