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How to Optimize Your YouTube Video for Search

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Learn how to make your video rank on YouTube. For a complete guide to creating, promoting, and optimizing your video content, check out our complete YouTube Marketing guide:

What’s the internet’s largest search engine? Easy, that’s Google! But do you know the second largest search engine?

You might be surprised to know it’s YouTube. That’s because one third of all online activity is spent watching videos. But with that much content, it can be difficult to stand out from the pack. That’s why we compiled a few SEO tips to help make your next video an internet sensation!

Search engine optimization for YouTube starts with metadata. In other words, all the little details that help your video get discovered.

Imagine searching for a video. What’s the first thing you look at before deciding to click? The title! It should be clear, compelling, and concise — and not exceed 60 characters.

Do some keyword research with Google’s Keyword Planner, HubSpot, or your favorite optimization tool and include the most relevant, searched for keywords at the beginning of your title.

After you’ve settled on the perfect title, move on to the description. I like to think of YouTube descriptions in two parts — the first 100 characters and everything else.

When YouTube populates your description, it will only show the first two to three lines of text — so, use this real estate wisely to encourage engagement, especially if you have a relevant CTA. After that, add links to your social channels, video credits, and video time stamps. Including your video transcript is also smart since it’s naturally full of keywords.

Next up are tags. In the Info and Settings tab, tag your video with the most popular keywords. Try to include a good mix of shorter, general keywords and specific, long-tail keywords. But remember, if you optimize your video with unrelated keywords, YouTube might delete it or suspend your account.

Now let’s talk about one of the most commonly overlooked optimization techniques on YouTube — closed captions. Captions, which are added via an SRT file, create a better viewing experience and can help broaden your video’s reach.

From your uploaded video, click on the “CC” button and then choose “Add new subtitles or CC”. YouTube gives you a few options to add captions, but I suggest the “transcribe and auto-sync” feature. Type in your transcript and let YouTube do the hard work of timing the captions.

Finally, add your video to a playlist. Playlists help organize your channel and encourage viewers to continue watching your content when a video ends.

To add your video to a playlist, click on “Add to” button below the video. Remember, you can add both your own videos and another channel’s videos to your playlists.

So next time you upload a video to YouTube, don’t forget to optimize. It could be the difference between 100 and 100,000 views!

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