9 Youtube Best Practices & SEO Tips for Video Marketing

9 Youtube Best Practices & SEO Tips for Video Marketing

looking at youtube on a smartphone

Can you imagine that 2 billion users – around a quarter of the entire world population – are active on YouTube each month? They watch over one billion hours of video every single day, and the

popularity of the platform is still expanding. Especially Gen Z and Millennials spend more and more time on YouTube.

Brands worldwide take advantage of the opportunities that this powerhouse of video marketing provides. According to Hubspot’s State of Inbound survey, 48% of marketers plan to leverage YouTube for content distribution – more than any other marketing channel. And 61% of businesses already use the platform to promote their products and services and to connect with their audience.

When you start your video marketing journey, you might be overwhelmed with questions like how to grow your YouTube channel, how to build an audience on YouTube or even how to setup a YouTube page. You have two important aspects to take care of: creating high-quality videos and making sure that they get seen. In this guide, we’re going to reveal the four essential YouTube video best practices and five tips for SEO optimization so that you can get the most return on your video marketing.



Youtube Video Specs

First things first, your video has to follow the recommended YouTube video specs so that it looks professional and trustworthy. Here’s what you need to consider when it comes to video formatting:

  • Aspect ratio: 16:9 or 4:3 (will result in pillarboxing in the widescreen player)
  • Video resolution: no minimum resolution, but the recommended resolution is 1280×720 (16:9 aspect ratio) and 640×480 (4:3 aspect ratio).
  • Video file size: maximum of 128GB
  • Video file formats: MPEG-2 (preferred), MPEG-4, AVI, WMV, FLV, MOV
  • Video length: maximum of 12 hours
  • Frame rate: 24fps or 25fps yields the best results


When is the Best Time to Post on Youtube?

When you contemplate that 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every day, it seems impossible to be noticed in this crowded space. You can increase your chances of being seen by observing the best times to publish YouTube videos.

Here are the best times to upload to YouTube:

  • Monday to Wednesday: 2 – 4 pm EST
  • Thursday to Friday: Noon – 3 pm EST
  • Saturday to Sunday:  9 – 11 am EST

What’s interesting is that these times don’t represent the hours with the highest traffic. Most people watch YouTube in the evening between 7 and 10 pm EST. The reason why you should post earlier is that YouTube needs some time to index your video so that it can show up in search results.

4 Essential Youtube Best Practices

Once you’ve figured out how to create a YouTube channel and uploaded your first videos, you’ll want to take your YouTube video marketing a step further. There’s plenty of advice out there. So, we’ve boiled it down to the four essential YouTube best practices that every business on YouTube should follow.

1)Post Consistently

As with other social networks, to grow your audience on YouTube, you’ll have to show up for them consistently. A good starting point is posting one video per week. Remember to manage the expectations of your subscribers and let them know when new videos will arrive. We recommend that you plan ahead and stick to a schedule, posting at the same time each day or week.

2)Optimize Your Channel

Your YouTube channel is the home for your videos. The YouTube channel best practices recommend adding different segments and playlists to your channel to help your audience find the type of video they are looking for. Think of the different topics that your videos address to identify the right segments.

3)Always Include a Call-to-Action

Your audience is enjoying your video, and you’ve got their attention. What do you want them to do next? Don’t miss the opportunity to ask them to take action, ideally within your video or in the description. When you consistently include a call-to-action, you can increase your subscriber base and drive sales.

Here are a few CTA ideas:

  • Subscribe to your YouTube channel
  • Enable notifications, so they get alerted once a new video from you arrives
  • Like your video
  • Leave a comment
  • Like and follow your other social media pages
  • Visit your website to explore your products or services
  • Visit a landing page with a special offer from you

4)Engage With Your Viewers

YouTube, like other social media platforms, should always be a two-way communication channel. When your videos attract comments and questions, it’s a good sign that your viewers are engaged. Make sure to respond to your subscribers to show them that they’re talking to a fellow human, not an anonymous organization. That’s how you can build meaningful connections and grow your channel.



5 Youtube SEO Tips

Keep in mind that YouTube is the second largest search engine worldwide. If you want your video to show up in YouTube search results, you not only have to work on your YouTube video optimization but also play the SEO game. YouTube applies a variety of ranking factors that need your attention. Follow our five YouTube SEO best practices to increase your chances of ranking well.

1)Identify and Utilize Your Keywords

YouTube SEO works similar to optimizing your written content for search engines. First, you’ll need to identify the keywords that you want your video to rank for. SEO tools like ahrefs or Ubersuggest come in handy for keyword research.

Then, use your keywords strategically in these places:

  • Name of the video file that you’ll be uploading to YouTube.
  • Video title – Make sure that your keyword fits naturally into the title. The YouTube title length should not exceed 60 characters to avoid being cut off in result pages.
  • Video description box – The YouTube description best practice is to keep it to around 100 characters as your viewers will have to click “show more” to see the rest.
  • Tags – This is how you tell YouTube what your video is about. Choose your tags wisely, though, as you can be penalized for adding irrelevant tags.

2)Categorize Your Video

Once you’ve uploaded your video, go to “advanced settings” and choose a category. That groups your video with similar content, helping to gain exposure with your target audience.

3)Upload a Custom Thumbnail

The video thumbnail is the image that users see when they scroll through a list of videos. Based on this image and the video title alone, your audience will decide if your video is worth watching or not. While YouTube will auto-generate a thumbnail for you, we highly recommend uploading a custom image. Keep the following specs in mind when designing your image:

  • 1280 x 720 pixels
  • 16:9 ratio
  • 2 MB or smaller
  • .jpg, .gif, .bmp, or .png file

4)Add Cards and End Screens

There are two elements that you should add to your video to increase engagement, drive conversions, and ultimately improve your search ranking.

  • Cards are little notifications that you can add to your video. They will appear in the top right corner of the screen. Use them to link to other videos, playlists, and websites or to ask your audience to buy something. They work best when you add them at the exact moment when your video mentions the video or website that you want your viewer to check out.
  • End screens are a powerful way to keep your audience hooked for longer. Displayed for 5 – 20 seconds at the end of your video, you can use them to promote up to four different elements: view another video or playlist, ask viewers to subscribe, promote another channel, and include links to websites.

5)Add Subtitles or Closed Captions

Subtitles or closed captions make it easy for people to watch your video without sound and still understand the main message. Also, adding them to your video will boost search optimization when you include your main keywords. Check out Google’s step-by-step guide on how to add subtitles and closed captions to your videos.

happy woman on computer

How to Succeed on YouTube with Videos by MotionSLAM!

Following our YouTube best practices will certainly help your videos to stand out. But, before you can start implementing these tips, you’ll need a great video first.

So, you might wonder how to make a video on YouTube. Just leave your web video production to us! We are a dedicated video marketing company focused on producing high-quality, custom-made videos.

We can handle every aspect of your video production – from scriptwriting to A/B testing – to free up your time for the things only you do best. Give us a call at 888.760.4958 or email us to learn how we can transform your business goals into results.


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