AFTER ALL, WHAT’S THE POINT OF MAKING GREAT VIDEOS IF NO ONE SEES THEM?

BY NICKY WOODHOUSE FOUNDER, WOODHOUSE VIDEO PRODUCTION

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With YouTube now established as the second largest search engine after Google and some 400 hours of new content being uploaded each minute, applying some tested video optimisation techniques is the only chance you have of getting your video noticed organically.

YOUTUBE VIDEO OPTIMISATION : 11 TIPS TO GIVE YOU THE BEST CHANCE OF YOUTUBE SUCCESS

1. MAKE A GOOD VIDEO

Stating the bleeding obvious here but your video won’t get watched if it’s badly produced and has a vague and confusing story. To road test the viability of your idea compose the tweet you will send to promote the video on its launch day. If you can’t describe what the video’s about in 140 characters it’s probably not worth making.

2. BE AN ATTENTION SEEKER

People will not watch your video if it doesn’t grab their attention immediately. It’s kind of like when you meet someone in person for the first time – you will form your opinion of them within the first 15 seconds and decide if you like them or not. It’s the same with video. If the viewer thinks they don’t like it they will click away to something else very quickly.

3. BE AUTHENTIC

Don’t produce videos for the sake of it thinking it will improve your brand or company profile by just having them on YouTube. Take the time, allocate a sensible and realistic budget and work through how the video will represent your brand voice and ethos.

Above check out the Woodhouse TV branded content showreel 2016!

4. START THE CONVERSATION

YouTube likes to think of itself as a social media platform for discussion and debate. Posing questions in your videos that can generate lots of viewer comments and remarks will help drive your video up the rankings. If someone posts a comment be sure to reply and engage with that person – especially in the first few hours after your video is published as this is a critical time for increasing your videos ranking in search.

5. FILE NAMES. THEY DO MATTER

Videos with raw file names like finalV3 or Cut8grade that have been named by the production company for version tracking reasons are not giving any information to the search engines about what your video is about. Before you upload it take the time to rename the actual video file itself to include some relevant keywords that you want your video to be categorised by.
For example, if your video is an animation telling you information about lung cancer LungCancerInformation.mp4 would be a solid name that you can then use as a basis for your actual video “title” and “description” boxes within the YouTube “info and settings” tab.

6. VIDEO TAGS

Tags are also vital for proper video optimisation and are a great way of adding in related words or phrases that you organically couldn’t fit in the description box.
To start re-use your file name e.g Lung Cancer Information as an initial tag. Then take this phrase and type it into a keyword tool like http://keywordtool.io/ and see what other people are searching for around this topic.

Above check out an animation that we did actually make about lung cancer for CRUK and The Guardian Newspaper.

From running a quick search I can see that other people are searching for lung cancer information sheet, lung cancer information and facts so these phrases would also make good tags. You can conjunctions like “and” and “to” from the tag.

Also, words that have different spellings in US and UK English are worth tagging twice to open you up to both audiences. For example, jewellery is spelt jewelry in the USA, so your “how to make a bracelet video” needs to be tagged with both words.

I’ve also heard (although not tried as yet so can’t be sure it works!!) throwing in a random unrelated word which is consistent across the videos you upload can also help get them ranked. For example, you could I guess throw in “chicken soup” into the tags of your jewellery how to video. The guessing is no one else will have used this tag in the same grouping as yours and it will stand out.
BTW – If you do this and have any success then do let me know @woodhousetv or via the contact page.

7. MAKE YOUR CHANNEL REPRESENT YOU AND YOUR BRAND

The wider context of the channel which you set up to host your video is also important. Use the excellent YouTube Creator Academy to help you learn how to build a consistent brand that will then help you attract subscribers and in turn viewers for your content.
YouTube Creator Academy

8. ENABLE CUSTOM YOUTUBE VIDEO THUMBNAILS

Video thumbnails should not be one you auto select from the video but custom images that you select and upload yourself. Before you can do this annoyingly you need to change some settings within your channel “status and features” bar first on the left-hand side as shown below:-

First, you need to enable “longer videos”.  Our channel is verified so it has a green circle tick but an unverified account will have a button that says “enable” – like the one that is displayed next to Monetisation above. Click this and it will ask for your phone number and then send you a  6 digit “Google Verification Code which you need to enter. Hey presto, you will have a green circle next to Longer Videos and will now be allowed to manually tick the “Custom thumbnail” circle.
When you go into the info and settings tab under your video you will now have a button as below that says “Customised Thumbnail.” Easy… right?!

Key points to remember for a good thumbnail:

Select an image that is most representative or what’s in your video but keep the style of your thumbnails consistent with your channel identity.

  • If it features a celebrity use their face for the maximum draw! In fact, big faces that fill the frame are great at drawing the eye.
  • Try to use bright backgrounds which stand out against the white background on YouTube.
  • People seem divided on this one but I would personally say don’t use text. It will look a mess unless you have the time and resources to design something and there is no need to if you have a good title in the actual title box.
  • Once you have a theme for your video thumbnails stick to it – maybe changing the colour for different video themes/ types of videos within your channel.
  • Include a small brand logo in your thumbnail image. Vice always do this and it helps to catch the eye and keep consistency & build brand awareness.
9. UPLOAD REGULARLY

Viewers like predictability so try and upload your videos at the same time each week to build consistency and brand behaviour.
Your channel and all of your videos will also rank higher if you upload regularly. Frequent updating is seen by the bots to indicate relevance. Don’t upload work in batches  – spread it out so there is a consistent drip feed of videos to keep Google interested.

10. EMBED IT EVERYWHERE!

Embed the link to your video on your blog, Facebook, Tweet it, put a link temporarily in your Instagram profile, send it in a newsletter to your email list. The internet is a big place so don’t be worried about duplication as it is unlikely that the same person will see the same link repeatedly. The number of embeds all helps with your videos ranking.

11. ADD CLOSED CAPTIONS

As well as helping those who are hard of hearing closed captions can also help attract a bigger audience to your videos. When you submit a transcript of your video the exact content is indexed by the search engines which will help viewers who are interested in what you video is about find it more efficiently.


The average amount of time that people will spend watching online video is set to increase by another 20% in 2016. Hopefully, these tips will help you join the conversation with more confidence.


Nicky Woodhouse is a director, producer, editor and camera operator with more than 10 years experience producing short form content for leading brands, businesses and charities. She was the woman behind David Cameron’s pinioning “Webcameron” video blog between 2007-2010 and now runs her own video production agency Woodhousevideoproduction For a no obligation quote for any aspect of video production please start the conversation via the contact form

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