So, you’ve taken the time to plan, create, and edit an impressive YouTube video for your audience — only to find out it didn’t perform as well as you had hoped.
The reason for this? It could be as simple as your title.
Not only Youtube SEO is a compelling title important for boosting visibility in your rankings, but it’s also key to getting clicks.
Let’s look at some YouTube search engine optimization (SEO) strategies that produce enticing titles for both the YouTube algorithm and users.
9 YouTube SEO Strategies for Clickworthy Titles
Here are nine simple tips to help take your YouTube SEO to the next level.
1. Write a Compelling Hook
Each time you get ready to publish a YouTube video, ask yourself this question: Is the title captivating enough to make my audience stop scrolling and click?
It might be difficult to answer this question because you’re on the other end of the screen. But try your best to put yourself in the shoes of your target viewer.
Consider whether your title is enough to grab their attention, summarize the video’s content, and create a sense of urgency without clickbait.
Those are key elements of a compelling hook.
Appealing to the audience’s emotions is another important element. Emotionally-charged headlines get more clicks and shares. Use action verbs like “read,” “watch,” or “act.”
You can also ask a question to address your audience directly and pique their curiosity, similar to how food blogger Ethan Chlebowski does in his video.
When it comes to visibility on YouTube, a catchy title and thumbnail image is just the beginning. Using a voice actor in your videos can greatly increase audience engagement.
An experienced voiceover actor who narrates or comments on your videos adds a level of professionalism and personality that can set your content apart on YouTube, making it more appealing to viewers.
2. Ensure Your Title Matches Your Video Content
One thing that could make your audience keep scrolling when they come across your video is a title that doesn’t accurately reflect what your video is about.
This can happen if you get a bit too creative with your title. YouTube only wants to push content that’s valuable and relevant to viewers.
So, if your title just confuses or alienates them, it could hurt your YouTube rankings, which, in turn, hurts visibility.
Another thing to keep in mind is properly categorizing your video. Efficient category and channel organization can elevate the discoverability and searchability of your YouTube content.
When you neatly categorize your videos into well-defined playlists, you streamline the process for viewers to locate the content that aligns with their interests.
This facilitates a smoother viewer experience and contributes to an uptick in channel engagement and viewership.
YouTube’s video categorization system offers a valuable tool.
You provide YouTube with crucial context by systematically assigning your videos to specific categories that accurately reflect their content and subject matter.
This, in turn, aids the platform in showcasing your videos in relevant search results, enhancing their overall searchability and user experience.
A case in point is Band of Brothers Tours, a dedicated agency specializing in tours of World War II historic landmarks.
They strategically implement a keyword strategy not only in their YouTube video titles but also in their playlists.
This concerted effort not only amplifies their SEO effectiveness but also contributes to an increase in views.
It showcases how a thoughtful approach to organization and categorization can significantly improve the visibility and impact of individual videos on YouTube.
3. Tell a Story
No matter where they are on the internet, people often stop to view content that tells a story. We’re wired for stories.
So what better way to attract your audience’s attention than with a YouTube video title that teases a story?
A great way to do this is to highlight a problem and its resolution. For example, let’s say you’re a B2B company providing small business human resources solutions.
And you recently shot a video featuring a client talking about how you helped them streamline their HR process.
The title of your video could be “How a local printing shop streamlined HR administration with our [name of solution].”
Taking this approach with your video titles tells your audience what they can expect when they click the video and draws them to the story because it revolves around a challenge and highlights a solution.
Another example is a company like Cruise America that offers RV rentals. Customers create interesting story-driven videos that capture the essence of adventure and road travel via RVs.
For example, this YouTube family channel documents their first-ever RV vacation with a vlog-style video. It’s entertaining and relatable.
By using SEO-optimized titles that reflect the unique experience of traveling by RV, the channel can effectively attract viewers interested in this type of vacation, thereby increasing visibility and engagement on YouTube.
The result? The video garnered over 80,000 views.
4. Stay Under the YouTube Title Character Limit
When you’re trying to convey what your video is about as much as possible in your title, it’s easy to get carried away.
Then, you end up with a title that’s way too long. YouTube’s title character limit is 100 words. But it’s best to go shorter than that. Try to aim for 60–70 characters.
Otherwise, your title could get cut off and won’t display fully on most devices.
Keeping your video titles under the character limit ensures you push the most important information to the forefront. It makes it easier for your audience to read at a glance.
YouTube users often make quick decisions when scrolling. So, they could easily look past your video if they notice the title is truncated.
5. Use the Right Keywords
Regarding SEO on any platform, keywords are among the most essential ranking factors.
So, implementing relevant keywords on YouTube is no different. With 2.5 billion monthly active users on YouTube, it’s likely that someone is searching for a video related to your niche or industry right now.
Therefore, using relevant keywords in your YouTube video titles is crucial. Doing so helps the algorithm understand what your content is about. As a result, it can determine how relevant your video is to what your target audience is searching for.
The best way to determine what your audience wants to see on YouTube is to conduct thorough keyword research.
There are quite a few ways to do this.
Use YouTube Autocomplete to get suggestions on target keywords. These suggestions are often five words or longer, which makes them long-tail keywords.
When you target long-tail keywords, you have a higher chance of ranking for these keywords. Why? They’re less competitive than the shorter, more common search terms.
The example below shows several keyword suggestions related to the search term when typing “how to build credit” into the search bar.
How do you start this process for your content? Select a keyword related to your niche or industry, whether it’s a pain point, question, or solution. Then, generate a short list of keywords from YouTube’s autocomplete suggestions.
You can also use a keyword research tool to learn what your target audience searches for on YouTube.
For instance, the SEO tool Semrush offers a great solution that generates relevant keyword ideas for your videos.
You’ll also gain access to insights about keyword search volume and competition (i.e., how difficult it would be to rank for a particular keyword).
Other keyword research methods include:
- Look at your competitors’ top videos. Go to your competitors’ YouTube channels. Then, sort by their most popular videos. Then, look at the keywords in their titles and descriptions.
- Review your own YouTube analytics. Go to YouTube Studio, click “Analytics,” then click “Reach Viewers.” You’ll see the keywords people use to find your videos from there.
- Search for Google Video result keywords. These are the keywords users type in Google that show a video (Note: Google doesn’t show videos in its search results for every keyword). By choosing a keyword that shows one or more YouTube videos in the search results, there’s a chance it’s a pretty good keyword to rank for.
Once you’ve gathered a list of promising keywords, include them in your video titles. But avoid keyword stuffing. Using just one keyword is sufficient.
Place your keyword as close as possible to the beginning of your video title for the best results. This allows viewers to easily spot it.
Incorporating your keyword as naturally as possible into your title is also important. While this can be difficult, it can help avoid a spammy title.
For example, imagine that you’re a pet insurance provider. A popular keyword for your industry is “pet insurance preexisting conditions.”
Let’s say you come up with this title for your YouTube video:
“Pet Insurance Preexisting Conditions: Must-Know Tips for Your Furry Friend”
At a glance, it seems like a decent title. It puts the keyword at the beginning of the title, and it’s an exact match. But it reads awkwardly, and it’s too long.
Consider the title “Pet Insurance and Preexisting Conditions: The Truth.” While it’s not an exact match keyword, it reads more naturally. It’s written for search engines and people.
6. Add Hashtags
Did you know you can add hashtags to your YouTube video title?
This is another great YouTube SEO strategy for click-worthy titles because it helps viewers find content similar to what they’re already watching.
Like Instagram and other social media channels, YouTube has pages for different hashtags.
In the screenshot below, you can see that by adding a hashtag like #leadership to your title, your content could appear on the hashtag page for leadership.
To add hashtags to your video titles, type the # symbol in your title. YouTube will also provide great suggestions for popular hashtags related to your content.
7. Use Brackets
While it might not be the first thing that comes to mind when boosting YouTube SEO and increasing visibility, adding brackets to your video titles can make a big impact on engagement.
They add a sense of intrigue to your videos. That’s because they add details in a few short words, so you can avoid writing out a title that’s too long.
Take a look at the example below. SEO pro Nathan Gotch uses brackets in his video title to show viewers the value they’ll get from the video (1,010) by watching it and following his strategy.
It also helps that he includes a number, which makes a specific, quantifiable promise so viewers know what to expect.
8. Optimize Your Title for CTR
Your video title can significantly impact your clickthrough rate (CTR), which is how often a viewer clicks on your YouTube video after seeing its thumbnail.
Plus, it’s one of the top YouTube SEO ranking factors. It signals to YouTube that your video is what people want to watch.
To boost your title CTR, consider adding a number. Examples include “5 Tips to Stage Your Home for Buyers” or “How I Saved $127 for a First Class Flight”.
Using attention-grabbing words and phrases can also give your videos more clicks. YouTubers Kara and Nate from Daily Drop do this exceptionally well. Three of their four most popular videos include a number in the title.
It adds a wow factor that makes people want to click. No wonder the enticing videos have hundreds of thousands of views.
Other attention-grabbing words and phrases include:
- “This changed my life…”
- “You’re doing it wrong…:”
- “The truth about…”
- “I stopped…”
The key to these titles is that they spark curiosity. And people are more likely to click a video that makes them want to know more. Remember to avoid clickbait titles to improve audience retention.
9. Leverage YouTube Title Generators
Let’s face it. Crafting the perfect title for your YouTube video can sometimes be an uphill battle. Why? There’ll be days when your creative juices run dry.
Thankfully, innovative AI-powered tools, such as YouTube title generators, simplify this process and prevent every marketer’s worst nightmare (writer’s block). These generators use algorithms and keyword research to suggest SEO-friendly and appealing titles to your target audience.
Here are three remarkable tools (and their key features) to help you elevate your YouTube content strategy.
This browser extension is a powerhouse for YouTube optimization. It offers a range of features, including title suggestions based on your content.
If none of the titles are satisfactory, click to generate more until you find a suitable title that you and the YouTube algorithm will appreciate.
Known for its robust YouTube analytics, VidIQ also features a title generator that analyzes your content and suggests titles likely to increase your video’s visibility and engagement.
It focuses on keywords and phrases that have proven successful in similar content.
3. CoSchedule YouTube Title Generator
While not exclusively for YouTube, this free tool is invaluable for crafting compelling titles. It analyzes your proposed title for word balance, sentiment, and readability, ensuring it’s SEO-friendly and engaging for viewers.
Each of these tools brings something unique to the table. They help you craft intriguing titles to draw in your audience. The best part? They do all the heavy lifting.
Getting your videos to rank on YouTube can be intimidating — especially considering the stiff competition you’re likely facing.
But as long as you remember that the quality and value of your content are most important, your YouTube SEO efforts will likely be successful.
Part of that is creating titles that help the search algorithm understand what your video is about and demonstrate the value you offer.
As you craft and optimize your titles, think about other elements of your videos, like your custom thumbnail, video description, metadata, video tags, and categories, for a more complete SEO strategy. And when in doubt, give a YouTube title generator a try.
Are you ready to improve your video rankings and click-through rates tenfold?