By: Chanelle Leslie on 04-07-2013 in Online Marketing, SEO, Social Media


By now we all know that YouTube is the second biggest search engine after Google – and you want to take advantage of the platform for your brand. So you’ve made a banner image, tagged all your videos and sorted them into playlists. Great work! But it doesn’t stop there. Plenty of YouTube channels full of potential still miss out on three under-used optimisation features.

1. Channel trailer

The first clip a visitor sees on your channel is the most important. It’ll be either what leaves them begging for more or sends them away within a few seconds. So make the clip that autoplays on your channel’s front page quick, catchy, and absolutely enticing. Check out this welcome video that autoplays on the Vice channel – doesn’t it make you want to set aside the rest of your day to flick through their feed? It boils down the spirit of their content to less than one minute, and literally opens with a bang to grab your attention from the get-go.

How do you set a channel trailer? It’s as easy as clicking the Channel Trailer button, and choosing a video that’s been uploaded to your channel.

channel trailer 1

2. Playlist tweaks

YouTube recently changed its settings so that you can add text descriptions to each of your individual playlists. This is significant because playlists appear in both Google and YouTube searches, so the quality of your text will determine whether your playlists get found. So now it isn’t just the titles of your playlists that you should be optimising for search, but also their descriptions. Keeping in mind that part of the goal of YouTube videos is to drive traffic back to your site, these descriptions should also have relevant links. Keep these links toward the end of the description so you don’t affect the excerpts that show up in search. And keep them relevant, so that viewers stay engaged: if you have a playlist focusing on astrology, link the playlist back to the astrology section on your website.

You can also better customise the way your playlists are presented, with new vertical layouts so that the individual descriptions show up on the front page. And it’s not just your own playlists you can present: you can also curate content from other channels and tags. It’s an option to think about if your brand has affiliations with other brands, so you can share a single brand’s content between several pages at once.

youtube image 2 youtube image 3

3. Annotations

An annotation is the essential bridge between YouTube views and conversion. Annotations are far more effective than links in descriptions because the reader’s eyes are already on your video – that is, if you’ve created great content. While you may already have considered adding an invitation to subscribe at the end of your videos, think about ways you could enhance the content that’s actually related to your videos. If you have a video about soccer, you could add a pop-up inviting people to view a related article about soccer on your website. Or, you could add a whole range of unobtrusive annotations at the end, like the following example (skip to 4:27). There’s no need to limit yourself to a single annotation when you have a whole screen to work with.

There’s a whole world of possibilities to explore with annotations, so the official guide is the best place to get started.