There’s no excuse for not optimizing your YouTube videos

YouTube video optimization tips
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5 simple ways to drive more video views on YouTube.

Let’s assume you’ve got great music and a great music video. You worked hard on that video and you’re ready to share it with your fans.

YouTube gives you quite a few ways to “optimize” your videos so you can get more out of them and see greater engagement. Some of these things are so simple that there’s really no excuse for not doing them any time you upload a new video. What are they?

1. Use playlists

Create playlists (for instance: live videos, music videos, lyric videos, interviews, etc.) and arrange your videos accordingly. Whenever you share a video, grab the link from within the playlist so that when someone’s done watching the one video, another one begins playing automatically. Go HERE to find out how.

2. Custom thumbnails

Whenever you upload a video, YouTube gives you a few default options to select as the thumbnail (the still image representing your video that someone sees before clicking to play it). Those options might not be the most thrilling or intriguing moments from your video. Instead, create and upload a custom thumbnail that’s sure to entice. Go HERE to find out how.

3. End screens

End screens are extra visual elements that appear during the last 20 seconds of your video (on both mobile and desktop) that allow you to encourage additional views for videos and playlists, subscribes, merch sales, and more. Learn how to add End Screens to your videos HERE.

4. Cards

Like end screens, cards are visual elements that appear while the video is playing to help you boost subscribes, views, sales, etc. Unlike end screens, a card can appear at any time during the video. You designate a moment in the timeline where the card will first appear (though YouTube may adjust that for further optimization), and viewers can click to expand the cards at any time for further information. Go HERE to learn more about YouTube cards.

5. Video descriptions

It happens often, and I’m still always shocked, when I watch a YouTube video and see the video description has been pretty much ignored. It might say something like “Filmed live on 03/04/17.” Really? What about the venue, the song, the band name, the songwriters, the players? The lyrics? Links to subscribe or follow you on social? Give us some details — and some keywords! It only takes 5 minutes. Plus, all that information helps YouTube more accurately index your video for search.


That’s it. Easy. So easy that you have no excuse to ignore these optimization methods, right?

Got any other easy optimization tips for YouTube videos? Let me know in the comments below.

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Join the Conversation

  • Nikki F

    Very good points. There’s no excuses like you said. It’s really simple stuff to do! I share & promote bands’ music. I see a lot of bands missing links, their YouTube channel not being organized & all. It’s sad. The key is to make it easy for your audience to find stuff. When they have to search for stuff, they will lose interest. Also some bands may not be as popular. Sometimes it’s difficult to search for a band when other names of bands pops up or other things that are not related in the search. I want to start a blog for fans & bands. Organize bands by their genres… I would love to include a link to bands’ YouTube with their single/music video, but it bothers me a bit when not all the videos/information is there. I can’t promote something that is lacking things. Majority of bands are not organized on their channel. They have videos under a different channel like on their Record Label. They can add those videos from that channel to a playlist onto their channel. Keep all their videos together. Bands really lack the simple stuff. I wanted to check out this band’s merch again. I went to their Facebook page to the About section. They didn’t have a link to it. So I had to scroll through many posts to get to the post that I saw the other day. I really don’t like going through all those posts. It should be in the About section or on their site. If I was a new fan to their page, I wouldn’t know they posted a link to their merch a week ago. Bands wonder why they are not selling a lot of merch, music, etc. All I know I want to do that blog thing, but I feel I shouldn’t be a better promoter than bands. If they don’t care, why should I? … I really like this post you wrote. Sometimes I want to do it, but when I have to search for links, it makes me lose interest on promoting & posting bands. :/

  • I distributed my 1st album through CDBaby pro and they posted it on YouTube, but i also have the songs on my YouTube Channel as well. I can say personally that all these things help A LOT with building your fan base. I created a playlist of my songs and put the link in my instagram. So when new people come to my YouTube, they get to see all my songs and not just one! I also use cards on my videos to send people to places to buy the song! I’ve got some good results from it!

    [Side note] – I #follow4follow on Spotify & YouTube! My artist name is Tehondi & I make dope positive rap music! 😀 https://play.spotify.com/artist/1K8giOEUZf2MzUixSXiSFh
    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/Tehondi
    New album “Truth Ain’t Dead” coming soon! @Tehondi

  • I distributed my 1st album through CDBaby pro and they posted it on YouTube, but i also have the songs on my YouTube Channel as well. I can say personally that all these things help A LOT with building your fan base. I created a playlist of my songs and put the link in my instagram. So when new people come to my YouTube, they get to see all my songs and not just one! I also use cards on my videos to send people to places to buy the song! I’ve got some good results from it!

    [Side note] – I #follow4follow on Spotify & YouTube! My artist name is Tehondi & I make dope positive rap music! 😀 https://play.spotify.com/artist/1K8giOEUZf2MzUixSXiSFh
    YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/Tehondi
    New album “Truth Ain’t Dead” coming soon! @Tehondi

  • Did everything you name here! tnx!

  • Did everything you name here! tnx!

  • DALIEN aka 13 HANDS

    Chris, you have a moment to brainstorm on a project? Glad to stumble upon the article and some of the resources here…Be well, Dalien… 13hands1 at g mail dot com

    • Thanks for reading. I’m swamped right now, but happy to provide a little feedback if you want to tell me what you’re putting together.

      • DALIEN aka 13 HANDS

        Do you have an business email…… email me 13hands1@gmail.com so I can get you up to speed….
        It’s an Earth Day single, trying to set up with CD baby…. but also have massive non-profit push too….
        I’m a 15 album, lifestyle yoga, wellness artist.. play 30 instruments.. have sponsors, tour full time 100 events a year…, make a living with no streaming whatsoever.. all youtube and various online stuff are tools to market the event so attendance is solid… still sell CD’s… people will by if you touch them emotionally live…. did a TED talk, again working a brand within the music so I can make flat rate fees for various services tied to music, yoga, wellness and not rely on 75 bucks ad revenue per every 1 million you tube video views…… looking at Spotify, but also hoping to pick your brain with this particular project… see what support CD baby and their portal might allow for as well…
        I appreciate it… Dalien, 13HANDS, 2 Time Grammy nominated Professor of Yoga who cured Crohns disease… and lived to tell about it…. 🙂

  • I think a lot of us feel uncomfortable with asking people to subscribe to our site but it is a good idea. Even if someone likes your video, they may not think of subscribing until you ask them to. I like the idea of playlists and using thumbnails too. I’m still in the process of organizing my YT videos better. It’s hard when you have a lot of videos but it does encourage other people to view your channel, so they’re more likely to find what they’ll like and less likely to be put off by videos they don’t want to see.