Optimizing Videos on YouTube

Posted by on Feb 1, 2014 in Blog
Optimizing Videos on YouTube

Made a great video? Time to sit back and watch the views soar!

Not quite. 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and it can be easy to get lost in all of that content. So let’s go over some great ways to improve your video’s chance of being viewed!


Optimize Titles, Tags, and Descriptions

This is easy to do and should only take a few minutes.

  • Make it compelling – this is your video’s headline! Titles and thumbnails are often the primary elements driving a viewer’s decision in what they’ll watch next.
  • Represent your content accurately. Let the title be a reflection of the content itself, stray from trying to get too creative here.
  • For serial content, add the episode.
  • Use enough tags to thoroughly and accurately describe the video.
  • Include keywords from your title in your video’s tags.
  • Include a mix of both general and specific tags.
  • Update the video’s tags when new search trends emerge.

Only the first few sentences of your description appear in a search result or above the fold on a watch page – so make them short and sweet!

  • Accurately describe your video in one or two concise sentences.
  • Describe your channel and link to your channel page.
  • Include links to your site and social media presence.

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  • Thumbnails act as miniature marketing posters for your videos.
  • Make them desirable to be clicked!
  • Bright, high-contrast, and close-ups of faces all work well.
  • Foreground stands out from background.
  • Well framed, good composition.



Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 3.19.19 PM Annotations are unique to YouTube and can increase viewership, engagement, and subscribers.

  • Ask viewers to like, favorite, or share a video.
  • Make it easy for viewers to subscribe right from your videos.
  • Link to related videos, content referenced in the video, or your social media pages.
  • Add text clarification to a specific part of the video.
  • Use annotations on older videos to direct traffic to new initiatives or content.


  • Avoid placing annotations in the lower third or very top of the video, where advertisement overlays can get in the way.
  • Also avoid obstructing the actual content. Make sure annotations add value and don’t get in the way of the viewing experience.
  • Don’t bombard the viewer with annotations. This can feel “spammy” and may have an adverse effect.
  • Set the annotations to open in a new window, so as not to take the viewer away from the current film. However, if the annotation is at the end of the video, have it open in the same window.
  • Repeat “subscribe” solicitations and other CTA’s at the end of the video.


InVideo Programming Annotations
  • Pulls in the thumbnail of another video as the annotation – with optimized thumbnails performing better.
  • You can set InVideo Programming to appear at the beginning of end of every video.
  • Note: only available to channels that are in good standing.
  • Example: promote your channel with a customer image. Promote the first episode in a series.


Channel Page Optimization

Create a cohesive and compelling channel experience that will turn first-time visitors into long-term subscribers. Optimize your channel for placement in search, related channels, and the feed so you’ll engage current and potential subscribers across YouTube.

  • Channel Name – pick a name that is short, memorable, and gives your audience an idea of what your channel is about.
  • Channel Description – Use relevant keywords and describe your channel accurately.
  • Channel Icon – Upload a square, high-resolution (800px x 800px) image that is recognizable at smaller resolutions. Use text sparingly, as it can be hard to read at smaller resolutions (mobile).
  • Channel Art – Choose something that reflects your channel’s personality.
  • Channel Trailers – unsubscribed viewers see this first and is your chance to convince them to subscribe. Show them rather than tell them.


International Audiences

If audiences in other countries, speaking foreign languages, you might want to consider transcribing and captioning the content in your videos. You can check what countries are viewing your videos in YouTube Analytics. You can provide your own captions and transcripts, or use YouTube’s features to help you create and translate transcriptions of the audio in your content.

  • If you upload a caption track on your video, YouTube can enable Auto-Translate, which will automatically translate it into 58 languages.
  • To create captions for a vide, write out the text of all the audio and upload it. YouTube will automatically sync the timing.


More information on YouTube best practices can be found in YouTube’s Creator’s Playbook.