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Optimize Your YouTube Channel: 8 Ways Rank Higher and Attract New Viewers

As the number two search engine in the world (after Google), YouTube is an excellent tool for marketers to capture engagement and drive brand growth. As of May 2019, YouTube has over 2 billion logged-in monthly users and 73% of U.S. adults utilize the platform. That’s more users than runner up Facebook, which sits at 69% (source.)

YouTube on Mobile Phone

Many companies create beautiful and engaging video content, upload it to YouTube, and do not see the view count growing. YouTube’s algorithm accounts for 70% of suggested content to viewers. If your channel is not optimized for the platform, however, there’s a good chance that it won’t be seen by the audience you’d like to attract.

If you’re ready to get started with YouTube, or just want to get more viewers and subscribers, here are eight boosts you can do today to optimize your YouTube channel:

1. Write a Detailed and Keyword Rich Channel Description

The first 48 characters from your About Us description will show up in search results. While it’s recommended to have a robust and keyword friendly description, making sure the first 48 characters accurately and clearly describe your channel is most important. The remainder of the description should tell the story of your brand’s channel, what viewers can expect, and a little more info about your brand. The limit is 1000 characters and 650+ characters is ideal.

2. Add Keywords to Your Channel

This setting is a bit difficult to find. In your dashboard, go to Channel Settings, then Channel, then Update Keywords. Use a minimum of 10 keywords to describe your channel, with a mix of brand keywords, high-level industry keywords, and a few long-tail keywords.

3. Use Keywords in Filenames

This is a simple SEO boost that’s often overlooked. Instead of naming your file something generic like brandnamevideo1, name your file with the exact same naming convention as your video title. This will help YouTube understand more about the content of your video.

4. Write SEO-Friendly Video Titles

After doing your keyword research, choose two to three keywords to add to your title and front load them in your title. For example, instead of naming your video “9 Tips for Ranking Higher on YouTube” a more SEO-friendly title would be: Rank Higher on YouTube: 9 Tips to Attract More Views. Keep your title relevant to your video and avoid clickbait -- as Google will penalize your video.

5. Write SEO-Friendly Video Descriptions

Write clear and keyword-focused content in the video description box. Front load the first sentence with relevant keywords pertaining to your brand and the video, including keywords from your video title. Again, this tells YouTube what the viewer expects to view when clicking on your video, and allows YouTube to better serve your video in relevant search results. Aim for 200+ words in the description and don’t forget to put a call to action back to your website, blog, or social channels.

6. Add Hashtags to YouTube Videos

YouTube will now show three hashtags above the video’s title. These work just like hashtags on other platforms where if you click the tag, it will show you videos with the same tag. This also helps Google/YouTube understand your video content, allowing people to find your video by clicking the hashtag. Though the downside of that it could also entice people to click the hashtag and leave your video. That’s why it’s recommended to have a brand hashtag so users can find all your relevant content easily by clicking on the hashtag.

7. Turn on Closed Caption Subtitles

Search engines can crawl text, but not watch videos, so turning on the closed caption feature can help Google understand your video’s content and rank your video accordingly. YouTube has built in auto-captions -- to turn on subtitles click the CC icon at the bottom of a YouTube video. YouTubes auto video-to-text is about 70% accurate, so a human will need to edit the captions to insure there are no embarrassing errors.

8. Create Branded Thumbnails for All Videos

Videos with thumbnails (think: cover photos) get an average of 150% more engagement ( Eye-catching thumbnails help attract viewers and are a visual representation of your video content. Keep thumbnails clear and concise, and easy enough to read on mobile. Thumbnails should also be consistent across your brand, allowing users to easily identify your video content, quickly.


Ready to add YouTube to your digital marketing strategy? We can help with that. Let’s chat about how to grow your brand’s footprint with a YouTube marketing strategy.


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