7 Ways to Optimize YouTube for Better SEO Performance

What separates YouTube from the pack of social media sites is its focus on long-form video content that can be referenced and reused for years to come. But when there are tens of billions of videos for YouTube viewers to choose from, how are we supposed to get noticed by our audience? 

Let’s dive into a few ways to construct and maintain your channel, ultimately providing a lot of value to your business. Below are a few search engine optimization (SEO) tips and general YouTube best practices to help your channel thrive.

Optimize Your YouTube Channel

Before producing tons of awesome video content for your clients and customers, make sure that your YouTube channel is fully optimized for SEO.

  1. About Page: Your channel’s About page is your opportunity to describe your business, your offerings, and places that viewers can connect with your team.
  • Start with a short description of your business and make sure that it’s filled with highly relevant keywords. Keep in mind that channels show up in YouTube searches the same way that videos do, so SEO tactics like this will make a big difference.
  • Next, make sure to include a link to your website as well as any other social media accounts that your business is active on. Giving viewers quick access is a great way to drive traffic and conversions off of YouTube.
  1. Playlists: When you start accumulating a variety of videos on your channel, it’s worthwhile to sort them into playlists. A playlist will autoplay one video after another, allowing viewers to see other videos similar to what originally sparked their interests.
  2. Customize: It’s also worth mentioning that the videos offered, design, colors, and user friendliness of your channel page can have a huge impact on the user experience. 
    • Try updating your header banner image, profile image, video watermark, and page style to reflect your brand’s identity.
    • Set a custom URL for your channel so that it’s easily recognizable. This will only be possible after your channel has been live for 30 days and you have your first 100 subscribers under your belt. 
    • Set a channel trailer for people who have subscribed to your channel, and a different one for those who have not.
    • Arrange featured sections playlists on the channel homepage in such a way that viewers see most recent videos and favorite videos near the top, and topical channels afterward. Leading with topical channels — which may not be updated as frequently or have as popular videos in them — can make it look like your content is outdated or less valuable than it actually is.

Optimize Your YouTube Videos

After your YouTube channel has been fully optimized for SEO, it’s important to stay active by monitoring each video you post. Videos can be optimized for SEO just as much as your channel is, if not more. Each video will have opportunities via its titles, descriptions, and the content of the video itself.

  1. Video Titles: When labeling a new video, pay attention to the title length, keywords, and conveyed message. 
  • Try to make your video titles as concise as you can without compromising the main message. Long and complex video titles can be a turnoff to new viewers trying to explore your brand. They can also be truncated in search results outside of YouTube, which means that you may end up not getting your main point across.
  • It’s also important to to include at least one keyword in the title relevant to your brand or the content of the video. Research words and phrases that potential viewers may search before clicking a video like yours.
  • When settling on a title, you will also have the opportunity to fill in a few hashtags. Including hashtags with your video will attract viewers searching for related content. Hashtags on YouTube function similarly to hashtags on other platforms, and are a great way to reel in new viewers.
  1. Video Tags: Tags are short keywords and phrases that people might use to describe the video. 
    • Use the keywords from your title, and other relevant phrases.
    • Tags do not appear on the page, so use them to target alternate spellings and other things you might not want to show up in the textual content on the page.
  2. Video Descriptions: YouTube video descriptions allow you to add a robust amount of detail to your content before anyone even pushes play.
  • When creating your description, it’s important to start with an overview of your video so that your audience gets a taste of what they’re about to watch.
  • It’s also recommended that you try to put at least one link in the description, above the fold (visible before clicking the “See More” button). Viewers will be much more likely to visit your website if you drop a direct link right in front of them.
  • Another way to buff up your description is to add one or more call-to-actions. Try encouraging viewers to “visit our website,” “learn more,” or “shop online.”
  • Additionally, even though we’ve already linked to your social media accounts in your profile, it’s a good idea to do it again in each video description. Keep in mind that not every viewer will be exploring your profile after watching a video, so a link in each video’s description will go a long way.
  1. Video Content: In addition to title and description optimization, there are changes you can make to the video itself to improve it’s YouTube search rankings.
  • When uploading your video, make sure to include a category. YouTube includes these categories to help viewers find similar videos to what they’ve already seen, so this can help you be found by new viewers.
  • Furthermore, when uploading your video, set up the thumbnail with images that will capture a user’s attention. When it comes to a visual platform like YouTube, it’s no surprise that first impressions matter.
  • In addition to these suggestions, also try to end your videos with a call to action and an embedded link to a page of your website or another location to serve as a call to action. Driving consumers to your website will be the best way to convert on the content they’ve just viewed, so this is an important step to drive more revenue or leads.

Keeping in mind that YouTube is a living, breathing social media platform with millions of daily users, the most important takeaway is that it’s best to stay active with your channel. Your business will be far more likely to succeed on YouTube by uploading weekly or monthly video content. Optimize those videos for SEO for the best chance to increase your channel’s viewership over time.

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