After you’ve created the perfect video, you want to give the world every opportunity to see it. Here are seven video optimization tips that BFO uses to produce killer Video SEO results for clients.

1. Pay attention to keywords

Before you make your video public, ensure you’ve done some keyword homework. Start by asking yourself this question: “If I were looking for a video like mine, what would I type in search?” Use keywords as a part of video titles and associated metadata.

Keyword hints:

  • Add the word “video” to the video title.
  • Keep the titles shorter than 70 characters.
  • Put the keywords in the first 25-30 words of the video’s description.

 2. Create a thumbnail of the video

Although video hosting sites will automatically suggest thumbnails, it’s better to choose them yourself.  A randomly-generated thumbnail of your video could mean nothing to a potential viewer.  People are visual, which means they can be enticed to click by an appealing thumbnail image. Yours should be eye catching, appealing and accurately capture the nature of the full video.

Thumbnail hint:

  • Make sure your thumbnails are of the highest quality possible.

 3. Add annotations to your videos

When you add annotations to your videos, you are essentially starting a dialogue with your viewers.  You’re also showing engagement.  Viewers tend to respond well to this kind of interaction, which will make them more likely to share your video and subscribe to your channel.

Annotation hints:

  • Use annotations that are links to websites or social media channels.
  • Use annotations to make suggestions to users who are interested in the topic of the video.
  • Put call-to-action verbiage in annotations.

4. Keep the user experience (UX) in mind on your YouTube channel

A channel filled with un-themed, run-of-the-mill videos is unlikely to get much attention.  First-time visitors may be confused by the compilation, or they may simply be unmotivated to come back.  By taking the time to build a cohesive, compelling UX with great content and personality, you can increase the odds that a one-time viewer will return for a second, third or hundredth look.

UX hints:

  • Add new content and videos regularly to increase the odds of viewers coming back.
  • Connect with other non-competing channels as a form of viewer “cross pollination”. Share the love.
  • Respond to all comments that call for a response and ignore the trolls.
  • Create a “Channel Trailer” which plays when someone visits the channel. A trailer can entice them to subscribing to your channel.

 5. Offer captions for your videos

Captioning videos will ensure they are accessible to anyone who stumbles upon your channel.  Plus, captions can offer a localized experience.  Although YouTube generates a transcript, typically the transcription software is inaccurate.  Therefore, you should create a complete transcript in-house and use it in lieu of YouTube’s auto-generated transcript. Here is a link to YouTube transcription best practices.

Captioning hint:

  • Add keywords to the video transcript and use them in your relevant captions.

 6. Provide opportunities for users to connect

Links to websites, social media sites and other online profiles should always be included in your channel and/or video descriptions.  These links give visitors the chance to engage with you.  By inviting visitors to connect, you will get more frequent and deeper engagement.

Outside network user connection hints:

  • Add the URL to a website at the beginning of the description so it can be seen in all search engine results.
  • Add inbound links to pages other than the corporate “home” page to drive users further into a site.
  • Link the YouTube channel to the company’s Google+ account.

 7. Connect with the world outside of YouTube

YouTube is the second-largest search engine on the planet. In fact, it’s grown into an enormously successful platform that attracts far more visitors than Netflix, Hulu and even cable TV.  Although YouTube is the most popular website for viewing video, it’s not the only place you can upload your videos. Other options include Vimeo, Flickr, and Shutterfly. Once your video has been uploaded, help people find it. Create a blog post to feature it, then share versions of it on all the social channels. Increased views mean higher rankings.

Okay – I’ve Done the Seven Steps – Now What?

Here is where the fun comes into play. You’ve invested the time, money, and resources into creating a wonderful user experience in video. You have optimized the video and channel, added annotations as well as a transcript, but how can you provide actionable data feedback on how the video has been effective?  YouTube Analytics shows how your video interacted with subscribers, views, community activity, and overall engagement. Did the video reach the strategy goal?

YouTube analytics provides actionable insights for your team to create better videos, measure optimizations, and develop strategic programming targeting your segment demographics.

There are many customized reports which can be created in the YouTube account, but the standard out of the box reports are robust in and of themselves.

Key Reports:

  • Subscriber Views (web only) – Filters reports to display just subscriber data from web users.
  • Demographics – Provides directional insights into audience age and gender.
  • Geography – Shows which countries your viewers are from.

Sample Report Uses:

  • Tailor your channel designcontent style, and thumbnails, to appeal to your core audience demographics.
  • If your content is performing well in a foreign country, consider transcribing and enabling captions for targeting localized languages and higher conversion rates.
  • Track changes to your channel’s audience demographics over time so you can continue providing viewers with the most relevant and engaging content possible.
  • Select the “Show Only Subscriber Views” box at the top of the page to better understand subscriber demographics and viewership patterns.

YouTube Optimization Checklist

Well thought out content and a sound optimization program will dramatically increase the likelihood of turning one-time visitors into full-blown fans for your YouTube channel.  Here is a Checklist, courtesy of You Tube, to help ensure you optimized the video to the best overall practices and maximum distribution capabilities to your target audiences.