YouTube (owned by Google) is one of the largest search engines on the Internet – 2nd after Google search.

It is also the largest video hosting sites on the internet today with more than 100 hours worth of videos uploaded every minute, daily.

Billions of people log on to YouTube to watch videos or upload fresh content.

This has made it one of the largest sources of traffic online.

Companies, marketers, and entrepreneurs use YouTube to market their products and brands thanks to the massive amounts of traffic coming to and from the site.

Dynamic Marketing Platform

With video marketing gaining popularity among marketers, users have to compete for rankings and traffic on the site.

Without proper marketing methods, other videos would choke up your video uploads thus making it almost impossible for your target audience to see them.

If handled properly, these videos can be an excellent source of traffic to your website thus leading to higher returns on investment (ROI).

Advertising Options

Advertising via YouTube is reasonably much cheaper than other advertisement options (such as Adwords PPC and television ads) hence a great channel to optimize and cut advertising business expenditure when leveraged correctly.

Social Media Website Integration

Integrating YouTube with social media and the company website is relatively easy. This is mainly because YouTube offers incredible integration tools that not only facilitate proper integration but also support content marketing as well.

All one needs to do is ensure his/her videos and channels are properly optimized to attract audiences and its search engine crawlers.

Outlined below are a top ways on how to optimize video content for search engines.

How to Optimize YouTube Videos for Search Engines (Google). 

1. File Naming

As part of YouTube optimization, proper keyword research on how to name files before uploading them to YouTube is beneficial.

Proper file naming not only makes the clip searchable but also makes it easier when indexing for relevancy. The file name and uploaded video title should match as closely as possible.

For longer file-names, you can separate each word with a hyphen. So instead of ‘LSCP0012.mp4’, you should (re)name it by the topic, for example: “local-seo-tips-video.mp4”.

Having your target audience in mind when naming a file, or creating a title for the same increases its chances on YouTube and other search engines as well.

2. Keyword Usage

Search engines depend on keywords to distinguish relevant content from irrelevant ones when displaying search results.

These keywords are commonly used as pointers detailing what the video file is all about, hence, should be researched and used properly.

For the best results, it would be a wise idea to research and identify keywords to use, and matching your niche.

If you have no idea on how to use keywords or determine higher converting keywords, you can then make use of Ubersuggest (The old YouTube Keyword tool was replaced in 2014).

Select the video option from the pull-down box, and find relevant keyword suggestions for “videos”. Here, we see an example of “local seo tips” and related terms. (TIP: Install the keyword chrome extension to get search volume and CPC data).

youtube-keyword-tool-replacement
YouTube keyword (videos) tool – Ubersuggest.org

There are other tools you can use as well for your video keyword research:

  • YouTube ‘auto-suggest’ (type directly into YouTube search to see suggestions)
  • Google Keywords – Display Planner option (select “video” from the filter option)
  • Keywordtool.io – search keywords directly (select “YouTube” option to filter)
youtube-local-seo-tips-search-suggest-keywords
YouTube’s own keyword research (suggest) feature – “local seo tips” example

Be sure to use desired or targeted keywords in the video title and description to increase its visibility online.

3. Optimize Video Titles

YouTube video titles should contain up to approximately 55 characters. (organic results)

The best way to optimize video titles is by including relevant keywords. This not online increases the clip’s visibility on YouTube search engines, but to the World Wide Web as well.

youtube-character-count-length-seo
YouTube character count (length) in the TITLE (for organic search results)

The title also needs to be engaging and giving the audient an idea of what the clip is all about.

While properly used keywords attract search engine crawlers, an intriguing title attracts target audience thus increasing traffic to the video clip.

Like many other search engines, YouTube search engine ranks videos based on the number of views/visitors among other factors.

4. Use Video Descriptions

A video description provides the audience with an idea of what the clip is about. When a user enters a search on YouTube, the engine gives him/her a long list of hits to choose from.

It is through the video title and description that an audience can learn what each file is about – hence going for, and selecting the right one.

Every video clip you upload on YouTube should therefore have a short description. The snippet result will show in organic results. When viewing in full video mode, about 160 characters is recommended.

youtube-description-character-count-display-chaosmap

Any website link should be added first. That’s before entering the description. It will encourage a link click back to your main site if they want to learn more.

Be sure to weave in relevant keywords in the description as well.

5. Respect Tags and Categories

Each video clip you upload on YouTube should belong in one of several other categories.

Ensure you have selected the right/relevant channel before hitting the upload button.

Some of these categories include:

  • comedy
  • autos and vehicles
  • education
  • animation
  • film
  • how-to and style
  • gaming
  • music
  • pets and animals
  • people and blogs
  • travel and sports among others

Choosing the right channel/category for your video increases its probability to be seen.

Tags, on the other hand, help identify the video clip from various categories. Tagging the video with keywords is an excellent way of optimizing YouTube videos.

6. Make use of Video Annotations

YouTube Annotations present a new and exciting way of adding related notes, speech bubbles, title or spotlight on an already playing video clip.

This helps deliver the desired message to the target audience without disrupting or dividing their attention. Video annotations provide an excellent way of optimizing conversions through the video.

This is because they can be used for call-to-action messages and prompts, and to introduce other brands or products one might have.

While most companies do not use video annotations in video marketing, those who use it have recorded higher traffic and returns on investment than before.

It would therefore be advisable to use/add annotations to give the viewer tips and insights on a new product or brand.

7. Create a playlist

Although YouTube playlists have been around for a while; very few people know how to make the most out of them.

“A playlist is a collection of videos. Anybody can make playlists and share them.” – YouTube

YouTube playlist comes in handy for channel administrators with a bunch of YouTube videos to promote.

Creating a playlist makes it easier to add new videos to the list, as well as allow followers and audiences to subscribe to your channel.

The best thing about using playlists is that subscribers are notified as soon as a new video is added to your playlist.

In addition to this, search engines index playlists much faster than they do single video clips.

8. Create a YouTube channel

Creating a YouTube channel provides a search and user friendly way of accessing, interacting and sharing content with your target audience.

You however should be a little more creative to make the channel unique and to your preferences. Users can use YouTube channels to highlight other videos and channels they might have online.

This works in an almost similar way as content marketing where your target audiences get what they need in one bucket.

Another key benefit of using YouTube channels is that it gives audiences easily the privilege to share your content to their blogs or profiles.

This again amplifies visibility especially when these audiences share the content through social networking platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

9. Allow sharing on social media

Social networking sites provide some of the best sources of traffic that can significantly boost your visibility online.

Enabling users to share your videos via all social and professional networking platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram or LinkedIn not online increases visibility, but also boosts conversions as well.

This is especially important for people or marketers promoting new products or brands online.

Social networking sites receive billions of unique users every day – tapping into these numbers increases visibility and rankings by other search engines on the web. Your video may be found on these other prominent sites.

Sharing is caring

You can also place URLs on your social profiles for easier sharing.

Allowing users to share the video clips to their profiles also increases visibility hence should be encouraged.

Video Captions

Captions also prove a great way for marketers and users to enable search engines to understand video content.

While captions are mostly used for physically challenged persons (especially the deaf), they allow search engine crawlers to read or even index the video content. Google, Bing, Yahoo and YouTube search engines use crawlers to determine the best content to display in the results page.

Integrating captions within your video clips is therefore a clever way of increasing video content visibility on the entire World Wide Web.

Regular Updates, Fresh Content

Just as it is with other content optimization and marketing mechanisms, it would be advisable to post/upload fresh and high-quality content on your YouTube channels.

Plus, video quality today is much better than it was three years ago and keeps getting better by the day.

While HD content is widely appreciated, ensure it is lightweight and easy to load even on slow networks or portable devices (mobile). People have grown impatient over time and will only give a video clip less than 6 seconds to load before hitting the escape or back button.

As long as the quality is good: interesting, fun, educational and informative, you should attract more views and shares. That will lead to increasing visibility and ranks by other search engines too.

If you haven’t been optimizing YouTube videos for audience and search engines, you are missing out big on traffic and possible returns.

Optimizing YouTube videos is relatively easy and doesn’t consume much time either.

YouTube video marketing goes a long way in creating brand awareness and building a good reputation online.

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Jon Rognerud is known as the most sought-after SEO, Digital Marketing Consultant and Online Advisor for Finance, Technology, Real-Estate and Health industries. He is famous for building business strategies, mobile websites and integrated marketing solutions that brings process, profits and brand loyalty…without wasting time. Jon Rognerud is the author of the best-selling book (Buy On Amazon), “The Ultimate Guide To Optimizing Your Website” (Entrepreneur Press) and is the Founder of Chaosmap. Get more information about the company here.