Optimising Your Youtube Video Titles: Everything important should be in the first 29-46 characters

This post follows on from my post about Using SEO and SEM Basics to Optimise Your Youtube Videos where I looked at combining Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) principles to optimise your videos for display on YouTube.

In this post, I will be looking at how video results are displayed in search results for search engines, so we can see what we need to take into account when writing copy for Youtube Video titles.

1) Which Search Engines to Consider?

There are regional differences visible in % search engine usage and there are also search engines that are unique to certain countries and/or regions. If we look at the Top 5 Search Engines across the world for the last year using Stat Counter’s handy Global Stats function these national and regional variations get hidden in the data.

[Note for future reference: This also applies to the adoption and usage of social media channels across regions and nations, and there are also channels that are unique to some countries and/or regions. ]

I want to use this post as a vehicle to get you to consider the location of your intended target audience. You should be prioritising your optimisation activities with reference to the search engines they are using.

Luckily Stat Counter’s handy Global Stats function also allows you to drill down to specific countries and regions to see the Top 5 Search Engines for that area.

For this exercise, I am looking at search engine use in Australia:

Statcounter: Top 5 Search Engines in Australia from May 2011 to May 2012

From this I can see, my priority should definitely be on optimising my YouTube video for display in Google, but that it would also be useful to consider how videos are displayed in Bing and Yahoo Search Results as they sit second and third respectively.

2) The Search Engines and What They Display…

Video search results can be displayed as part of the general search results and in specific video search results (most search engines have a tab enabling you to filter the results to see only videos, or only images…etc).

The layout and content in each set of search results can differ, just as they differ from engine to engine.

Google

A general search in Google shows the following:

Google: Video results in a general search

Google general search results truncate the titles of YouTube videos at ~62-63 characters. Other results I looked at demonstrated they take the last full word, but in the example above they have truncated a numeric value.

If we select the video only option (on the left hand side menu or in the “More” drop down in the top menu, we can see what results a Google video search returns:

Google: Video search results

Google’s video search results truncate titles of YouTube videos at ~39-49 characters, again they take the last whole word.

Bing

A general search in Bing shows the following:

Bing: Video results in a general search

The general search results truncate the titles of YouTube videos at ~63-65 characters. Other results I looked at demonstrated they take the last full word, but in the example above they have truncated a numeric value.

Bing video search results have a significantly different layout to Google video search results:

Bing: Video Search Results

I tested several video results for Bing, finding that YouTube video titles are truncated at ~29-32 characters and that they do truncate words.

Yahoo

A general search in Yahoo shows the following:

Yahoo: Video results in a general yahoo search

Neither of the above results were truncated, but they were also not using all 100 characters available in the YouTube title field. Other tests indicate YouTube video titles are truncated at ~63-67 characters, taking the last whole word.

A Yahoo video search displays results similar to Bing:

Yahoo: Video search results

Yahoo video search truncates YouTube video titles at ~46-48 characters, taking the last whole word.

Conclusions

Although you have  100 characters to play with in the title field for YouTube videos, you need to consider what content will make it through to searchers locating video content on a search engine:

  • Put the primary reason for watching (call to action) within the first 29-32 characters (or 46-48 characters if you really really must), to account for how Bing and Yahoo video search results abbreviate YouTube titles
  • Important secondary reasons for watching can go into the title from character 46-48 onwards
  • Any information too long for the title needs to go into the description, which is also influences search results

What’s next: I’ll do a follow up post looking at the presentation of YouTube video descriptions in search engines so you can optimise your copy writing for that field too 😉

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Comments
3 Responses to “Optimising Your Youtube Video Titles: Everything important should be in the first 29-46 characters”
  1. Ollie Slosek says:

    I’d have to examine with you here. Which isn’t something I often do! I take pleasure in reading a put up that can make people think. Additionally, thanks for allowing me to comment!

  2. amaraheslin says:

    Interesting read! You have provided here crucial hacks for success of video presentation in search engines. ~I have read a lot about content but seldom about videos. Thanks for sharing this article! — Site Above Solutions

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  1. […] This post follows on from Using SEO and SEM Basics to Optimise Your Youtube Videos and Optimising Your Youtube Video Titles: Everything important should be in the first 29-46 characters. […]



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