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Optimized YouTube Description Has Major Impact on Views

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YouTube description
© 2019 by Scott S. Bateman

A well-written YouTube description has a major impact on how many site visitors find and view a video.

The Google search engine has evolved into a maze of algorithms that have made traditional search engine optimization much harder to implement. Fortunately, YouTube search optimization is not nearly as complex. It also seems to defer more heavily to a few standard SEO rules.

Some sources including Google say that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world after Other sources deny the claim.

Either way, the YouTube search engine is a major factor, if not the most important factor, in getting viewers to a video. So it benefits video publishers to optimize three of the most important elements in YouTube SEO.

YouTube Keyword Search

YouTube rankings depend heavily on keyword searches among other factors such as watch time. Keyword searches depending heavily on keywords in three locations:

  1. Title
  2. Summary
  3. Description

Arguably, the most important factor of the above three is the description. It is most important because keywords in the description drive keywords in the summary and title. In fact, the summary often is the first paragraph or sentences of the description.

YouTube takes the first 125 characters from the description for use in the summary. So the first handful of words in the first 125 characters of the description must and should contain the most important keywords.

Publishers who are mindful of YouTube SEO will likewise write the description first after identifying as many relevant keywords and synonyms as possible. They will take one or two of the most important keywords and use them in the title.

How to Optimize a YouTube Description

Think of a YouTube description as any other article on a website that has been optimized for search engines. Write:

  • Natural keywords rather than forced keywords.
  • Long tail keywords (two or more keywords) rather than single keywords.
  • Longer text rather than shorter.
  • Informative content rather than vague.
  • Specific content rather than general.
  • Compelling content rather than boring.

Longer descriptions are better simply because they contain more keyword opportunities that attract search engine visitors. Longer ones also entice viewers to spend more time in the channel.

Descriptions should reflect the script in the video. It is an effective use of time and YouTube search optimization to rewrite the script into more natural language and use it as the description.

Strong descriptions potentially have another benefit. They increase the possibility that the video will rank higher in Google search results in addition to YouTube search results.

How Not to Optimize a Description

Some YouTube publishers follow a practice of asking viewers to subscribe to their channels. They often put the request at the beginning of the description.

A request at the beginning of the description will show up in the summary, which means no relevant keywords for search. It’s also not a compelling way to attract clicks and views. Keywords rather than fluff attract more clicks.

Put the subscription request in the second paragraph, after the first 125 characters or somewhere lower in the description. Anyone who reads the description will easily see the request.

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