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Mass optimizer Review and MassOptimizer Walkthrough

This Mass Optimizer Review is my first article (of hopefully many) for Search Engine Watch focusing on some technical video SEO topics.

Today we’ll look at the role of metadata in optimizing video for YouTube based upon my experience in developing a YouTube Channel in July 2007. We must have done a few things right because 21 million downloads later the work I did is still ranking in the SERPs.

We’ll use the YouTube Creator Playbook in these posts as you can’t get much better info than when it comes straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Metadata is one of the bigger topics in the playbook; overall video optimization seems to be less important than the programming/production and more important than the social/community topics in the playbook.

I’ll also introduce some terminology we’ll use going forward. I use “audience approval” and “relevance to query” for YouTube in the way that on-page and off-page factors are used in discussion of conventional SEO. T

Both conventional and video search have factors in the ranking algorithm that require a totally different skill set. Any strategy for optimization must account for this difference in skill set, or it can get too involved with elements that don’t push rank.

It is very much like conventional SEO in that some elements of the algorithm are very hard for SEOs to affect in a cost effective/non spammy way (i.e., user behavior metrics on YouTube and link/authority in conventional search engines).

From the early days (for me) of 2007, two big factors at work in YouTube search quality have remained true:

  • Audience approval. YouTube rankings seem weighted to reflect audience approval and therefore the user signals from plays and viewing time and to a lesser extent playlists are where the ability to really move rankings exists. The community factors of comments, subscribers, friends and channel activity seem to be weighted but again these are pretty hard signals to isolate for a good idea of their true value in ranking.
  • Relevance to query. Metadata is exceptionally important because it pushes user metrics as well as relevance because of the role that related videos play in the viewing behavior of users. Metadata play a role in relevance to the query/search algorithm and tags in particular are tied to the related video results.

Relevance isn’t as big of a contributing factor in determining rankings as in conventional textual search.

One of the advantages I had as an early adopter of SEO was I had worked with no tools and no keyword or traffic data so back in ’07 I was comfortable working with other data and applying it to video. I took what I knew from the SEO and PPC campaigns and to a lesser extent the site search data and applied it to the metadata for the YouTube videos.

We knew from a marketing standpoint our best audience searched for the model and brand so we targeted these in the titles and metadata. I think you can take some of the data and marketing intelligence gained from conventional campaigns as a kind of jumping off point for using the keyword research and discovery tools now available for a video campaign.



YouTube titles are a little trickier than a conventional search engine with shorter length and “click worthy” CTA’s stating the purpose/goal of the video needing special attention because they get more “action” from users who are more likely to watch the complete video.

YouTube titles are similar to conventional titles in that you want to position primary keywords at the beginning of the title with compelling use of phrases and branding at the end of the title. Titles aren’t as big a factor in ranking on YouTube as they are in conventional search.


The description is very different on YouTube from a conventional search engine in that it can be much longer and contain links to other pages or video. YouTube descriptions are useful for not only ranking but also providing lots of opportunity for cross promotion of content using links and promotional elements in the video.

The YouTube playbook advises putting the most “compelling” information at the beginning, using keywords and including show and channel information.


Check the tags on popular videos in a query result and you will greatly enhance your chances of entry into the related videos results. The related videos increase plays which directly affects factors weighted heavier for ranking.

That is also why the YouTube “influence” in Google universal search, which is thought by many to be a little too biased is entirely within reason. The other video “sources” don’t provide the user data and quite frankly user data not relevance is the holy grail of video search because quality is determined by entertainment value and less on the ability to fulfill a task.

Closing Thoughts On Optimizing Metadata

So, there we have it! The beginnings of a strategy to optimize video metadata.

It is always imprtant to understand the role of various elements in the ranking algorithm. Understanding what and the degree of influence different elements of the ranking algorithm possess is the basis for all optimization strategy. By understanding each element’s role in the ranking algorithm, you can use your time more efficiently and produce better results.

YouTube users make up one-third of the internet and they watch one billion hours of video content per day. That’s a lot of video content, which means it’s harder for brands’ YouTube content to be found organically. Not only do they need to produce great content, but that video content needs to be optimized just like any other digital asset. Unfortunately, many brands have the attitude, “If we upload it, they will come” only to see their channels turn into a desolate wasteland of unwatched videos. Organic discovery begins with optimizing these essential video elements:


YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world and relies on metadata to index and understand videos. Just like web pages have titles and descriptions, so do YouTube videos. To maximize your presence in search and suggested videos, optimizing metadata is a must.Youtube video metadata


Titles should be descriptive enough for YouTube’s search engine to find them and compelling enough for users to click on your video. Think about how people would search for your video and include language that is natural and conversational versus stuffing the title with keywords.

Best Practices for Video Titles:

  • Keep titles around 70 characters to avoid truncation. Videos are more likely to be truncated in gridview than listview, so keep that in mind.
  • The most descriptive and relevant words or phrases (think keywords) should be placed at the beginning of the title.
  • Descriptors like episode number, series name, and branding should be towards the end of the title.
  • Videos should be named accurately to deter drop offs in viewership. Click-baity titles may get users to your video, but they won’t get them to stay very long. Clicks aren’t an important ranking ranking factor but video watch time is so avoid misleading titles.
  • Keep track of search trends and update titles periodically so they continue to grab views.


A strong description explains what the audience should expect from the video and helps YouTube’s algorithms make sense of your content. Descriptions are also important for users by providing additional context for your to write a video description

Best Practices for Video Descriptions:

  • The first 1-2 sentences of your description are the most important because they appear in the search results. Ensure that the intro to your description is both compelling and captivating.
  • After describing your video, include a CTA (such as subscribing or checking out the rest of your channel) as well as helpful links (product links, where to find additional information, related playlists, etc.).
  • Include additional information related to your video such as products mentioned, credits, etc.
  • Depending on the video format and length, include time-codes so that users can easily navigate to important parts of your video (this works especially well for how-tos and tutorials).
  • Include a boilerplate at the end of your video descriptions that includes a brief description of your channel, as well as a link to your website and social links.
  • However, be aware that outbound links can have a negative impact on watch time.


Tags are descriptive keywords and phrases that will help people find your videos. You can apply a set of tags to videos, playlists,  as well as your overall YouTube channel.

video keyword tags

Best Practices for Video Tags:

  • Include a mix of both general and specific tags.
  • Include keywords from your title in your video’s tags.
  • Use as many tags as possible to accurately describe your content without being spammy.
  • Use tags to build playlists. You can have videos automatically added to a playlist based on a tag the video contains.

video tag tip

View a videos tags by viewing the source code on the watch page and look for the meta property “og:video:tag”


Thumbnails are the second most important factor (the first being titles) for driving click through rate. They show up in different sizes and formats all across the platform and outside of it. Make sure thumbnails are visually compelling and complement the title. Do not use misleading thumbnails as this could hurt average watch time.

video thumbnail example

Together, the Title and Thumbnail should tell a story and look good at any size or resolution.

Best Practices for video Thumbnails

  • Always upload custom thumbnails with the video file instead of using the default options.
  • The thumbnail should be legible at all sizes and resolutions
  • The foreground should be distinguishable from the background.
  • Accurately represent the content
  • Use visual cues (colors, images, shapes, personalities) that are consistent with your brand
  • When shooting a video, take shots that will make great thumbnails.
  • The thumbnail should give the user some kind of indication what the video is about


Captions make your videos accessible to those who are hard of hearing and also serves as additional metadata. This extra metadata helps YouTube’s discovery systems surface your video to global audiences across 76 different countries by ​allowing people to translate your videos into other languages.closed captions


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