Getting more views for your video on YouTube isn't easy. There are around half a billion videos competing with yours. But so long as you're not trying to come up number one for a one or two word phrase, it's pretty much the same as regular SEO.
The title is very important
This applies to YouTube just as much as it does to regular SEO for other pages.
The title of the video gives potential viewers the best idea of what's in the video itself.
And you'll know from the searches that you make on the site, you skim the titles as well as the video thumbnails to decide which one to click on - often not the first in the results, especially if they're flagged as being adverts.
Without spamming the title, check that your keyword phrase is in the title. Ideally in the same word order as you're hoping people will be searching in. If you need to use punctuation so that the word order makes sense, that's fine as it's mostly ignored by the search algorithm and will be treated as natural by any humans seeing it.
It's also worth making sure that your title is in Title Case with the first letter word of each letter capitalised.
That's a simple tweak but one that's well worth doing.
Check the thumbnail image
Unless you over-ride the decision, the thumbnail image is chosen by YouTube from the three options it gives you that it takes as snapshots.
You can click on any one of these three and it's worth choosing the one that has most impact.
If you have enough privileges on your channel you can also upload your own thumbnail instead of one of the images automatically chosen by YouTube.
This can be a snapshot at a different point in the video or even an image that's not from the video itself if you feel that is more appropriate. Although naturally you should be cautious to make sure that it's still related to the content of the video.
Check the description
Video descriptions are indexed by YouTube and Google.
They're also regularly read by real people despite the best efforts of YouTube to hide or truncate them. Think how many times you've clicked the "more" button to find out what else is in the video description.
If you'd be disappointed at the description for your video if you clicked on it then it's time to modify the description.
The length of the description is up to you but if you're aiming to be found on Google as well as YouTube, it's worth putting in between 200 and 500 words in the box.
There's space for more words if you find yourself in the flow of writing.
And remember to include a link back to your site in the description so that people can find what you were talking about in the video.
If it's appropriate - for instance if you've got bullet points for the different parts of your video - then put in a few time stamps in your description (simple numbers, with minutes separated from seconds by a colon). YouTube will translate these into clickable links to the appropriate place in your video.
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