YouTube SEO Tips & Tricks
As a publisher, there are a lot of different channels you can use to get the word out and reach your audience. Lots more than yet another blog post, that’s for sure. It’s more work, but I’ve become quite a fan of video and have a thriving YouTube video channel where I produce and share consumer electronics reviews every week to thousands of viewers and fans. You can have a quick peek: AskDaveTaylor on YouTube.
Most YouTubers will tell you that producing even a fantastic video is only half the work required to have good results on a popular Google-owned site that’s been the #2 most popular site on the entire Web for many years.
You also have to approach posting a video as a search engine optimization project too. Yup, YouTube SEO is a thing, and not just for Google search itself. In fact, YouTube SEO applies to everywhere your customers might be searching for your product, service or information. Including Facebook, Twitter, even Pinterest descriptions and Pinboard names.
YouTube SEO Descriptions & Features
When you upload a video, there’s quite a bit of information you can specify to help people find your latest product, and much of it revolves around the Info screen, as shown in figure 1.
If you don’t already know how to do effective keyword research, you’re a bit behind the ball here. The goal is both to find which words or phrases are used most commonly when someone’s searching for your product or service and to assess frequency of search versus number of results both.
For example, should I use “cellphone”, “cell phone”, “mobile phone” or “smartphone” when I write about cellular telephones? A bit of keyword research will reveal that the difference in how often these different words are searched is startling!
The most important part of SEO for your video is the title of the article, so it’s always smart to spend some time really thinking about what words and phrases are going to be most appealing to your potential audience.
Your goal is for them to click on the link and watch your video, and don’t be shy about exclamation marks or even all-caps for a critical word or two.
My most recent video upload has the title “Vizio SB3651 5.1 Soundbar with Chromecast & Bluetooth – REVIEWED!”, for example. Let’s break it down: “Vizio SB3651” is the official product name, but it’s unlikely people are going to search by product number, so “soundbar” is the essential keyword. It features 5.1 surround sound, so “5.1” is another possible way people might search for this product, but more important are “Chromecast” and “Bluetooth”, both unusual features with a soundbar. Finally, to get people excited, “REVIEWED!” gets capitalization and an exclamation mark to help drive attention.
Titles vs. descriptions on YouTube
The description is important, but remember that viewers won’t see it until they’ve made the decision to click on the video and watch it. That means that it’s great for findability but isn’t going to directly influence viewers. Still, worth knowing is that it can be really, really long, so it’s a great place to tuck in a long-winded description of your product, service, or video.
Here’s an inside trick too: If you write a domain as “ezoic.com” or even “www.ezoic.com” it won’t be something viewers can click on, but preface it with “https:” or “https:” and it is clickable! So why not make it easy on your viewers? I also suggest mixed-cap lettering if you have a longer domain, so while Ezoic might easily be written as https://www.Ezoic.com/ a more complex domain like my own could be https://www.AskDaveTaylor.com/ to make it a bit more readable too!
YouTube also has a keyword area and there’s no reason in the world not to jam as many keywords as you can think up in this area. Remember synonyms, misspellings and competitive product names, as appropriate.
(Careful, though, company and product names can be trademarked and it’s murky legal water if you misuse a trademarked name in a manner the company finds inappropriate.)
The importance of your YouTube thumbnail
The last piece of the YouTube SEO world is one that’s uniquely YouTube: the thumbnail. By default, YouTube grabs three frames from any uploaded video and displays them as options for the thumbnail. If one of those works and looks good, run with it. But if it doesn’t, you can upload your own custom thumbnail — after enabling this feature, see YouTube’s help system for details — and help people make the decision to click on and watch your video.
Finally, be a good citizen and on the last page (see figure 2) specify the location of your shoot, when you recorded your video, any special licensing constraints, and whether it’s a paid or sponsored video.
Got it all? Great! Now you’re ready to start promoting your newly published video on your social channels because that’s the other another half of the job…
Dave Taylor has been involved with the Internet since it was known as the ARPAnet and has decades of experience as an independent online publisher. Dave owns multiple online businesses and websites. You can check out his site AskDaveTaylor.com or find him on social media as @DaveTaylor to learn more about how he sees emerging technology.