So you’ve just finished creating your snazzy new video content and want to get it online. With 1.3 billion users, YouTube is the second largest search engine so it’s a great choice for hosting your video.
Not only can video content easily be embedded on your website, it can also be found independently on the platform, providing another avenue for prospective customers to find your business.
In order to give your video the best chance of being found I’ve compiled this quick list of practical steps to ensure every video you upload has the maximum chance of ranking well and being watched.
YouTube Video Title
Every video needs a title, but the choice of title will make a big difference in how the video performs. The title of your video should be clear and descriptive but most importantly should include the primary keyword or key phrase you want the video to rank for.
It is also important to keep the title concise. YouTube and Google will truncate the title after 66 characters so ideally you want to keep it under that to ensure the full title can be seen in search result listing.
So many videos uploaded to Youtube fail to add even the briefest of text in the description field. It is vital to write a compelling and detailed description for your video, even if visitors don’t bother reading it Google and Youtube both use the description text to accurately index and rank the video.
Ensure your description repeats your primary search term as featured in your videos title and further expands by including other relevant keywords and phrases. This said, it is important not to keyword stuff. Youtube is wise to this and your video may be penalised in search if you do this. As a guide, keep your description conversational and informative, this way your keywords and phrases should sit naturally within it.
The description field can be 5000 characters long before being cut off but we would recommend using at least 2000 characters to ensure adequate content for ranking.
Another consideration is that the description content will also be displayed in search results, however greatly shortened. For this reason we suggest keeping the most important content right at the beginning of your videos description.
YouTube Video Tags (Keywords)
Often overlooked, adding numerous well-thought-out tags to a YouTube video is very important in helping it rank. It can seem difficult to think of lots of relevant tags but luckily there is a way you can actually use YouTube search to help you come up with good tags for your videos!
Start by opening a private/incognito browser window, this way your previous search terms will be less likely to affect your outcome. Go to YouTube and start typing a search term into the search bar, at this stage you can use the keyword or phrase you have already come up with for your video's title.
As soon as you start to type, Youtube will bring up suggestions of what you are looking for. These suggestions are commonly searched for terms and therefore provide you with great suggestions for how to tag your video. Repeat this process a few times using different ways of describing your video and before you know it you will have a full set of relevant tags to add to your video.
You can add up to 500 characters of tags to a video, and there is no reason not to use as many as you can, just make sure the tags are unique and relevant. Adding some generic channel specific tags to all of your videos can also help viewers find your other videos and increases the chance that YouTube will suggest your other content to viewers of one of your videos.
An example of generic channel tags, with Liquid Light as an example, could be:
Liquid Light, Web Design Agency Brighton, TYPO3 experts, Web Design, TYPO3 Tutorials.
As a bonus tip, make sure you have added generic channel tags to your actual YouTube channel to further help with your rank and searchability. You can do this in the YouTube creator studio under Channel > Advanced.
There is a whole world of keyword research you can explore, going into much more detail and looking at keyword popularity and competition but I won’t cover that in this post. The method I have already mentioned is a great starting point for tagging videos and more than adequate in most cases.
If you are interested in learning more about keyword research and analysis I’d recommend looking at TubeBuddy or Vid IQ. These services both offer in depth analysis and tools to help with optimising your videos. Their own YouTube channels also offer a wealth of resources for learning how to rank YouTube videos, and increase traffic.
Nobody likes seeing the automatically generated blurry stills that are used for your videos thumbnail so make sure to create and upload your own custom thumbnail.
You’ll need to make sure your YouTube account is verified before YouTube will let you upload custom thumbnails, but this is easily achieved by adding a phone number to your account settings. Once verified you can upload custom thumbnails to all your videos.
You can create an engaging and attractive thumbnail image using a range of different software. We use Adobe Photoshop for ours but if you are looking for a free alternative Canva is an online image editor that is perfectly adequate for the job and we have also written a blog about affordable image editors that may be helpful.
Make your thumbnail image 1280x720px to ensure it looks good on all devices and do your best to keep it simple. Remember, this image needs to work well at small sizes.
If you have multiple videos end screens are must. They appear on screen during the last 20 seconds of your video when viewed on YouTube and can be customised to encourage viewers to subscribe to your channel, or show viewers other videos of yours that will appeal to them. You can select a specific video or let YouTube suggest a video based on the viewers preferences.
They are really easy to add, just head to the Creator Studio section of your account, select “edit” on your video and then navigate to the “End Screens & annotations” tab. You can create a custom end screen or choose a template. YouTube also remembers your previous end screens so once you have made one you like you can easily use it over and over again.
Cards are small call to actions that appear in the top right corner of your video when viewed on YouTube. Similarly to using an end screen cards are great at promoting other videos you have to viewers. Adding cards is done within the creator studio under the “cards” tab. From there you can choose where in the video you would like the card to appear and for how long and you can add up to 5 cards to a video.
Cards work best when promoting content that is either referenced within the video or relevant to the subject of the video, keeping them relevant ensures they are helpful to viewers and don’t come across as spammy.
Uploading video content to YouTube is a simple way to host video online and by following these simple steps you could greatly increase the chances of your video being found and seen by your potential customers. Of course it is possible to delve much deeper into some of the points I have touched upon but this post is just intended to give you solid foundation for your uploads.
If you think there are other important considerations when uploading to YouTube we’d love to hear from you so please drop us a comment!