YouTube is one of the oldest social media platforms that’s still popular today, and it has incredible marketing potential for businesses looking to connect with their audience and establish brand awareness. The platform has more than 1.5 billion users who watch more than 500 million combined hours of video each day.

A ton of video is being watched on this platform, and it’s no surprise that brands of all sizes are clambering to come to the platform and get their piece of the YouTube marketing pie. In many cases, however, brands struggle to find the same kind of success that launched Blendtec’s Will it Blend series into marketing fame; many more struggles to see their channels take off at all.

In this post, we’re going to go over YouTube optimization in-depth, showing you the 5 easy steps you need to take if you want to increase views and maximize real results from your campaigns.

1. Start with Keywords

YouTube does have a lot of “recommended for you” features that can direct traffic, but the majority of users are also using the platform’s native search engine to actively seek out the content they’re looking for. This means that you must be optimizing your content for search visibility if you want to increase views, and that means starting with the right keywords.

You can use generic keyword tools like Google’s Keyword Planner, but you’ll likely have more success if you use YouTube-specific keyword research tools like, which tells you what users are searching for on this specific platform. You’ll likely see a higher rate of “how to” keywords, which is great for brands who want to connect with their target audience by approaching YouTube as an extension of their content marketing campaign.

list of keywords

Look for keywords with the highest search volume possible and the lowest competition levels possible; this can be a hard balance to strike, but it will increase the shot of appearing higher up in search.

screenshot of youtube

Once you’ve got your target keywords for each video (and it’s a typically good idea to pick a few that align together), make good use of them. Optimize your video by including keywords in the following:
Your video file name, before it’s even uploaded to YouTube
Your video title
Your video description
In the video’s SRT files through closed captions.

2. Use SRT Files for Maximum Crawlability

Closed captions have numerous benefits. Not only do they make your videos accessible to those who can’t or don’t want to listen to the audio for whatever reason, but they can increase view completion rates and watch times. This will make it easier to get users to take action on whatever it is that you want them to do at the end of the video, which is good news for you.

Creating closed captions with SRT files offers another distinct benefit, too: enhanced SEO performance. SRT files aren’t burned onto the video, they’re added as a separate text file alongside the video containing the captions and their timestamps. These files are therefore crawlable by search engines, which can help you rank higher and for more searches, giving you more visibility on both YouTube and Google. You can learn more about how to create these files easily within YouTube’s dashboard here.

3. Add Tags to Your Videos

When you’re uploading your video content, you’ll have the option to add “tags” to the video, which essential categorizes your content. It tells YouTube, in vague terms, what this content is about.

youtube tag

Add in all the relevant tags you can think of, including a few more of those keywords your’e targeting alongside vague, industry-based keywords. This will help Google get you in the right searches as long as everything else is aligned, and it only takes a few seconds.

4. Create Custom Video Thumbnails

Want more clicks on your videos? Create custom video thumbnails instead of choosing one of the options YouTube automatically generates for you.

While it takes a few minutes to create a custom thumbnail, it will help you get more clicks. The thumbnail video will weigh heavily on what users click on when they’re scrolling through search results, and having a blurry or unflattering image won’t do you any favors.

youtube channel screen grab

You can even create a template with easy-to-use design tools like Snappa or Canva, and then just edit the title later on. This option gives you a great thumbnail template you can use, and it can even establish some brand awareness and familiarity.

5. Drive Actions with Outro Screens

This won’t increase views unless you’re using them to send users from one video to another, but outro screens at the end of your videos are an essential part of driving users to take action.

screen grab

Want them to check out that blog post you have linked in your description, or to sign up for your newsletter, subscribe to your channel, or start a free trial of your latest product or service? You need to tell them to do exactly what you want in the outro, and ideally provide a link or URL where they can do exactly that. Be on the nose here, because the right CTAs will increase actions taken, and ultimately that’s a crucial factor in getting the kind of results that makes YouTube marketing a worthwhile and profitable investment.


YouTube videos have enormous potential to establish brand awareness and recognition, help you connect with your audience, and drive real, measurable off-platform results like lead generation and sales. I’ve always advocated that YouTube is really more of a content marketing platform than a social media networking platform and that you’ll see more success in your marketing efforts when you treat it accordingly.

No matter what you want goals you want to accomplish with YouTube, you’ll have your best chance at achieving them if you’re able to maximize views on your content. Use these optimization strategies to increase search visibility and video views, and thus your potential results along with it.

Interested in learning more about how YouTube and content marketing can benefit your business? Get in touch with us to schedule your free consultation here.

Ana Gotter