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Going Viral: Optimizing YouTube Video Descriptions

Going Viral: Optimizing YouTube Video Descriptions

Back in the early days of YouTube all you needed was a cat and camcorder to go viral. But going viral in 2021 requires a little more than an appearance from Mr. Mittens to get your video off the ground. With more than 500 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, your videos will need to be creative, entertaining and, yes –– optimized. Here are five smart tips for optimizing your YouTube descriptions.

Start With Keywords

Keywords are the search terms that help YouTube link your content with what users are searching for. They’re the main reason videos of puppies show up when you search “puppies” or why Youtube knows what to suggest for you “up next.” They help choose what videos are relevant to the search.

Pick a few keywords that best represent your video and scatter them within the description. Two or three keywords are perfect – any more could end up harming your SEO ranking, while less could make it hard for your video to rank. Another tip? Try popping one or more keywords in the title too.

Spice Up Your Descriptions

YouTube descriptions should be…well, descriptive. No one expects the next great American novel, but your descriptions should definitely be more than just a few-word summaries. This is also your chance to link viewers to more content or call them to action. Remember the beginning of your description is on display when users are browsing through videos. Use this space. Hook viewers into your content, display your keywords, entice them to click and save your killer CTA for the finale.

Smarter Tomorrow Foundation piqued curiosity about their video’s content and drove viewers to take action.

Write an Irresistible Call-To-Action

If viewers like your video, they’ll probably love your other content too—but not if they don’t know it exists. Use your descriptions to encourage users to like, comment and subscribe. Or, go ahead and lead them to your website, other videos, playlists or social accounts by linking URLs in the description. If you want your audience to do something, tell them with clear verbiage. Hit that like button. Comment below. Subscribe.

Stay Away From Clickbait

Clickbait is the catfish of the Youtube universe. Although clickbait titles compel users to click through to your video, they’ll just as quickly click away when they realize it’s not what they thought it was. When users bounce from your upload without seeing it through to the end, your content isn’t being seen and your SEO rankings can take a hit. Keep your titles, descriptions and thumbnails honest and you’ll have the retention rate to show for it.

Spoiler alert: this doesn’t happen in the video. Source: Author via YouTube.

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