Pt. II: Publishing & Optimization
I recently wrote about how YouTube is making it easier for businesses to get exposure by releasing the YouTube Creator Playbook. A basic “How To” guide to getting your video higher search engine rankings. By following the playbook, your video can not only rank higher in Google searches, but also YouTube searches, Bing searches, Yahoo searches and others.
1. Metadata.Metadata are your titles, tags, and descriptions. It helps YouTube index your content and is critical to building views. Make your tiles compelling. This is your headline or your hook. Your title should be concise, informative and, at times, entertaining. Unlike headlines, the title to your video should include keywords that should be repeated throughout your tags and description. Put the keywords first in the title and your show title or channel name at the end.
Write keyword tags that are a combination of specific and general terms that are relevant to the video’s content. An example for this article would be video marketing, YouTube marketing, video SEO, as well as video, marketing, SEO. An example for a video that we recently produced for a local clock store named Clockworks would include general tags such as clocks, watches, antiques, repair and specific tags such as the brands and styles of watches that they carry. If you have a retail store, include the towns where you are located. Select a reasonable number of tags that most closely reflect your video content.
Write your description for both the viewer and the search engines. You can also include additional info that was not covered in the video. Your description is an opportunity for you to let new viewers know about your channel. Outbound links to your main channel or website, subscription to your channel, related content, your social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc) will also help the YouTube algorithm for SEO rankings.
As in your title, the order of your tags is also important. You should repeat your keywords in the same order in your tags and your description. When using phrases in your keywords such as “video marketing” or “local business”, use quotes instead of commas.
2. Thumbnails – You can’t always be lucky enough to have one of the three thumbnails that are provided by by YouTube to be the perfect image that reflects the content of the video as well as engage the viewer. If you need to create your own custom image, it should be clear and in focus at a minimum of 640px by 360px. It is also recommended that the image be bright with high contrast, be visually compelling, close up on the subject, well framed and looks good whether it’s view either small or large.
The thumbnail image is one of the most important attributes of your video because it will appears in the search results and will be one of the determining factors of whether the viewer clicks on your video or someone else’s.
A good practice to get in to is to look for the thumbnail image while you are shooting or editing. Another option is to take photos during the shoot. Most photo software will let you resize, enhance or even combine images for your thumbnail.
3. Annotations – Annotations are text overlays that you can position on your YouTube videos and are seen as the video plays. They can be used to supply additional information at specific times in the video. They can also be linked to allow the viewer subscribe to the video, channel or interact with the video. One of the best uses is to attract new interest and interaction to old videos.
When creating annotations for your video, be sure not to obstruct critical elements of your video. This also includes the lower third of the image where, if you are monetizing your content, the ads will appear.
One of the most effective uses of annotations is to create an “end card” that appears at the end of your video for 15 to 20 seconds that links to your other related content. You have most likely seen this already when the YouTube algorithm posts links to related videos.