YouTube is now the second-largest search engine next to Google, broadcasting videos to more than a billion users in 54 languages. With a potential audience this large, it’s no wonder businesses are turning to YouTube as a vital part of their social media strategy. Uploading videos is a fantastic way to increase your client base, generate traffic and promote your services – plus, it’s fun!

With around 300 hours of content being uploaded to YouTube every minute, it’s important to stand out from the crowd. Learn how to optimize your YouTube video, and you’ll attract more viewers. YouTube ranks videos in a similar but slightly less sophisticated way than Google does, using metadata including video descriptions, and titles and tags, as well as engagement factors, such as how many people comment, like and share your video, and how many viewers subscribe after watching.

If you optimize your metadata, you increase your viewers – and their engagement then increases your chances of being seen even further. Optimize your videos well, and they can even rank in Google searches, reaching an even broader audience.

So, if you want to learn how to boost your viewing figures, just follow these four fool-proof steps to optimize your videos.

Optimize Your Video Titles

Of course, you want to make your video title compelling – but it also needs to be descriptive. Choose a title around 50 characters long that includes your brand name and a relevant keyword that people may use when searching for videos like yours. Rename your video file to match the title you choose for YouTube, separating the words with a hyphen. Upload subtitles and closed captions, if you can, as this is a good way to boost your video’s global appeal.

Keywords are so important in YouTube SEO, as they make your video easier to find. But they don’t have to be complicated. Take wine sales brand Travelling Vineyard for example: you’ll see its titles include the brand name and simple wine-related keywords, such as “wine” and “pinot noir.”

Don’t Forget Your Video Tags

Not only do your title and file name need to include your main relevant keyword, you should also come up with further keyword phrases and add them as tags when you upload the video to YouTube. This is an easy way for the YouTube search engine facility to work out what your video is about.

When you have come up with some potential keyword tags, Google each one and check whether there are any YouTube videos on the first results page. If not, that’s OK. It might still be worth keeping that tag, but if you can find keywords that bring back YouTube video results in Google, then you have yourself a “video keyword.”

Why is this important? Google only ranks certain kinds of keywords in its search engine – use these “video keywords,” and they have the potential to rank in both Google and YouTube, giving you the potential to attract a much bigger audience.

Write Detailed Video Descriptions

YouTube video descriptions are crucially important. The search engine can’t exactly watch your video, so this is your chance to give an accurate description of your video’s content. Make your description at least 250 words long to include as much information as possible and make your video easier to rank.

You’ve come up with your relevant keywords. Now you need to include them in your video description as well. Use your main title keyword somewhere in the first 25 words of your descriptions.

You also need to include the key information about your business, such as your brand name, Web URL and social media links in your description. Bear in mind, viewers are unlikely to read your entire description, so put your most important information at the start of your description. Brands such as Lush Hair Extensions offer a great example of how to get it right – they use keywords and link to both their Website and social media platforms.

If your business has an international ethos, a translated description is also a great way of reaching a more global audience.  

Check Your Channel and Profile Settings

Another simple way to optimize your YouTube video is to make sure your channel is as visible as it can be:
• Select “visible” in your channel settings
• Select “public” in your video’s privacy settings
• Use your brand’s name as both your profile name and your YouTube channel name.
• Use relevant keywords in your profile and channel descriptions to help people search for your company. Include links to your Website and social media as well.
• Promote your videos! Optimization is important, but you can also help generate traffic by celebrating your videos. Try embedding them in your Website, linking to them from your social media and posting them in relevant forums. And never be afraid to include a bold call to action asking people to subscribe to your channel and comment, share or like. Remember, the more your viewers engage, the better your video will rank and the more people will see it.

These simple but effective ways to optimize your YouTube videos will give you a better chance of attracting the viewers you deserve and growing your brand’s client base.

Haiden Beckett is a writer and social media consultant with a passion for working with small businesses and startups. She regularly writes for a number of online publications including www.focusclinics.com/blog/ and www.lushhairextensions.co.uk/blogs