5 Ways To Optimize Your YouTube Videos

by Matt Byrom on 20 February 2014
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YouTube is a lot like a deep-sea fishing trip: there’s a lot of fish, but sticking a hook in the water doesn’t guarantee a bite. In order to land a noteworthy haul, you need to bait the hook, fish in the right places, and avoid scaring off your catch. Here are five ways to enhance and improve your video marketing efforts through time-tested and watertight methods of optimization.

Well-Crafted Descriptions

Contrary to popular belief, there's more to YouTube videos than just video. The title, tags, and description all contribute to the impression your video leaves, so why not use all your assets?

One of the best ways to improve your content’s search-ability is to turn your video’s summary into a Swiss army knife. Begin with the description of the contents. Entice readers by mentioning the contents therein, but without giving away the ending. Make sure that the length fits above the “read more” break in the YouTube display; otherwise impatient viewers may avoid reading it.

Next, focus on keywords that will help YouTube’s engines and Google’s search index find your video. In this way, a YouTube clip is a lot like a web page; search engine spiders are looking for any information available to categorize and serve it to the right audience. Guide them in the right direction by including phrases and words that resonate with your audience.

Finally, add links to additional content and your website. Interested viewers will likely look for your URL, so include that information and guide their curiosity. If your video is part of a series, include the next and previous segments, which will help place these videos in the suggestions box on the right-hand side. By doing this, you’re giving your audience plenty to enjoy, even after the original footage is done rolling.

Use Optimal Tagging

As we mentioned earlier, Google’s curious web spiders scour the Internet for any information that may describe a web page. With YouTube videos, tags contribute to the search index and help place your video in the right categories.

It’s important to note that, ever since the early days of SEO, Google has cracked down on individuals with copious keywords. Including words like “and” and “the” will look like a cheap way to grab viewers and should be avoided. Instead, find out what makes your audience tick and speak to them with your tagging. A DIY gardening segment, for example, might include words like “gardening”, “relaxation”, and “plants”. Each word touches on one or more aspects of the gardening hobby, making related searches more relevant, and pointing interested users in your direction.

Don’t Abuse Annotations

We’ve all seen those videos; the ones where 2 seconds of footage are suddenly flooded by multi-colored annotations that either pathetically plead for subscribers or simply obscure the view of the events taking place. Any content creator should then know that out of control annotations are a viewers worst nightmare.

The problem is, they have their use. Annotations place valuable information and calls to action directly in the line of viewer focus. In addition, they often make certain functions easier, including moving to the next video in a series and subscribing.

All this means is that your annotations must be done right. Use them sparingly and place them in the periphery of your video to make sure that your content can still be seen. Avoid truckloads of exclamation points and keep them functional, offering links to additional information. Keep them consistently formatted across your videos and consider adding graphic elements to your video before using annotations to achieve the same function.

Provide Closed Captioning

Your audience is a diverse one, encompassing individuals from all walks of life. It can be easy, then, to simply cater to the majority characteristics of your loyal viewers, but the fact is that little concessions for those with unique challenges will not go unappreciated.

YouTube’s built in closed captioning engine offers the chance to make your videos more accessible, and spread your message in formats that all can understand. If your initial instinct is to let the video service’s speech recognition software build your script, do not. If your video uses jargon or even regular, non-robotic human speech, it is unlikely that the primitive software used by YouTube will accurately translate your message. Provide captioning, and all members of your audience will hear you loud and clear.

Finish With a Call-to-Action

Putting content on the Internet is no small task, but making it worth the effort takes a little promotion. It’s often said that you don’t get what you don’t ask for, so ask your audience for something!

A Call-to-Action or CTA, is a simple step with powerful results. If your video’s purpose is to build subscriptions, ask readers to subscribe at the end, either in the video or with an annotation. If you want people to visit your website, include that information and ask them to stop by. Unlike pleading and overwrought attempts to build a viewer base, a good CTA makes a simple, justified request that spurs impressed viewers to take the next step in building a relationship with your business.

YouTube is a busy place, and standing out means playing the game the right way. Utilize your SEO resources and tag your video with helpful descriptions. Avoid over-using annotations and under-using closed captioning. Finally, utilize a simple CTA after making your mark, and you’ll find that your viewership and your business can go grow a little closer together.

Video Marketing

Matt Byrom

Written by Matt Byrom

My name is Matt, I'm Managing Director of Wyzowl. That means I chat with customers and make sure everything is running smoothly in the office. I love our business and hope you enjoy our blog! :)