Who needs Spectrum triple play when you have YouTube! Owned by Google, it ranks (behind Google) as the second largest search engine in the world. While mainly a video sharing platform, YouTube generates millions every year showing the right content to the right people. Anyone with an internet connection and a device can sign-up and start posting videos. But you won’t be getting the most out of it unless you optimize your channel.
How do I optimize my channel?
Like any search engine, YouTube has an algorithm that makes sure relevant content is being shown against relevant searches. Optimizing your channel involves using certain techniques that make the algorithm pick your video against a specific search query. Here’s how you can go about this:
- Make your channel’s homepage compelling
- Research keywords for use in video descriptions, titles, and tags
- Add keywords to video descriptions, titles, and tags
- Add keywords to your channel
- Create an organized and engaging channel using Playlists
Let’s briefly discuss each step in optimizing your channel on YouTube.
1. Make your channel’s homepage compelling
The first thing about your channel that people see is your home page. Therefore it is crucial to make a good first impression. Invest some time in building a home page that looks professional and explains the theme of your channel. Some points to consider are:
- Choosing an easily identifiable and clean image as a profile picture. Try making it a picture of yourself, since people tend to remember faces more than brand names.
- Upload some crisp artwork for your channel’s header space. You can either change your existing channel art or upload new artwork altogether.
- Create and select a channel trailer that runs not more than 1-2 minutes. Channel trailers are like elevator pitches. You need them to be short and engaging to grab someone’s attention and explain to them what you are all about.
- Create section-wise playlists of your best videos. You can create feature playlists, thematic playlists etc.
- Include featured channels on your homepage, whether a friend’s channel or a genuinely relevant channel. This creates a connection between you and featured channels both in the audience’s mind as well as the algorithm.
- Create a short, compelling and persuasive “About” page to give details pertinent to your channel that should attract viewers/subscribers
The six points listed above are only the first step to optimizing your channel. These just give your home page a professional and compelling look to catch a viewer’s eye.
2. Research keywords for use in video descriptions, titles, and tags
Like I mentioned above, YouTube is second only to Google in terms of search engine popularity. Search is not only a feature for the benefit of viewers, but also to you as a content creator. Like any algorithm, the one used by YouTube utilizes dozens of metrics. However, these only start taking effect when you have a somewhat sizeable audience.
When you’re starting from scratch, your best course of action is to optimize your channel for the search to gain new subscribers. This is where keywords come in, boosting ranking for your videos, your playlists, and your channel. This gets you better search results, more suggested views, and more subscribers ultimately. Keywords are not only used in tags and descriptions of videos, but also in the titles of videos. Here’s how you can research keywords:
- By entering a keyword in the Google or YouTube search bar, you can check out auto-fill results. These auto-fill results are typically the phrases searched the most for that keyword. After selecting the right keywords, you can use the terms as keywords in your video.
- Google Ads Keyword Planner is a great resource to research keywords effectively. You can check out how many times the keywords have been searched as well as the competition for it. This is the gold standard for most SEO specialists.
- Google Trends helps you locate trending topics as well as related keywords to those topics. This not only gives you keywords but can also give you the inspiration to create content
3. Add keywords to video descriptions, titles, and tags
Once you have researched relevant keywords, its time to incorporate them into your video descriptions, titles and tags.
- The algorithm prefers you keep 10-15 tags for each video. Start with long-tailed tags, add a few medium-sized tags and finally add one-word tags and your brand/channel name. Following this formula, you can optimize your video tags for the YouTube algorithm.
- You need to create multiple connections between your own videos, other videos on your channel and other ranking videos. One way to do this is to include your core keywords in the video description and title. Titles should include at least one keyword used in descriptions to rank better for relevancy
- Optimize video titles from the viewer perspective as well. You should generate titles that are compelling and keyword-rich without sounding keyword-rich. This may seem a tricky job, but a good way is to start with a broad category, like “How to Shave”. Then add the core keyword “shaving tips” along with a solid reason to click “for men”. Finally, add your brand or channel name “Bic”. The final result should be like “How to Shave – Shaving tips for Men|Bic.”
Just be sure to exercise caution on well-performing videos and not editing descriptions/titles of too many underperforming videos at once.
4. Add keywords to your channel
Adding keywords to your videos are very important, but don’t let that divert you from adding keywords to your channel. Channel keywords are very important for people to discover your channel. The algorithm uses them to suggest your channel with other specific videos and channels.
5. Create an organized and engaging channel using playlists
While most creators on YouTube use playlists primarily as an organizing tool, playlists have much more capability. Playlists give the shape of a TV channel to your YouTube channel. You can create playlists according to cool themes and trending topics. Playlists are important for cohesion, i.e.
keeping users engaged from one video to another instead of just a few minutes. Playlists also optimize your channel with the algorithm upping more of your relevant videos in suggested views. Here are a few steps to follow:
- Optimize playlist titles and descriptions from the search perspective (trending/high-interest topics).
- Rearrange the videos in your playlists properly. Nobody wants to hear the review of your specific Spectrum service area in your Star Wars trivia playlist.
- Select compelling thumbnails for playlists from your best performing videos.
- Add at least 2 new playlists every week with 3 to 10 videos in each playlist.