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Blog by Thumblytics

A Strategic Approach to YouTube Optimization

September 24, 2021

Overview - A Strategic Approach

The four fundamentals you will need to optimize every time you create and upload a YouTube video are:

  1. Title
  2. Description
  3. Hashtags
  4. Thumbnail

1. Title

The title is one of the first things that catches a viewers’ attention. Your video titles need to contain your keywords but also be engaging, expressive, and click-worthy!

Video titles should give viewers a preview of the contents of the video. They should be able to tell at a glance what your video is about. While it can be tempting to use misleading titles to get more clicks, this can lead to penalization in the YouTube algorithm as low average watch duration is a negative signal.

The YouTube algorithm does not only look at view counts, but also considers other signals that indicate the relevance to audiences. A clear title provides your viewers with a positive viewing experience.

Further, when you include the main keyword in your title. Your video can get an additional SEO boost.

TIP: consider the title before creating a video. This way, your script is aligned with the title.

2. Description

YouTube video descriptions are crucial for both YouTube and Google algorithms to understand when to recommend the video to potential viewers.

A good description will be informative while also including relevant keywords. Ideally, you want to have your key points near the top of your description. You can also include a call-to-action link or summary of your video in the description.

YouTube shows only around 300 characters (about three lines) above the Show More button. Viewers need to click on it to see the full description. Below this, aim for a minimum length of 250 characters.

TIP: Include the video transcript in your description. This can significantly improve your SEO, especially when your video is loaded with keywords.

3. Hashtags

YouTube hashtags help you achieve better visibility for your videos. More importantly, the hashtags connect the relevant content to the appropriate audience. In 2021 hashtags became even more powerful: by clicking on a hashtag on YouTube, viewers are directed to a dedicated landing page which contains only videos using the same tag. This page is also sorted to keep the “best” videos at the top, according to YouTube. The best hashtags are keywords relevant to your video content, your company brand, and locations. You can select up to 15 hashtags per video, and the first three will appear above your video title. You can easily add them by typing keywords (use the # sign) into the description box.

4. Thumbnail

Most creators will agree that first impression matters. For YouTube videos, your video’s first impression is its thumbnail (and title). It is generally accepted that optimising your thumbnail is a smart thing to do:

Higher click-through rate = More views

A top-quality custom video thumbnail is what makes your content stand out from the crowd and increases clicks and views.

The human brain is wired to look for patterns, and so is the YouTube Algorithm, which means a good thumbnail consists of the following:

  • Concise and to the point text (ideally with your main keywords)
  • Visually appealing font and color
  • Inviting and expressive faces

You should always test your thumbnails before you publish your video, as the bulk of views often comes in the first few hours of publishing. A good thumbnail and title can increase the proportion of impressions that turn into views. Just think to the last time you saw an interesting thumbnail or title on YouTube and decided to click on it. The key here is that your thumbnail should still represent the content of your video (and not be clickbait). This way you get more clicks, more views, and a high AVD!

Another benefit of improving your CTR is that the YouTube algorithm likes videos with high CTR and AVD. This means increasing your CTR leads to the YouTube algorithm recommending your videos to more viewers.


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