How to Make Sure Your Videos Are Optimized for YouTube

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Video content is valuable content. It’s captivating, it’s visual, and it has the power to go viral. YouTube’s creators capitalized on the video streaming trend early, and their prescience has paid off with a dominant share of the market and burgeoning advertising revenue. But how can you ensure that the video content you post on YouTube will be seen and shared by as many people as possible? In this post, we’ll show you how to optimize your video content for YouTube, so that you can build your audience and maximize your marketing budget.

Looking for more ways to optimize marketing content? Read our post about interactive storytelling!

Mobilize Your Metadata

Metadata is the information used to categorize online content in order to identify and organize it efficiently. Examples include titles, captions, descriptions, and tags. Search engines use metadata in order to identify and rank content – for example, a blog post tagged “mixology” might come up in a search for someone trying to learn how to make cocktails. If your metadata elements are blank, or if they don’t contain any reference to your central topic, your search engine rankings and viewership will suffer. For YouTube purposes, the metadata comprises the title, descriptions and tags of your videos. Optimizing these key sections of your video content will make sure that your videos are promoted by YouTube and Google.

How does this work in practice? Start with a concise, descriptive title that incorporates key phrases viewers might search in order to find your video. YouTube makes this process easy with their Keyword Suggestion Tool, which will help you see how much monthly traffic a particular key phrase will get. Use “exact match” to guarantee the right combination of words. Next, write a detailed description of the video’s content, shooting for approximately 250 words. Consistency is key, so try to use similar keywords to the ones you use in the title. Another solid strategy is to open your description with a link to content on your website, either a specific page or your homepage. Priority keywords should also appear “above the fold,” in the first few sentences of your description. That way, they won’t be hidden behind the “show more” tab. Finally, incorporate ten to twenty tags so that you can maximize your use of keywords that may not fit comfortably in the description and title.

Curious about more visual content forms? Check out our guide to infographics!

Playlist Promotion

Another strategy you can use to draw attention from viewers and search engines is to organize your videos into playlists. Playlists are a YouTube feature that allow content creators to organize videos within a channel. A film critic might create a “Classic Cinema” playlist for vintage film reviews or a “Screen Sirens” playlist for Hollywood femme fatales like Veronica Lake and Lana Turner. A pastry chef might create a “Basics” playlist to teach viewers how to make puff pastry and pie crust and a “Parties” playlist for canapes and cupcakes. Playlists are an especially powerful combination of organic and metadata-optimized content, so don’t neglect them.

How do playlists work in practice? Start grouping all of your video content into playlists organized by similar topics and formats. When you write playlist titles, look for ways to incorporate keywords. You can also incorporate keywords into your playlist descriptions, which can be relatively lengthy and specific. Playlists are customizable, and you can create as many as you want. Allow for overlap, so that viewers will be motivated to hop from one content stream to another, but avoid redundancy so that audiences don’t assume they’ve seen the bulk of your videos already.

Activate Your Annotations

Annotations are an effective way to add interactive commentary to your videos. They’re integrated text directing viewers to complete certain specific tasks: watching more videos with similar themes, subscribing to your mailing list or your channel, adding a comment, following you on Twitter or Facebook, or visiting your website. They allow you to connect with viewers without pulling them out of the video, and they ensure that all of the video content on your channel will be connected to other elements of your online presence and brand.

YouTube makes it easy to add annotations.  All you have to do is select edit video and then navigate to the annotations tab. Then you can use the annotations dashboard to “scroll” through your video, zeroing in on the timeframe where you want to add an annotation. Then you simply use the annotation drop down menu to select from six available options. We like the “speech bubble” for its conversational vibe. Remember to focus on the opening and closing sections of the video, since they will tend to get the most attention.

Want to learn how to produce killer video content? Read our guide to social media video content!

Build Your Brand

YouTube’s logo is instantly recognizable, but that doesn’t mean that your channel has to be subsumed into the YouTube brand. The site offers multiple ways to customize your channel in order to promote and consolidate your brand. Customizing the background of your channel’s page, showcasing your other social networks, and creating a custom header to match your homepage are many ways to brand your content on YouTube.

Start by uploading a custom background so that visitors to your channel immediately see a custom-built, personalized space. Use a vivid backdrop so that visitors will be prepped to see your content as distinctive. Choose an image associated with your business. A wedding planner might choose a photo of an engraved invitation or a pair of champagne flutes. A travel agent might show prospective clients a night market in Thailand or a sidewalk café in Paris. Underline this message with a header displaying your logo, and include links to your other social media channels and your website so that your audience can get the full picture.

Use these techniques to build your YouTube content strategy and you’ll have a dedicated audience in no time!

Want to build your content creation toolbox? Read our guide to online content creation in Canva!

Are you interested in learning more about YouTube video content and other digital marketing formats? At Square 1 Group, we make it our business to create multilayered technology and marketing solutions for our clients, tailoring our approach to your team. Contact us for a consultation today!

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