Business Tools

Tips for Optimizing YouTube Videos for Search Engines

SEMA News—December 2012

By Joe Dysart

How to Optimize YouTube Videos for Search Engines

Google employees like this one will reward businesses that follow some basic, YouTube optimization best practices.
Google employees like this one will reward businesses that follow some basic, YouTube optimization best practices.
While search-engine optimization on YouTube often comes off as modern-day mysticism best reserved for the high priests of the digerati, it’s actually fairly straightforward if you know what you’re doing. Essentially, you’ll be able to ensure that your YouTube videos pop up higher in search-engine returns if you follow the guidelines below, as recommended by Bobbi Dempsey, author of the MarketingSherpa Report, “30 Minute Marketer: How to Create SEO-Friendly YouTube Content”.

Get Comfortable With the Terrain: If you’ve never uploaded a video to YouTube before, you’re in luck. YouTube offers a Creators’ Corner on its site that is designed to bring the novice quickly up to speed. You’ll learn the basics of how to create and set up a YouTube account as well as get inspiration on how to shoot your first video. You’ll also find editing tools at Creators’ Corner, which will help you polish the raw video footage you shoot. Plus, Creators’ Corner has a free users’ forum where you can get advice from seasoned YouTube veterans.

Embed Keywords in Every Facet of Your Video: Once you’ve created your video, you’ll want to seed it with keywords that intimately describe its content so that it will be easy to find for the search engines, which look for keywords describing YouTube videos in a number of ways. Most experienced YouTubers realize that the title of a video should include a keyword or keywords that vividly describe the video. But search engines also respond very favorably to keywords that are embedded in the text description of your video as well as keywords that are in the actual file name of your video.

Get Help From a Keyword Research Tool: You can discover some of the best keywords for your video by using keyword research tools such as Wordtracker and Keyword Discovery. By inputting a general theme in these tools, you’ll be able to identify popular terms associated with the theme, highly competitive terms and related synonyms. In addition to the keywords that you believe are a natural for your videos, the keywords you glean from these tools will serve as an excellent baseline in your ongoing quest for the best keywords for your videos.

Avoid Keyword “Stuffing”: Search engines penalize YouTubers who “stuff” an onslaught of keywords into video title names, video file names and the like. Rule of thumb: If a title or description you come up with sounds awkward or unintelligible, you could be penalized by the search engines. If in doubt, trash it.

Read the complete article featured in the December 2012 issue of SEMA News.

Joe Dysart is an Internet speaker and business consultant based in Manhattan.