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Episode 3: Optimize Your YouTube Channel & Videos For Best Results

So you have your YouTube channel set up and ready to go. Look at you. But how can you make sure your channel and videos are really going to knock some statistical socks off?

Optimizing your YouTube channel means looking at everything forms titles to descriptions, tags to thumbnails.


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Episode Transcription

Hi. I’m Matt Brown from HubSpot, and this is Skill Up. The show where you’ll learn how to take your sales, marketing, and service skills to the next level.

So you have your YouTube channel set up and ready to go. Look at you. You’re doing great. You are a lion. And this is your Serengeti.

Now, maybe you’ve just uploaded a few videos, and you’re thinking, “Matt, you have that silky smooth, slightly nasally voice telling me the why’s and where so far. But how can I make sure my channel and my videos are really gonna knock some statistical socks off? Really be successful.”

Great question. Let's talk about how you can optimize your channel for better results.

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Ok, so there are three key things to address with your channel: Channel art, a trailer video, and your About page.

Let’s talk channel art first -- you know, the banner that sits at the top of your channel. Your channel art should be simple and compelling. A simple name or slogan can be great, but you can also use your channel art as a call out for a product or some call to action. If you have a spokesperson to highlight, maybe feature that person in your banner.

But don’t go getting slimy on me. If it looks like a page out of a 1980’s Penny Saver catalog, how do you think your audience is gonna respond? Are these videos they’ll trust? Put some time in here, and really make it shine. Like, well, a good penny.

Next is the trailer. A trailer helps people understand what your channel is about. You can use it to give a general overview of what to expect on the channel, or you can use it to highlight a specific product or initiative.

Change these up somewhat regularly. Definitely have two trailer videos -- one for people new to the channel who have not yet subscribed, and another for returning subscribers. Typically, trailers run 30 to 60 seconds in length. And be sure to remind people to subscribe both vocally and visually.

Next, think about how to use the About page. The main thing to focus on here is the first 48 characters you use in the description. That’s what will show up in the YouTube search results. So, filling out this section is important for YouTube to serve up the best snippet of content and search. Maybe goes unsaid but as a reminder: Use. Your. Keywords.

[end segment music]

Okay. Now let's really dive into optimizing your videos. Because there are some things that’ll make a big difference for your organic YouTube strategy.

First, Title and description. Titles are what people first read when scrolling through a list of videos. So make sure that yours is clear and compelling. It should make people curious about your content. Or make it obvious that your video will help them solve a problem.

A little keyword research here goes a long way. Learn what people are searching for. And include the most important information and keywords at the beginning of your title.

Quick rule of thumb: Keep titles to around 60 characters. That way text won't get cut off on the results page.

Next, Description. YouTube only shows the first two to three lines, about a hundred characters, of your video's description. Viewers need to click Show More to see the rest. For that reason alone, always include important links or CTAs at the beginning of your description. Writing the copy this way drives views and engagement.

You can use the description to include links for products discussed in the video and other relevant links on your site.

[cue synth]

YoutTube lifestyle vlogger Amy Landino -- the host of AmyTV -- has some advice regarding the description for the YouTube description.

[LANDINO: There are a few things to consider here. First of all, again, the second largest search engine in the world only to adopted mommy Google. So with the description, you get a meta description as well on Google. YouTube is going to look at the entire description when they're trying to figure out what is this video about and how can we categorize it.

But Google is only going to look at the first two or three lines. So when you're looking at what's the title of the video, what's in the description, what's in the tags. If there's a major keyword that you're hoping people will find your video, when they're looking for something in that area, you really want to make sure that keyword is at the very top of the description somewhere.

We're not just listing keywords in the description. It needs to be copy. Like you're talking to somebody and they're reading it, but you really want to make sure that those keywords that matter are at the top.]

[cue synth]

Tags are the next thing to talk about. Make sure you're highlighting the main keywords in your tags.

Tags associate your video with similar videos. So that’s how you’ll broaden your reach. Tag your most important keywords first, and try to include a good mix of more common keywords and long-tail keywords.

Then, pay attention to the category your video belongs to. After you upload a video to YouTube, you can choose a video category under advanced settings. This is an advanced marketing podcast. So yeah, let’s dip that little marketing into some Point Break-level advanced waters. Sound good, Swayze?

Video categories group your video with related content on YouTube. You can sort your video into categories, such as music, pets, film & animation, and more.

You’ll want to turn your attention to thumbnails next. I’ll say this, take it or leave, no pressure, just going to completely level up your YouTube page, but, hey, up you. YouTube itself reports that 90% of the best performing videos on the platform have custom thumbnails.

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

You can take my word for, or you can take YouTube expert and content creator Nick Nimmin’s.

[NIMMIN: It’s extremely important on YouTube, because one way to think about it is on YouTube. The video, very first point of contact that people have with your content is your thumbnail on your title. If you are not winning those clicks, then you are going to lose. Um, YouTube gives us the click-through rate impression data now, which is amazing because what that does is that tells us exactly how people are responding to our thumbnails.

So you can look at your thumbnail and you can say, Hey, my data inside of my analytics says that people aren't clicking on my thumbnails as much as I would like them to. So I need to figure out what I need to do to my thumbnails in order to make my audience respond to it.]

[cue synth]

So to recap. Optimizing your channel and videos should be a major part of your YouTube strategy.

Start with your channel’s artwork, trailer video, and About page. Then, begin working on optimizing your videos.

Maximize keywords in your Title and Descriptions. Be sure you're front-loading those because character limits are a reality here.

Then, make sure to address your video’s tags. Again, tag your top keywords first.

And round it all out with some shaved truffles. Mmmmm. Oh, sorry, I meant, thumbnail images.

Putting in the work in these specific areas will dramatically increase getting found in search and increasing interest in your videos.

Next episode, we break out the pie charts, bar charts, squiggle charts. All the charts! That’s because next episode I’ll tell you which YouTube analytics really matter.

See you there.

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