YouTube Best Practices

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Find your rhythm.

To grow on YouTube, you must consistently deliver quality content to your audience. Think about how you can serialize your content and who your cast of characters is. You don’t have to have super-produced content to make it good – it just has to bring real value to your audience. 

Use keywords, tags and calls to action using URLs.

Incorporate important words (like UC Davis!) into the titles and descriptions of your videos so that users are more easily able to find your content first when conducting searches. Consider titling your video as a question: videos with titles composed as a question tend to have some of the best search results. Put any call to action or URLs at the top of your video description. Add topic tags to each video to increase SEO results. 


The best practice is to either upload a .srt caption file or burn the captions directly on to the video. Otherwise, make sure that the auto-captions created by YouTube for each video actually read correctly once uploaded to avoid embarrassing auto-caption issues. 

Choose the right thumbnails.

The images you choose as the thumbnails for your videos are some of the first things that audience members see. Make sure yours are appealing, relevant and eye-catching. Suggestions include anything with animals, scenic shot or topic titles. Add large font to video thumbnail images with topics that may be unclear to viewers from just a quick glance at a video’s thumbnail.

Curate content into playlists.

Organize your videos by topic (or another relevant identifier) to help with reach, SEO and embeddable playlists for use outside of YouTube. 

Dive into the community.

Once you have over 1,000 subscribers, you can use community posts to create stories with polls, text, images, gifs, and videos.