YouTube SEO: Basics of Optimizing Videos for YouTube

Many small businesses don’t have the resources to host and serve their videos directly from their website, so the alternative is to create a YouTube page that is optimized for search engines, and place your videos there. Once on YouTube, business owners can then embed the video on their website.

Below you will find the best way to optimize the videos for YouTube search, as well as the basics of optimizing the page that you will create for your website to embed the video.

Optimizing Videos On Video Search Engines Such as YouTube


Below you will find the basics of optimizing the video for YouTube’s internal search engine.

Video File

When saving your file on your computer prior to uploading it, make the the file name is description. For example, if it’s a video about your dog playing catch in the backyard, make sure the file is named “dog-playing-catch-in-backyard.avi”. This naming convention follows the same rules as we outlined for naming URLs.

Title The Video

The title of the video page is usually the H1 Tag and can also be auto populated as the Title Tag of the page, so make sure it is keyword focused and descriptive of the video, without being spammy.

Video Description

The description of video should be well written and focused on the keywords, much like any other piece of content. This area gives you the ability to describe the video in-depth, and include any additional information that might be valuable to the user. This is the content portion of a page, and should include well written content that is keyword focused and valuable to users.

Even though the description area on a YouTube page doesn’t allow for Followed links it’s also a good idea to place a link to the corresponding video page on your site with the description Original content posted here:’ as this will help direct users to your site with the understanding that your site produced and published the original content.

Auto Play

Do not set “default” video to activate and start playing as soon as a visitor visits the channel. This is a usability nightmare and can cause users to shot your video prematurely – or if the sound is off on their computer, cause the video to play in the background, and the user to miss part or all of it.

Give Credit

Credit those who have assisted in the video production. This is just the basics of good karma. Make sure you give credit where credit is due.

File Size

With the new video formats quickly evolving and requiring more upload space and bandwidth, YouTube and other channels are always trying to give users the best options for uploading their video. The maximum file size is 128GB and the maximum duration is 11hours.

File Type

File Types accepted by YouTube: .MOV, .MPEG4, 3GPP, .AVI, MPEGPS, .WMV, .FLV. As with video size restrictions, YouTube and other video search engines will evolve to accept more video formats.

Tags

Tags are descriptive keywords you can add to your video to help people find your content.

How to add tags:

While you’re uploading, you’ll see a “Tags” section below the upload progress bar where you can add your tags.

To add tags to an existing video, visit your Video Manager, then click the Edit button below the video for which you’d like to add formatting tags.

You can also add tags to change the appearance and format of your video on YouTube and on embedded players.

Examples of formatting tags:

  • yt:quality=high: Defaults to a high quality stream (available based on the size of the viewer’s player and the size of the browser window)
  • yt:crop=16:9: Zooms in on the 16:9 area, removes windowboxing
  • yt:stretch=16:9: Fixes anamorphic content by scaling to 16:9
  • yt:stretch=4:3: Fixes 720×480 content that is the wrong aspect ratio by scaling to 4:3
  • yt:crop=off: Deactivates cropping effects on the video and reestablishes cropped areas

Channel Branding For Video Search Engines


These tips outline how to best optimize your YouTube channel for your small business.

  • Use one YouTube page (URL) to represent and warehouse the assets for the brand.
  • Select a custom YouTube URL that reflects the name of the brand. An example would be youtube.com/[brand].
  • Skin the branded YouTube page with images that reflect the brand identity. Designing a background image and matching the color palette to align with the brand can accomplish this.
  • Contact YouTube representative to upgrade to a “Branded Channel” to obtain more functionality, measurement, and creative channel license.

Onsite Video Optimization When Embedding A YouTube Video


This includes embedding a video that was published on a 3rd party video search engine into a page on your website, or optimizing a page that contains a video that is hosted on a clients servers. This is very similar to what should be done if you are hosting a video and creating a page for it.

  • New URL is created for video page based on URL creation process
  • Title of page (H1) should be the keyword focused title of the video
  • A complete transcript of the video should be located under the embedded video to add relevant content to the page.
  • Video sitemap should be created