How to Craft a Compelling YouTube Video Title

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Importance of Your Video Title

Online video can boost discoverability and drive engagement with your business. However, you can have the best video, but if you don’t understand YouTube SEO in the sense of picking a great title, having a good thumbnail, description and tags, your video is just not going to be visible to that many people.

So, it’s really important to make sure that your target market can find your videos when they do a generic search for a video on YouTube.

The video title is the most critical element of optimizing your video due to the weighting given to it in terms of determining relevance against a search query in YouTube search results, as well as in universal search results. It is the main meta-information that Google references when indexing your video.

It is also the first thing a searcher reads when considering whether to watch a video they have discovered in universal search results or through their social stream.

Your aim is to capture the attention of a potential viewer with your most important, targeted keywords that will compel them to select your video over and above other search results, or click on it when it shows up in their stream.

Your video title should be crafted wisely using the most important, targeted keywords that you want to rank for and people in your target audience will be searching for. The words in your title will also determine how YouTube lists your video in the search results when someone performs a search.

It is extremely important to perform detailed keyword research ahead of time and optimize your video for the words that people in your target audience will most likely be searching for, so that people are organically drawn to the video. Choose keywords that people in your target market are likely to use in their search.

Points to Bear in Mind

The first consideration that Google has when it comes to ranking and placing your video, is with your title. When writing the title, keep in mind that you are writing for people first. Consequently, you need to keep the title interesting and compelling, rather than stuffing them with your target keywords. If you keyword stuff your video title, it may be viewed as spam by potential viewers. In addition, your video ranking will be penalized by Google.

One major mistake that so many smaller channels make is trying to copy what the big channels do. In reality, there’s a big difference between what you can get away with as a small channel, and what you can do as a big channel.

For example, lets’ say you’re a big channel in the Forex trading niche, with millions of subscibers. This means you’ll be able to get away with click-bait titles such as:

You’ll Never Believe How Much Profit This Trading Robot Made Me This Month.

If you are a small channel, you cannot use such click-bait titles just because the larger channels with hundreds of thousands or millions of subscribers are able to get away with doing just that. The title that you use has to be searchable.

If you use click-bait titles, YouTube is not going to know how to rank your video because its not going to be able to determine what your video is about.

The big channels are able to use such titles because they already have a relationship with their audience. Their followers are going to watch the video because they are very familiar with the YouTuber, and the video is going to get the required viewer base and data for YouTube to analyze. This data is what YouTube is going to use to rank and recommend the video.

On the other hand, smaller channels won’t get the viewership or data that YouTube will need. This is why you need to stick with a searchable title when your subscribers are below 10,000 to 15,000.

The title should be succinct and relevant to your industry and the specific demographics you are looking to attact. It should be compelling, descriptive and very targeted to the key phrase that you want the video to rank for.

Bear the following guidelines in mind:

Use a keyword rich and descriptive title.

Your video title should be descriptive and keyword rich, using initial caps to highlight important keywords for your industry. The title should be searchable. You goal should be to rank on the first page of whatever search results you’re going for.

For example, if you’re an SEO channel and have created a video on how to recover from the Google Panda penalty, you’ll want to use a searchable, keyword-rich title. Rather than something like:

Recovering Your Site From A Google Penalty

Do something like:

The Google Panda Update: How to Recover Your Site Within 24 Hours.

You want your title to be as specific and as niche as possible. This is because in the beginning you want to be viewed a few times in a very small niche. If your title is too broad, then your video is going to get lost, and no one is going to watch it.

Note that only the first 45 characters of your video title are dispalyed on YouTube search results on mobile devices, so it is absolutely essential that your most important keywords are within the first 45 characters of your title. Be sure to include your most important keywords and phrases at the beginning of the title rather than at the end.

Use multiple words in your title.

One or two word titles are not enough to create a powerful title because they will not provide a description that is compelling enough for the potential viewer. One technique you could use to get multiple keywords into your video title is to an add a colon after the initial keywords and then rephrase your title with related keywords.

For example, “Real Estate Investing 101: Start Learning Today!” This title is more specific and targeted to the searcher who uses the following keywords in their search: real estate investing, real estate 101, learn real estate, learn real estate investing, etc. Do Not repeat keywords or try to stuff keywords into your video title. The YouTube algorithms are setup to penalize those kinds of abuse.

This title is more specific and targeted to the searcher who uses the following keywords: learn seo, build a brand, build a strong brand, learn branding, etc. Do Not repeat keywords or try to stuff keywords into your video title. The YouTube algorithms are setup to penalize those kinds of abuse.

Use your brand name.

To increase your branding, you can include your brand name at the end. If you want to include your brand name in the video title, make sure that you place it at the end, rather than at the beginning of the title.

Title your video appropriately.

Don’t be a jerk. Do not try to deceive potential viewers. It will backfire. If your video is simply a slideshow of the different computers and printers without any instruction, do not give it a title such as “How to create a home computer network”. That would be deceptive, and you will be damaging your brand.

People who view the video and who were hoping to learn how to build a computer network will be disappointed and may respond with a “dislike” and negative comments that will put others off viewing your video.

Experiement with different titles.

If you find that you are getting poor click through rates, experiement with different video titles until you find a title that works best.

Try to keep the title under 35 characters.

YouTube allows a maximum of 100 characters for your title, but people will only see the first 35-60 characters. People will see a maximum of 35 characters when viewing your video result in Google universal search, 50 in regular Google search, and 55 characters in YouTube search.

Include your most important keywords and compelling copy within the first 50 characters, close to the beginning of your video title. Work the keywords into your title organically. If you can’t do so, then leave them out to avoid sounding spammy.

Add most important keywords closer to the beginning.

A long title is not necessarily damaging, but it will not appear in its entirety in the search results. If you have to use longer titles, from a usability perspective ensure that the main part of the title that could show up in search results contains your most important targeted and relevant keywords.

For example, a title such as “Learn Facebook marketing in 30 days” will get you more views than “Become an expert in marketing on Facebook in 30 days”

Get people’s attention.

If you want your video to be viewed, it must attract attention. No one will want to watch a video that sounds boring. Spice up the title. For example, instead of “SEO lessons”, make the title more enticing and interesting with “How to get on the first page of Google within 30 days.”

Use long tail keywords as much as possible.

Long tail keywords are keyword phrases composed of three or more words that collectively are more specific than a keyword consisting of one or two words. Long tail keywords are more likely to convert to sales than shorter, more generic keywords because there is less competition for them.

Video titles that are more specific have less competition on YouTube. For example, you‘re likely to end up in the top few results for terms such as “Learn LinkedIn marketing in 30 days” rather than “Learn marketing”.

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