YouTube. Home to viral videos of fails, how-to’s, and cats. How do you navigate through all the noise and get your voice heard?
1. Follow the Audience
The most important thing to keep in mind when optimizing your YouTube videos is that YouTube’s algorithm follows the audience.
It keeps track of how long viewers are watching videos, what they’ve seen before, and their likes and dislikes. Make sure the titles and descriptions of your videos have relevant search terms. YouTube’s algorithm reads titles and descriptions and matches the video that best fits the viewers’ query. Try getting into the mindset of what your ideal audience member would be looking for.
2. Optimize with DIY Thumbnails
Catchy titles aren’t the only things that will grab your viewers’ attention. Video thumbnails are an easy way to draw them visually. YouTube typically offers three suggested photos pulled from the uploaded video that you can select as your default thumbnails. However, to get the most out of thumbnails, create your own.
Here’s the catch: YouTube doesn’t allow you to automatically customize your thumbnails. You must first verify your account in order to utilize this feature.
Enable this feature in 4 easy steps.
- Go to YouTube Creator Studio (the old version of YouTube video studio)
- Click on the Channel tab
- Find the Enable Custom Thumbnails box
- Enter your channel’s information and send
YouTube will send you a verification code. Use this to verify your account and begin creating your own custom thumbnails!
3. Personalize Your Video Descriptions
Each of your videos should get a unique description. Descriptions are great previews about what viewers should expect when watching your video, but also another way to add keywords and help with your SEO.
With that in mind, don’t be afraid to add relevant hashtags, tags, etc. in your descriptions. Remember that a little can go a long way. Don’t make your descriptions a grocery list of keywords after keywords.
Bonus: The most effective descriptions are those that the viewer can interact with as well. If you posted a particularly long video, use timestamps in your description to help viewers skip to the important parts. Tag collaborators and add links to the mentioned websites to make it easier for your viewers to find what and who you talk about.
4. Let Cards and End Screens Work for You
Cards are the bubbles that pop up at either at the beginning or end of videos. When used correctly, these cards can be an effective tool for CTAs.
YouTube allows its creators to add 5 cards per video. The types of cards YouTube allows its viewers to use are:
- Links to other videos
- Links to video playlists
- Shortcut to channels
- Other relevant links
Your end screens should only appear in the last 5 – 20 seconds of your video. Use them to cross-promote and encourage viewers to subscribe or check out other videos on your channel. When creating an effective end screen consider the following questions:
- Where are you going to place the end screen?
- What teaser text can you use?
- Will you have a verbal call to action?
Mastering the Art of YouTube Channels
The key part of a successful YouTube channel is videos.
Use the 4 steps listed above to optimize your videos, and I look forward to seeing them on YouTube soon!