How to Pick Marketing Video Titles for Search Engine Optimization

A good title can make a huge difference in whether people find — and ultimately watch — your marketing video, and a good title can be essential for its success. The title you select is a key tool for standing out on search engines, and it’s the most important piece of information you give to potential viewers to help them decide whether your video is worth their time.

You must understand where people will see your title and how it can influence their behavior.

Take a look at YouTube as an example:

  • Titles show up underneath YouTube videos in full length. People have short attention spans, and many decide whether they want to spend time with your video by simply reading its title.

  • The title also shows up next to the videos in the sidebar of your YouTube channel, where people can find related videos. YouTube limits this title to the first 50 characters, or six to ten words, so your title had better be crisp and short.

  • In search results, people see the first ten words of your title. Again, it pays to be concise.

Because you’re writing the title for both humans and search engines, writing a strong title isn’t all about pure creativity. Being funny and using clever puns have their places, but a video title isn’t it.

Follow these five steps to develop a strong title for your video:

  1. Focus on the key message of your video.

    What particular benefit does your product or service offer? This benefit should be a part of your title.

  2. Consider which keywords your prospects will most likely search for when they look for a product such as yours.

    Prospects aren’t likely to search for your company name.

    The two or three most important keywords should be part of your title.

  3. Think about the value your video provides and about the benefit to the viewer.

    If your video is educational in some way, you should suggest that. People (and search engines) react strongly to words or phrases such as how-to, tricks, ideas for, or tutorial.

  4. Consider whether a well-known person appears in the video.

    If so, use that person’s name.

  5. Create your title.

Avoid words that can be identified as spam by search engines or e-mail systems. Terms such as cheap, buy now, and free are problems because they may catch your video in a spam filter rather than in front of your intended target.

Suppose that you sell lawn mowers and your new top model, the QuickCut 3000 XL, is absolutely the latest advancement in lawn mower technology. You make a video about it and post it on YouTube.

The worst possible title you can choose is something like this one:

The new QuickCut 3000 XL with automatic blade sharpness enhancement technology — buy now!

This title says nothing about what the product does, it provides no value statement, and it even contains a keyword (buy now!) that may cause it to be banned as spam.

A much better title is

How to cut your lawn in half the time: The QuickCut 3000 XL power lawn mower

The first part of the title shows up in search results and in the Related Videos column on YouTube. It tells people why the video is interesting, and it communicates the value of the piece. But the full title also contains the product name (in case somebody is already in the market for it and wants to know more details) and the product category (lawn mowers).

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