How to optimize your youtube channel

YouTube Optimization Best Practices

Optimizing your YouTube channel and videos is a reasonably straightforward process. Follow this step by step instruction list to drive more traffic to your channel, which in turn will drive more traffic to your website.  Help your potential customers find your unique adventure content.  First, let’s start with optimizing your channel and your YouTube branding as a whole…

Create a Great YouTube Profile Cover Photo

Example - Desktop Banner Youtube
Example - Mobile Banner Youtube
  • Make sure this is an engaging image that is a good overview of what your channel/brand is about that will work on desktop and mobile.  Based on current trends, most of your viewers will be on mobile so it is important to make sure that it is optimized for both.
  • Youtube suggests a banner image that is 2560 x 1440 pixels
  • As you can see above Rancho Cacachilas is a good example of a simple banner that quickly displays the wide variety of things that the ranch has to offer in both desktop and mobile view.

Adding Keyword Rich Playlists to Your Channel

Example - Youtube Playlist Set up
  • These are the “Chapters” to your channel “Book” and an easy way to display your brands portfolio of offerings.
  • Create as many as makes sense to quickly show viewers what your channel is about.
  • As you can see above, Wilderness Voyageurs created playlists to make it easy for potential customers of all interests to find the videos that appeal to them.

Your Channel Description – Make It Count

Example - Youtube Channel Description

This is simple, just describe what your channel (and company) are all about in a short blurb.

  • Don’t bury the lead – Get straight to the point in the first 125 characters instead of timelining the history of your company, that can come later!  
  • Be sure to also include your website url in case visitors want to learn more and any physical location details that are of importance.
  • Be sure to incorporate keywords that your potential visitors would be searching with in YouTube.
  • You can (and should) also link to any of your other social channels here as well.

Make Sure You Select Both Channel Trailers

There are two types of trailers that YouTube allows you to feature on your channel- one for new visitors and one for all of your returning subscribers.  These videos are getting top billing front and center on your channel so make sure their descriptions are optimized as well. 

New Visitor Preview Video
Video For Returning Visitors
  • Trailer #1 is for New Visitors: Put up your best overview video for people who have never been to your channel and may not know what your company is about. 
  • Trailer #2 is for Returning Subscribers: This should be changed out regularly as you feature new, seasonal, timely content for those who are dedicated subscribers that you want to alert to new offerings. 
  • For example, Wilderness Voyageurs displays their overview adventure video all about their company and Ohiopyle, PA operations to new visitors to their page and features a new Bike Tour offering for returning subscribers.

Optimizing Your Individual Videos for Video Search

Viewers aren’t always going to enter your YouTube channel through the home page to watch your videos, similar to the funnel for your website.
And….wait for it…..  YouTube’s big brother Google uses your individual video descriptions & titles to rank your videos for Video Search! 
It is ESSENTIAL to make sure each individual video is optimized for search. Use the same optimization best practices to make your videos more visible within YouTube and Google.

Below are the four key steps for making sure that each of your videos are optimized:

Optimizing Your Youtube Videos

Create an Engaging Title

  • Keep the title engaging and to the point but don’t forget to include keywords that your viewers may be using to search YouTube for the type of content you are providing.
  • You can also add your company name at the end of the video title with “- company name” for additional branding support. Your name won’t show in the title search results because it will be cut off. That’s fine and the whole point – because google will still index it.

Optimizing Your Description

  • Include the link to the page on your website that the video is about as the very first thing in the description.
  • If you want to include additional links in your description that are helpful to users, do so within the description or at the end of it.
  • The exception of course, is if you have a multi-lingual site and want to be sure both links are immediately available to the visitor, In our example above, this adventure company has a bilingual audience.  One link is the english side of their website and the other is the Spanish link. Adding the Spanish version of each video description is the next to-d0 for this company.
  • Pro Tip – check your channel regularly if you update your website pages, to be sure the correct URL is still on the video description.
  • The description itself of what the video is about should be at least 100 words. More is better – Google will index EVERYTHING you write and will use it to understand what your video is about.
  • For the hearing impaired and best practices ADA compliance, add detailed descriptive information.Don’t forget to appropriately use your keywords to accurately tell the reader what the video contains. 

Pick or Create an Awesome Thumbnail Image 

Thumbnail Image Options
  • This will be the first thing that stops someone in their tracks as they scroll through YouTube so make sure you choose an engaging still image that encompasses what the video is about.
  • You can pick this from options that YouTube provides, but often they are not great or the right overview “theme” to describe your video. So creating your own thumbnail image is usually the best way to go.
  • When creating your own thumbnail art be sure to incorporate company branding and a title that is legible on desktop and mobile.  YouTube suggests dimensions of 1280 x 720 pixels for thumbnail art creation.
  • Pictured above is an example of a custom thumbnail that is uploaded for a video and then the 3 options that YouTube automatically generated from screen grabs in the video.

Last 5 Items to Check Off…

  • Add a minimum of 10 related tags. When choosing tags always consider what viewers are searching in order to land on your video.
  • Add the video to one or more of your relevant playlists that you created earlier.
  • Be sure the video is published as Public (not unlisted).
  • Enable comments, BUT set a process in place to review them in a timely and consistent way to respond. 
  • Add in a video location and a video category to assist in search.

That’s it! Your YouTube channel is officially optimized and ready for viewers.  For more information on proactive marketing tasks visit our blog Proactive Marketing Content: How to Strengthen Your Brand Now

Want more tips specific to adventure companies during this period of disruption?

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