Just how big is YouTube these days? According to a really cool infographic that was released earlier in 2017, there are some pretty incredible statistics:
YouTube is available and used in 88 countries around the world
It is the second largest social media platform with over 1.5 billion monthly users, second only to Facebook (2 billion) and more than twice the number of Instagram (700 million)
500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute
Mobile viewing makes up half of the site’s streaming.
In other words, YouTube is HUGE. Not only has it been steadily growing since its initial launch in 2005, it has become the single biggest and most important video service on the web. While there are others that have come in is wake, none have reached the same level of popularity.
With that it mind, it is no wonder that so many people are looking to boost the effectiveness of their content on the platform. However, with so much use comes other struggles, like being seen in the crowd. If 720,000 hours are uploaded a day, you have to do everything possible to stand out and be noticed.
Here are five optimization tips for your YouTube channel and videos that will help you to start doing better in search, get recommended, and gain more traction.
Find the sweet spot with your video title length
There are several things to consider when coming up with the video title:
How engaging and catchy it is for the eye
How many important keywords you use within your title (those keywords are going to help you rank that video in both YouTube and Google search)
Which part of the title is immediately visible when people search YouTube or see your video thumbnail in YouTube-generated related videos.
Taking all of the above in the account, the sweet spot for your video title is going to be around 100 characters. That is enough to give a unique, descriptive title while still showing in search without a cut off.
Make sure that title not only describes what is happening in the video and contains key phrases you have already researched, but it is also attention grabbing enough that people will want to click on it.
When crafting a video title, consider including the following:
Include the important names and entities (your interviewee, event name, branded hashtag, featured brand name, etc.)
Location (especially if you are targeting a specific locale)
Your important keyword you’d like the video to show up for.
To distinguish that important keyword, use keyword clustering technique that allows you to see core phrases behind obscure keyword variations. My own trick is to use Serpstat’s clustering feature that allows you to group keywords by how many identical URLs rank in Google for each specific query:
You can read more on how Serpstat clustering feature works in this guide.
You may also to match each keyword group to appropriate keyword intent to make sure your future video content will cover the immediate need and prompt engagement.
Make your descriptions longer
Video and channel descriptions are another valuable resource for drawing traffic to all of your content. YouTube allows up to 5,000 characters, which is between 500 and 700 words.
The rule of thumb is obvious: The more original content you have below your video, the easier for search engines it is to understand what your video is about and what search queries to rank it for.
Not every description needs to be that long, but aiming for around 2,000 characters for videos and 3,000 for channels is a good place because it gives you the space necessary to optimize your keyword use and give some context to viewers. More is fine, but make sure you aren’t filling it with a lot of pointless fluff.
Make the first 150 characters of a description count
Of the words you write, the first 150 characters are the most important. That is because YouTube cuts it off with a (More) tag after the point, so the viewer has to specifically opt in to reading the rest. Not all of them are going to do that.
You should make sure those first characters tell the viewer what they really need to know in order to connect with what they are reading. From there you can focus more on keywords and the rest of the description, as it will still count the same towards searches.
It is also a great place to link out to other channels, your website, etc. Make sure your call to action (CTA) is in the first words, such as liking, subscribing, learning more, etc.