YouTube gets about 30 million unique views every single day.

Imagine capturing the attention of 0.01% of all these viewers and how much it could mean for your business!

In this post, you will learn the step-by-step process on optimizing all levels of YouTube channels to gain more traffic, subscribers, and views.

Here’s what we will cover in this post:

Table of Contents

Produce High Quality Videos

Monetize Your Channel

Optimize for YouTube’s Ranking Factors

1. Optimize Your Video Title
2. Optimize Your Video Description.
3. Optimize Your YouTube Video Tags
4. Include An Attractive Custom Thumbnail
5. Include One Or More Cards To Increase Watch Time
6. Upload A Video Transcript.
7. Add Video To A Playlist

What To Do After Publishing


Produce High Quality Videos

The first step towards optimizing your YouTube videos is making sure the content you upload is always top-notch. Here are some tips to optimize your video quality if you want to reap all the benefits YouTube video marketing has to offer:

  • Start your video production process by performing thorough keyword research. You can do this following the steps described in our SEO Keyword Research Template. For YouTube, we recommend you use video seo tools such as YT Cockpit or Keyword Tool to run your research, instead of KWFinder.
  • Try to create longer videos. According to the latest quality content guidelines, longer videos are more likely to rank higher in YouTube search results pages.
  • Mention the target keyword in the video. YouTube has grown a lot and their crawler can now identify whether a video is focused on the topic described in the title by checking the automated captions offered by the same platform. Therefore, mentioning the keyword in the video will help YouTube rank your video when someone is searching for it.
  • Always tell people to subscribe, comment, and like your videos. You’d be surprised with the amazing effect it can have on viewers! Plus, all three are metrics YouTube uses on their algorithms to rank and recommend videos.
  • Reduce the bounce rate. If your viewers only watch only a few seconds of your videos, YouTube will associate your video with lower quality content – and thus, it will display it lower in the YouTube rankings. To reduce the bounce rate, front load your best content to the beginning of the video. Add transition effects, add unexpected changes, and make sure your graphics are entertaining. You need to keep people’s attention – otherwise, they’ll click on the next interesting video content.
  • Also, always remember to explain the value proposition in the first 10 seconds. This will keep your viewers more attentive and more likely to finish watching your video. 


Monetize Your Channel

Monetization is an integral part of the process—because it will allow you to add custom thumbnails to your videos, which play a huge role in making people want to click on your video.

You won’t be able to monetize your channel (and, consequently, add a thumbnail) until you reach 1000 subscribers and have 4000 watch hours in the last 12 months and get reviewed by YouTube (this being the last step in the monetization process).

At this point, you are only monetizing your channel to add extra features to your videos. In general, business videos on YouTube should be demonetized because they will increase your viewers’ credibility in your brand. 

Thus, you should first work hard enough to reach this milestone – after that, views and engagement should reach a point of steady growth (especially with the new unlocked features). 


Optimize for YouTube’s Ranking Factors

YouTube algorithm weighs more heavily towards user behavior than search traffic.  Almost 70% of all traffic comes from YouTube’s recommendation rather than search. So it’s important to improve watch time, click-through rate, and percentage watched to extend your video reach. 

There are also few other elements you can use to rank your video as high as possible. Here are some so tips you can use to optimize your YouTube channel.


1. Optimize Your Video Title

Include your keyword in the video title, but keep it entirely relevant as well.  YouTube has gotten (a lot!) better at capturing the essence of a video’s content and they will push yours towards the last results in the search pages if your video title is not relevant. 


2. Optimize Your Video Description

Same as with the title, keep your description compelling and attractive – but use your keyword as well. Your video description should be at least 250-words long. You can go through our YouTube Description Templates to learn more on how to write and optimize your description for video rankings.


3. Optimize Your YouTube Video Tags

Video tags are nothing but keywords – so use a few of them to let YouTube know what your video is about. Same as optimizing the video title and the video description, adding these tags will also help YouTube determine what your video is about. 

You can add your YouTube video tags when you upload a video, on the same page that prompts you to add a title and a description. You don’t need more than 2-3 keywords for this, but make sure they are relevant.



4. Include An Attractive Custom Thumbnail

The same page that allows you to add a title and a description will also allow you to add a thumbnail from the screenshots captured automatically by YouTube. 

You can choose one of these, but it is more useful for you to upload  a custom thumbnail because it will make your entire video more attractive when people stumble upon it in the search results or recommended videos section. 

Here’s a funny meme on YouTube Thumbnails (you sure don’t want to go this extreme):


Here are some thumbnail examples to get ideas from:



The thumbnails are catchy – but not too clickbaity. The thumbnail copy also makes the video more clickable and optimized for SEO.

5. Include One Or More Cards To Increase Watch Time

A YouTube card is an on-screen clickable piece of information that allows you to create a more interactive and comprehensive experience for your viewers. 

There are five types of cards you can add to a video: Video or Playlist, Channel, Donation, Poll, and Link. 


6. Upload Video Subtitles. 

This step is entirely optional. However, there are two main reasons you would want to use this:

It makes your videos more accessible (including for people with hearing impairments, for example). 

It allows both YouTube and Google to know the text that is spoken in your video and crawl and categorize your video accordingly. 


7. Add Video To A Playlist

Adding your video to a playlist is also an optional step, but you should do it because playlists automatically play the next video—thus helping you to increase your viewers’ watch time.


What To Do After Publishing

Once you have published and optimized your video, it is on you to make the most of it. Here are some tips to keep in mind with regards to this: 

  • Reply to all new comments within the first 48 hours. Keep your notification on for comments by adjusting your account settings.
  • Increase your video’s visibility by embedding it in blog posts (yours or guest posts you may publish on other websites). To embed a YouTube video in a WordPress blog post, copy the URL of the video and paste it as a line of its own in the blog post.
  • Promote your video. Share your video on your social media pages, send it via email to your subscribers, partners, clients, friends, as well as forums like Quora (but make sure you do this only on relevant topics).
  • Be consistent. It is far better to post a lot of videos over a larger amount of time, rather than posting all of them at once. 

YouTube can be a new realm for many of you – but with the increasing use of video marketing, uploading, and optimizing useful YouTube videos has grown to be more than just an option. These days, you simply cannot avoid it if you want to reap all the benefits digital marketing has to offer! 

If you want a simplified version of this YouTube checklist that you can use every time you post a new video, then you can download it below.


The Ultimate YouTube SEO Checklist To Rank Your Videos On Top

Want to grow your audience on Youtube? Download our free Youtube SEO checklist to fully optimize your channel and get more views!

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