Complete‌ ‌Guide‌ ‌on‌ ‌How‌ ‌to‌ ‌Optimize‌ ‌YouTube‌ Video‌

According to the experts, YouTube is one of the largest search engines in the world, second only to Google. Since video is becoming more important, now is the perfect time to optimize your channel and begin obtaining the benefits of a strong video strategy, including building your brand, connecting with potential customers, and gaining a better presence in search results. 

In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about optimizing your YouTube channel. 

How to Optimize Your Homepage 

When thinking about your YouTube channel, you should think of it like you would a website. What feelings do you want to evoke in your viewers when they are on your homepage? What features do you want to bring attention to? Thinking about these questions will guide you through setting up the various elements of your homepage. 

Channel Icon/Art 

Your channel icon/art is the introduction and calling card for your channel. 

The icon is the square image appearing at the top left of your channel as well as below every one of your videos. Therefore, you want to make sure that it looks good, whether it’s being seen on a computer screen or a mobile screen. Your icon is how people will recognize you. For a business, a logo might be most appropriate- but for an individual, a headshot would be best. 

The channel art is the image at the top of your channel, where you can offer more info about yourself and your channel. If you have a schedule set up for when you post your videos, you might consider adding it here. Once again, art appears differently on different devices, so it’s a good idea to create one that works across all devices. 

It’s recommended that for optimal results, you should create a single 2560 x 1440-pixel image. It’s guaranteed that you won’t lose any of your logos or text with this size- as long as you make sure to keep your critical information within the 1546 x 423 pixel. If there is non-critical information, it can be placed outside this area. 

Some popular tools that you can use to design your header are Canva and PicMonkey because both allow custom sizes. Another great option is Photoshop. 

If you don’t feel this is a task you can tackle, you might consider hiring a designer to create your art for you. There are several places you can look to find a low-cost designer. 

Channel Trailer 

This is where you introduce your channel to your new viewers. 

When you’re looking at various channels, you might notice that there is typically one video that is highlighted at the top of the channel. This is the trailer and is meant to introduce your channel to your new viewers. 

This trailer will only appear to those who have not yet subscribed to your channel and is the ideal place to explain to them what you do and what value they will get from subscribing to your channel. Here are a few tips to creating a good trailer for your channel: 

  • Assume they’ve never heard of you 
  • Don’t ramble on and on 
  • Grab their attention 
  • Show them what you offer, don’t just tell them 
  • Ask them to subscribe both verbally and with a text CTA

Video for returning subscribers 

If a visitor has already subscribed to your channel, they will not see your trailer. You can opt to highlight a specific video/playlist for them. However, if the content has already been seen or if you don’t set up a specific video/playlist, YouTube will allow you to highlight your latest activity or upload. 

Channel Page Layout 

This is where you will organize your content.

At this point, you have a trailer and you’ve show your visitors why they should subscribe to your channel. Now, it’s time to show off your amazing content. This is where you will work on your page layout. 

Create Channel Sections 

Consider showing off the variety of content you offer by creating sections for your content so that your visitors can get an idea of the variety of content produced by your channel and returning subscribers can easily find the episodes they are looking for. 

When you are setting up your channel sections, you’ll find that YouTube offers several options for highlighting your content. You must take the time to think about your audience and what you believe would be the most valuable setup for them. Don’t be afraid to experiment and figure out seems to be the most appealing. 


One great way to organize your videos and make it easier for viewers to find what they’re looking for is to create playlists. This way, you can group videos together based on topic and all similar videos will be together. Of course, there are a few things to keep in mind: 

  • Your account must be verified 
  • You can’t put a video in more than one playlist 
  • Only your videos and those that you have rights to can be added to your playlist 

Optimizing Your YouTube Videos 

Now that we have explained how to optimize your YouTube channel, let’s take a closer look at how to optimize your YouTube videos. 

YouTube is a Search Engine, Not Social Media Platform 

The very first thing you need to do is stop thinking of YouTube as a social media platform because it is a search engine. You might not realize it, but YouTube is one of the largest search engines out there- second only to Google- and actually, the two work together. 

If you think of it as a search engine, it will be much easier to strategize when creating content, engaging with your visitors, and effectively interacting with the platform as a brand in general.  

Think like this: 

  • What are people looking for? 
  • Will your video show up when they search for that? 

Keep in mind that people search differently on Google versus YouTube, so you’ll need to make sure that you use keyword strategies made for YouTube if you want your content to show up. We’ll explore how to do that in the following tip. 

Utilize Focus Keywords 

The focus keywords are the words that you use to show one thing to Google about your video. This is the specific word/phrase that you want to rank for. The reason this matters is because it makes you more visible on YouTube. 

There are several different ways that you can research keywords for your YouTube videos, the simplest one being to type it in and see what YouTube suggests. Simply type in your keyword and you’ll be given a list of suggestions for titling your content. 

For example, if you wanted to create a video on the process for building an Adirondack chair, you would search for “Adirondack chair.” Then, when YouTube suggests keywords, make sure that you name your video using those keywords separated by hyphens before you upload it. 

Once you have uploaded your video with a focus keyword file name, you can create your title. 

Add Titles with SEO in mind 

Successful creators believe that data should refine your message, but not dictate it. This means that your titles should be written with people in mind- but you need to use SEO to inform them. 

In order to do this, you’ll use your focus keywords to see what people are already searching for and find out how other creators are titling their content. Then, take a closer look at the video that appears first for your focus keyword and see what they’re doing. This will help you figure out what you could be doing better. If at all possible, you want to avoid copying the top title- but in some cases, it can’t be helped. 

Use SEO for Writing Your Descriptions 

When it comes to writing descriptions, the same SEO rules apply as with your titles. You need to write with your viewers in mind and then fortify it by adding keywords. One thing to keep in mind is that YouTube is still trying to read your videos. Your description is a tool that will help it to see what the topic of your content is. 

When you write a description, you must make sure that you make it at least 250 words and your focus keywords appear within the first 25. Additionally, your keywords or variations should appear 2 to 4 times. The description should be written specifically for YouTube, not copied from your website. Google is smart and copy/paste descriptions will be de-prioritized. 

Include Links in Your Descriptions 

In addition to your keywords, especially if you reference printables and such, you should be including links in your descriptions. This way, if someone wants to print out the directions you mentioned, they can click on it in your video. If they can’t find the link you mention, they’re likely to find another video that does offer them that information. 

Another reason to include links in your descriptions is so that you can invite your YouTube viewers to visit your website or join your other social media platforms. 

Create Amazing Thumbnails 

You must create a thumbnail that will get attention. After all, the thumbnail, along with the title is your chance to make a good first impression. This is especially important because you’re competing with other videos that are on the same topic. You want to make sure that your title and your thumbnail elevate your content. Plus, you want to be honest because if someone clicks on your thumbnail expecting certain information and you’re not providing that, they are likely to click back out, which will cause your rating to go down. In addition to clicking out of your video, not providing information that you promise can cause your credibility to decrease. 

Embed YouTube Videos on Your Website 

Did you know that 82% of video search results on Google are on YouTube? If you are on a different media platform, you’re really missing out on a chance for your videos to be found by a larger audience. After all, as we mentioned, YouTube is second only to Google in the race against search engines.

Utilize Cards/End Screens 

You can place cards throughout your video to encourage your users to take certain actions, whether it means clicking to a certain page, subscribing to your channel, answering a poll, downloading an app, or donating to a cause. If you use them well, they come across as a service. However, if you use them poorly, viewers feel like they’re more like spam. If you plan on utilizing cards in your videos, think about whether they will enhance or detract from the experience of your viewer. Another way that you can increase view time on your channel and serve your audience are through the use of end screens. 

Investigate Your Data 

There are several ways that you can measure engagement: through views, shares, and subscriptions to your channel. Conversions can be measured via click-through-rates, or CTRs. Once you have taken the time to examine your data, you can rethink your strategy. 

Are there certain things you should change in order to reach more people with your content? Perhaps you’re doing something that you should stop doing? Perhaps you’re not doing something that you should be doing? There are lots of great resources on YouTube that can help you interpret your metrics so that you can do what needs to be done to reach more people. 

Begin with Your Beliefs/Values 

A brand that has conviction knows that their beliefs and values are the reason for their actions. They understand what their purpose is in the marketplace. They offer added value to their clients. Once you know your beliefs, you will know the type of content that you should create and who you will be creating it for.  


YouTube is one of the largest search engines in the world, second only to Google. In fact, the two actually work hand in hand. If you want your videos to do well on YouTube, you need to learn how to optimize your channel and your videos. These 10 tips should help you do just that. 

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