How Good Text Gets YouTube Success

For weeks I’ve been watching the counter and today is the day.

One of our videos surpassed 10,000 views on YouTube.

It’s not a multi-million view viral video with kittens or babies…but for us, this is our little accidental viral video: an entertaining look at the Honolulu food truck scene and the food bloggers who cover the monthly Eat the Street event.

I say accidental because, other than posting it on our YouTube site, and adding a few good tags and searchable titles and description, we did nothing to promote this video.  As a matter of fact, when we first blogged it, we linked to the Hawaiian Airlines YouTube Channel, because they were the client.

But all those tags and all that searchable text worked for us, because our little video began to come up in other people’s searches as a related video.  And then Food Network’s Cooking Channel launched a show with a very similar title.  And the street food/food truck phenomenon really took off across the country.

Without us doing a thing, somewhere between 20- 50 folks a day continue viewing our video.

So what’s the lesson?

Always, always, always maximize the amount of searchable descriptive words you can add when posting a video on YouTube.

Remember that YouTube is owned by Google…if YouTube was a search engine, it would be number two in numbers of searches only to Google.  When people search on YouTube, they are searching for videos.  But video isn’t searchable…words are.  So here’s a few suggestions on how to add text that will ensure you get the most possible views:

1.  Create a title that includes as many descriptive words as you can that are words that people might type into a search engine to find your video.  Keep your titles around 66 characters or less, since Google cuts off longer titles.  Adding the word “video” to your title will make it come up more often in searches where people are specifically looking for a video.

2.  Begin your description with a URL to your website and make it a clickable link, including the http://.  Might as well steer some traffic to your home page, right?

3. Your description can be super long, so you might as well add as long a description as possible, including the names of all the people featured, their company names, the names of the location…up to 500 characters.  In this case, more words are better…the better to find your video in a search.  My title and description include the words “food trucks” and “Eat the Street.”  My theory is that this video is coming up all the time in searches for the Cooking Channel show “Eat Street” (happy coincidence) and in searches for “food trucks” and “street food.”

4.  Finally, be sure to maximize the number of tags, and be as specific as possible.  Think about what you might type into a search engine if you were looking for the information in your video, and use that as a tag.  If I were to tag this video today, knowing what I know now, I would tag it with these words:  food trucks, street food, “Eat the Street,” Hawaii, Twitter, social media, Facebook, and then as many names as I could fit of the more popular food trucks and food bloggers featured.

Incidentally, on the Hawaiian Airlines YouTube channel, this exact same video has only 1,048 hits.  They added minimal tags and text when they posted it.

What’s your most viral video?  What’s the secret to your success?


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