YouTube SEO: How to Optimize Videos

The positioning of videos on YouTube is largely the optimisation of the channel and attributes of the video itself. The film itself should also be significant and convey an interesting message.

YouTube uses metadata such as movie title, tags and description. As a result, published materials can be properly indexed.


YouTube SEO optimisation, principles:

  • Can contain up to 100 characters.
  • It should be interesting so that the user would like to view it.
  • Put keywords in it keeping in mind the specifics of the content on the site. Use the long tail of keywords. For analyzing keywords from a long tail, it’s best to use the OnLine AnswerThePublic tool (
  • If the movie is part of a series, please indicate this in the movie title.
  • Watch how users react to titles, modify them if necessary.
  • If the title requires a brand name, then add it in but at the end of the title.
  • When creating a title, stick to the rules – short, succinct and to the point.
  • The titles are to be consistent with what you present in the film. Don’t try any tricks.


  • Can contain up to 5000 characters.
  • It should contain keywords.
  • The description should describe the content of the film. Several sentence transcriptional excerpts work.
  • The first sentence of the description is the most important.
  • It should describe the channel and include a link to the channel page.
  • It should encourage subscription.
  • You can also put a channel publication schedule.
  • For long movies, relevant links to specific parts of the video will help users see what they need.


  • Can be up to 120 characters long.
  • Both general and specific tags should be used.
  • It is recommended to define enough markers to best describe the content of the movie.
  • Make sure the markup format is correct so that it is sure to be accurately indexed.
  • Some tags should be keywords from title and description.
  • Also use words from a long tail.
  • Also use words that describe the format of the movie, e.g. tutorial, guide, etc.
  • Monitor changes in search trends and update tags as needed.


  • A photo on YouTube must stand out from the rest.
  • When recording a movie, take a lot of pictures so that you later have something to choose from.
  • Each video should have a different thumbnail.
  • The miniature should not be vulgar, offensive, with erotic overtones, etc.
  • The photo should be very clear and have high resolution. A minimum of 640 × 360 is recommended with a 16: 9 aspect ratio.
  • The whole visual effect should be consistent with the image of your company.
  • Don’t be afraid of close-ups of the face.
  • Use bright images with high contrast.
  • Play with colours, combinations, use your imagination, be creative when creating graphics.
  • The image should clearly stand out from the background.
  • Remember about good framing.
  • The content of the image should be consistent with the content of the film.
  • The thumbnail should look good in any size.


Annotations – Click-on overlays displayed when watching a movie. They help to engage the user to some active activity related to the film or the entire channel.

Best practices:

  • Don’t put them on top of the video because the title is visible there.
  • The annotation should not affect the quality of watching the movie – it should not interfere with watching.
  • Do not overdo the amount of information as the user may feel spammed .
  • Annotations that appear at the end of the movie should not open a new window.
  • Opening a new window is justified only in a few cases.
  • The annotation is intended to be a call to action, intended to encourage the user to like something, comment, follow or click.
  • You can add a direct link to the subscription in the annotation.
  • You can also use the annotation to offer the user to watch another video.


  1. Featured annotations – this is the type of annotation that allows you to create clickable areas in your movies . In practice, it looks like the text appears only when the user hovers over the given place. When watching a movie, only a subtle outline can be seen. This is a good option because it does not bother users when watching the video.
  2. InVideo Annotations – allow you to promote any video or channel. When promoting a video, a thumbnail is downloaded and presented as an annotation. You can also send your own transparent rectangular image to promote your channel. Users can hover over the channel image and subscribe without having to pause the video. InVideo annotations also work well on mobile devices.
  3. Playlists – you can collect and organize more videos, which you can then publish in groups. Playlists have many advantages. First of all, they increase the viewing time and encourage the user to be more active on the channel. You can create playlists not only from your movies. You can also use other videos for this purpose. General guidelines for using playlists:
  • Create lists especially if you care about maintaining the order of viewing.
  • Films should relate to a specific theme, topic. Time period.
  • Combine the most popular movies with news.
  • Add videos that will support your brand.
  • Create a series of movies on the playlist.
  • Don’t forget the right thumbnail for your video.
  • Inform users about the creation of a new list.
  • In the space for notes on the playlist, enter comments about individual movies.
  • Choose the right title, description and tags for the list.
  • You can create a playlist with the host.
  • Add links to playlists.
  • Use internal messages, create annotations.


Channel – is your brand’s business card on YouTube. Ensure the best channel presentation. Keep in mind elements such as:

  • Name – create a name that will be instantly remembered by users. It should be a short name, and preferably still associated with the brand. Remember that the channel name will be visible everywhere. It should catch attention and proudly represent your brand.
  • Icon – it’s best to use your company’s logo.
  • Description – it should contain the most important information about the channel. If you plan to publish different content or movies in series or episodes, then post a plan for publication.
  • Graphic design – graphics must be attractive, and all colors consistent with the overall image of your company.
  • Recent Activity – Keep your channel active at all times. Add new videos, likes, posts, etc. on a regular basis. In this way, you will encourage users to regularly visit the channel.
  • Trailer – is intended for users who are not subscribers. The trailer should be short and encourage subscription. Show your users what they can expect from the channel. Do it to arouse their curiosity.
  • Sections – help organize videos, playlists and channels on the browser page. They are visible to all users. The content contained in the sections can be ordered in many ways – by genre, theme, series, etc. The order makes searching easier for users.
  • Optimize the channel for subscribers – there is a difference whether the subscriber’s browsing page is viewed or not.
  • Encourage non-subscribers – act so that the non-subscribers become a subscriber after visiting your channel.
  • Proposed films – subscribers are offered films with similar themes to the previously watched film.


Channel promotion:

  • Use annotations – place annotations in your videos, but do so in moderation. Nobody likes it when they are disturbed by watching a movie.
  • Use calls to action – just like an annotation, you can post calls to your video.
  • Links – direct links can also be included in the video, they will certainly increase the number of clicks.
  • Connections to social media – connect the channel to Google+, Facebook or other social networks. This way you will definitely increase the reach of your films. This will also make it easier for new users to reach your channel.
  • Related channels – other similar channels may be promoted on your channel, and your channel may be promoted on other channels. YouTube selects them based on comparisons. The only condition is to enable the feature of recommending similar channels.
  • Recommended channels – these are the channels that you decide to promote on your website. Generally, channels from the same industry or related topics are recommended. Increase the chance of each channel, try to make each of them at least a little advertised. When creating lists, use the random play option.
  • Viewing time – from a positioning perspective, this is a very important factor. Once, the number of views of a given movie counted. Now the time spent watching the video counts. This is due to the fact (based on statistics for 2017) that 20% of all users leave the video within 10 seconds. The search engine looks favorably at videos that are watched for a long time than just those with a high number of clicks. This approach provides users with more interesting and higher-quality content, and publishers themselves can take advantage of more advanced users.


Movies that are eagerly recommended by others are much more readily watched.

Remember that the first seconds/minutes of the movie count the most. This is the time when the user decides if they want to watch the video further or look for the film elsewhere. Therefore, focus primarily on the very beginning. Make it interesting, make users happy to find out what’s next. Also, keep the high level throughout the entire movie so that users do not feel disappointed.

Use various promotional options to increase your interest in the movie.

Engage the viewer. The user should not only watch the movie to the end but also perform the desired actions – subscribe to the channel, comment, add the movie to favorites, etc.

Create movie lists from one thematic group.

Notify subscribers about new products on your channel.

Create a publication schedule and stick to it.

Act so that the user does not stop at watching only one movie, but that he gladly reaches for the other.

YouTube AnalyticsUse statistical analysis. You will see if your activities are effective and what you can possibly improve. You can check the most important statistics via YouTube Analytics. You will find out what keywords users typed in to find your video, which films they most often watched, which of them turned out to be the most interesting and how much time they spent on each of them in general.

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