How painful is it when you put all that effort into creating an amazing YouTube video, then it only gets a handful of views? Must be how blockbuster felt when Netflix launched! With YouTube, it’s not just about publishing your content. You need to optimise your YouTube videos so you can maximise views. Let’s get into it.
There’s no doubting the behemoth that YouTube is – the largest video platform with two billion worldwide users.
Two billion. Just think about that for a moment. Two. Billion.
The challenge? There are some 500 hours of video content uploaded every minute. For your brand, cutting through the volume of video content can be a massive challenge.
Your ability to optimise YouTube video for maximum visibility is vital to your success on the network.
Start with a smart title
On YouTube, your title serves two purposes.
First, your title informs your audience of its value just like with the title of any video, blog, or movie (unless it’s written by M Night Shyamalan).
The second purpose is search – you want to show up when users are looking for content on the network.
This means that more than other networks, your use of keywords is super-important when crafting your video title. You’ll need to wade through a little SEO-like research to make sure you’re hitting the nail on the head, and not just plonking up a title that suits you.
Can you guess the keywords we’re focusing on in this article? ‘Optimise YouTube videos’. You can find these keywords scattered throughout this blog.
It’s all a balancing act between keywords and readability – you want to make sure it’s search optimised without making it a confusing salad of buzz words.
Look to keep your titles around the 70 character-mark. Whilst you can go longer, your title may be truncated when the preview is displayed in search results.
Add descriptions with keywords
Similar to the title, the description field is important when it comes to people discovering your video through search on YouTube and Google. Ensure you’re using the same keyword strategy in your description to increase the likelihood of your video being found.
Focus on the first two lines as these will be all your audience can see without hitting the ‘see more’ button.
Just like your YouTube script structure, you’ll want to have a hook for your video text that entices your audience but also includes those keywords.
YouTube is a fantastic driver of web traffic, so whilst it’s not the key to gaining views and visibility, you can provide a strong call to action as well as links to relevant channels, resources, or next steps.
The description field is a max of 5,000 characters, which is about 800 words. Depending on the length of the video it’s not uncommon to provide a transcript of your video in the description, however, this isn’t necessary. It’s more advisable that you focus on the first few lines and having a strong call to action.
Tag and categorise to help optimise YouTube videos
When you’re uploading your video, you’ll want to select your video tags. These are words or phrases that give context to your video and help YouTube better understand your video.
You can have as many as you want within a 500 character limit, with all tags being separated by a comma – for example ‘youtube tips comma youtube strategy comma haircut on point comma’.
Here are the tags we used for our latest how-to video: How To Create A Landing Page (FOR FREE) Using Mailchimp.
Your tags need to be relevant to your content. It may be tempting to put in trending tags or some old gold like ‘dog video’ or ‘cat video’, but YouTube’s algorithm focuses on search relevance. Using tags that don’t make sense will penalise you in the long run.
You’ll also want to categorise your video. YouTube has a little over a dozen categories to select from which will provide added information to YouTube around your video context.
Hashtags for #YouTube
These iconic little identifiers made it onto YouTube a couple of years ago. Similar to other networks, using hashtags on YouTube when you publish your video will help identify the theme of your video and be visible within the relevant hashtag thread.
The first three hashtags you enter will be displayed above the video title, so focus on these three first as they will be the most visible.
As with your hashtags on any network, relevance is the key. Don’t use ones that don’t reflect the content you’re publishing.
Create a cracking thumbnail
The thumbnail is the static image that your video displays before someone clicks on it.
By uploading a slick and on brand thumbnail you’re going to increase the likelihood of users clicking and watching your video. You can create your thumbnail in tools like canva to ensure you’re creating and using consistent imagery and styles.
Your thumbnail will be displayed wherever your video pops up – in search results, the right-hand pane, etc. Without an attractive thumbnail that speaks to your audience, you’re missing out on clicks, views, and ultimately, customers!
If you’re publishing a decent amount of content on YouTube and subsequently organising them into playlists, you may even want to consider using different themed thumbnails for each playlist – sort of how the DVDs for different seasons of a TV show had different artwork. You remember DVDs, right?
So there you have it, our guide on how to optimise your YouTube videos to maximise views. To recap, start with a smart title that informs your audience of its value and so it shows up when users are looking for content on the network. Include keywords in your description to increase the likelihood of your video being found. Add tags and hashtags that will help YouTube better understand the theme of your video. And finally, design an eye-catching YouTube thumbnail to capture the attention of your audience. If you follow these simple tips you will be well on your way to maximising your views and increasing your reach on YouTube.
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