How to Optimize YouTube Video Channel [step-by-step guide]

How to Optimize YouTube Video Channel [step-by-step guide]

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A YouTube channel is a dedicated page on the YouTube platform that is created by an indvidual or an organization to publish and share video content with their audience.

Each channel has a unique name and can have customized branding, such as a profile picture and banner image. Users can subscribe to this channel to receive notifications when new videos are uploaded, and they can also interact with the channel owner by leaving comments, liking or disliking videos, and sharing content with others.

YouTube channels can be used for a variety of purposes, including entertainment, education, marketing, and more. Many individuals and businesses use YouTube channels as a way to build their brand, grow their audience, and connect with their followers.

Video content is increasingly popular among Internet users - so much so that YouTube gathers no less than 30 million unique views every single day. Imagine capturing the attention of 0.01% of all these viewers and how much it could mean for your business!

The goal of this article is to walk you through “how to optimize video content on YouTube” (think of this as YouTube SEO), so that users find it easier when searching for the type of information you provide, thereby increasing your channel visibility and watch time. But first, let’s look at the benefits of having your own YouTube Channel.

Benefits of Having a YouTube Channel

Having a YouTube channel can be a powerful tool for building your brand, reaching new audiences, and engaging with your existing followers:

1. Increased visibility: YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, and having a channel can help increase your visibility on the platform and in search results.

2. Reach a wider audience: With over 2 billion monthly active users, YouTube provides a massive audience for creators to reach and engage with.

3. Build brand awareness: Creating video content on a regular basis can help to build brand awareness and establish your brand as an authority in your industry.

4. Monetization: If you meet certain criteria, you can monetize your YouTube channel through ads, sponsorships, and other means, providing an additional revenue stream.

5. Engage with your audience: YouTube provides a platform for creators to connect with their audience through comments, live streams, and other interactive features.

6. Shareable content: Video content is highly shareable, making it easy for your audience to share your content with their friends and followers on social media.

1. Setup a Personal YouTube Channel

If you want to set up a personal YouTube account, you can easily do it by following these steps:

Sign in to YouTube with your Gmail account….

  • Upload your video by clicking on the upload icon in the top right side of the screen. 
  • If your YouTube channel is not set up yet, you will be asked to fill in a form to create it.
  • How to Optimization YouTube Video Channel [step-by-step guide]

How to Set Up a Business (Brand) YouTube Channel

If you want to set up a separate branded business YouTube account, you should follow these steps: 

  • Step1: Go through the steps described above to create a personal YouTube channel. 
  • Step 2: Go to YouTube’s Channel Switcher.
  • Step 3: Click on “Create New Channel”.
  • Step 4: Enter the name you want for your business YouTube channel.
  • Step 5: To switch between the personal and business channels, go to the icon on the top right side of the screen >> Switch Account >> Select the account you want to use.

How to Add a Custom Welcome Video to Your Channel

  • Step1: Go to the YouTube Homepage.
  • Step 2: Click on the avatar on the top right side of the screen. 
  • Step3: Click on “My Channel” >> Click on “Customize Channel” >> “+ Channel trailer”. 
  • Step 4: Select the video you want to use as a channel trailer/ Welcome Video
  • Step 5: To add an avatar, click on the small pencil icon on the top right side of the avatar. YouTube will redirect you to your Branded Account page, where you can upload your picture. Your Branded Account avatar will coordinate with your YouTube channel avatar, but keep in mind that it might take a few minutes until they line up.
  • How to Optimization YouTube Video Channel [step-by-step guide]


  • Step 6: To add a custom YouTube channel header, click on the “Add channel art” button. Upload your preferred picture (make sure it’s at least 2048 x 1152 pixels in size). 
  • Step 7: Once you upload your picture, YouTube will display the way your header will be seen on multiple types of screen (PC, smartphone, etc.).
  • Step 8: If you want to, you can adjust the positioning of the picture in the header by clicking on the “Adjust” button under the aforementioned previews.
  • Step 9: Make sure to use good graphics for your content.

2. Produce quality videos

The first step towards optimizing your YouTube videos is making sure the content you upload is always top-notch. Here are some of the characteristics your videos should have if you want to reap all the benefits YouTube video marketing has to offer:

  • Start your video production process by performing a thorough keyword research. For YouTube, we recommend you use YT Cockpit or Keyword Tool to run your research, instead of KWFinder.
  • Try to create longer videos. According to the latest quality content guidelines, longer videos are more likely to rank higher in YouTube search results pages. 
  • Try to mention the keyword in the video. YouTube has grown a lot and their crawler can now identify whether or not a video is actually focused on the topic described in the title by simply checking the automated captions offered by the same platform. 
  • Always tell people to subscribe, comment, and like your videos. You’d be surprised, but this tends to have an amazing effect on viewers!
  • Try to reduce the bounce rate. If your viewers only watch only a few seconds of your videos, YouTube will associate your video with lower quality content - and thus, it will display it lower in the search results pages. 
  • To reduce the bounce rate, always make your videos dynamic. Add transition effects, add unexpected changes, and make sure your graphics are entertaining. You need to keep people’s attention - otherwise, they’ll just click on the next interesting video. 
  • Also, always remember to explain the value proposition in the first 10 seconds. This will keep your viewers more attentive - and thus, more likely to actually finish watching your video. 

3. Monetize your YouTube channel

Although the main purpose is showing you how to optimize your videos for search engines, monetization is an integral part of the process—particularly because it will allow you to add custom thumbnails to your videos.

Keep in mind that you are only monetizing your channel to add extra features to your videos. However, business videos on YouTube should demonetize their channels as this will increase viewers’ brand credibility.

To monetize your channel, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the YouTube homepage and under Settings click "View additional features" and then Monetization.
  2. Choose your country location link on the “Monetization” button if you have not selected your location. You will be redirected to a page where you can select the location of your channel. Do this, then scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the “Save” button.
  3. Go back to your YouTube homepage Settings. As you will see, there are four main steps you need to take to enable Monetization on your channel: 
  4. YouTube Partner Program: You can easily enable this by following the steps on screen (but do make sure you read the Terms and Conditions you will be shown, so that you know what you are agreeing with). 
  5. Sign Up for AdSense (again, you can follow the on-screen instructions to do this).
  6. Set monetization preferences (according to the on-screen instructions). 
  7. Get reviewed after you have reached 10,000 views. 

At this point, you only need it to be able to add a custom thumbnail, so you might want to manually demonetize all videos you have already upload and will upload (and this is especially important if you have a business channel - the more ads your channel allows on it, the less credible you will appear as a business for your viewers.)

To manually demonetize the videos, follow these steps:

  1. Go to your icon in the top right side of the screen >> Creator Studio >> Video Manager.
  2. Select all of the videos by clicking on the box right next to the “Actions” drop-down menu.
  3. Click on the “Actions” drop-down menu and select the “Demonetize” option. 

Monetizing your YouTube channel is a complex process - but it is more than worth going through it if you want to add custom thumbnails to your videos (and you should - they play a huge role in making people want to click on your video). 

Important: You won’t be able to monetize your channel until you get 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 valid public watch hours (this being the last step in the monetization process). Therefore, you should first and foremost make sure you work hard enough to reach this milestone - after that, views and engagement should reach a point of steady growth (especially with the new unlocked features).

4. Optimize Channel to Make Your Videos Rank Higher

YouTube’s main SEO ranking signal is the viewer’s watch time on a video. Aside from that, though, there are also a few elements you should optimize to make sure your video will rank as high as possible. Below is a few other things you can do to effectively increase your chances of ranking higher on Google.

1. Optimize your video title.

  • When you click the upload button in YouTube and upload a video, you will be automatically prompted to add a title.
  • Include your keyword in the video title, but be sure to keep it entirely relevant as well. As mentioned before, YouTube has improved their system at capturing the essence of a video’s content and they will definitely push your video towards the last results in the search pages if your video title is not relevant.

2. Optimize your video description

  • The same page that will prompt you to add a video title will also prompt you to add a video description.
  • Same as with the title, it is more than recommended to keep your description compelling and attractive - but also to use your keyword as well.
  • Your video description should be at least 250-words long.

3. Optimize your YouTube video tags.

  • Video tags are nothing but keywords - so use a few of them to let YouTube know what your video is about. Same as optimizing the video title and the video description, adding these tags will also help YouTube determine what your video is about.
  • You can add your YouTube video tags when you upload a video, on the same page that prompts you to add a title and a description. 
  • To add tags, click on the “Tag” box and enter your keywords. Split them with a comma and press the “Enter” key after each one. 
  • You don’t need more than 2-3 keywords for this, but make sure they are relevant.

4. Include an attractive custom thumbnail.

  • The same page that allows you to add a title and a description will also allow you to add a thumbnail from the screenshots captured automatically by YouTube.
  • You can choose one of these, but it is more advantageous for you to upload a custom thumbnail because it will make your entire video more attractive once people stumble upon it in the search results or recommended videos section. 
  • Keep in mind: you can only add a custom thumbnail once you’ve monetized your channel (including reaching the 10,000 views milestone). 
  • Once your channel is monetized, you can add a custom thumbnail to your videos by following these steps:
    • Go to your YouTube homepage.
    • Click on Creator Studio.
    • Go to Video Manager. 
    • Click on the Edit button next to the video (on the right of the video). 
    • Click the “Custom thumbnail” button. 
    • Upload your custom thumbnail. 
    • Click on “Save changes”. 

Note that, all of these elements can be edited after you have uploaded the video as well. To do it, you will have to go to your account icon (top right side of the screen) >> Creator Studio >> Video Manager >> Select the video you want to edit >> Click on the “Edit” button, then edit the element you want to optimize (e.g. title, description, tags, thumbnails, etc.).

5. Include one or more cards to increase watch time. 

  • Put simply, a YouTube card is an on-screen clickable piece of information that allows you to create a more interactive and comprehensive experience for your viewers. 
  • There are five types of cards you can add to a video: Video or Playlist, Channel, Donation, Poll, and Link. 
  • To add any of these, follow these steps: 
  1. From your YouTube homepage, go to the icon in the top right side of the screen >> Creators Studio >> Video Manager.
  2. In the list of uploaded videos, click on the arrow right next to the “Edit” button on each video and select “Cards” from the drop-down menu. 
  3. Click “Add Cards”.
  4. Select the type of card you want to add.
  5. To add a Video or Playlist card, click on this option in the drop-down menu and follow these steps:
    1. Select one of the videos you have uploaded, or paste the video link you want to add as a card in the “Or enter a YouTube video or playlist URL box”. 
    2. Click on “Customize the teaser text and/or add a custom message”. 
    3. Add your teaser text and your custom message. 
    4. If you want to make sure your Video or Playlist card will pop up at the right moment, move the timeline indicator wherever you want it to appear. 
  6. To add a Channel card, click on this option in the drop-down menu and follow these steps: 
    1. Paste the link of the channel you want to share through the video card. 
    2. Add a custom message in the designated box. 
    3. Add a teaser text in the designated box. 
    4. Click on “Create card”. 
    5. If you want to make sure your Channel card will pop up at the right moment, move the timeline indicator wherever you want it to appear. 

6. Upload a video transcript.

  1. This step is entirely optional. However, there are two main reasons you should still go through it. 
    1. It will make your videos more accessible (including for people with hearing impairments, for example). 
    2. Allowing both YouTube and Google to actually know the text that is spoken in your video (which will consequently allow search engines to crawl and categorize your video accordingly). 
  2. To add a transcript, follow these steps: 
    1. Go to your Video Manager. 
    2. Go to the video you want to add a transcript to. Click on the arrow right next to the “Edit” button. Select “Subtitles/CC”. 
    3. Click “Add new subtitles or CC”. 
    4. If your channel is in multiple languages, select the language you want your transcript to be in.
    5. You have three options on how to add a transcript: 
      1. Upload a file: 
        1. Select the option. 
        2. Select the type of file you want to upload (transcript or subtitles). 
        3. Upload your file (make sure it’s a .txt file!)
        4. Click on the “Set timings” button.
      2. Transcribe and auto-sync:
        1. Select the option. 
        2. Type or paste your transcript. 
        3. Click on “Set Timings”.
        4. Create new subtitles or CC: 

7. Add video to a playlist.

  • Adding your video to a playlist is also an optional step, but you should do it because playlists automatically play the next video—thus helping you to increase your viewers’ watch time. 
  • To add your video to a playlist, follow these steps: 
  1. Go to Video Manager.
  2. Tick the box next to the video you want to add to a playlist. 
  3. Click on “Add to” (at the top of the uploaded video list). 
  4. Click on “Create new playlist” and give it a name.

What You Need to do After Publishing & Optimizing Your Videos

Once your video is published and optimized, it is up to you to make the most of it. Here are some tips you should keep in mind with regards to this: 

  • Reply to all new comments in the first 48 hours. Make sure you will be notified for each comment by adjusting your account settings accordingly: 
  1. Go to your YouTube homepage >> Settings >> Notifications. 
  2. Under “Comments and Activity”, make sure the “Activity on my videos or channel” button is ticked.
  • Increase your video’s visibility by embedding it in blog posts (yours or guest posts you may publish on other websites). To embed a YouTube video in a Wordpress blog post, simply copy the URL of the video and paste it as a line of its own in the blog post. 
  • Promote your video. Share your video on your social media pages, send it via email to your collaborators, partners, clients, friends, as well as forums like Quora (but make sure you do this only on relevant topics). 
  • Be consistent. It is far better to post a lot of videos over a larger amount of time, rather than posting more videos at once.

Wrapping it Up

With the ever increasing use of videos in marketing, posting and optimizing useful YouTube videos is no longer an option. These days, you simply cannot ignore it in your marketing strategy if you want to reap all the benefits digital marketing has to offer.

We hope this guide helps you to successfully set up and optimize your YouTube channel.

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