Tips for Video Search Engine Optimization on YouTube

Uploading a video to your YouTube Channel is pretty easy; it’s what you do with the video once it’s part of your site that influences how much visibility it gets.

YouTube works as a typical search engine regarding listing results. The search algorithm checks the title, the description, the tags, the number of views, the links and ratings of the video. Therefore you should focus to the above factors to make sure that you have fully optimized your videos and get high rankings not only on YouTube but also on Google. Note that even though YouTube is about video . . . search engines don’t look at video files; they look at the content that surrounds them. It’s the written word that determines your Search Engine Ranking.

As part of your marketing strategy identify the key words or phrases that you want to have identified with your college or university. Think about it like this: these are the words that you hope people will use to find your college on YouTube.

  1. Use key words in your title. While cute or funny titles seem like they would attract views, it’s better to be descriptive than clever. The title of your YouTube video becomes its meta tag and it is also the most important piece of information that search engines have about your video.
  2. Write your description with SEO in mind. Use key words and descriptive phrases when you describe your video. After the title, it’s the most important information for search engines. It can be helpful to include a URL in your description especially if you are driving viewers to a specific program or event. Put that URL first.
  3. If you need input on key words, YouTube has a Keyword suggestion tool that can help you identify the words YouTube viewers are searching on (keep in mind that video searches are often different than web searches): https://ads.youtube.com/keyword_tool.
  4. Make those first 27 characters count. This how many characters you have for key word placement before the ellipsis when the description is truncated. That’s why you should put the URL first.
  5. Fill out the “tags” with key words about the specific video and your channel. Aim for at least 5-7 relevant words or phrases. Tags associate your video with other videos that use the same tags so when people watch a different video, your video will get highlighted as a “related” video and garner more views. Tags work best when they are written in a logical order – the way someone might type into a search box, so think through your strategy before putting them in randomly.
  6. Take advantage of annotations and captions to link to other videos or drive people to your related social media tools (like Facebook).
  7. Don’t forget to fill out the location for your videos. Part of YouTube’s analytics is geographic and you will get more information if your location is identified.
  8. Encourage embedding, don’t restrict it. When someone embeds your video on their site it counts as an inbound link and boosts that video’s rating in search engine results.
  9. Encourage viewers to rate your videos. Higher ratings and more comments indicate that videos are better/more interesting. Use Facebook and Twitter to encourage your viewers to rate your videos and leave comments.

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