Back in 2013, optimising and ranking a YouTube video was as easy as clicking upload and waiting a couple of hours.
In 2020, with over 300 hours of video content uploaded every minute, it’s safe to say content creators face a slightly more challenging landscape.
Don’t worry, though – we’ve got your back. In this post, we’re going to give you practical, actionable information you can use right now to optimise your YouTube videos for search in 2020. Read on to find out more.
6 Top Tips for Optimising Your YouTube Videos
Implement these 6 steps and you’ll be well on your way to YouTube optimisation success.
1) Include your keyword in your file name
Myth: all YouTube optimisation takes place on-platform.
Whether the majority of content creators know it or not, the truth is that the optimisation work starts before you hit “upload”. If you want to make the most of your video’s ranking potential (and we’re sure you do), you need to include your target keyword in the file name.
For example, if you’re trying to rank a funny cat video, title your file “funny-cat”, followed by the file type you’re using, such as mp4.
2) Focus on your video title
Aside from the thumbnail, this is the first thing searchers will see – and one of the key elements that YouTube’s algorithm takes into account when deciding where to place your content in search results.
As a result, it’s crucial that you include your primary keyword and relevant search terms within your video title
Remember not to stuff your keyword into the title – your title needs to attract the eyes of potential viewers, not just Google’s robots. For this reason, make sure your YouTube video title is engaging and drives the viewer to click.
3) Decide on a video category
Tell YouTube what your video relates to. After uploading, head over to “Advanced Settings” and you’ll find the categories section.
If you want to expand your horizons by increasing your audience reach, categorising your videos is one of the key ways to do it. When done right, it will help you to land those coveted spots in YouTube playlists, which will generate exponential exposure.
This process can be as easy or as complicated as you want it to be but if you want to get the best possible results, it’s well worth spending the time to carefully select the categories that best define your video content.
4) Get busy with video tags
YouTube video tags provide 2 primary functions:
a) They tell viewers what your video is about, so they know they’re in the right place.
b) They tell YouTube what your video is about, so it puts your video in the right place.
Like with categories, tags help YouTube’s algorithm to group your video with related content by gaining an understanding of the context it fits into.
Be careful not to spam the tags, though – if Google catches you using irrelevant tags, you can end up getting penalised, and nobody wants that (apart from your competitors).
5) Craft a compelling description
First things first- although you may have a 1000-character limit and are keen to create a Shakespeare-worthy description, remember this before you dive in with ink and quill – people aren’t on YouTube to read.
YouTube knows this, and it’s why it truncates anything after the first 100 characters with a “show more” tab. With this in mind, if you want to create a longer description, make sure that calls-to-action and important links are at the top.
Some creators choose to add transcripts in the description, but there isn’t much evidence to suggest this makes a tangible difference, so it’s up to you whether you want to do this.
6) Don’t forget the subtitles
Accents, language barriers, having crunchy food for lunch – these are all situations where subtitles come in handy. If you neglect them, you risk people bouncing from your page early on and you cost yourself that precious on-page engagement.
On top of this, adding subtitles is a huge win for SEO. When you add a full plain-text rundown of your video’s content, it becomes crawlable by search engines, increasing your chances of winning a highly contested spot in Google search engine results pages as well as YouTube.
To upload subtitles, you’ll need to create an SRT file, which can be done using most text editor applications (Word, Text, Notes). This can be a little time-consuming if you’re new to it, though, so for those happy to skip a few steps in favour saving time, SRT files can be created directly within YouTube.
Remember the Bigger Picture
Once you’ve implemented these steps, you’ll be well on your way to optimising your YouTube video for search. Remember, though - there’s much more to YouTube optimisation than tweaks to your videos.
To get the most out of your content, make sure you’re completely optimised by working through our Channel Optimisation Checklist.