Independent Films by the Numbers

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Research Summary on YouTube Optimization

I have been doing more research on the state of affairs with Optimization of YouTube videos. At least publicly, there appears to be not much substance published on the topic beyond common sense and the application of SEO rules to the platform.

The most notable source I have found so far are Jonathan Mendez’s blog “Optimize and Prophesize” and a post at These two site focus on tags as the means to drive viewership much in the same way that webpages are optimized for organic search.



The upshot of these blogs is that optimization should focus on tags by:

  1. Matching tag content to titles and description
  2. Using unique tags for each video (along with unique descriptions and title)
  3. Make tags relevant
  4. Use adjective to help better engage your audience
  5. Avoid use of standard stopwords using in Natural Language Processing
  6. Use as many tags as possible (although this point by Mendez’s blog was debated in the comment responses to this point, based upon a searching index’s tendency to become unfocused when too many options are given).

What you should notice in this work is twofold – First it does not transform YouTube optimization beyond standard natural SEO and it seems very anecdotal based. The method and data backing these recommendations are unproved by information to back their assertions. Second, it is unclear how to apply this advice for impact since it is unclear beyond some loose description what make a good tag beyond it should not be from an undefined list of stop words.

Beyond these tag based insights, I found these others pearls of YouTube optimization from other sources (unvalidated by hard data as well):

  1. New video do not get search preference at YouTube over older content.
  2. Many views are driven by becoming a featured video, but this process in an internal one.
  3. Inbound links are important from trusted domains.
  4. Use the social aspects of YouTube and the 2.0 web to drive viewship/li>
  5. Sex and humor sells. It is a good strategy to find strongly performing content and make a lampoon of it or create a response to it.
  6. Carefully consider the category to be used for the video to make sure it matches the content
  7. Some blogs advice that voting and comments matters, while others think this is not the case.
  8. Make you title catchy, but don’t give too much away

All in all there is not much good content on how best to market your video on YouTube beyond just making it findable by standard search. It seems to me that insights from work I have done for optimizing films for festivals, advertising messaging, and e-mail for delivery would provide some much needed heft to the YouTube optimization toolkit.

I need to plan my big test….

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