— January 22, 2018
Believe it or not, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world; only Google outshines it. And the user base for YouTube has long surpassed the one billion mark. So if you’re looking for ways to generate visibility for your brand, you could do a lot worse than to embark on a YouTube SEO campaign.
There’s a lot that goes into making your YouTube videos rank. We’re not a video company, so we won’t get into all the nuts and bolts, but we can offer a few comments that fall closer to our wheelhouse: Writing video descriptions that improve your video SEO.
Why are YouTube video descriptions important? Simply put, they tell YouTube what your video is all about. If YouTube doesn’t know how to categorize your video, they’re certainly not going to rank it very high. Knowing how to write robust and effective descriptions is imperative, then. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
Write Long Video Descriptions
This is definitely a field of content writing where additional length is helpful. In fact, some YouTube SEO experts say that each video description should really be a “miniature blog post.”
We’re not sure that we’d go quite that far, but we do recommend writing 150-200 words for each post. And make sure it’s good, useful information that helps YouTube categorize your video. That brings us to the next point.
Offer Substance, But Don’t Give Everything Away
If your video description is pure fluff, it’s not going to help you communicate your intentions to YouTube’s algorithms. Yet, if you divulge all the main points of your video, then there may not be any reason for people to actually watch it.
We recommend a middle ground. Provide a basic outline of what your video is about, including its main themes and general points, but withhold the real, value-adding points. Make it clear what people can expect from your video, but don’t take away their incentive to sit back and give it a view.
Use the Right Number of Keywords
Here’s a point that may surprise you. When you use too many keywords in your video description, it can actually be counterproductive. Imagine if you chose 23 keyword tags for a single video. What you’re saying to YouTube is that the video addresses 23 different topics. It’s understandable that YouTube’s algorithms might have a hard time knowing how to categorize that content. Twenty-three topics is an awful lot!
So, for both your tags and the keywords you employ in the video description itself, we recommend sticking to some basics:
- Always have one focus keyword—the main phrase you’re trying to rank for.
- Include two or three alternate versions of that keyword; for example, if your main keyword is content writing, alternates might be content writing tips, content writing strategies, etc.
- Finally, include a couple of broad category keywords to offer context. For this example, your broad keywords might be marketing or
Include a Call to Action
Finally, and as with most any content you write, include a strong call to action. Some users may view your video and want to learn more about your company—so ensure that your video description gives them an easy way to call you and/or access your website. Links to relevant blogs or social media profiles can also be useful.
Write Video Descriptions That Get Results
When it comes to YouTube SEO, success isn’t just about the video itself. Your written description can go a long way—so make sure yours is a solid one.