15 Advanced Tips for Amazing YouTube Titles
YouTube titles are often seen as an afterthought or a necessary evil. Yes, I know you have an amazing video that you spent hours on, but, if your title isn’t catchy or SEO optimized, your video won’t get watched! Part of a good SEO (search engine optimization) strategy is to take a few minutes to craft titles that are a combination of intriguing and catchy yet also SEO friendly. I know it’s not easy and something that a LOT of people struggle with.
From my extensive work consulting with dozens of clients as well as hundreds of hours researching and speaking with content creators, I have compiled a list of the best 14 tips that will help you achieve that perfect YouTube title. I have also created a nifty cheat sheet listing all the tips and links so that you can print it out or save to your desktop for future reference. Make sure to download it here.
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Ready to dive in? Here we go.
1.) Think Like a User:
What are people searching for? YouTube is built on Google, the largest search engine in the world which makes YouTube the second largest search engine in the world. DON’T lose site of this important fact. Many people go directly to YouTube to find answers, solve a problem or get information. Think to yourself, how would I label this video to help people find it?
2.) Come up with your YouTube title first.
When thinking about video ideas, one of the first things you should do is consider the title. Most content creators have some kind of notebook or app where they keep ideas. If you don’t, I highly suggest coming up with some kind of note taking system. I personally LOVE Evernote and use it for everything, and its free!
When thinking about video ideas, consider the title and come up with 3-4 different titles for that video and come back to it when you actually create that video. You might even go so far as to do some research on that title and come up with your final version even BEFORE filming or create a whole bunch of videos based on well researched and formulated titles.
3.) Use the YouTube Search Report.
An interesting and insightful report buried deep in the YouTube reports section is the YouTube Search Report. You can check which keywords are driving traffic to YOUR channel. If a keyword is listed and happens to be missing from your title, you might consider adding it.
It is also really interesting to see what phrases and words people are popping into that search bar that leads to them clicking on one of your videos. Not sure where to find it? Go to overview then traffic sources, then YouTube search.
4.) Use the YouTube Search Box for Ideas
Type a keyword into the YouTube search box to see what the autocomplete suggests, it is a quick and easy video title creator. Are there any words or phrases that people are using that might be applied to your video? It’s always a good idea to do this trick for every video you create just to see what people are searching for specific to the videos you are creating.
5.) Use TubeBuddy:
It is no secret I am a huge fan of TubeBuddy, a chrome browser plug in research tool for YouTube. In my experience, it is an essential research tool for every YouTube content creator. No, this is not sponsored and yes, TubeBuddy if you are reading this, I would love to be sponsored by you. 😃 Call me!
The TubeBuddy keyword explorer tool is essential when crafting YouTube titles. The tool shows search volume of a particular keyword as well as the competition within YouTube for that keyword. The strategy is to go for high volume and low competition or as close to that as possible. TubeBuddy has a free version, but it only shows the first three results, for the entire list you need the paid version which to me is worth the small monthly price of the paid version just for that feature.
6.) Use the keyword at the beginning of the title.
After researching your keywords in TubeBuddy or wherever you do keyword research, make sure that your selected keyword or phrase is towards the beginning of the title.
In a study done by keyword research tool Moz.com, putting important keywords first or at the start of the title may have more impact on search rankings. Additional research has shown that users generally only scan as few as the first two or three words of a title. By putting your keywords towards the front, you ensure that both YouTube and the viewer will take notice of the title.
If the video is part of a series on your channel, make sure to include the name of the series in the title BUT, make sure that series name is in the second half of your video. You still want to include your series name so that youtube knows to feature those videos in the suggested videos list. You always want the key words that you are looking to rank for towards the beginning of the title. Your series titles are important but people most likely won’t be searching that, so they can go at the end.
7.) Consider adding the word “video” to your title.
This is a tip that I would use sparingly, but it can be effective in generating traffic from outside of YouTube. Many Google searches for videos actually include the word “video”. Including the word video, such as “The Newest Drugstore Makeup for Spring Video” or “How to apply eyeliner like a pro video” increases the chance of your video being pulled to the top of search engines in Google, if someone uses the word “video” in their search. Please note that this trick really only works for outside of YouTube since people searching within YouTube most likely wont be using the word “video”. But, it’s a great trick for generating extra traffic and worth trying out every now and then.
8.) Include product names in the title.
If you are using specific products (makeup, fashion, food, etc.), make sure to include them in your title. YouTube is very search driven. You want to capitalize on popular products that will help you in search results. You can craft a compelling title in the first half and then add the products in the second half of the title using a dash. Or, you can incorporate the product into your keyword phrase based on research you do in TubeBuddy or your preferred keyword research tool. If you feature a lot of products, you can also use TubeBuddy (mentioned earlier) to figure out which specific products, if mentioned in the title, will give you a better chance to rank.
9.) Use a number at the beginning of the title.
Conductor did a study showing that numbered or list titles perform really well. This is also a great tip for bloggers as well. The study also revealed that women were even more predisposed than men to preferring numbered titles as their favorite type of content to read/watch. (I used this on this post, what do you think?)
10.) Try using a negative superlative.
Outbrain did a study that revealed negative superlative titles outperformed all other types by 30%. Examples of using a negative superlative in a title are, The Worst Way to Apply Lipstick or “The 5 Worst Mascaras I’ve Ever Tried”, etc. I particularly like this trick for beauty videos because “no buy” type videos or negative reviews actually do really well and have less competition because people are afraid to do them.
11.) Study Upworthy
The news website upworthy makes its editors write at least 25 headlines for each post. They will pick the best headlines and test different ones in different social media platforms to see which one gets the most clicks. It’s is a treasure trove of ideas for titles!
The headline is our one chance to reach people who have a million other things that they’re thinking about, and who didn’t wake up in the morning wanting to care about feminism or climate change, or the policy details of the election,” says co-founder Peter Koechley. “The difference between a good headline and a bad headline can be just massive. It’s not a rounding error. When we test headlines we see 20% difference, 50% difference, 500% difference. A really excellent headline can make something go viral.” – as stated in Wired magazine.
12.) Study BuzzFeed
BuzzFeed is incredibly popular for one reason, their titles are click worthy and enticing. It’s easy to get sucked into the BuzzFeed vortex of interesting list after interesting list. Buzzfeed was one of the first news organizations that decided to forgo the neutral title in favor of an enticing and emotion driven headline that solicits a reaction from the reader. As stated above, numbered titles are really popular. Buzzfeed has embraced the listcicle, with over 25% of its articles being in the form of a list (see tip #9).
Researcher Max Woolf was able to identify BuzzFeed’s three word phrases that garnered the most shares on Facebook. Examples include (x) Reasons You, Before You Die, In Your Life and Reasons you should. He also identified the most used numbered phrases that accompany Buzzfeed list articles, some of which include (x) most important, (x) insanely, (x) things you probably. I would suggest checking out his article, it’s really interesting and a great resource for some enticing titles.
13.) Use TweakYourBiz
TweakYourBiz is an excellent online free video title creator that generates tons of title ideas. It’s great for brainstorming or if you are stumped for ideas. This tool is also excellent for bloggers as well as YouTubers.
14.) Use the Headline Analyzer Tool
Coschedule has this fantastic FREE headline analyzer tool that takes your titles and gives it a score based upon a few different factors.
This tool is geared more for bloggers and less a video title creator . SO, if you are a blogger you NEED to be using this. I think it’s an incredible tool for blog posts and I have started using it and recommending it to bloggers with some great success. I include it in this list because I know I have a lot of blogger listeners but it can also be used for YouTube creators as well and I encourage you all to check it out and give it a try.
15.) Your thumbnail.
Don’t forget about your thumbnail. Your title and your thumbnail work together to create an intriguing story that prompts viewers to click. Make sure when you craft your YouTube title, you are also keeping the thumbnail image in mind since they will need to work together to create a cohesive story. If you haven’t listened to my podcast episode on titles, thumbnails and description, make sure you check it out for more details on the thumbnail and the description and how they work together with the title.
These are some of the best tips I have tested and used for effective YouTube titles. Creating titles is a fine balance between generating interest (click-baity) in the user and being mindful of the search engine component to YouTube. Practice by going back to some of your videos and changing up the title using some of these tips and see what happens. That’s the beauty of YouTube titles, they can always be changed!
Don’t forget to download your free Tip sheet listing all of these advanced tips in an easy printable PDF you can keep as a reference!
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What are your thoughts on YouTube Titles? Do you spend a lot of time on them? What challenges have you faced?
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