To optimize YouTube videos (or SEO for YouTube) simply follow a couple basic steps when uploading your videos. SEO for YouTube is just as important as assuring your website’s pages and structure is optimized for search engines.
The most important step is actually the creation of the content itself. Before you even upload your video try to look at the content from a consumers point of view. Whether you’re targeting customers as a retailer or B2B Lead Generation as a service provider, the content you produce should be tailored to the demographic you’re trying to reach. You may think it’s great content, but if your target viewer doesn’t agree, the content won’t be shared and the search engines are unlikely to reward you with higher search engine rankings.
Remember, YouTube and the Search Engines do not “read” videos. They only know what a video is about based on the description you assign to it. Therefore it’s important that you spend some time researching keywords, just as you would for on-site SEO or off-site SEO.
So let’s assume you have great content, and you know the keywords you want to target. IMPORTANT TIP: Before you do anything, make sure the file name of your raw video file includes the keywords you’d like to target. While this info isn’t displayed publicly on YouTube, it is considered when ranking video relevancy.
Okay, now you’re ready to hit that video upload button and get started..
1. Video Title
Your Video Title is in essence the meta title of the page. This is the first thing “read” by the search engines when indexing your video for search results. The YouTube title character limit is 100 characters which means you’re allowed 100 spaces and it includes all characters and spaces. IMPORTANT TIP: While you’re allows 99 characters, only the first 66 characters are displayed in search results! As you’re uploading your video and editing the content, YouTube displays what is visible to the search engines at the top of your screen.
Your most important keywords should be put as close to the beginning of the Video Title as possible. Just as when writing meta titles for web pages think, <keyword1, keyword2, keyword3> and so on. Good keywords are based on the search terms for which you’d like to be discovered. Again, think of how you’d like to be found by your average customer. Those search terms should be the keywords in your title.
2. Video Description
You are allowed 5000 characters for your Video Descriptions… use them! The video description is similar to the meta description of a web page. It’s important to reiterate your keyword phrases as well. I recommend including a link to your website in your video description as well. After-all, you’re not uploading video just to kill time! You’re uploading video to gain more search engine visibility and to be exposed to new consumers! IMPORTANT TIP: Your video description is truncated when displayed as well. You can see this by clicking on any video page and viewing the description. While the full description is available by clicking on the “Show More” link, you’ll see only about the first 175-190 Characters are displayed.
3. Video Tags
YouTube recommends limiting your video tags to 120 characters. Your video tags should include your keyword or keyword phrases used in the above two steps. IMPORTANT TIP: For longer keyword phrases, it’s a good idea to put quotations before and after the phrase. This tells the search engines that you want to appear for that phrase of keywords and not just individual keywords included in the phrase.