How to optimise videos for YouTube search

Optimising videos for YouTube shouldn’t be a long and laborious process. Here’s our introduction on how to optimise videos for YouTube search.

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When you think of content optimisation, the first thing that usually comes to mind is optimising for search engines, more specifically, optimising for Google search. Moving away from Google the next layer most marketers will consider are the likes of Bing and Yahoo, however, many will overlook the social search engines such as YouTube.

The sheer size of YouTube means if you aren’t making the most of it, you’re likely missing out and if you are using YouTube but not optimising content appropriately, you’re probably still missing out. As of July 2021, YouTube is currently the second most popular social network in the world with over 2.2 billion active monthly users. In addition to that, it’s the second most visited website worldwide with over 22 billion monthly visits, and still optimising for the platform can be overlooked.

So, what do you need to consider when optimising for YouTube search?

Keyword research

Like any SEO process, YouTube content creation, and optimisation, starts with the all-important keyword research. You want to understand what your audience is searching for and the search terms they are using to find that information. Unfortunately, YouTube is blessed with its own keyword research tool like Google Keyword Planner, however, there are a number of tools that will provide you with the same information.

One of the best places to start is within YouTube itself and the humble search bar. YouTube’s autocomplete feature can be a really powerful tool for keyword research as it will suggest other popular keywords, based on your initial search.

This will provide you with a selection of the most popular search terms that people are using to find videos on a certain topic. Not only will this help to create new content ideas, but it’s an ideal place to start with optimising your videos.

Another great tool to use is keyword.io as it has built upon YouTube’s autocomplete feature to provide related YouTube specific keywords. Whereas in the YouTube search bar you have to enter hundreds of different search terms, this tool will generate a huge list based on variations of your first search.

This is the tool that we use for all of our keyword research!

There are tons of different tools you can use to find the perfect keywords for YouTube optimisation such as Google Trends, these are just a good place to start.

YouTube video optimisation

Now that you know what keywords you want to use, it’s time to start optimising your videos. When it comes to optimising a YouTube video it’s important to cover all of the key aspects, such as:

  • Video title – a catchy, relevant, and descriptive title that includes your keywords is crucial for enticing viewers to click on it..
  • Video description – With up to 5,000 characters, you’ve got plenty of space to express yourself and what your video covers. It’s always recommended that you get your key message, and keywords, as close to the start as natural, as the rest of the description will be hidden below ‘read more’ text. In most cases, a few hundred words is more than enough.
  • Tags – A tag is a quick way to add a keyword to your video in order to help grow your audience on YouTube. Tags should precisely describe the topic of your video and content while including your target keywords if relevant.
  • Video thumbnail – Thumbnails can only be uploaded when you have a verified YouTube account, however they can be crucial when it comes to getting users to click on your video. A good thumbnail will help your video to stand out from other videos and entice more viewers.

It’s not exactly groundbreaking stuff, but making sure you get the basics right is absolutely essential for success. The video title, description, and tags will help impact when and where your video appears in search, while the thumbnail is crucial for attracting those sweet, sweet views.

Treat YouTube in the same way as Google

Ultimately, there is very little difference between how you optimise a video for YouTube and how you would optimise a piece of content for Google search. Find your keywords and naturally use them to describe the video in the most accurate and enticing way possible. Once you have optimised your videos appropriately, there are a number of different ways that you can increase the reach of your content, but that’s something we will cover in a future blog.

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