10 Must-Do YouTube Video Optimizations Before You Hit Publish Button

Here are the must-do YouTube video optimizations to do so your video ranks on the search result.

This blog post will be your ultimate guide in YouTube Video Optimization helping you to rank your YouTube videos, gain organic traffic, increase video views and subscribers and consequently increasing your revenue.

You might be facing a situation where your video isn’t ranking well in the YouTube search result even after you have made a very appealing and quality video.
Or your YouTube videos mightn’t be getting the organic traffic and views as expected.


I can assume, you are looking for solutions to the above situations and this blog post has got all the answers for why you aren’t getting your views and what to do to get views in YouTube video.
I have tried to make this article as simple as it can be. I have listed the 10 main optimizations that any content creator should do before publishing the video in 2021.

Publishing and ranking videos on YouTube has been more competitive and challenging in 2o21 after the Covid-19 situation in 2020 saw a surge in the increase of video creators.
Follow this guide along, I will assure you that you will be satisfied with your video performance in the time to come.


We will start with the most basic SEO for YouTube Video Optimization like title, description and tags then talk about the importance of a good video thumbnail followed by video settings to change and finally organising your channel videos.

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Start with optimizing your YouTube video title

First and foremost step, we need to better optimize our video’s title. Optimizing title means it has keywords and is able to rank on search result. As the title is what the audience look for alongside the thumbnail in the search result, it is important that it be compelling and instigating to click open the video.


Here are my few things to remember while optimizing the YouTube video title:

  • simple, natural and easy to understand title with search intent
  • contains keywords
  • contains a few of the tags
  • isn’t clickbait and doesn’t spread false information
  • is short enough to understand and not too long making it hard to read
  • is around or less than 70 (seventy) characters long, even though YouTube allows titles up to 100 characters
  • adding questions, phrases, year etc can increase the video CTR rate
    few examples:
    How to …..
    Things not to do…
    10 must-do …. in 2021
    Why doesn’t the river stop flowing?

Writing a better description for YouTube Video Optimization

Video description in YouTube is for describing the video. You can mention what the video is about, what the viewers can expect to achieve from the video, key messages, links or items needed if any and so on.

Here’s how you can optimize your description section of your YouTube video:

  • It is a good practice to mention a couple of tags from the title and tag sections in the first few lines of the YouTube video description. This helps in better ranking
  • in the other paragraph, you can explain what the video is about
  • mention key messages and what the viewer can get out of the video
  • you can also write the solution video is solving
  • listing and providing item’s and resources’ links in the description makes the video more trustworthy
  • you can link your website or social profile in the video description
  • you can make good use of 1000 character limit
  • I like to list a few of the tags in the description section making it something like: this video will be helpful in the following scenarios…

Never underestimate the power of tags!

I used to overlook the tag section in YouTube video and didn’t give much priority to write anything in there before. But after I started to know the importance of optimizing tags in a YouTube video I barely publish any video without optimizing tags.

What to write in tags?

  • For the first few tags, I always prefer to write the same tags used in the title and the first part of the description
  • tags need to be relevant to the video
  • make use of words, phrases, sentences or a combination of keywords
  • it is always wiser to do keyword research while writing the tags
  • tags can be anything that an audience searches
  • use long-tail keywords to narrow the target searches
  • make the best of 500 character limit

Don’t let video thumbnail ruin your hard work

One mistake every YouTuber should avoid is ignoring the importance of customized thumbnails for a YouTube video. Thumbnail plays a vital role in driving audiences to your video. It is what the audience will see alongside the video title in the search result or in the recommendation feed.

  • A well-customized video thumbnail will compel the audience to open the video. This will also increase the Click Through Rate (CTR) of the video and channel consequently.
  • YouTube recommends adding a custom thumbnail with a resolution of 1280×720.
  • if you are appearing in the video, a portrait headshot with few texts will look better in thumbnail
  • clear and visible texts on thumbnail
  • it is good practice to align the thumbnail design with your channel branding

You can use applications like Photoshop, Canva, Snappa, Spark Post for creating video thumbnails. I use Snappa as it is all online and has the best design features.

Compete with the competitors

It is necessary to know how your competitors are doing in the YouTube search result. If the particular video you are publishing has been already made by some others then to outrank the previous publisher there are several things to consider.

If the competitor’s video already has a lot of views and is already established, here’s what you can do:

  • compare the thumbnail, title, description and tags with your competitor’s video
  • produce a video with better value than the competitor’s current video
  • get ideas, extract, copy and modify ranked tags from competitor’s video’s tags and title and try to fit them into your video
  • use tools like TubeBuddy for in-depth analysis and comparison.

Video settings for YouTube Video Optimization

By now I shared with you some best practices in optimizing your YouTube video’s title, description, tags and creating a better thumbnail. Now, let me share with you few simple video settings to tweak in your video properties.

  • choose the appropriate video category
  • hide or show user ratings (likes and dislikes)
  • turn on or off the commenting on the video
  • specify video language
  • enable monetisation if available
  • change the privacy settings (public, private, unlisted)
  • let YouTube know if the video is meant for Kids

Doing these helps YouTube to better understand and recommend it to the right audience.

Add/ turn on subtitles

Subtitles act as a copy of your video. It plays a significant role in ranking. If your video is already in English you can turn on the captions.

If your video is in another language, you can add manually add captions to the video yourself or enable community contributions so that any viewers can add captions to your video.

For example, @sonisha and I regularly publish videos in Nepali in this channel and add captions in English manually so audiences who don’t understand Nepali can also watch the video with subtitles turned on.

Add chapters

YouTube introduced the chapters in 2020, a timestamp feature making it easier for the viewer to navigate through the video.
Like the table of contents in this blog post, chapters in the YouTube video makes the division of the particular video into different sections and convenient for the viewer to switch or jump to a different part.

  • add chapters in your description box
  • the first chapter should have a timestamp as 00:00
  • chapters help in better indexing in YouTube and Google search result

example of chapter from one of my video:

Timestamps
00:00​ Intro
00:30​ wifi connection
00:45​ download apowermirror mirroring app
01:15​ app view and initial setup
01:40​ using control centre to screencast to another ios device
01:55​ start broadcast/ mirror
02:10​ fix the mirrored orientation video feed
02:30​ what I will be using screen mirror for

Don’t forget cards and end screen

YouTube video Cards help us to link other videos, playlist, channel and website link in the video while it is being played. We can add up to 5 cards per video.

Cards are preformatted notifications that appear on desktop and mobile which you can set up to promote your brand and other videos on your channel. [source]


Likewise, the end screen will appear in the last part of the video.
End screens can feature videos and a channel subscribe button.

End screens are a powerful tool which can help extend watch time on your channel by directing viewers to something next at the end of your videos. You can add them to the last 5-20 seconds of a video and they appear on both desktop and mobile. [source]

Organise videos into a playlist

Organising videos into a closely matching playlist makes a channel look better and increases the chances of being ranked better.

If you have series of videos under a particular topic, organising them into a playlist and ordering them is a smart idea. This will also help viewers to find other related videos.

Summary – How to optimize a YouTube video for SEO in 2021

While I explained all the 10 major steps to do before publishing your video on YouTube, here below is the quick summary of the entire SEO for the YouTube video optimization process. Feel free to save it for your reference later.

  1. Optimize the video Title, Description and Tag

    Make the best use of character count by optimizing title, description and tag with keywords and search intents. Make sure tags are well fused into the title and description in natural way.

  2. Add a customized high quality thumbnail

    A customized thumbnail is a must for creating a first impression on the viewer. A good thumbnail attracts more viewers and increases the Click Through Rate (CTR).

  3. Tweak video settings and organize into playlist

    Define video category, language, privacy, hide/ show ratings and add the video to a relevant playlist.

  4. Add chapter, info cards, end screens and subtitles

    Turn on or add the subtitles to the video as it acts as the video’s copy. Info cards and end screens give the viewer with more relevant video recommendations.

  5. Get inspiration from your competitors

    Research and get inspired from competitor’s content, presentation and keywords.

So this is all about YouTube Video Optimization to rank better in the search result. I tried to make this blog as realistic as possible and shared what I learned over time from my experience of publishing videos on YouTube.
Let me know your thoughts on this.

Have a great day. 🙂