YouTube SEO FilmAccording to YouTube’s Statistics page:

  • 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
  • YouTube reaches more US adults ages 18-34 than any other cable network.
  • YouTube has more than 1 billion unique users visit each month.

When I see these statistics, I have two primary thoughts related to film marketing. One, what a great place to market your movie and push your film trailer. Two, how easy it is to get buried under the massive influx of new videos!

YouTube (and film marketing) success is all about having great content. Quality has to be first and foremost. But… assuming that you’ve already created that great trailer or promo piece, a little knowledge of YouTube SEO tactics can help push your video to the top.

#1 Start With Channels

Politics aside, who would you prefer to listen to for a report on oil trade? CNN/Fox or the local TV station that disappears at midnight? Probably CNN or Fox. Why? Bigger, more widely known channels carry more clout. YouTube operates under a similar mentality. If you’ve never posted a video before, you might be disappointed with the ranking your first video gets in YouTube search results. If you have the time, you might want to start building the “authority” of your YouTube account with lesser videos before you make your big film marketing push and debut your trailer.

#2 Your Title is Everything

Not only does the title of your video carry the most SEO value; it’s the single piece of data most likely to earn (or lose) a click. From the SEO standpoint, your title should include as many of your keywords and keyword phrases as possible, while also appearing natural and compelling.

#3 Writing Your Description

Your video’s “description” is the text immediately below the title. The description appears in both YouTube and Google search results. The beginning of your description should be especially focused on keywords, as this is what will appear immediately under the title of your video when it comes up in search results. YouTube allows you to use up to 5,000 characters in your description, which is roughly 800 words. Do you need that many? Probably not. Could you benefit from a 200-300 word description? Probably so! Take advantage of the SEO opportunities.

#4 Using Tags

YouTube has a 120-character limit for tags. Make the most of ‘em! When a YouTube user watches a video or film trailer with tags similar to yours, your video has a stronger chance of being recommended next. Create at least 6-8 tags, using variations on your film’s name, with phrases like “official trailer,” “HD trailer,” etc.

#5 Don’t Neglect the Visual: Custom Thumbnails

We often think of “search engine optimization” as synonymous with “smart keyword usage.” Not so. Keyword usage is only a single component of SEO. Once you have a verified YouTube account, you have the option of choosing custom thumbnails for your YouTube video. Say sayonara to the “choice” of three randomly generated screenshots. Social Media Examiner has some great advice for creating a custom thumbnail.

#6 Take Advantage of Closed Captioning

You don’t have to have a foreign film to give it closed captioning (CC). When you upload your film trailer’s script, add closed captions. Let’s say someone remembers a line from your trailer, but they can’t remember the film’s name. All they have to do is search for that line and Google/YouTube will recognize it in the CC data. Also, YouTube handles the CC/audio alignment for you, making this feature simpler than you might expect.

#7 You Have HD. So Use It!

You shot your film in HD. You edited it in HD. Why aren’t you uploading your trailer to YouTube in HD? Even though HD videos get a special HD icon in YouTube search results, make sure you include “[HD]” or something to that effect in the title of your video.

What YouTube SEO tactics or advice do you have for film marketing? Share them in the comments section below.