Exercise Your Right to Optimize Your YouTube Videos


Written by on Friday, April 27, 2012

I can not emphasize enough the importance of optimized YouTube content. Video alone doesn’t give anything valuable to YouTube and other search engines (YouTube basically is a search engine of sorts) because they are blind to the content itself. YouTube isn’t able to view video and understand the context of it the same way we can. Without descriptions, keywords or categories video is useless. Well, most of the time anyway as virality can change the game and make even the most poorly optimized video to stand out. These things do happen but they are more of an exception rather than the rule. For this blindness issue alone optimizing YouTube video content is crucial.

When optimizing content you must make it relevant to the video, think about what’s valuable in it, what do you want to put forward and what’s essential. Also don’t forget to put yourself into the position of the user. Think about how you want to be found. Think about the phrases and keywords the user might use to find, not only you, but your competitors. And don’t forget to think about keywords and phrases that convey the knowledge you have about the subject the user is interested on and searching for. Also don’t constrain yourself by only thinking of how to describe the video or your brand. Think outside of the box and stand out. Your videos are an answer to the user’s questions and you just have to figure out what they are asking and how.

As with any content make it readable and easily conceived. The less effort the user has to make to understand your title or descriptions the better. Make the content easily scanned so the user doesn’t even need to read every word in your title or description to get the gist of it. Use keywords you’ve picked from the video and use them moderately in your title or description.

Actually, the order of how to optimize is something that I’ve been pondering on quite a lot. What works for me best is to come up with the keywords first and then the title and content itself. Content creation is just so much easier for me when I have an understanding about the underlying themes.

Title

The most important thing in your video (besides your video duh) is the title. It’s the very first thing the user sees in YouTube so make it matter. The title should be compact and to the point. The most important content and words should be at first as in some places in YouTube, for example the related videos section, the visible length of the title is shorter than what the actual limit is and long titles will get cut off awkwardly in mid sentence.

“Top 10 Holiday Destinations” is a compact and to the point title although somewhat generic and dull. Good thing about the title is that it’s entirely visible in places where the width is restricted.

“Top 10 Awesome Sauce Holiday Destinations” will still get the message across even though the word ‘Destinations’ will get cut off. If you lengthen that even further the context of it will get lost when the word ‘Holiday’ gets cut off. But lets not fall in despair! With keywords we are able to help YouTube to put our holiday video in the right place so even if it said “Top TEN of the Most Awesome Saucest Holiday Destinations” and therefor the title would be cut off just after the word ‘Saucest’ we would still have some kind of context when being surrounded with other holiday videos. This whole problem of title being prematurely butchered is a non issue in most places in the YouTube land but nonetheless, suggestions and related videos sections are important parts of your content getting visibility so keep that in mind when plotting your title.

Description

The first two lines of your description matters. They are essentially an excerpt of your video and this small snippet is, besides the title, the only way to describe and sell your video to the users. Only these few lines of text are displayed on default even if you have paragraph after paragraph of content in the description. So keep them relevant and interesting. Leave all the secondary content below the so called fold. But don’t dismiss the secondary content as being redundant. It’s a good practice to put additional information for the actual viewers of the video in there. Put disclaimers in there, add more information about the subject at hand, expand it, add links to other videos of the current subject, share your source materials, do whatever you need and want to do. But don’t forget to make it obvious for the users that you have more information below the fold. Put an annotation on your video or just tell them about it in it. Put the space on the description box in good use. But whatever you do, don’t leave it empty. That’s just bad.

Keywords/Tags

Don’t forget these. These are essential for your video to become visible. Besides title and description, keywords help both the search engines and users to find and understand your video. Make them relevant to your video, to yourself, to your brand. Think about the underlying themes of the video, categorize it and put a stamp on it. Think who might be interested about the information you offer and categorize them and use that as a keyword. Think about the problem you might be solving and paraphrase it. Categorize, classify, pigeonhole, define! Cut that sucker down to bits and put a stamp each piece with a keyword.

Uploading a video to YouTube isn’t enough nowadays. The competition is tough and good content itself doesn’t matter. With good optimization though you are able to get an upper hand to other videos. Get your video on top of the search results, on the first roll of related videos. Make your already great content look interesting to users, make it catching. Make it smile with it’s eyes.

About the author

Satu is a YouTube certified Producer who besides producing videos looks after publishing and distribution at online video agency KLOK. She has a web development background, which has given her an edge at research and development. She excels at creative problem solving and figuring out solutions where there seems to be none. She works at developing audiences, acquiring media, researching different services and platforms as well as data analysis. She spends way too much time on YouTube.