Optimizing a video to get the maximum amount of views on YouTube seems easy, but it can actually be a difficult task. The service can’t “read” the content of a video (as opposed to search engines which can scan the content of a website), so YouTube relies on individual uploaders to tell it what each file is about. This can be done through titles, descriptions and tags.
Before you try your hand at YouTube optimization, there are a few things you should consider about the service. This guide will walk you through the thought processes and strategies used by those who get thousands of views on every video they submit.
YouTube Optimization Categories
Much like Search Engine Optimization, YouTube optimization’s ultimate goal is to help your content rank well for a particular search term. There are three main criteria that work together to determine a video’s ranking:
- Rating – High quality content will almost always be acknowledged by the YouTube community. When your videos get a lot of good ratings, they will show up higher in the site’s search results. A visitor’s ability to ultimately determine the fate of a video is a clear indication that quality content is necessary for an uploader’s success.
- View Count – The number of times your video has been viewed is a good measure of its “viral power.” More viewers often lead to more ratings and more user recommendations. Keep in mind: Having thousands of views certainly helps your video’s search placement, but positive ratings hold more weight
- Relevance – This criterion is easiest for the uploader to control. When you upload a video, you have the ability to give it a relevant title, description and tags. You are also required to place the video in the most suitable “channel” (Comedy, How to & Style, Sports, etc.). When you add the right information for these fields without trying to mislead viewers, it makes it easier for others to find your content. This in turn leads to higher view counts and better ratings.
The Best YouTube Optimization Methods
There are several steps you can take to help your videos rank high in all three categories. By taking a few minutes to optimize your YouTube content, you can ensure that your videos will perform at their maximum potential.
Write tags that are relevant to your content – This is a sure-fire way to place higher in the results for relevant search terms. Relevant tags help users find your video and help establish you as an authoritative source of information or entertainment.
Write as many tags as you can think of –There seems to be no penalty for using lots of keywords on YouTube (a factor that sets it apart from standard, SEO practices). If you think of tag that is relevant to the video, add it! Do not add tags that have nothing to do with the video, as this could hurt your credibility.
Avoid unnecessary words – “and,” “of,” “to,” “is” and similar words should be avoided while writing tags. These seem to waste important space and can actually make it harder for users to find your content.
Make sure your description coincide with important tags – While writing descriptions for the content, make sure to include a few of your best keywords in the text. It is important that you write naturally and try not to awkwardly stuff words and phrases into your descriptions. Many viewers will judge whether or not to watch your video by reading the description.
Experts are still trying to figure out the nuances of YouTube optimization; however, these strategies seem to be successful in most tests. It is more important than ever to place high in the system’s searches, as search engines like Yahoo and Google are now pulling quality content from the site for their search results. Take a look at YouTube’s most popular videos to get concrete examples of strong optimization strategies.
By Nick Schurk
Organic Search Analyst