YouTube Video Optimization Checklist

‘The YouTube Video Optimization Checklist’ ~ by Stone Temple Marketing*

The overall optimization of your YouTube channel is important, but this section will focus on the things you need to do to optimize individual videos. The first part of the work starts before you ever film the video. It starts with the raw keyword research to identify topics in high user demand.

From a YouTube perspective, this means keywords that make sense for your business, and where the existing videos in YouTube also have a reasonable number of views. You can start by doing keyword research the way you would for Google (using your favorite keyword research process), but you can also start typing in related terms in the YouTube search box to see what autocomplete suggestions come up.

One last consideration is to check the top videos that come up for your keywords now. If you have a small business and the current ranking videos have huge view numbers and come from top accounts that have a large subscriber base, then this topic might be too competitive for you to chase on YouTube.

You should also review what type of content is currently ranking. That will tell you a lot about how YouTube sees the user intent related to those queries, what length of video so far seems like a fit, and can provide some insight into what you need to do with your video content-wise. If the variety of the results is large, and the collection of videos seems a bit off-topic, then that suggests your opportunity to rank with a video highly focused on the user query/intent may be greater.

Then, when you script and film the video, bear in mind that the the No. 1 factor in the YouTube algorithm is user engagement with the video. Here are some of the components of that:

  • How long they watch your video
  • If they move on from watching your video to watching another video (this is a positive)
  • Video view count
  • Share count
  • Channel subscriber count
  • Links and embeds on other sites

For these reasons, you have to learn how to make great video content. That actually can be quite hard to do, though if the video is a straightforward how-to topic, and you deliver the content simply and clearly, that can be good enough.

Once you have created the video, the next steps are:

  1. Pick a descriptive file name for the video
  2. Pick a compelling title
  3. Select a strong set of tags related to your video (keyword.io will help you find longer tail keywords frequently searched on YouTube)
  4. Write a detailed and complete description of at least 200 words
  5. Place it in an appropriate category

These factors play two important roles:

Establishes the relevance of the video. YouTube (and Google as well) does use this information to understand what queries your video is a fit for.
Entices the user to start watching your video. Don’t shortchange this part of it, as getting your view count up is critical.
You need to establish the relevance of the video and entice users in to watch it in order to succeed.

Now, we have one last set of steps, and that is to promote your video. Driving views to your video can be quite effective in helping it rank. Here are some possible ways to do that:

  1. Feature the video in a blog post and embed it there. Then follow the same process for promoting the blog post that you will see in the next several steps. (Embedded views on sites count as views just as if the person were watching your video on YouTube.)
  2. Organic social promotion
  3. Paid social promotion, including on YouTube (Bonus: watch time and engagement on your promoted videos count toward your channels metrics, so they help boost your organic rankings too!)
  4. Send it out to email lists
  5. Get third party sites to embed the video

* Stone Temple is an award winning full-service digital marketing agency providing a broad range of white hat SEO and digital marketing services. Learn more at their website.

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