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Why you MUST optimise your YouTube videos

Updated: Apr 2, 2018

SEO and YouTube can quite often be misunderstood. SEO is text-based, but YouTube is video, right? Wrong. YouTube is a search engine for videos, but it it is not powered by video. It’is powered

by good old-fashioned SEO.

Uploading a video to YouTube without the appropriate titles, descriptions, and tags is as good as a food can with a plain label sitting on a supermarket shelf. There’s content in there, but nobody can see it unless they open it. The customer doesn’t want to buy something random to eat, and the store doesn’t want to promote something that they don’t know what’s in it.

You have to tell YouTube and your audience what the video is about and where it fits in, otherwise they will both disregard your content. And that’s the aim, right? Get YouTube (Google) to understand your video and give it as good a ranking score as possible so it can reach as many of your intended audience as possible.

Just the same way any other piece of content would be SEO’d for a traditional search engine. Your video is not going to rank highly in searches or suggested videos just because you have high views or a plethora of comments. YouTube’s ranking system works by factoring in a number of signals outgoing and incoming related to your video. Then it combines that data to set your ranking. 

The most important signals to consider when optimising your YouTube video comes from two areas - what you are doing and what your audience is doing.

The what you are doing part is how you are optimising the video:







Title, description, and keywords are where you should concentrate the majority of your efforts. These are the main signals on your part that YouTube pays attention to. But it’s not as simple as filling in the form with whatever you think of at the time. All of those signals need to relate to each other. The title has to use the same keywords as the description. The tags should use the same words as the description and so on.

The what your audience is doing part is how the audience engage with the video:






Ultimately it’s going to be this second set of signals that YouTube prioritises and will make or break your video. User engagement is the money so to speak. But cracking that second part heavily depends on what you do in the first part. So good practice is to optimise what you are doing to directly and positively affect what your audience is doing.

Article by: Rob Mitchell, Head of Production,


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