Optimizing Video Content to Gain More Viewers

Checklist: 10-Steps To Optimize Video Content

January 8, 2020

Most people understand the gist of search engine optimization, but did you know that you can apply those same SEO tactics to optimizing your video content? Whether or not your video content lives on your website, or is utilized on your YouTube platform, making sure it is optimized correctly for SEO at the beginning makes less work for you in the future. Not to mention you’ll get more out of your video content by doing so.

It may sound simple enough to optimize your video for SEO by implementing specific keywords into the title of your video, but there is actually so much more you can do when it comes to video optimization. Keep reading for detailed steps you can follow. The process laid out below is geared towards optimizing your video content for YouTube in particular, but again, you can use these tactics to optimize any video content.

Here is the video optimization checklist that you can apply to all your video content on YouTube:

Step 1:

  • Do Keyword Research -
    • Just like creating any written piece of content or running Google ads, you want to perform your keyword research first!
    • The most basic method for doing this is by checking YouTube to see if your chosen keywords have results. I would also recommend checking with Google Trends to discover search volume for your potential keywords over time. You can also use keyword research tools, such as keywordtool.io.
    • Some of the most popular video content includes how-to, reviews, and anything that’s funny or sports and fitness related.

Step 2:

  • Know Your Audience -
    • As obvious as this step may seem, it needs to be a part of your video planning process!
    • If you want to capture your target audience’s attention, then you need to know what interests them. Ask yourself questions such as:
      • “How will I benefit from this?”
      • “Will I learn something new and interesting?”

Step 3:

  • Optimize Your Video File -
    • Use one of your keywords in the name of the file.
    • YouTube can’t “watch” your video to know how relevant your content is, but it can read the video file name and all the code that comes with it when it’s uploaded.

Step 4:

  • Optimize Your Video Title -
    • Make sure to utilize one of the keywords that you researched in your title.
    • To help your video rank higher, it’s best to make sure your keywords are the first few words in your title.
    • Make sure the title defines the topic of the video.
    • Titles should be at least 5 words.

Step 5:

  • Optimize Your Video Description -
    • Once again, use those keywords 3-4 times throughout your description, and don’t keyword stuff!
    • Be sure your description clearly indicates what the video is all about.
    • Make sure the descriptions sound natural so it doesn’t decrease the credibility.
    • People aren’t the only ones that read the descriptions to determine what the video is about - so do search engines. YouTube & Google will index them.
    • Place a link to your website in the upper part of the description as well. This helps your website get ranked, in addition to driving more traffic to it.
    • The length of the video description should be at least 250 words.

Step 6:

  • Feature A Good Video Thumbnail -
    • Aside from your video title, your video thumbnail will be the next element your viewers notice.
    • The thumbnail should provide a glimpse or snapshot of your video content.
    • YouTube will automatically provide you 3 options for a thumbnail after you upload your video.
      • If your YouTube account is verified & has a good record, you’ll be able to upload a custom image.
      • This special option will appear beneath the 3 options for thumbnails that YouTube auto-generates for you.
      • Having this option is preferred because then you’re able to have a better chance at enticing people with a custom image that is unique.
    • Here are three tips to keep in mind when choosing that custom thumbnail image:
      • Choose a perfect still from your video.
      • Add text which people can easily read. You can use a photo editing app for this, such as PicMonkey.
      • Go back and upload custom thumbnail images for your past videos as soon as you’re able to.
    • Thumbnail resolutions should be 1280 x 720 pixels.

Step 7:

  • Add Appropriate Tags To Your Video -
    • Tags are basically keywords that you add to your video after uploading it.
    • When people enter keywords into a search engine to look for video content, and your video is tagged, it becomes more visible in search results.
    • Just like the other elements of your video (title, description, thumbnail) your tags must be relevant to your video content.
    • Relevant & specific tags help you rank better.

Step 8:

  • Categorize Your Video -
    • Under “advanced settings” you can categorize your video. However, this is not as simple as it looks.
    • YouTube’s “Creator Academy” suggests that marketers go through a comprehensive process to determine which category their video belongs in. Some of the questions you’ll be asked to answer are:
      • Who are the top creators within a 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 shared qualities like production value, length, and format?
    • Choosing a category is another way to group your video with similar content on YouTube so it winds up in various playlists and gains exposure to more viewers who identify with your audience.

Step 9:

  • Add Subtitles & Closed Captions -
    • Just like much of the other texts we’ve discussed, subtitles and closed captions can boost YouTube search optimization by highlighting keywords.
    • To add subtitles or closed captions you’ll need to upload a supported text transcript or timed subtitles file.
      • You can also directly enter transcript text for a video so that it auto-syncs with the video.
    • Under your video manager go to Videos > Video Manager and 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,” and how you would like to add them.

Step 10:

  • Add Cards & End Screens To Increase Viewership -
    • When you’re watching a video on YouTube, have you ever seen a small white circular icon with an “i” in the center appear in the corner, or perhaps even a translucent bar of text asking you to subscribe?
    • Those are called “Cards,” which are described as pre-formatted 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 5 cards to a single video, and there are 6 types. I’ll explain more about those 6 types of cards:
      • Channel Cards: Direct viewers to another channel.
      • Donation Cards: Encourage fundraising on behalf of US nonprofit organizations.
      • Fan Funding Cards: Ask your viewers to help support the creation of your video content.
      • Link Cards: Direct viewers to an external site, approved crowdfunding platform, or an approved merchandise selling platform.
      • Poll Cards: Pose a question to viewers and allow them to vote for a response.
      • Video/Playlist Cards: Link to other YouTube content of this kind.
    • End Screens: Display similar information as cards, but they don’t display until a video is over.
      • Ex: An overlay with a book image and a visual link to view more on the video below.

At Floodcast, we recommend working with an SEO expert from an SEO agency. There are a lot of tips and tricks gained over years in the industry. So if you want to utilize SEO beyond video, reach out to one of our team members today and get started with an SEO audit!