Although most people never stop to think about it, YouTube is one of the largest search engines in the world, providing millions upon millions of video results spanning almost every topic imaginable. Just like content listed on any other search engine, YouTube videos need to be optimized in order to rank highly in search results. SEO on YouTube primarily centers on the written elements that surround a video: the title, description and tags. Here are some helpful beginner tips for optimizing each of these elements.
As the first written element attached to a video, a title is very important for both the viewer and for SEO purposes. A title should clearly state what your video is about so that viewers can make an informed decision about whether or not to watch it, but should also contain keywords selected for your video. Typically, it is best to have 1-2 keywords in a video title. The primary keyword that you are trying to rank for in search results should come as close to the beginning of the title as possible. If the title is short enough once the primary keyword has been included, a secondary keyword can be included farther into the title.
From an SEO perspective, a video’s description is the most critical element. Because it can be longer than a title reasonably can, a video description can be used to target many keywords. Your video description should use the keywords from your title at least twice more each, though more is advisable in longer descriptions. Ideally, your description should be in excess of 200 words, as this gives Google enough information about your video to rank it properly. You can also add in several more keywords that are used 1-2 times throughout the text of your description. Finally, you should include at least 3 links in your description to other videos, useful sources of information or other external resources. Outbound links tell YouTube more about your video and help it to rank better in search results.
Though most people believe that video tags are the primary component for YouTube SEO, the title and description are actually much more important. Tags do, however, provide you with one more opportunity to insert your focus keywords into your video’s SEO profile. Add the main keywords from your title, as well as any keywords you targeted in your description, as tags for your video. Make sure that all tags are relevant to the topic of your video, as tags that are too general can make it more difficult for your video to be found by the specific audience you are targeting.
By optimizing your video’s title, tags and description for good keywords, you can easily begin to attract a regular stream of organic traffic to your YouTube video. Repeat this process on every video you produce to see overall channel growth and more subscribers. Also remember to keep the videos on your channel focused around a specific niche, as this can help with the overall ranking of videos from your channel in search results specific to that niche.