How to Optimize Youtube Videos Featured

10 Secret Ways to Optimize Youtube Videos to Get More Views [UPDATED]

When we think about content optimization, certain names come to mind- Google, Bing, Yahoo…


But we often forget about the second largest search engine, YouTube.


Optimizing this medium for your business can generate miraculous results.


Stats reveal that 62% of YouTube users access the site daily.  Moreover, users watch over 1 billion hours of YouTube content every day.


Such a huge potential indeed!  But you need to optimize your YouTube content to get the most out of this platform.


So, let’s learn some tested and proven optimization tactics today that you can use to make your content visible to those billions of users out there.


Let’s dive in!



1.  Optimize File Name


Video optimization isn’t just about the video but its backend as well.


Unlike end users, search engines skim through the code as well to fetch highly relevant results.


Hence, the optimization starts when you’re uploading the video file.


You should rename your video file according to the target keyword.


For instance, if your target keyword is “2021 SEO strategies” then your file name should be “2021-SEO-strategies” followed by the video type.


rename file


So, next time instead of giving your video file a random name, apply this tactic.



2.  Include Target Keyword in the Video Title


Keyword In Video TItle



Creator Academy YouTube says,

 “Titles contain valuable information to help viewers find your videos in search results.


It leaves no doubt about the importance of using keywords in the title.


However, Brian Dean’s case study has something more to tell as well.


He found that there is not much impact on using the “exact” keyword in your video title.


So, what should we fetch from this comprehensive research?


Well, it gives a signal that just like Google, the YouTube algorithm has a deeper understanding of the title’s meaning.


Instead of matching the exact keyword, it is developed enough to understand the user’s intent.


What does it mean?


Using keyword synonyms, relevant words, and stemming to make your title catchy won’t affect the optimization.


Moreover, Brian says,

“Like with a blog post, I’ve found that you get a slight video SEO boost by putting your keyword at the beginning of the title.”


In addition, research by Briggsby shows that short-length titles perform better.



Video Title Graph
Image source: Briggsby



The graph reveals that most of the videos displayed in the top 20 results have a title length of 47-48 characters.



3.  Say your Target Keywords


say keywords


Have you ever wondered, “How YouTube automatically transcribes your videos?”


The answer is quite simple, “It hears you!”


So saying the keyword several times in your video will be beneficial for SEO.


Moreover, adding keywords in subtitles & closed captions also helps.  It tells the algorithm about the content of your video.


4.  Optimize Your Video Description



Optimize Youtube VIdeo Description



Video description gives you an edge to explain the context and content of your videos to YouTube’s algorithm at a deeper level.


As YouTube itself stated,

 “Well-written descriptions with the right keywords can boost views and watch time because they help your video show up in search results.”


Although this doesn’t mean to go into keyword stuffing your entire content.


As one case study of Backlinko reveals:

“There is no correlation between descriptions that were optimized for a certain keyword and the rankings for that term.”


So, should we leave them out completely?




This Backlinko’s research hints again about the smartness of the YouTube algorithm which is capable enough to distinguish between keyword-stuffed and quality content.


It means you aren’t supposed to leave your keywords out completely.  But, the ratio of keyword usage and optimal length for video descriptions still remains questionable.


Here, the following reverse engineering case study answers these concerns.


By analyzing the video ranks, it concludes that the optimal video description length should be around 300-349 characters.



Video Description Graph
Image Source: Briggsby



So, we suggest you only add highly relevant information in descriptions.


Additionally, front-load your video descriptions with the most important information.


YouTube users are there to watch, not to read the long stories.  Thus, the key is to keep the description short but effective.


How to optimize YouTube video descriptions?

  • Adding the video-relevant URL at the start works as the best-supporting link.  It allows users to learn more about the topic from your resources.
  • Mentioning social media handles to expand fan following is a good move.
  • Mentioning links to the relevant videos on your channel enhances the viewership that boosts video optimization in return.
  • Adding the keyword-rich 100-150 characters helps the algorithms to understand your content.



But, what is the optimal ratio for keyword usage?


A study reveals that 3-4% keyword density is the safer approach. Descriptions having this keyword density were found in the top search engine results.



Keyword Density
Image Source: Briggsby


However, as mentioned earlier, there is no rule of thumb to only add the exact keyword phrases.


You can use synonyms or secondary keywords to cover the theme of your video.


Pro Tip: Besides YouTube, you can also hunt the keywords searched on Google. Embedding them in your video descriptions will help you attract visitors from Google as well.


5.  Add Popular Keywords in Tags


Tags are another easy way to optimize YouTube videos. However, their importance has become less significant with time.



Keyword in Tags



But some tactics are still useful to boost the tag’s performance.


How to Optimize Tags for YouTube Videos?


  • Keep Tags Highly Relevant to The Topic

First, keep them highly relevant to the content. Because search engines are now inclined to fulfilling users intent.  So, they fetch highly relevant results.


Adding relevant tags lets search engines know the videos’ content.


Moreover, only adding a few keywords in tags also makes the YouTube algorithm learn better about the content of the video.


YouTube considers such videos as specialized stuff instead of generic.


  • Use Long-tail Keywords in Tags

Adding short tags isn’t helpful because such tags don’t specify the topic.


Alternatively, adding moderate to long length tags is beneficial.  They let the search engines know the exact theme of the topic.


In fact, this is the reason YouTube recommends using descriptive tags.


A case study also supports this instance:



Focused Keyword In Tags
Image Source: Briggsby


Other than optimization, tags also play a vital role for your video to appear in the YouTube recommendation section.




YouTube displays those videos in the sidebar section that has tags somehow relevant to the video you are watching.


SproutSocial states that 81% of users watch YouTube’s recommended content!


Yes, read that again- 81%!!



Another thing you can do is to include your competitors’ tags in your video.

By doing so, you will create an amazing opportunity to attract the competitors’ traffic on your channel.




It fascinates beginners to include dozens of topics in the tag section.  Newbies think that it is a hack to bring more traffic to their channel.

However, the reality is different!


YouTube is developed enough to catch scams and penalize such channels.


Moreover, it isn’t about the traffic but the “quality traffic”.


What is the purpose of having irrelevant traffic on your channel?  It would generate no business in the long run.


Hence, staying strictly specific to the highly relevant tags is the best approach.


6.  Design Alluring Custom Thumbnail for High Clicks



Custom Youtube Thumbnails



It is no coincidence that 90% of the top-performing videos use custom thumbnails.



Unlike auto-generated thumbnails, you are free to play here.


You can design custom thumbnails according to your brand theme.  Moreover, you can use attractive images, alluring fonts, and more to make your videos stand out.


Designing custom thumbnails requires some time but it is worth it to attract the audience.


Once results are displayed, users are more likely to click videos with alluring thumbnails.


So, why miss this opportunity?


Yet, this option is only available to verified YouTube channels. Check out YouTube’s guidelines to use this amazing feature.


7.  Categorize Your Videos into Playlists



Once you have a viewer on your video then keep him going through other videos on your channel as well.




Playlists are a great way to do that.


Look how nicely Nail Petal has playlisted his video content:


Videos in Playlists
Image Source: Neil Patel Youtube Channel



Rather than uploading all videos independently, group the highly relevant ones into the playlists.


Doing so makes it easy for users to click and roll through the related videos.  And because highly relevant videos all provide more value, grouping these videos together will rank them higher than standalone videos.


As a result, videos’ viewership increases which boost optimization indirectly.


Pro Tip: Besides creating the playlists, pay attention to the playlist names as well. Using keyword-focused titles in playlists helps YouTube to fetch them in related search queries.


Likewise, a playlist description can be helpful. You can use relevant keywords there just like we discussed in the “video description” section above.



8. Use Cards and Endscreens to Boost the Videos’ Optimization






Cards and end screens have no direct link with the video optimization.  But, indirectly they can level up your optimization strategy immensely.


Both of them act as a call to action and help keep the viewers glued to your channel.  Instead of going to other channels, users spend their time more on watching your content.


Just like playlists, they increase viewership – all the way leading to enhanced video optimization.


Pro Tip: YouTube is continuously trying to improve the viewer experience.  Therefore, their algorithm tests the end screen as well.  So it’s best to try to optimize it for maximum potential.


Lastly, you will also need to optimize end screens for TV.


That’s because people have now started watching YouTube videos on TV and this trend is increasing year by year.


“In Q4 2019, 49.0% of YouTube viewing was mobile and 27.0% was on TVs. By Q3 2020, this had shifted to 40.9% mobile and 34.4% on TV.”Hootsuite


Thus, we recommend that along with other devices, optimize your end screens for TVs as well.


With all the above-mentioned optimization strategies, let’s move towards the promotion factor of your YouTube content. 


9. Incorporate YouTube Videos into Your Marketing Strategy


“The context in which you engage online, and how people talk about you online, actually can impact what you rank for.”Google’s Gary Illyes


A report by HubSpot also reveals that it isn’t just about optimization. Adding YouTube videos to your marketing strategy will also help to promote audience engagement.



Content Marketing Strategy



Incorporating YouTube videos in other marketing channels also saves time.


Unlike creating brand new videos, embedding the already created content is a no-brainer.


So it’s best to promote it on other marketing channels?  This includes blogs, emails, social media, and all other potential marketing platforms.


In addition to all these, don’t forget to promote videos on Q&A sites.  There you have the opportunity to market your content to a highly relevant audience.  They are already searching for answers.  You only need to place your relevant video links.


As a result, you will get quality subscribers and increased watch time.  Both factors will take your video optimization to the next level.


Join these Q&A sites.  Search for the relevant threads.  Hunt relevant questions and then, the sky’s the limit!


 Now comes the turn of content analysis as it is necessary to keep improving with time!


10. Analyze Content Reports for Betterment


analyze content


The report analysis is the key to keep increasing the videos’ performance with time.


You should keep looking for the best as well as low-performing content.  It provides insight into the strong points of your content.  Likewise, it also lets us know the shortcomings.


For instance, despite appearing in the top search results the low click-through rate of the video signals the weak title or thumbnail.


Likewise, stick-around and drop-off in the audience retention report and elaborate the strong and weak points of your videos.


Collectively, these  stats are not less than magic-wand to boost optimization. You only need to understand then implement the strategies, and then test different strategies for generating better videos over time.


Final Thoughts


We have told you some useful tips to level up your YouTube video optimization.  Now all you have to do is to implement them.


In addition to the above-mentioned strategies, is there any other techniques and methods that worked for you?


Do share with our readers in the comments section or in one of our social media pages below.


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