Video Didn’t Kill the YouTube Star: How to Optimize YouTube Videos

YouTube, the site we all deem ubiquitous for videos of funny cats and cute babies, is no longer just that. The second largest search engine in the world has become a haven for businesses and brands looking to stay current in the market. Some innovative entrepreneurs have even made it their business. YouTube has become a moneymaking machine for millions of creators, in over 30 countries worldwide. In fact, YouTube claims that thousands of those channels are making six figures a year!

So, what’s the key to a highly trafficked YouTube video? Optimization. Below are a few simple steps to optimize your YouTube video’s potential. Don’t wait up!

Before Creation

  1. Kill With Content. Funny cats, cute babies, a bunch of puppies trying to get out of a cardboard box; unless you can directly relate these adorable images to your brand, stick with content that you know works. Consider Content Marketing 101: Keep it relevant and useful!
  2. Only Time Will Tell. Research shows you have upwards of 15 seconds to sway a viewer to actually watch the video in its entirety. Although, in today’s world of 6 second Vines, perhaps even less time. Give the viewer your best stuff at the very beginning. Captivate them with curiosity! If that doesn’t prove the importance of time, maybe this will: YouTube no longer ranks videos on number of views! This is due to the recent trend in producers buying fake views to get themselves on the front page. Now, videos are rated on “watch time”. The longer a viewer watches, the better effect it will have on your channel.
  3. Size Up the Competition. Your competition is most likely already on YouTube. Seek them out, see what they offer, and then one-up them!

Before Posting

  1. Keyword-Centric. YouTube is all about the keywords (and they know it)! They even offer a Keyword Suggestion Tool, which provides you with the most searched term(s) related to your desired keyword. For instance, when you use the Suggestion Tool to search for “motorcycles,” the results show that the terms “motorcycle crash” and “motorcycle stunts” rank as the top keywords in that field.  Take advantage of the Keyword Suggestion Tool, or even Google Trends, to determine the best title for your video. It’s a no-brainer way to get you to the top of search results.
  2. The text you choose is not only an important factor in your title, but also in your video description and tags. The first two lines of your video description, or the first 99 characters, will be displayed on both Google and YouTube search results. Fill these lines with important keywords in a functional manner. Make your video tags specific by including all the relevant information possible (phrases are more desirable than single words). What are the different ways you think users will search for your video? Therein lie your tags!
  3. The closed captioning text may be obstructive while you’re watching your favorite soap opera reruns, but transcribing closed captioning files for your video can boost optimization efforts.

Last Minute Checklist. 

  • Make sure the video privacy options are set to public.
  • Enable the video rating option, as these have a direct impact on rankings.
  • Embedding and syndication allow for easy share ability. Enable these!

After Posting

  1. Get the Word Out. YouTube ranks video popularity not only by on-page optimization, but also off-page signals, social shares, and user-interactions. Ramp up those social shares by broadcasting the video across all of your social channels.  Encourage followers and friends to share the video with their friends and followers. Better yet, formulate a contest around the video! Have an email blast you plan on sending out soon? Embed the worthy video!
  2. Monitor Your Monitor. Review and oversee the success (hopefully!) of your video with YouTube Analytics’ up-to-date metrics and reports.  The data will showcase a ton of metrics including view numbers, traffic sources, and the most interesting, an interactive map showing where your video is being viewed throughout the world.  Seeing a lot of international traffic? It may be time to embrace a worldwide social media strategy.

Video did kill the radio star, but don’t kill your YouTube videos by not optimizing them. Ready? Set, shoot!


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