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While videos are an essential part of online marketing, we oftentimes overlook the importance of following YouTube and video optimization practices. YouTube is one of the largest search engines in the world, generating billions of video views every day. Optimizing your YouTube channel for search can help you increase brand awareness and capture more customers for your local business.

How Does YouTube Ranking Work?

In order to understand how to optimize your YouTube videos you need to know what factors affect YouTube rankings:

  • Keyword Relevance
  • Likes & Dislikes on Your Video
  • Comments
  • Length of Video
  • Watch Time
  • Subscribers

Similar to Google and other search engines, YouTube’s algorithm places focus on keyword relevance and user behavior when interacting with your video or channel.

How To Optimize Your YouTube Video

1. Put Thought Into Your Titles & Descriptions

As you should always do when optimizing content online, do your keyword research and incorporate the most relevant keywords in your video title and description.

  • Focus on creating titles that clearly describe what your video is about.
  • Don’t use long, non-descriptive, or vague titles.
  • Place the keywords you want to target in the 100 words of your description.

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Quick Tip: Certain keywords, known as “video keywords,” will pull videos as results in Google’s SERP.  Keywords that include words like “how to,” “review,” “setting up,” or “tutorial” are likely to pull up YouTube video results.

2. Include Your “NAP”

“NAP” stands for “Name, Address, Phone,” which are the 3 essential pieces of your business information that you should include in the video and description. Don’t be afraid of the shameless plug. Because Google is able to convert video audio into text transcript, it can benefit you to state information about your business in the video.

As for the YouTube description, the character limit is very generous, giving you the freedom to include a short snippet about your business.

3. Improve Your Viewer’s User Experience With A Timeline

If you have a long video, include an outline with timestamps in your description. For example, if you decide to do a long video describing all the different services you offer, you would want to show your users a timeline of the topics covered in your video, so that they can quickly navigate to the information they want to see. This is also a way to incorporate more keywords into your description to reinforce the relevancy of your video for your targeted topics.


When you add times (ex. 1:14-3:45) to your description, YouTube will turn the times into clickable text, so that your viewers can click on the time to skip to that time in the video.

4. Choose The Appropriate & Local Categories And Tags

When you are uploading your video, you are given the option to choose a category and enter tags for the video.

  • Make sure to choose the appropriate category.
  • YouTube will also suggest a number of tags to use based on commonly searched terms. Stick to an average range of 5-6 tags.
  • You can use the suggested tags along with other keywords that you believe are relevant to your video.
  • Most importantly, include your business locations as tags on the video.

Quick Tip: Provide a “geotag” for your videos. This is different from adding tags. Within “advanced settings,” you are able to provide the coordinates of your business location.

5. Include A Call To Action

Other than the link to your website that you include in the description, you’ll want to conclude you video with a call to action, which is simply a quick phrase that is meant to entice viewers to take a specific action. Here are some examples:

  • Contact Our Office For More Information!
  • Visit Our Website!
  • Have A Topic You’re Interested In? Leave Us Suggestions For Our Next Video.
  • Share Our Video With Your Friends!

6. Playlist URL

Creating a YouTube playlist with all of your videos loops them together. After one video on a playlist ends, the next video in the queue automatically starts playing. Sharing a playlist URL, as opposed to a link to a single video, often increases watch time, since other video content that the user may be interested is more visible and easily accessible.

7. Place Annotations & Cards On Your Videos

YouTube gives you the ability to annotate your videos with speech bubbles, spotlights, notes, and other types of text overlay. Use annotations and cards to your advantage – to highlight particular parts of the video, to include additional information not noted in the video, and most importantly, to include calls to action (e.g., encouraging your viewers to subscribe to your channel, visit a page on your website, or check out your store).

Place your annotations in noticeable but unobtrusive locations, such as the corners and borders of the video. Also, be conscious of how many annotations you are adding to the video, since you want to allow the viewer to focus on watching and absorbing the content instead of being distracted by multiple annotations.

How To Promote Your Videos

Having more views on your video helps increase your video’s rankings, since it shows YouTube that users are engaged with the content that you are producing. Once you’ve optimized your video, remember to share and encourage your followers on other platforms to watch your videos:

  • Embed the video on your website or as a blog post.
  • Include the video in company newsletters and emails.
  • Include a link to your YouTube channel in your email signature.
  • Post the video on your other social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  • Add the video to your Google My Business listing.

Final Thoughts

One of the key components of a successful video is its ability to answer a question, solve a problem, or otherwise add value and meet a user’s needs. Users naturally share and engage with quality content, and this type of engagement can contribute to an increase in rankings. Invest time and thought into your content, and follow best practices for YouTube optimization to improve your online presence.



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