Video optimization on YouTube

21/04/2021 0 By indiafreenotes

Unlocking the potential within YouTube means you can access millions of viewers every day. This gives you a new channel for your promotional videos along with your more generally helpful content. In return, you can boost your overall online presence.

Ok, so a lot of YouTube is soppy cat videos and watching people inadvertently hurt themselves. But the platform does offer quite a bit for businesses to take advantage of, presenting those who embrace it with ample opportunity to:

  • Capture more attention
  • Garner better integration with social media content
  • Nurture a highly-engaged, loyal audience
  • Take advantage of the inherent benefit from better search engine rankings

Below, we will see how TOP can help you optimize your videos to increase your YouTube rankings, create engagement and why should you promote and embed your branded videos in your website’s

  • Targeting your videos: Understanding searcher intent, keyword research and video creation.
  • Optimizing your videos: Creating a branded presence, optimizing titles, tags and descriptions.
  • Promoting your videos: Getting real, engaged views on your videos, building links and embeds to your videos.

YouTube ranking factors

YouTube has cited Audience Retention as one of its main ranking factors. In short, this is how long people watch your videos before exiting.

The Audience Retention report analyses:

  • Average view duration for all videos on your channel
  • Top videos or channels listed by watch time
  • Audience retention data for a specific video for different time frames
  • Relative audience retention for a video compared to the YouTube average for similar videos

Other YouTube ranking factors surrounding engagement:

  • Video comments
  • Subscribers after watching a video
  • Video shares
  • Click-through rate
  • Thumbs up/Thumbs down

The most important aspects of ranking well on YouTube are:

  • Watch time
  • Channel authority
  • Positive sentiment & engagement
  • Broad match keyword targeting across title, description, and keyword tags

Keyword research

The YouTube SEO process starts just like any content creation process, with a keyword, search query and topic research.

The goal you are trying to achieve here is to understand searcher intent, what kind of information users are looking for and which search terms are relevant to your business and your audience.

As highlighted in MOZ’s keyword research, you should ask yourself…

  • Is the keyword relevant to your website’s content?
  • Will searchers find what they are looking for on your site when they search using these keywords?
  • Will they be happy with what they find?
  • And, will this traffic result in financial rewards or other organizational goals?

Unfortunately, the free version is fairly limited and you need a pro version in order to unlock the following awesome features:

  • Keyword suggestions (variants stemming from your entry)
  • Related keywords (not keyword variants, but related, e.g. same semantic area)
  • Questions (similar to Answer The Public and the likes, great for Featured Snippet opportunities. etc)
  • Prepositions (again, similar to Answer The Public and the likes, great for increasing your site’s chances of appearing in Featured Snippets and ‘People Also Ask’ query suggestions)


  1. Rename your video file using a target keyword.

Just like you would when optimizing written content, you’ll use an SEO tool to first identify keywords you’d like your video to focus on (you can browse popular YouTube SEO tools below these tips, or just click that link earlier in this sentence).

  1. Insert your keyword naturally in the video title.

When we search for videos, one of the first things that our eyes are drawn to is the title. That’s often what determines whether or not the viewer will click to watch your video, so the title should not only be compelling, but also clear and concise.

Although your keyword plays a big part in your video title, it also helps if the title closely matches what the viewer is searching for. Research conducted by Backlinko found that videos with an exact keyword match in the title have only a slight advantage over those that don’t.

  1. Optimize your video description.

First things first: According to Google, the official character limit for YouTube video descriptions is 1,000 characters. And while it’s okay to use all of that space, remember that your viewer most likely came here to watch a video, not to read an essay.

If you do choose to write a longer description, keep in mind that YouTube only displays the first two or three lines of text that amounts to about 100 characters. After that point, viewers have to click “show more” to see the full description. That’s why we suggest front-loading the description with the most important information, like CTAs or crucial links.

  1. Tag your video with popular keywords that relate to your topic.

YouTube’s official Creator Academy suggests using tags to let viewers know what your video is about. But you’re not just informing your viewers you’re also informing YouTube itself. Dean explains that the platform uses tags “to understand the content and context of your video.”

That way, YouTube figures out how to associate your video with similar videos, which can broaden your content’s reach. But choose your tags wisely. Don’t use an irrelevant tag because you think it’ll get you more views in fact, Google might penalize you for that. And similar to your description, lead with the most important keywords, including a good mix of those that are common and more long-tail (as in, those that answer a question like “how do I?”).

  1. Categorize your video.

Once you upload a video, you can categorize it under “Advanced settings.” Choosing a category is another way to group your video with similar content on YouTube so it winds up in different playlists and gains exposure to more viewers who identify with your audience.

It might not be as simple as it looks. In fact, YouTube’s Creator Academy suggests marketers go through a comprehensive process to determine which category each video belongs in. It’s helpful, the guide writes, “to think about what is working well for each category” you’re considering by answering questions like:

  • Who are the top creators within the category? What are they known for and what do they do well?
  • Are there any patterns between the audiences of similar channels within a given category?
  • Do the videos within a similar category have share qualities like production value, length, or format?
  1. Upload a custom thumbnail image for your video’s result link.

Your video thumbnail is the main image viewers see when scrolling through a list of video results. Along with the video’s title, that thumbnail sends a signal to the viewer about the video’s content, so it can impact the number of clicks and views your video receives.

  1. Use an SRT File to add subtitles & closed captions.

Like much of the other text we’ve discussed here, subtitles and closed captions can boost YouTube search optimization by highlighting important keywords.

In order to add subtitles or closed captions to your video, you’ll have to upload a supported text transcript or timed subtitles file. For the former, you can also directly enter transcript text for a video so that it auto-syncs with the video.

Adding subtitles follows a similar process, however, you can limit the amount of text you want displayed. For either, head to your video manager then click on “Videos” under “Video Manager.” Find the video you want to add subtitles or closed captioning to, and click the drop-down arrow next to the edit button. Then, choose “Subtitles/CC.” You can then select how you’d like to add subtitles or closed captioning.

  1. Add Cards and End Screens to increase your YouTube channel’s viewership.


When you’re watching a video, have you ever seen a small white, circular icon with an “i” in the center appear in the corner, or a translucent bar of text asking you to subscribe? Those are Cards, which Creator Academy describes as “preformatted notifications that appear on desktop and mobile which you can set up to promote your brand and other videos on your channel.”

You can add up to five cards to a single video, and there are six types:

  • Channel cards that direct viewers to another channel.
  • Donation cards to encourage fundraising on behalf of U.S. nonprofit organizations.
  • Fan funding to ask your viewers to help support the creation of your video content.
  • Link cards, which direct viewers to an external site, approved crowdfunding platform, or an approved merchandise selling platform.
  • Poll cards, which pose a question to viewers and allow them to vote for a response.
  • Video or playlist cards, which link to other YouTube content of this kind.

End Screens

End screens display similar information as cards, but as you may have guessed, they don’t display until a video is over, and are a bit more visually detailed in nature.