YouTube Optimisation: A How To Guide


YouTube optimisation is a key stage once you receive your completed videos because your intended viewers need to be able to find them easily. If YouTube can see that your views and channel subscriptions are increasing they will favour your videos in the search results. Also if you have just spent some of your marketing budget and a lot of time on the videos it seems a shame to restrict their reach. Here is a step by step guide to what needs doing once your video has been uploaded to YouTube.

Youtube Optimisation

Basic Info

1. Ensure the video has a title – The title should be made up of the most important keywords whilst keeping it coherent.

2. Write a description – The description should again contain all the main keywords for the product or service featured in this particular video. You can’t have a description that is too long and the more detail you include the more information YouTube has to index it with. Include a link to your homepage and any links to pages that feature the product(s) or service(s) in the video. In order for the link to work http:// must be included.

3. Write the tags – The tags are very important as they give YouTube an overview of the video. Use the video title as the first tag and then be concise with the following ones and use the ones YouTube recommends if they are applicable.

4. Add the video to a play-list – Adding a video to a play-list demonstrates to YouTube that you are trying to make it as easy as possible for viewers to find the video.

5. Customised Thumbnail – This should be set to an image that will entice the viewer to click on the video. YouTube gives you three automatic options but the best thing to do (if your channel is in ‘Good Standing Order’) is to upload your own. This could be an image of the product or service or an advert designed by your graphic designer. The most important thing to remember though is that it must be related to the content of the video. Users have abused this in the past and their videos have been taken down.

Advanced Settings

1. Set the category – The category should be set to whatever resembles the content of the video. YouTube mainly uses this to work out what related videos should be displayed.

2. Video Language – Select English (United Kingdom). Setting this just gives YouTube more infraction about the video.

Everything else should be automatically set.


Annotations should ideally be set towards the end of the video. A lot of viewers find them annoying if they run throughout the whole video. These instructions are based on a call to action being included in the edited video. The reason for this is that the text can match your branding and therefore look much better than the limited YouTube options.

1. Scroll through the video until you reach the point your call to action just starts to appear.
2. Click on add annotation and select spotlight
3. You’ll see two boxes appear, ignore the bottom one and drag the top box over the text so it has equal padding on all four sides and frames the text.
4. Click the link tick box.
5. In the drop-down menu to the right select associated website
6. Copy the web address for the page you want to link to (the address must start with your associated website, this is usually your business website).
7. Click on the paint pot icon and select the last colour option at the bottom, it is transparent.
8. In the timeline drag the Grey annotation bar out to the right so it lasts for the remainder of the video.

If there is more than one call to action keep scrolling through until you reach the next one. Here are two more useful links –

Subscribe text – when you get to step 5 above instead of choosing associated website select subscribe and include your YouTube username in the text box.

Google+ call to action – when you get to step 5 above select Google+ in the dropdown menu and the link will be created automatically to your Google+ profile.

You can test the links as you go by clicking on ‘Preview Link

Cards do a similar job to annotations but they work on mobile devices so this is an important step.

1. Drag the blue play bar in the timeline to where you want a card to pop up. Either the very beginning or around 30 seconds before end is usually best.
2. Click on the blue button titled Add Card
3. Click on create next to associated website
4. Add the associated web address you want to link to
5. More option will automatically load
6. Add a call to action in the bottom two text boxes
7. Click on the right arrow over the image thumbnail to select a picture of your choosing. These are taken from images that appear on the page you are linking to.
8. Click Save

You can add as many cards as you like, just move the play bar to another part of the video and repeat the instructions above.

Subtitles and CC

Before you start on this step you need to save the video script as a .txt file. If a script isn’t available there are many companies that will transcribe the video for you. YouTube can also transcribe your video but it isn’t very accurate so a lot of editing may be required. For this follow steps 1 – 4 but rather than un-publishing the automatic subtitles jump to step 19 and follow the ‘edit a subtitle‘ steps.

1. Click on Subtitles and CC on the top nav bar
2. The first time you select this, a pop-up box will appear asking you to select the language – select English (United Kingdom)
3. Click Set Language
4. A bit of house keeping first – click on the grey bar titled ‘English (Automatic)
5. Click on Actions (top right)
6. Select unpublish (this subtitle track is one that YouTube created automatically and it isn’t very accurate so there’s no need to keep it)
7. Click on the arrow pointing to the left to the left of the actions button
8. Click on the button – Add new subtitles or CC
9. In the dropdown menu select English (United Kingdom)
10. A page will load with a selection of options to choose from
11. Select Upload a file
12. Select the transcript option
13. Click on Choose file
14. Select the .txt file of the script that is related to the video you are working on
15. Click on upload
16. Once the file has uploaded click on Set Timings
17. The page will reload and you need to wait for YouTube to set the timings. This can take a bit of time.
18. Once the timings are done click on the button titled – English (United Kingdom). This takes you to the subtitle editing page
19. Watch the video through on the player to the left to ensure the subtitles match what is being said.

If you need to edit a subtitle –

1. Pause the video where the error is
2. To the right of the player you will see the script broken into portions, click on the sentence with the error, this allows you to edit it.
3. Once the subtitles are complete click on Publish and you are finished

You can also change the timings of each sentence/subtitle by clicking and holding down the mouse on the left or right hand side of the blue box in the video timeline and dragging the mouse left or right.

Finally go back to the video manager and view the video in the normal way to check everything is working. If it is the video is now ready to be made public.

If you need any more information on how to make the most of YouTube or if you would like us to mange your YouTube channel please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Will or Andy on 01273 911345 or email info@echovideo.co.uk.

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