Advanced Titling Techniques & SEO

EposVox

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Hey all, so I've been trying to do as much as I can to "step things up" moving into 2016, and titles are something I need to think about.

  • Main question: How important is each side in the balance of a creative/compelling title versus SEO-friendly title?

Premise:
I run a tech channel where I do product reviews, tutorials, etc.
Since I'm still a growing channel - and at a peak point of needing as much growth as possible as quickly as possible instead of catering to subscribers - I've been very SEO-focused. My thumbnails highlight the product somewhat clearly, and my titles are generally straight-SEO: "___ Review" etc.

Though recently, I've been adding in a more creative bit first - such as "Cheap & Easy Facecam!" in front of "Logitech C310 Review" etc. to try to make things a bit more compelling and give an idea of my message in the video.
Here's a quick look at my titling and thumbnail-ing:


Two of the channels that I look up to in terms of the business and non-content approach are Unbox Therapy and LinusTechTips. They do things almost opposite.

Here's a glance at Unbox Therapy's thumbnailing & titles:


Here's a look at LTT's titles and thumbnails:


Now, I hate LTT's thumbnails, but they don't have a graphics guy and it just gets things done. That's okay. But their titles generally remain focused on the SEO - "___ Review" etc.
Unbox Therapy's thumbnails are a lot more "fun" - and so are his titles. But his titles are almost never 100% descriptive. They're not misleading or anything, they just don't go for the SEO.

Is one better or worse?

Things to Consider:
  • Old-school text SEO isn't super important to YouTube search anymore. Categorical authority and watch time/watch sessions kind of dominate things, while text SEO just kind of tells YouTube what your video is.
  • There are two other places to fill in SEO for the videos: Description & Tags (tags being something I need to tackle in a later thread). While Unbox Therapy nor LTT do a great job of utilizing these, I still can. So the title is only one piece of the SEO pie.
  • BUT, the SEO-descriptive title does tell exactly what the video is, which can be beneficial.
  • Alternatively, that could also turn someone away (small chance) if they're not interested in the specific product for a general review, whereas the more exciting clickbait-y (not full-on clickbait, mind you) titles could still compel them to watch.

So here I'm looking for thoughts as to which approach I should be leaning towards, or if my middle-ground current approach could be good.

Possibly, a channel may need to wait until they have a stronger subscriber base to go for the more clickbait-y titles, as those potentially play more towards subscribers who watch the majority of uploads anyway, thus a small channel like mine should still focus on SEO until that subscriber base is obtained.

I'm really not sure, and it frustrates me to think I may be doing things wrong, or at least in a way that could be much better for me. :/
 

Deron

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Hey all, so I've been trying to do as much as I can to "step things up" moving into 2016, and titles are something I need to think about.

  • Main question: How important is each side in the balance of a creative/compelling title versus SEO-friendly title?

Premise:
I run a tech channel where I do product reviews, tutorials, etc.
Since I'm still a growing channel - and at a peak point of needing as much growth as possible as quickly as possible instead of catering to subscribers - I've been very SEO-focused. My thumbnails highlight the product somewhat clearly, and my titles are generally straight-SEO: "___ Review" etc.

Though recently, I've been adding in a more creative bit first - such as "Cheap & Easy Facecam!" in front of "Logitech C310 Review" etc. to try to make things a bit more compelling and give an idea of my message in the video.
Here's a quick look at my titling and thumbnail-ing:


Two of the channels that I look up to in terms of the business and non-content approach are Unbox Therapy and LinusTechTips. They do things almost opposite.

Here's a glance at Unbox Therapy's thumbnailing & titles:


Here's a look at LTT's titles and thumbnails:


Now, I hate LTT's thumbnails, but they don't have a graphics guy and it just gets things done. That's okay. But their titles generally remain focused on the SEO - "___ Review" etc.
Unbox Therapy's thumbnails are a lot more "fun" - and so are his titles. But his titles are almost never 100% descriptive. They're not misleading or anything, they just don't go for the SEO.

Is one better or worse?

Things to Consider:
  • Old-school text SEO isn't super important to YouTube search anymore. Categorical authority and watch time/watch sessions kind of dominate things, while text SEO just kind of tells YouTube what your video is.
  • There are two other places to fill in SEO for the videos: Description & Tags (tags being something I need to tackle in a later thread). While Unbox Therapy nor LTT do a great job of utilizing these, I still can. So the title is only one piece of the SEO pie.
  • BUT, the SEO-descriptive title does tell exactly what the video is, which can be beneficial.
  • Alternatively, that could also turn someone away (small chance) if they're not interested in the specific product for a general review, whereas the more exciting clickbait-y (not full-on clickbait, mind you) titles could still compel them to watch.

So here I'm looking for thoughts as to which approach I should be leaning towards, or if my middle-ground current approach could be good.

Possibly, a channel may need to wait until they have a stronger subscriber base to go for the more clickbait-y titles, as those potentially play more towards subscribers who watch the majority of uploads anyway, thus a small channel like mine should still focus on SEO until that subscriber base is obtained.

I'm really not sure, and it frustrates me to think I may be doing things wrong, or at least in a way that could be much better for me. :/
Wait until you have a larger subscriber base before you use those click bait titles, continue to focus on SEO. That is my opinion and I actually watch your videos, before I saw you here, they are good lol
 
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EposVox

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Wait until you have a larger subscriber base before you use those click bait titles, continue to focus on SEO.
Thanks for the feedback. As I worked through it for the post, that started to seem like the answer - but it seems a lot more boring than the exciting titles, haha.

That is my opinion and I actually watch your videos, before I saw you here, they are good lol
Haha :D Well awesome, thank you! :bounce:
 

Deron

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Thanks for the feedback. As I worked through it for the post, that started to seem like the answer - but it seems a lot more boring than the exciting titles, haha.



Haha :D Well awesome, thank you! :bounce:
true, the Click bait titles are fun lol
 

Kirgle

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As said above, I notice that channels with big subscriber bases care less about SEO because there fan base is there and they will share it as well.

Something I only first learned when I joined here, is Long Descriptive titles are good.

A good balance is Put your funny title in, followed by the descriptive bit.
e.g. My worst nightmare - unboxing the xxxxxxxxxx
 

EposVox

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Something I only first learned when I joined here, is Long Descriptive titles are good.

A good balance is Put your funny title in, followed by the descriptive bit.
e.g. My worst nightmare - unboxing the xxxxxxxxxx
Longer titles better? Really?

And here I was worrying adding to the front of titles would cause problems for length, lol.
 

Kirgle

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Longer titles better? Really?

And here I was worrying adding to the front of titles would cause problems for length, lol.
Yeah - seems wrong but it works. You can tell when you look at youtube analytics what search terms led people to your video.

My Starwars video from a few weeks back has a longer title then i first intended but search terms have all been words/phrases used in my titles.

An older video just called border force act, is my slowest and search terms are usually just 'border force act'. Where I bet if I added in Asylum Seekers or Australian Governments.... it would get more traffic.
 

Sabrina

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Ah, I've heard someone call that dilemma "optimization for reach" vs. "optimization for retention" :bookworm2:
I know that YouTube specifically says to put the most important words at the beginning of the title.
But I think putting a clickbaity line at the beginning might draw in more viewers. If someone searches for "[product] review" they're gonna get a lot of results and yours needs to stick out. The question is, would you still rank high if the product name is at the end of the title?