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How To Optimize Your YouTube Video and Channel

We’ve continued to work on our optimization guide for our clients. While we audit and provide our clients with what’s wrong and why it’s wrong, it’s imperative that we also provide guidance on how to correct the issues.

When we audit our clients, we’re always surprised at the minimal effort put into enhancing their YouTube presence and the associated information with the videos they upload. Most just upload the video, set the title, and walk away. YouTube is the second largest search engine behind Google and also compliments Google Search Engine Result Pages. Optimizing your video will ensure each of your videos is found in relevant searches.

Customize Your YouTube Channel

First, be sure you navigate to Customization in YouTube Studio and take advantage of all of the features to customize your channel.

  • Layout – Customize your channel trailer and your featured video for returning subscribers. Be sure to add featured sections – if you have different types of videos, here’s a great place to add single playlists with your latest video on each.
  • Branding – Add a picture for your channel, typically your logo, formatted for a round image display. Add a banner image that’s at least 2048 x 1152 pixels but pay close attention to how the image is displayed on each output. YouTube lets you preview each. Also, add a video watermark throughout the videos for brand awareness. Keep in mind that you don’t put content on each video that may be hidden behind your watermark.
  • Basic Info – Provide a great description of your channel that entices visitors to view and subscribe to your channel. Once you get 100 subscribers and your channel has been around for 30 days, customize your URL with a nickname for your channel’s path rather than the unique key that YouTube provides. And most importantly, add links to your basic info that push people back to your site or other social channels.

Before You Publish

A few tips on your video’s production. Outside of the actual recording and editing of the video, don’t ignore these important video elements before you publish:

  • Audio – Did you know more people will leave a video for audio issues than video quality? Be sure to record your video with great audio equipment to capture the sound without echoes, reverb, and background noise.
  • Intro – A strong intro should set the tone for why people should continue watching your video. Too many viewers watch for a few seconds and walk away. Introduce your brand and tell people what they’re going to learn if they stick around.
  • Outro – A strong outro with a call-to-action and a destination is critical to getting your viewer to take the next step. I’d highly encourage a destination URL, or even an email address and phone number, in the final seconds of your video. Be sure the URL in the video matches the URL we describe in the steps below.

YouTube Video Optimization

Here’s a breakdown of what we look for when reviewing a client’s YouTube videos:

youtube optimization
  1. Video Title – Your video channel should provide a keyword-rich title. By far, how you title your video is the most important factor. YouTube uses your video title for both the heading on the page and the title of it. Utilize keywords first, then your company information:
How to Optimize Your YouTube Video | Martech
  1. Details – Once you upload your video, you’ll see that there are many, many more options for detailing the information on your video. If you are attracting a local audience, you can actually add a location to your video. Fill in every detail you can, it all helps to ensure your video is indexed properly and found! Be sure to organize your videos into playlists as well.
  2. Thumbnail – Once you verify your YouTube Channel by phone number, you’re able to customize each video’s thumbnail. An incredible way to do this is to combine your title in the video image, here’s an example from an Indianapolis hot tub manufacturer, Royal Spa:
  1. URL First – If someone finds your video and they enjoy it, how are they going to return to your site to engage with you? In your description field, your first step should be to put a link back to the landing page you wish people to visit. Place the URL first so that it’s still visible with the truncated description field that YouTube makes.
  2. Description – Don’t just put a line or two, write a robust explanation of your video. Many successful videos actually include the entire video transcription in its entirety. Having supporting content on any page is important… on YouTube it’s imperative.
  3. Captions – More and more people are viewing videos with the sound off. Send off your video for captioning so folks can read along with the video. You’ll need to properly set the language of your video and its transcription, then you can upload an SRT file that aligns with the video timing.
  4. Tags – Utilize tags effectively to list keywords that you want people to find your video for. Tagging your video is a great way to increase its visibility in relevant YouTube searches.
  5. Comments – Videos with high comment activity tend to rank much higher than videos with no comments. Share your video with colleagues and coworkers and encourage them to add a thumbs-up and a comment on the video.
  6. Views – You’re not done yet! Promote your video everywhere… in blog posts, on web pages, in social networks, and even with press releases. The more views that your video gets, the more popular it will be. And people tend to watch a video with views and skip over those with low counts of views.
  7. Video Sitemaps – If videos are a key part of your site, you may also wish to create a video sitemap when publishing them on your website or blog. Video content includes web pages that embed video, URLs to players for video, or the URLs of raw video content hosted on your site. The sitemap contains the title, description, play page URL, thumbnail URL, and raw video file location, and/or the player URL.

Douglas Karr

Douglas Karr is CMO of OpenINSIGHTS and the founder of the Martech Zone. Douglas has helped dozens of successful MarTech startups, has assisted in the due diligence of over $5 bil in Martech acquisitions and investments, and continues to assist companies in implementing and automating their sales and marketing strategies. Douglas is an internationally recognized digital transformation and MarTech expert and speaker. Douglas is also a published author of a Dummie's guide and a business leadership book.

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