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Whether you’re looking to share a few quick how-to tips or a behind the scenes peek at your company, uploading a high-quality video is your first step.

Whether you’re looking to share a few quick how-to tips or a behind-the-scenes peek at your company, uploading a high-quality video is your first step. Posting once a week is a great start.

Title

Just like with on-page SEO, it’s important to optimize your video’s title and description. The title is the first thing people will read when scrolling through a list of videos, so make sure it’s clear and compelling — it should make searchers curious about the content or be instantly clear that your video will help them solve a problem. Do some keyword research to better understand what viewers are searching for. Include the most important information and keywords at the beginning of your title. Finally, keep titles to around 60 characters to keep text from being cut off in results pages.

Description

YouTube will only show the first two to three lines (about 100 characters) of your video’s description, then viewers will need to click “show more” to see the rest. For that reason, be sure to include any important links or CTAs at the beginning of your description, and write the copy so it drives views and  engagement. Below this, you can include the video transcript. Video transcripts can greatly improve your SEO because your video is usually full of keywords. You can also add a default channel description that includes links to your social channels, video credits, and video specific time stamps. You can also include #hashtags in your video titles and descriptions — just be sure to use them sparingly.

Hashtags

You’ve placed keywords in your title and description, so now it’s time to highlight your main keywords in your tags. Similar to other social networks, you can use hashtags in your video descriptions or titles to help viewers find your video when they search for a specific hashtag (previously, the blue wording above a title defined a location).

There’s debate about whether this functionality benefits viewers more than creators in terms of how content is discovered. Some think it will encourage viewers to click away from the content they’re watching while it also helps them find more videos about the same topic. So, consider what your strategy is – do you have a channel-specific hashtag you could put here? As this video from vidIQ recommends, you may want to get creative and create a core set of hashtags for your channel.

Add a hashtag to your video
If there are no hashtags in your video’s title, the first three hashtags in its description appear above the title. This video found that if you add the hashtags in the title itself, YouTube does not add them to the space above your title, so the YouTuber recommends you save the hashtags for the space above your title.

To start using hashtags, upload your video, then enter your hashtag (I could use #thisismyurl #YouTubeMarketingIdeas #WelcomeVideo). You’ll notice hashtags are clickable, similar to  Facebook,  Twitter and  Instagram.

See YouTube’s Help page on hashtags for use policies

Tips

  1. Be first and be fast – the faster you start using a hashtag and build your YouTube strategy around it, the higher you’ll rank for that tag. Have a slogan or channel name you’d like to use as a hashtag? Go for it.
  2. When tagging videos, tag your most important keywords first and try to include a good mix of more common keywords and long-tail keywords.
  3. Don’t use more than 15 hashtags on a single video. YouTube says if a video has more than 15, it will ignore all hashtags on that video and may remove your video from your uploads or search.
  4. There are no restrictions on channel size.
  5. There are no hashtags on the iOS app (as of October 2018).
  6. If you add a location (which the vidIQ video says you can do on Android but not on iOS or desktop anymore), it will overwrite any hashtags you add to your video.

Category

After you upload a video, YouTube will allow you to choose a video category under Advanced settings. Video categories help to group your video with related content on the platform. YouTube allows you to sort your video into one of the following categories: Film & Animation, Autos & Vehicles, Music, Pets & Animals, Sports, Travel & Events, Gaming, People & Blogs, Comedy, Entertainment, News & Politics, Howto & Style, Educations, Science & Technology, and Nonprofits & Activism.

Thumbnail

Your video thumbnail will be the main image viewers see when scrolling through a list of video results, and it can have a large impact of the number of clicks and views your video receives. YouTube will auto-generate a few thumbnail options for your video, but we highly recommend uploading a custom thumbnail. YouTube reports that “90% of the best performing videos on YouTube have custom thumbnails.”

When filming, think of high-quality shots that accurately represent your video. YouTube recommends using a 1280 x 720 px image to ensure that your thumbnail looks great on all screen sizes.

One thing to note: You must verify your YouTube account to upload a custom thumbnail image. You can do this by visiting youtube.com/verify and entering the verification code YouTube sends you.

SRT Files (Subtitles & Closed Captions)

Not only do subtitles and closed captions help viewers, but they also help optimize your video for search by giving you another opportunity to highlight important keywords. You can add subtitles or closed captions by uploading a supported text transcript or timed subtitles file. You can also provide a full transcript of the video and have YouTube time the subtitles automatically, type the subtitles or translation as you watch the video, or hire a professional to translate or transcribe your video.

To add subtitles or closed captions, head to your video manager then click on Videos under Video Manager. Find the video you want to add subtitles or closed captioning to and click the drop-down arrow next to the edit button. Then choose Subtitles. You can then choose how you’d like to add subtitles or closed captioning.

Cards and End Screens (Annotations)

Starting in May 2017, YouTube stopped letting users add annotations to their videos. Instead, they are encouraging users to incorporate cards and end screens in their videos to poll viewers, link to external sites, or direct people to other videos. Thankfully, cards and end screens are as easy to add as annotations. Cards are small, rectangular notifications that appear in the top, right-hand corner of both desktop and mobile screens. You can include up to five cards per video, but if you’re including multiple cards, be sure to space them out evenly to give viewers time to take the desired action.

To add a card, head to your video manager, click the drop-down edit arrow, and choose Cards.

Add a Link
This is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your website. This can be done in two ways: you can add an annotation within your video that will take users to your site once they click on it, or you could add a link in your description box below the video.

Create Calls-to-Action

While inserting traditional button CTAs isn’t an option in YouTube marketing, you still need to create calls-to-action for your users. What are you asking them to do at the end of each video?

Well, the answer should depend on which stage of the funnel the video is geared towards. If it’s an introductory video, ask them to like and subscribe to your page for more content. If it’s a demo video, ask them to check out your website for more information. Creating calls-to-action in your videos will actively guide your viewers through the sales funnel and help you see results faster.