Glancing at your YouTube analytics a bit depressing? You can update your YouTube channel to optimize for more views by focusing on a few key things. Namely, thumbnails, the title, and the meta description.
So, when a client came to us asking to help optimize their existing videos, we thought two things:
- Great idea, it’s always good to periodically adjust things to get more traffic to YouTube videos
- This would be a great thing to detail in the MINDSTORMS newsletter
So, here we are.
This client is an expert speaker and records videos while recording a podcast. We don’t recommend this to most of our clients, but professional speakers are a different sort.
Step 1: Recreate the thumbnails
Our team has been uploading his videos to his account, and this is what it looks like right now, before optimizing:
First, let’s talk about what’s good:
- There’s a cohesive brand
And that’s it. There are more problems — let’s call them opportunities for increasing traffic — here than there are good things.
- You can’t tell by looking that those are all distinct topics
- Too many of the titles start with the name of the podcast (and hey, it’s not that NO ONE is searching YouTube for podcast names, it’s that most aren’t)
- The titles of the individual episodes are next-to-impossible to read
My biggest advice is making the title and thumbnail complementary, which is sometimes very easy to do, and other times takes some more thought.
Clear, large text (when you have text) and very clean design is most important. Don’t over crowd, and don’t try to be creative with color, just pick something that helps the text pop and be readable.
I’ve done a lot of testing of including a face or not, and while I’ve read a lot about having a face increasing clicks, it’s pretty much a wash with my content.
For these, we:
- Made the title bigger
- Easy to read text on a solid background
- Didn’t put the client’s face on it
Already, from a human (not robot) perspective, this is looking better. The thumbnails are easier to read, even this zoomed out, and more compelling.
Step 2: Update the titles + meta descriptions
We started by removing the title of the podcast from each episode title. This made it much easier to read what each video was about, even when the title was cut off.
Each meta description was reviewed, edited for uniformity in the first/third person and then we fleshed out unclear descriptions with more detail based on the corresponding blog post where necessary.
Step 3: Add appropriate tags
According to Hubspot:
Even though YouTube cites the title, thumbnail, and description as being more important for video SEO on their platform, studies do indicate that there’s a slight positive relationship between keyword-optimized tags and ranking (Backlinko). Neglecting to use them isn’t a dealbreaker, but they can definitely help.
So we decided to at least make sure our tags were relevant.
We entered the episode title into TunePocket, and went from there. We eliminated all tags that are unrelated to the episode topic or already used in the episode tags and added the remaining tags to YouTube.
The fourth step is to wait and see how traffic was impacted. We’ll give it a couple of months and report back on our progress.
Update your YouTube channel
If you’re struggling to get more views to your YouTube channel, take the time to step back and look at what your viewers see.
- Are your thumbnails clear and easy to read?
- Do your titles tell people what your video is about?
- Are your meta descriptions simple and informative?
- Have you used tags for each video?
Once you’ve made these changes, give it 60-90 days and take a look at your views again.
Chances are, you’ll see big changes without having to create new content.
And that, my friends, is what we’re all about.
Repurposing and maximizing impact.
March 2022 Update
So, did it work? Let’s take a look.
On March 3rd, according to analytics, there were 110 more views than usual.
Impressions were up 39%. Although it looks like we can improve the click-through rate.
Unique views are on their way up and there are 11 new subscribers which are 120% more than the month before!
So yes, this is working!
A next step might be to tweak video names a bit more to see if we can improve the click-through rate. But overall, we are very happy with the improvements.