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YouTube SEO

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YouTube is an undiscovered marketing tool. is the world's second largest search engine behind and search engines prominently show YouTube results.

Everyone focuses their SEO to get onto Google's front page, but few target YouTube. As a result, there is a lot of competition for Google placement and little competition for YouTube.


Here is how to improve your YouTube SEO.

Simple tags

It is not clear whether fewer tags are better

Top YouTube search result for "runes of magic"

YouTube Account

Be very careful choosing the name and the case of your YouTube account - you cannot change it afterwards!

For example, I created "tgnageofconan" and later wanted to be more readable as "tgnAgeOfConan". Not possible. I had to create a new channel "tgnAoC".

YouTube channel

Every YouTube account gets its own video channel that can be themed with custom graphics and transparency.

Brand your channel and fill out your YouTube profile.

Save your background in the highest JPG quality. YouTube re-renders your images to ~500kb for 1920x1500-ish regardless of whether they were saved using JPG 50% quality at 200kb or JPG 90% at 400kb.

Sister YouTube channel

Create a sister YouTube channel with previews of your full-length videos.

Main channel

Sister channel

Link to the full video in the description and in the video itself using YouTube annotations


You will get roughly the same number of views in your sister channel. Twice the views for the same content, and it isn't really duplicate content, just previews.


YouTube added support for full-HD 1080p in Nov 2009


Encode all your videos at 1080p and add "1080p" to the title

TGN Swimming in Moonlight - Age of Conan 1080p

This is a distinguishing factor - if your competition has similar videos, you can market yours are "better" because they are 1080p

But, sometimes your videos will look better at 720p

1080p vs 720p

There is a noticeable difference between 1080p and 720p


Games captured at 1920x1080 often have smaller text and this is more blurry at 1080p than if the video was captured at 1280x720.

Record at 1080p only if the text size is the same as 720p! At least in Age of Conan, the 1920x1080 text size is smaller and harder to read at the lower resolutions like 480p and 360p.

So, the rule of thumb is: if there is text, record at 1280x720. If there is no text, use 1920x1080

One comment on said

1080p has the potential to look much better than 720p. The problem is, 720p has a 0.9 megapixel image whereas 1080p has a 2.0 megapixel image - 2.25 times the pixels, but YouTube is only allocating 1.7 times the bitrate. The low bitrate (for so many pixel) results in increased compression, which manifests as a blurry, artifact-ridden video, and even though it contains more pixels, due to the high compression the video doesn't appear to much better than the 720p video. Too bad.

YouTube title

Put your brand into the title of all your videos

TGN Swimming in Moonlight - Age of Conan
TGN Debate with Nephtammon - Age of Conan

When a video ends, YouTube will more likely recommend your other videos! Similar keywords in the title are one way how YouTube decides which videos to recommend

Look at the recommended videos when watching

Most of the results are our other TGN videos because all our video titles start with "TGN"

YouTube descriptions

Link back to your website in every video description.

Use " — "
  • Without the "http://www." the link is not clickable when shared on Facebook
  • Without the "www." the link is not clickable in the YouTube search results
  • Without the " — ", there is no visual separator between the link and the text
The endash (—) nicely balances the other two endashes on the YouTube video page

— vs -

Start your description with your URL followed by the longer endash (—) instead of the shorter dash (-)

This makes it look like your website URL is added by YouTube and not you (YouTube uses the endash to separate the date from your description)


YouTube social integration

In your account, you can choose to auto-publish to Facebook, Twitter, and Google Reader, like when you upload or favorite a video.

YouTube recommends You

What happens when a YouTube video finishes playing?
YouTube shows recommended videos.

What happens when a TGN video finishes playing?
YouTube shows all our other TGN videos (it matches the TGN in the titles and assumes they are all related).

Video ender

End every video with credits promoting your website.



Now, every video playback promotes you, not just visitors to your YouTube channel.

Clever idea: Put your ad near the beginning, like Star Trek TNG where every episode started with 5 minutes of action, then the title sequence


Funny or cute content

One funny video can get 1 million views in a year!



YouTube search results show playlists prominently

Organize your videos into many playlists


Sign in to your channel, visit your other channels, add favorites of your other videos


Start your video with your content, not an ad. Put the ad at the end of your video.

Don't put ads during your videos. They are not clickable and they cannot be changed. Google overlays ads on top of the video, so they are clickable and can change. Your ending credits are also not clickable, but they shouldn't change.

Avoid annoying the user with watermarks and popups


Click the "Insight" link on your videos page (top-left, under "My Account") to see where you traffic is coming from

Mailing List

YouTube sends regular emails to your subcribers, email marketing for you!


Great Examples

Let's do this!


YouTube can drive a lot of traffic to your site!

Build a cool theme for your YouTube channel, create quality videos with a clean ender, write good titles, tags and descriptions and create playlists.

You will also start seeing your videos on other sites that syndicate YouTube.

Here is one of our TGN videos in Japanese

More Info

For more info, see

Boost YouTube SEO

YouTube SEO tips