How to Optimise YouTube Videos

Posted on Sep 13, 2021 |

A Starter Guide

Here are the basic steps to optimise YouTube videos. This post is not about optimising and marketing a YouTube channel, that’s rather more involved. Contact us to find out more.


Video Optimisation List

  1. Name the movie filename with appropriate keywords*
  2. Give the title the same treatment* – Write the title as a ‘hook’ or use emotional language to click through.
  3. Use the first line of the description for a link to your website (1 – 2 lines are only visible unless a visitor clicks on Show More).
  4. Add a description that explains the video in 50 – 150 words.
  5. Include a ‘boiler plate’ description to the bottom of the description (this would include contact details, social handles, and a description of your service) 25 – 50 words.
  6. Add relevant tags (for ideas search on the keywords, look at the videos that come up. Click on the video page. Right Click and choose View Source. Perform a find for ‘keywords’ (not all videos will have keywords). You can also use your own keyword research focusing on the most profitable.
  7. Thumbnails, take a screen shot of the frame you wish to use. This should be inviting to a casual visitor and encourage playing. A screenshot will create a PNG file (on a Mac) which is of a higher quality than the thumbnails suggested by YouTube.
  8. Select the appropriate category.


Closed Captions

If the video involves speech it is very worthwhile paying for captions. is great in terms of accuracy and speed of service. Currently the cost is $1.25 per minute.

Captions help enormously with search. If you have the video published on your website you can copy the text from the captions file and name it Transcription, voila! Ready-made extra content.

Do NOT use automated captions. Yes. Some are quite advanced but you can never be sure of NOT having rubbish captions.


Video Play button 1

End Screens

Have a look into creating End screens, you can add a subscribe buttons, call to action or line up the next video.



Playlists can help to keep visitors on the channel and increase watch time (the key stat that YouTube uses to evaluate video engagement).


YouTube Stats

The most important statistic in judging success is ‘minutes watched’ not views, as this shows engagement.

Stats can also be used to view any drop off in a video. Which is a starting point to editing down videos that are not performing.

The thumbnail and the title of the video are the two things to get right to encourage click and play.

*Don’t try to force keywords into the file name or title. If they seem appropriate try and use them at the beginning of the filename and title.


Video Play Button 2

Using YouTube Videos on your Own Website

Conversion Detectives recommend a two-prong video platform strategy. Many people start searching on YouTube and YT videos are more likely to be shown in a Google search as Google owns YouTube.

The downside of using YT videos is the use of ‘recommended videos’ that show at the end of the video. This can cause leakage especially as competitor videos may be shown.

Having a long time showing the end title card is one way around this. It is also possible, through a code edition, to show ONLY videos from your own channel.

The other option here is to use another video platform. By using another platform like Wistia the SEO value belongs to the business website and not YouTube.


Is the best solution for using on the website as it doesn’t offer recommended videos on the end screen. The Vimeo platform offers a more than adequate free version and other packages at a very low cost.


This platform is expensive but offers several benefits including the automation of site maps for video. This is the most funky of the platforms, if you have the budget you can take advantage of many other features like turnstile, see below, that Wistia has to offer.

What’s the difference between Vimeo and Wistia?

Vimeo is really a community for creatives while Wistia was designed from the ground up to be a video marketing platform.


Video Play Button 3

Gathering Email Addresses

Both Vimeo and Wistia offer the ability to collect email addresses WITHIN the video. Wistia calls this a ‘turnstile’ and this can be set anywhere in the video. Used near the end it is more likely to produce a lead with intent.

Another way of help grow an email list as the turnstile can automatically add leads to a nurture engine or simply added to an email newsletter list.


This is a starter guide to video optimization on YouTube and does not reference YouTube strategy, account growth or video ads.

Digital marketing relies on making the most of each channel and combining the most profitable channels into a consistent strategy.


Jim Signature



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About Conversion Detectives
Conversion Detectives is a full service digital marketing agency in Hertfordshire.
We find the best quality traffic for your website and convert more of that traffic into sales or sales leads.

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