YouTube might be the greatest untapped resource when it comes to marketing your brand. Business owners mistakenly think video content has nothing to do with their business and offers no benefit. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, the platform does require a little more work than simply posting an update on Facebook, but its power knows no boundaries. If you’re interested in starting to leverage the power of YouTube for your business, then you need to understand one very important concept: how to optimize YouTube videos.
What Does it Mean to Optimize YouTube Videos?
Maybe you’ve heard of optimizing your blog content using search engine optimization (SEO). This is when you focus your blog on a relevant keyword and use that keyword in specific places, such as:
- The title.
- Image alt texts.
- The URL.
Pick a Relevant Keyword
Optimization all starts with a keyword. In fact, you might want to do keyword research before you even record a video. This is how you can determine what people are actually searching for and interested in. (We do this before writing blog content, too!)
The simplest way to get started with keyword research is to begin typing a potential keyword into YouTube and see what auto-populates. YouTube is showing you things people are already searching for. Pretty cool, right? Here’s an example. When I type in “how to post,” this is what I see:
So, I know that these are topics people are already searching for.
There’s additional research you can do to find more specific information though — like the average monthly searches a keyword is getting. Google’s Keyword Planner Tool along with Google Trends can help with this.
The goal is to ideally find something that’s high-traffic but low-competition. To begin, though, just focus on finding a popular keyword that you know people are searching for. Baby steps.
Use Your Keyword in All The Right Places
YouTube and Google are paying attention to not only your keyword but where you use it. At a minimum, include it in the following places:
You should also incorporate your keyword into the file name of your video, separating each word with a dash. For instance, if you’re optimizing a video for the keyword “how to post on instagram stories,” you can name your video file, “how-to-post-on-instagram-stories.”
There’s one final place you can include your keyword. To be clear, though, we don’t really know yet if this plays a factor in your rankings, and if so, how much.
Regardless, it’s good for user experience.
You can include your keyword in your video thumbnail. The easiest way to do this is to put the title of your video onto the thumbnail as text, since this already contains your keywords.
Use big, bold text that will be easy for people to see and read.
Just Say No to Keyword Stuffing
An important note: As is the case with website and blog copy, it’s in your best interest to completely avoid keyword stuffing when it comes to optimizing YouTube videos.
In case you’re not yet familiar, keyword stuffing is… exactly what it sounds like. It’s excessively using your keyword all over the webpage in an attempt to rank higher for said term. This used to work, way back in the day. It doesn’t anymore, period.
These days, Google, and therefore YouTube, is incredibly savvy when it comes to identifying black hat techniques like keyword stuffing. Not only does it not work, but it’ll hurt you. The search engine indeed penalizes content that uses techniques like this.
You should always use keywords in a natural and organic way. If you have to force them into your content, leaving it sounding awkward to the viewer/reader, then it’s wrong. Be sure to read your content out loud before you publish iy. You’ll very likely be able to pick up on any places where it just sounds too forced.
Bear in mind that this is a marathon, not a sprint. Slow and steady wins the race. You want to aim to consistently post high-quality content over time. It’s not about spamming your own videos with keywords. Think about the overall health and quality of your entire page — not just one video.