ouTube is changing – but I don’t have to tell you that – and with the ever-evolving landscape, it’s more important than ever to optimize your channel and videos if you’re looking to break through.
We spend a lot of time watching videos (sometimes it feels like that’s all we do), but for good reason! Understanding why some channels grow and others don’t can be quite valuable. Let’s take a look at a few optimization tips that many creators don’t take advantage of.
This may be the one optimization tip that stood out the most. More than 90% of videos we reviewed last week lacked a strong description – which can severely hurt search rankings, and for most creators, bad search rankings = no views.
What makes a good description?
A description is supposed to accurately describe the content in which a viewer is currently or about to watch. Unfortunately, most videos miss this mark completely.
Google is blind
What now? Hear me out. At this moment in time, YouTube and Google’s algorithms don’t have a way of deciphering the content in your videos based on the visuals alone. This is why they rely so heavily on other factors, like your watch time and metadata.
When writing up a description, remind yourself that Google can’t actually see your video, then ask yourself: “If this description is read out loud, would Google have any idea what it’s about?” If the answer is ‘no’, rewrite it.
Promote yourself, but promote your content first
It’s totally fine to include your social media links in the description – in fact, it’s recommended – but the focus should be on your content. The first two sentences should almost always be about the video.
For a more in-depth look at descriptions, and how to structure them, check this out.
We’re told not to, but we all judge books by their covers. We also judge YouTube videos by their thumbnails. After all, it’s usually the first thing potential viewers see when they navigate to YouTube. There have been several studies that show videos with highly designed custom thumbnails can increase views by up to 20%.
Sticking with the theme of books, imagine walking into a bookstore (yeah, those still exist) with a certain title in mind, only to find that every book is shuffled onto a single shelf. That’s how your channel appears without playlists.
By sorting your videos into categorized playlists, your viewers will have an easier time finding the content they’re interested in, and Google/YouTube will have a better understanding of the content you produce.
- Make sure to write detailed descriptions for each of your playlists
- After creating playlists, don’t forget to display them on your channel
To many creators, ‘tags’ are short, single words that describe their content. Minecraft, redstone, diamond, creeper. While these can certainly help, there could literally be millions of videos with these same tags, and most viewers are not simply searching “redstone” on YouTube.
When tagging your videos, think of what a viewer might be searching, and enter that as a tag. “Minecraft redstone elevator tutorial” is an example of a long-form tag that could help increase your search traffic.
Get to work
The above should not just be applied to your future content. If you’re serious about growing your channel, each and every video you have uploaded should be perfectly optimized. Believe it or not, older videos have a better chance at ranking in search than newer ones – but only if YouTube and Google knows what they are.
Also keep in mind that it may take several weeks to see results from SEO changes, and ultimately, the quality/originality of your content will always be the #1 factor in your success.
More to come
These are just a few tips that can help improve your channel. We’ll be covering more in the coming weeks.