9 Ways to Optimise Your YouTube Videos

YouTube videos have become a part of many businesses social media and SEO strategies – and it’s no surprise why. YouTube is now the second largest search engine after Google, with 30 million people watching 5 billion videos a day!

Optimising your YouTube videos can help to increase the amount of traffic to your website and brand, as well as increase the loyalty of your subscribers to your brand and help drive sales. YouTube videos influence 18% of consumer purchases.

Keyword research

Before you start to put your filming crew together it’s important to do keyword research into what your consumers are searching for; find out what they’re interested in knowing more about.

You can use tools such as Google Keyword Planner, and the autosuggest bar for Google and YouTube. If you’re starting a new YouTube channel, it is worthwhile to focus your efforts on keywords with less competition. For example, the search query ‘baking cakes’ results in 12 million YouTube videos, the query ‘how to bake a cake’ narrows it down to under 4 and a half million results.

Using this information, you now know that you will have an easier time trying to get your YouTube video to rank for the search query ‘how to bake a cake’.

Once you’ve conducted thorough keyword research it’s time to optimise the YouTube Videos themselves.

Video title

The title of your video should include your focus keyword/s, a sum up of what your video is about, and include any special guests. YouTube will cut your title after about 100 characters, so it’s important to get your point across in a succinct and engaging manner.

Your title will not only appear as the video title, but as an overlay on your YouTube videos and be suggested against other videos with similar titles. When competing against other suggested videos, the quality of your title becomes very important in getting clicks to your video and channel.

A great video with a boring title is less likely to be clicked than a mediocre video with an engaging, descriptive title. So make sure you put significant thought into this element.


A thumbnail is the main image a viewer sees when scrolling through YouTube. Like a YouTube video title, a thumbnail can be just as insightful to a viewer on what they are about to watch.

Although you can use a YouTube generated thumbnail, we recommend creating a custom thumbnail, YouTube creator academy says that 90% of the best performing videos on YouTube have custom thumbnails. A consistent thumbnail design also allows you to build familiarity between your viewers and your brand.

Your thumbnail should reflect the content that you will be showcasing in the video.


Adding your YouTube videos to the right category can make help your videos be grouped with other videos with similar content. This means that your YouTube videos are more likely to be found by the right audience. You can assign your category by going to the ‘Advanced Settings’ when uploading your YouTube videos.

YouTube tags

YouTube tags are not compulsory when uploading, but should be utilised. Tags allow your videos to be grouped with similar content. When adding tags to your video use a mixture of long tail keywords, search queries, topics, playlist names and most importantly your targeted keyword.

YouTube allows you 500 characters for adding tags, but this does not mean you need to use all 500 characters. Use enough to have your videos rank for relevant content. Do this by tagging long-tail keywords first, phrases second and playlists and single keywords third.

An example of long tail query is: “how do I optimise my YouTube Videos”. A phrase would be: ”optimising youtube videos”. Keywords would be: “youtube video”, “youtube”.

Youtube video description

The description for your YouTube videos is another opportunity to increase your videos desirability to viewers. According to Google, YouTube allows you 1000 characters for the description area.

It’s the approximately first 150 characters that are crucial to your YouTube videos, after these 150 characters the description cuts off with the ‘See More’ text link. Use these 150 characters to display any CTA’s, subscription and playlist links, social media links and crucial information.

Backlink.io found that video views, likes, video length and comments and new subscriptions have the most sway in YouTube video rankings vs. keyword optimisation.


Playlists are a great way to have your videos found. Grouping videos with similar themes together can help that playlist rank in Google search results over a single video. Be sure to name playlists according to the theme.

The better your videos perform individually within the playlist will also help the playlist rank higher. Playlists are also a great way to keep viewers who are interested in a particular topic on your channel. It gives them a reason to stay and keep watching your content.

Closed captions and SRT files

Discovery Digital Networks found that video with captions had an overall increase of 7.32% in views. Captions also make your YouTube videos more inclusive to hearing impaired audiences.

Inserting targeted keywords can help to increase our videos ranking in search for both YouTube and Google.

This video by Google takes you through the process of adding subtitles and closed captions.

Screen Cards

A screen car is the little ‘i’ in a circle that appears on the top-right of your YouTube videos. YouTube allows you to add up to 5 cards per YouTube video. You can use these screen cards and point them to a specific URL. They can be used to:

  • direct viewers to another channel;
  • encourage viewers to fundraising on behalf of U.S. nonprofit organizations;
  • to ask for fan funding, where your viewers to help support the creation of your video content;
  • link cards, which direct viewers to an external site, approved crowdfunding platform, or an approved merchandise selling platform;
  • poll cards; and
  • video or playlist cards, which link to other YouTube videos or playlists

End Screen

An end screen is, you guessed it, the last screen of your YouTube video. They usually last between 3-5 seconds. This end card can be used to direct viewers to take any of the actions that a screen card allows you to do.
You can also use the screen card as an opportunity to convert viewers into subscribers. Remember new channel subscriptions are a major influencer in video rankings.

All of these tips can help you to create a thriving YouTube channel, however, to stay successful you will need to create quality content that people want to watch. This is what will turn your traffic into views and subscriptions.

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