Get more views on YouTube with these best practices for titles and descriptions.
If you are posting B2B video content to YouTube with bad descriptions or vague titles, you’re wasting a valuable SEO opportunity. Why? YouTube is the second most visited website in the United States (and also in the world). Oh, and it’s owned by the top search engine in the world.
If you stop reading here before you get to the full best practices for YouTube titles and descriptions, I ask that at a minimum you actually write a descriptive title and description for everything you post to YouTube. This seems obvious, but I wouldn’t be saying it if I hadn’t seen B2B marketing videos with blank descriptions and titles like brandfilm_final_approved.mp4.
Any public video your brand posts should have a title and description that tells viewers what to expect. Optimizing by following the steps below is really step two.
If your channel is full of undescribed videos, it’s never too late to change! Come with me on this journey. Let’s drive some traffic, shall we?
Start by deciding what top keyword you’d like to target with this video. It could be a phrase like “hybrid cloud solutions” or a how to, such as “how to [insert the benefit your product drives here].”
Stick to one keyword to optimize. Including more than one makes it difficult to write in natural language. If you have additional keywords in mind, it's best practice to save them to use as tags or add them in later in your description.
Write a video title that includes your keyword. My key word there is “includes.” Your title should be more descriptive than just the keyword. It should tell viewers what to expect from the video.
For example, if your target keyword is “hybrid cloud solutions,” a good video title might be “Choosing a hybrid cloud solutions vendor.”
While the full title will always be displayed in search results, the “Watch next” sidebar does limit the number of characters it displays. A title gets cut off after around 10 words or 50 characters.
To avoid key information being cut off, make sure your title begins with the most important information. Put descriptors like your company name or the type of video at the end of the title. For example: “Choosing a hybrid cloud solutions vendor | A conversation with FakeCo’s CTO” or “Choosing a hybrid cloud solutions vendor | Webinar recorded April 21”
Once you have your title, write the first sentence of the description. Include your target keyword, and make the sentence descriptive and helpful to viewers. This sentence needs to entice viewers to click play. People want to know what they’re committing to, and no one wants to feel misled by a video description that doesn’t match the content.
The first two lines of your description are the most important. They appear in YouTube’s search results and above the “Show More” prompt on the video page. This first sentence needs to tell viewers what they can expect from the video. This is not the best place for a link or a generic “About us.” More on that later.
After you write that first sentence or two, continue writing a detailed description about the video, its contents, or your company.
Remember: don’t keyword stack or tag stuff, even after the “Show more” fold. Google’s AI is smarter than you and rewards natural language.
If you want to include standard “About us” language or calls to subscribe to the channel in all your YouTube video descriptions, add it to the very end of your description. It will be extra information for people who click “Show more.”
Once you have your description written, add at least one relevant link. A link serves as your video’s call-to-action and gives the viewer a next step to take. This can be as simple as a link to your website with a CTA such as “Learn more at yourdomain[dot]com"
Note that you must include the https:// for the link to be clickable. YouTube doesn’t support hypertext links in descriptions.
You could also consider adding links to your social channels or to other YouTube videos or playlists.
YouTube supports hashtags, if your content lends itself to a popular hashtag. As with keywords, only include hashtags that are relevant to your video. You don’t want to be flagged as spam. (Or frankly, to look spammy to prospects.)
Finally, add tags to your video in the field under the description. These tags mostly tell YouTube, not viewers, what the video is about. As with everything else, it's best practice to add tags that accurately describe the content. You won’t be rewarded for adding popular but irrelevant tags.
If you are creating any sort of recurring series on YouTube, such as a video podcast, webinars, or product tips, consider creating a custom thumbnail for each video. Thumbnails make your video more appealing in search results, communicate the video topic, and help you get some bonus branding in.
A great thumbnail for a YouTube video includes:
Which is more engaging: The still from the video (left) or a still with a title and logo (right)?
Have a designer mock up a consistent style. With each episode or video in the series, you can easily have a designer (or someone good with Photoshop) swap out the still and update the text. An engaging thumbnail supports a well-written YouTube description and title.
If you want to make thumbnails yourself, Canva has free templates available.
The greatest, most creative video in the world will only be effective if people watch it. Writing a detailed, targeted title and description on YouTube is essential to a solid B2B video marketing strategy.
Just getting started on YouTube? Check out this helpful guide to YouTube marketing.