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How to optimize video for youtube, google and other search engines

Updated on August 17, 2010

Youtube optimization

This hub deals with how to rank a video high in youtube, presently the second largest search engine next to google. This is important not only for youtube search but also other search engines. Over the past few years search engines have been heading more toward universal (blended) search which includes different media forms such as images, videos, maps and books. Since 2008, with the purchase of youtube by Google, video has dominated the google search and youtube videos often rank higher than a similarly optimized website.


The Title of the video is of primary importance as in any other media optimization. This must contain the keywords you wish to rank for and at present you can use up to 30 characters in a youtube title.

The Description Field.

5000 characters are available for the description and Google suggests using as much of this as possible with keywords and information on what the video is about. Names, places, proper nouns may be especially important. You can use links here by including the http at the beginning although these are all no-follow so of no use for search engine optimization.


This is also important in youtube and the tags should be refined to a small selection of relevant keywords

User ratings/comments.

These have some bearing on ranking and it is becoming apparent that Google is developing technology to infer whether these comments are positive or negative.

How much of the video is watched.

As expected, the more of the video that is watched before switching off is relevant in determining a video’s popularity and has an impact on ranking. I’ve not however, found any statistics to back this up but this will certainly continue to play a part.

Embedding the video in other websites.

This is very important and seems to be similar to backlinks (links pointing back to a website from elsewhere) in general SEO. This is considered to be a sign of popularity for the video and the quality of the webpage embedding the video is of obvious importance. A single embed from a relevant, high profile website can be enough to get a video to the top of the youtube search engine for a particular keyword.

Numbers of views

This has a big effect on ranking. As expected, a video with a high view count ranks highly. However, videos recently published are also given a boost in ranking. New videos initially rank well but unless they receive a reasonable view count can drop away.

Youtube channel

The quality of the youtube channel used for uploading the video is also important. A older channel with many quality videos, lots of subscribers, friends, comments etc…usually has more successful uploads than one from a newer channel. A link can be placed in the profile section of the youtube channel which is do-follow and is useful in search engine optimization.

Few videos go ‘viral’ and according to some recent statistics less than 20% of youtube videos receive over 500 hits while only 4% get 10000 or more. For the kind of viewership sought after in video marketing, the video needs to be embedded in relevant, high profile websites which can have a massive effect on it’s spread and distribution.

Tips from the product manager of youtube


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