Your Checklist for YouTube Video Optimization

YouTube video on computer screen

Remember how your grandparents repurposed and saved everything? Their generation knew how to stretch their resources and save money. Never waste a thing. Integrated Content strategies operate on this same principle. Present every word you write across multiple channels. For website content, I’ve already detailed how to develop a blog. Now I want to talk about YouTube video optimization.

Because, if you write a blog post, then you may want to consider turning it into a YouTube video. Summarize the content as part of your newsletter. Promote everything on social media. Wring every bit of use out of every word. After all, you either spent time or money putting those words together. You want the best possible return on your investment.

Doesn’t Google Penalize Websites for Duplicate Content?

Google does penalize websites for plagiarizing another’s site’s material. You can even run into trouble if you have two landing pages on your site that are too similar. However, when content plays across different channels, in different formats, it is not viewed as “copied.”

In other words, I can go on camera and read this article word for word and post it to YouTube, and it won’t penalize me in any way. If I wanted to record myself reading the material and offer it as an audio file, that is also acceptable.

YouTube is a Search Engine

Search engines like Google and YouTube use algorithms to determine relevance. Since there isn’t a guy somewhere watching every posted video and categorizing it, YouTube relies on the publisher to do that. If you want to understand the basics of SEO, I suggest reading my article on Landing Page Optimization. Because, even though your content is in video format, all your optimization takes place in the text uploaded with your video.

Here are a few things YouTube looks at when determining their search results.

  • How often has your video been viewed?
  • Do people watch the entire video?
  • Has your video been added to people’s playlists?
  • Do you have positive rankings and comments?
  • Does your YouTube Channel have subscribers?
  • How often was your video embedded on the web?

Video Optimization Tips

Here are the basics of video optimization that you should consider mandatory.

  • Write a title that includes your keywords.
  • Use relevant and appropriate tags.
  • Include a full description of your content.

Video Optimization of the Title

Sometimes it is tempting to title your video cleverly. The problem is that people have to be able to search for it. So, if I make a video reviewing homemade ice-cream freezers and I title it Which One is Coolest? While moderately amusing, it will never show up in a search for ice-cream freezers. Even if your title is boring, make it specific. Make sure you mention your keyword in your title. A better title would be A Review of the Rival XYZ Ice-Cream Freezer.

How to Optimize YouTube Videos Using Video Keywords

Google considers particular search terms to be “video keywords” and returns video results before most text results.

The phrase, “How to…” usually returns video results. Other triggers include “review”, “tutorial”, and sport-related topics. If you upload a video that does not have an optimized title, Google won’t return it in its search results. The only way for people to find it is on YouTube itself or through links.

If your video content is the same or similar to an article published on your site, make sure you change the title so that they are not the same. It is entirely possible that both pieces will show up in the search results and you don’t want to look like you have duplicate material. Changing the title is for the reader’s sake, not for the search engine.

How to Optimize YouTube Videos Using Relevant Tags

Most SEO experts tell you that tags no longer hold significance on your website. It’s true that tags for written content don’t improve rank, but they do have a purpose. However, when it comes to your videos, tags do matter for video optimization. Tag videos with your keywords and any related phrases you can find on Google. Make sure the tags are relevant.

YouTube cares more about how long someone watches your videos than how many people watch your videos. If you load a video titled How to Groom Your Dog and tag it with “schnauzer,” then that better be what you filmed. If instead, it’s a film on Poodle cuts, the person isn’t going to stay around and watch. That is NOT a good thing.

With videos, less traffic is OK as long as they stay for a while.

Write an SEO Description of Your Video

The title makes sure you get found, and the description convinces people to watch. Also, the more keywords you include in your description, the more relevant your video. So, search engines are more likely to move them up in the search results. You should write your description as if it were a blog post.

Summarize your main points and incorporate all your relevant keywords. Your description should be between 100-300 words. Don’t use a word-for-word transcription as your description. Instead, you should include that in the “Transcript” section. Make sure you communicate to the viewer and the search engine exactly what they can expect from the video.

Closed Captions and Transcripts

Consider uploading a full transcript or closed-captioning your video. Not only does it help make your website ADA compliant, but you also reach a larger audience. It’s not just the hearing impaired that benefit. Some people watch videos in areas where they want to keep down the sound (like at work). Close-captioning allows them to do so.

Develop a YouTube Channel

A channel is a collection of your videos. People can subscribe to your channel the same way they can subscribe to your blog. When you publish new material, they receive a notification through email. This notification helps promote your video, which leads them to your site. A well-developed YouTube Channel page establishes credibility and also increases your rank.

You should film a trailer for your YouTube channel. Think of this as a short advertisement explaining what you do and why people should watch your videos. Mention your unique value proposition. You want to convey the same message regardless of the marketing channel.

Promotion is the Key to Growing Your YouTube Channel

Don’t just sit back and wait for people to find you. Actively promote your videos and your website. Embed your video on your blog or a landing page. Make sure you link to it on social media. Encourage your clients (or friends and family) to comment or like your video. It’s like a snowball. Once you get it rolling, the momentum keeps it going.

An 8 Step Process for Integrating Your Video Content:

  1. Set up a YouTube Channel specifically for your company.
  2. Film a trailer that summarizes what you do, encourages people to subscribe to your YouTube Channel, and states your unique value proposition.
  3. Upload existing videos or new videos to your channel and optimize them using keywords in the Title, Tags, and Description.
  4. Film new videos and publish on a set schedule, just as you would blog postings.
  5. Write a companion blog for every video and embed the video on your site.
  6. Promote both the video and the blog post separately on social media.
  7. Encourage clients, friends, and family to comment and like both the social media posts and the video itself.
  8. Make sure you add links to the video description that lead to the relevant blog post and your website.

Now that you know more about video optimization, you should see your video rank increase. You should also see an increase in website traffic.

Learn More About Video Optimization

There are lots of companies out there that offer to help make online videos. We partner with some of the best videographers to provide you with a quality video that is properly optimized.

KDGS Works, in Overland Park KS, helps local businesses drive traffic and improve their search ranking through content development. Call and receive a Free Website Analysis and Consultation.

For more information on SEO content strategies or how you can grow your business online, get a copy of our newsletter.

Picture of Kim Schmutzler

Kim Schmutzler

Kim is the owner of KDGS WORKS, a web design and digital marketing agency located in the Kansas City Metro area. KDGS Works partners with businesses and web designers across the United States to better the SEO and Content Marketing Efforts of small businesses.

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