This post originally appeared on neilpatel.com
How do you ensure your YouTube channel is reaching the right audience and helping you achieve your marketing objectives? By performing a YouTube audit.
With over 2 billion active users, YouTube is among the world’s most popular social media platforms. Roughly 73 percent of US adults have a YouTube account, which means it’s an excellent opportunity for marketers to generate new leads and promote content.
But, if you want to make the most of this channel, you need to ensure your content is high-quality, targeted, and optimized.
Why Your YouTube Channel Needs an Audit
YouTube isn’t just a social media platform. It’s also a highly sophisticated search engine, just like Google.
In other words, you need an effective YouTube search engine optimization or “SEO” strategy to maximize your chances of:
- Appearing in video search results
- Reaching the right audience
- Converting users into subscribers and, ultimately, paying customers
If you’re totally new to SEO, you might find this video helpful.
A YouTube audit reveals how well your channel is performing and whether it’s helping you achieve your business objectives.
Among other things, it will help you understand:
- Which videos have the most views
- If people watch your videos all the way through
- How many subscribers you have
- Whether your videos appear in search results
Keep in mind that over 500 hours of new content appears on YouTube every minute, which means there’s fierce competition. Everything on your channel should be geared towards standing out and providing value.
Roughly 50 percent of shoppers use online videos to decide between different products. What’s more, a whopping 90 percent of users discover new brands just by browsing their favorite YouTube channels.
That means there’s a huge opportunity to find new customers and build brand trust— if you provide users with valuable content. A YouTube audit is the best way to check if you’re leveraging your channel to its fullest potential.
Ready to overhaul your channel and ensure you’re getting the most from your video marketing strategy? Let’s get started.
YouTube Audit Phase 1: Analyze Your KPI Performance
You need to understand how your channel is performing right now. This is where KPIs, or key performance indicators, come in.
What exactly are KPIs, though? Well, they’re metrics that help you assess how effectively it’s generating results for your business. On YouTube, that might include watch times, views, impressions, and clicks.
With KPI data at your fingertips, you can take targeted action to improve your content, increase your subscriber base, and boost your YouTube rankings. For example, you can track where your viewer traffic comes from and your most popular videos.
You can access these KPIs through YouTube analytics, which is the platform’s metrics tool.
- Log into your YouTube account
- Click on your account avatar at the top right-hand corner
- Choose “YouTube Studio” from the menu options to access the analytics center
At a glance, you can see exactly how your channel is performing and access specific KPIs for more advanced information.
Pay special attention to which videos are doing well — and which ones aren’t. Consider adding all your videos to a spreadsheet you can edit as you work through the optimization steps.
OK, so stage one is completed.
You have your KPI breakdown, and now it’s time to take action and improve your performance. Ready to move on to stage two? Let’s check it out.
YouTube Audit Phase 2: Make Updates
This phase is where you get to work. Keep in mind that not everyone needs to work through every step on this list. It all depends on your KPI analysis and your specific business objectives.
In phase two of your YouTube audit, we will:
- Reaffirm your brand message
- Update and optimize your video descriptions
- Organize your videos, so they’re easy for users to find
- Include relevant, engaging CTAs where appropriate
- Cut old content if it doesn’t serve your brand message
I’ll walk you through each step.
Consider Your Channel’s Branding During the YouTube Audit
Branding is a great place to start your audit. Why? Because YouTube is a visual platform.
Color can boost your brand recognition by up to 80 percent, so it’s crucial you spend time designing unique visual branding to stand out from your competitors.
How do you do this? First, establish your brand identity and create a clear, consistent marketing strategy. Consistency can improve your revenue by around 23 percent, so ensure your messaging translates well across all platforms before moving forward.
Once you’ve established your identity, you’re ready to begin, starting with the highlight video. This video showcases what your channel stands for. It shows users what people can expect if they watch your content.
In other words, choose your headline video wisely. Here’s a good example.
Tasty is a home cooking channel. The highlight video is a product review for a home air fryer, which speaks to their target audience.
What else can we say about Tasty? Two things. They use a colorful, branded avatar, and an eye-catching channel banner.
Google recommends a minimum banner size of 2048 x 1152 px, with your aspect ratio set to 16:9. You can use platforms like Canva to resize and optimize both your avatar and your banner.
Remember, successful marketers know how important it is to consider branding from a user’s perspective, so look at your channel objectively.
Remove or Replace Offensive or Off-Brand Videos
If content doesn’t serve your marketing strategy or is not consistent with your branding, delete it!
Do any videos feel “off” or outdated? Are they inaccurate or wrong for your channel? Simply remove them and give your channel an instant uplift.
- In YouTube studio, choose “videos” from the left-hand menu
- Scroll to the video you’re deleting and click the “delete forever” option
Just make sure to update links if any of your content sends users to those videos.
When it comes to a highly competitive platform like YouTube, metadata is your friend. Metadata is the collection of words and phrases you use to describe a video’s content.
- The video’s title
- Any HTML tags you use to tell YouTube’s algorithm what the video is about
- The description, or snippet you provide in the description box
Remember, YouTube is a search engine. It uses keywords, or key phrases, to connect users with the search results they’re looking for. Using the right keywords in your metadata can seriously increase the chances of ranking in search results and finding the right audience.
Here’s an example. If someone searches for “curling iron product review,” here’s the first result:
You’ll notice the channel creator uses “curling iron review” in the title, and it’s in the thumbnail, too.
There’s also mention of curling irons in the description and caption, so all signs point to this being a curling iron video:
Every video should have a relevant title and meaningful description to help users decide if it’s what they’re looking for.
How do you edit your own metadata? It’s simple.
First, go back to the YouTube Studio and open “content” from the left-hand menu. You’ll see a list of all your videos.
Next, click the little square to the left of your video and select the “edit” button when it pops up.
Work through each option, starting with the title.
Optimize Content for Chosen Keywords
Keywords are the search terms users type in when they’re looking for videos. If you don’t use the right keywords in your metadata, people won’t find your videos.
That said, how do you know which keywords to include? It all starts with keyword research.
Let’s work through an example.
Say I have a video on how to make chocolate chip cookies. I start by Googling some terms I might search to see which ones bring up video results. (This is also a great way to find inspiration for new ideas!)
If I search “chocolate chip cookies,” or “how to make chocolate chip cookies,” Google shows me YouTube videos.
“How to make perfect chocolate chip cookies” is the top result, so including “how to” might help me rank higher in YouTube rather than just calling it a chocolate chip cookie video.
On the other hand, if I search for something general, like “baking,” I don’t see any videos. This tells me to use a more specific keyword.
Next, use Ubersuggest to check:
- How often people search for your chosen keyword
- Which other search terms appear most often
This helps you identify which terms to use in your title and description. Once you’ve identified your keywords, you can optimize your videos.
- Start by renaming your video with the chosen keyword. (Make sure to use it naturally)
- Write a short description and include your keyword near the start so it shows up in the preview.
- Use other keywords as meta tags and in the description. (If it makes sense to do so)
- Customize your thumbnail to include the keyword.
Organize Videos Into Playlists
If someone likes your video, chances are they want to see similar content. This is where playlists come in handy.
YouTube playlists are like shelves in a physical store. You group similar videos together in a playlist, or shelf, and visitors browse through your collection.
Here’s why they’re a great idea.
- If someone likes one video in your playlist, they’ll watch more. This engagement counts toward your total “watch time.” The higher your watch time, the higher you rank on YouTube.
- You can increase views on lesser-watched videos by including them in a popular playlist.
Want to set up a YouTube playlist? You can create and manage a playlist in YouTube studio.
Make sure to use keywords in the title to increase your visibility in the search results, and only include relevant videos in each playlist to keep your messaging consistent.
The best way to generate leads from your YouTube channel? Include direct call-to-actions or CTAs.
CTAs direct people take action, such as:
- Subscribe to your channel
- Visit your website
- Follow you on social media
- Comment on videos
- Download an ebook or subscribe to an email list
Here’s an example from one of my own videos. As you can see, I’m using two CTAs.
- I invite people to click through to my website to learn more about traffic generation.
- I also direct them to watch another video.
See how CTAs might generate more leads and increase your channel engagement?
Placement’s important, too. Here’s what you should know.
- Include subtle CTAs like “leave a comment below” throughout the video to increase user engagement.
- Use YouTube cards to link to other videos or include different CTAs throughout the video, like polls.
- Place a CTA at the end. If someone enjoys your content, they’re more likely to subscribe or visit your website at this point. You can use YouTube’s end screen feature to do this.
You can find these tools in the video manager section of your YouTube studio.
Watch All Your Videos and Make YouTube Audit Recommendations
Now it is time to implement everything you’ve learned. Watch every video from start to finish, noting problems and changes you want to make.
Here’s what to consider.
- Relevance: Is the video on-brand, accurate, and relevant?
- Metadata: Are you using keywords in the title, description, and tags? Have you optimized your thumbnails?
- Quality: Could the video be more content-rich? Or is it too long?
- Playlist: Does this video belong in a playlist?
- CTA: Did you include an engaging CTA at the end? If the video is old, could you update the CTA to a more relevant one?
The bottom line? Just because you have YouTube subscribers and people watch your videos doesn’t mean you’re using your channel effectively.
Remember, YouTube is more than a social networking site. It’s a whole search engine all of its own, so you need to keep basic search optimization strategies in mind if you want to stand out.
Remove outdated content, tweak your meta descriptions and CTAs, and ensure you’re sending out a strong, consistent brand message. Check out Ubersuggest if you need some more help with keyword research and optimization.
Have you performed a YouTube audit on your channel? What did you discover?