How to optimise your Youtube channel and videos

by Heather Cowper on January 10, 2011

Youtube logoThis article will tell you how to optimise your Youtube Channel if you’re making videos for your blog or website and using Youtube to host them. This article was originally published at  I spent a bit of time making sure I’ve optimised my Youtube channel both for search engines  and to make it attractive and informative for readers and subscribers. Here are the things you might consider;

Heather on her travels Youtube Channel

Heather on her travels Youtube Channel

Optimise your Youtube channel

When you set up your Youtube channel, there are some steps to optimise for best results that you only need do once, then review occasionally (bear in mind that the Youtube interface changes from time to time so you may need to hunt around to find these areas). Sign into your account and on the user name top right hover and choose My Account from the dropdown and from the Account settings menu choose;

1. Set up your profile
In the Profile Setup option, set up a picture, description and your URL as well as any other personal information you’d like to include.

2. Connect to Twitter and Facebook
In the Activity Sharing section, set up your Youtube profile to connect with your Twitter and Facebook accounts, so that every time you upload a new video a notification will appear as a Tweet or on your Facebook wall.

Youtube Profile3. Add some Tags

Click on the Channel name top right, and in the dropdown click on My Channel. Above your video click on the Settings button.  Make sure your title is as you wish and add tags that help viewers and search engines find you e.g. Travel, blog, travel video.

Make your Youtube channel look pretty

4. Add some colour
To add some colour to your channel theme, click on the User name top right, and in the dropdown click on My Channel. Above your video click on the Themes and colours button. From the different options, choose a colour theme for your channel from one of the standard options shown (I’m using blue in line with the style of my blog).

If you’d like to customise further you can go into “show advanced options” and add specific colours of your choice. You can find the HTML colour codes to use on websites like this one or do an internet search for HTML color codes.

Youtube Color and Theme

5. Add a free custom background
If you want to go one step further you could add a  photo background to your channel page. Under the advanced options, one of the options is background image, which allows you to upload an image that is already stored on your computer.  You could upload one of your own images to use as a background.

There are a number of sites that offer free Youtube background images for you to use such as or or alternatively do a search for Free Youtube Background and see what you can find.

If using your own photo you will need to ensure that it is correctly sized. The size of the custom backgrounds I found is typically 1800-2000 pixels wide x 1200-1400 pixels high, but other advice I’ve found on Youtube forums seems to indicate that your image should fit the Youtube page width of 960 pixels wide with a height of up to 2000 pixels high as the height will depend on the layout of your Youtube channel. The appearance of the background will also vary depending on the resolution of the computer screen on which it is being viewed, so you may need to experiment a bit.

I suggest that you edit your image to the appropriate size range using free photo editing software such as Picnik or any other editing software you happen to be using. The maximum image file size that Youtube will accept is 256KB.

Under the background image option is a Repeat Background option which you can tick. This will enable you to use a smaller image of your own and repeat it in the background.

6. Organise the look of your page
To organise your channel page, click on the User name top right, and in the dropdown click on My Channel. Above your video click on the Modules button. Here you have the option to choose what you want to show in your channel, for example comments, recent activity. Play around with this to make your channel page look as you’d like.

Next click on the Videos and Playlists button where you will find further options for the layout of your page and how videos are displayed.

Optimise your videos

7. Produce the best video you can
Obviously the key way to make people want to watch your video and tell everyone else about it, is to ensure that it is well produced and contains valuable or entertaining material for your viewers. So make it the best you can, without worrying too much about perfection if you’re just starting out.

8. Include your website details in your video
Make sure you include your website or blog address in your video. You can do this by adding a text clip with the web address at the beginning and end of the video. You may even go one step further and have your logo or web address showing at the bottom of the screen throughout the video. This will ensure that your video is branded with your web address and that viewers will know where to go for more information and content.

9. Mention your website in the audio
When using any introductory voice-over or shots when you speak to camera,you should make sure you mention your web address – for example ‘I’m Heather from’.

10. Use keywords in your title
Make sure your title contains the relevant keywords, in the same way as you would in a blog title. For my travel videos I try to mention the destinations or subject being covered in the video. For instance, a video titled “Review of Avenue Hotel, Copenhagen” will be more easily found by internet searches than a video titled “Our cosy Danish hotel”.

Depending on your type of blog, you’ll find that using contentious terms in your title gets you more hits. A friend of mine once loaded a video entitled ‘bear baiting’ which got loads of hits even though it was a video of dogs playing. Not a technique I particularly use, but worth bearing in mind.

11. Provide a description and tags for every video
When you upload your video to Youtube you have the opportunity to provide a description of the video and some tags. In the description field, you should add a short, informative and appealing description of the video or you may even want to go further and write a mini blog post here if you feel the video warrants it.

You should also complete the tags with any keywords that are relevant to the video, both generic ones e.g. travel, video, hotel, beach and specific ones e.g. the destination, city, attraction, names of any people featured. This will give your video maximum chance of showing up in internet searches for these keywords.

If the video is destination specific, you should also add the correct location on a map, and also check that the thumbnail that has been chosen is the one you want.

12. Add your url to the description
At the beginning of the description, you should add your URL first to ensure it get’s seen. Ensure you use the URL starting with http:// so that it’s clickable straight from the Channel page. I often put two URLs in the description, one linking to my blog home page and then at the end of the description I add the direct link to the blog post in which the video appeared.

Youtube Description

Promote your video

13. Link from your blog
Once you have uploaded a video, you’ll want as many people to see it as possible. The obvious place to start is to write a blog post which adds some context to the video and embed the video code into the post, so that the video can be viewed directly from the blog.

13. Promote through Social Media
You can also promote your video through the normal social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Delicious etc. This will happen automatically for Twitter and Facebook if you’ve set up your options as described above, but after a few days you could always give the video another mention.

Encourage subscriptions to your blog

You can encourage your blog readers to subscribe to your Youtube channel as follows;

15. Subscribe through Youtube
If your readers are already Youtube users, they can just press the subscribe button on your Youtube channel.

16. Set up a new feed for your channel
You can set up a feed in feedburner so that subscribers can be notified in the normal way through their reader, when you have posted a new video. To do this, log in to your feedburner account, and under the existing feeds for your blog, put your Youtube User name e.g. in the ‘Burn a feed’ box. Once you have set up a new feed, you can publicise it through the Publicize tab. Either set up a Headline animator, or the Chicklet chooser and put the code in your sidebar. To do this I cut the code generated by Feedburner, went into the WordPress dashboard/Design/Theme editor and under the Theme Files Templates, go to the one called Stylesheet(style.css). You will need to find the appropriate place to paste the code in to add to the other things there already.

17. Add a Youtube badge
You can add a Youtube badge to your sidebar – there are a selection available in the Creator’s corner at Youtube here. As long as you are logged in to youtube, the code generated will link back to your Youtube channel.

If you have any more tips to add, I’d love you to add them in the comments.

P.S. Do subscribe to my Youtube channel – so that you get notified each time I post a new video. You’ll also normally find a link in the description box back to the blog post in which the video has appeared.

This article is published at My Blogging Journey, but originally appeared on my Travel Blog at Heather on her travels where you can find travel tales, videos and podcasts from Europe and around the World.

You’ll also find lots of great travel stories, videos and podcasts at our travel blog at Heather on her travels .

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