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YouTube SEO: How to TITLE Your Church YouTube Videos to Get More Views


When you have a question or when you want to learn a new skill, where do you go to find the answer? For me, I find myself quickly going to YouTube. We recently bought a new camera for our church to use in filming special events and videos for social media. The camera didn’t come with a user manual, so I went directly to YouTube to find reviews, tutorial videos, ideas for accessories, and step-by-step guides for photography and video. Since people look for answers on YouTube, it makes sense to post and name church YouTube videos in a way that helps them find the answer they need. So if people are searching for answers on YouTube, I want to ask you a very simple question.

Are you Answering the Questions that People are Asking with Wisdom from the Bible?

YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world. Over 73% of adults in the United States use YouTube for over 3 billion searches every month. More than 70% of what people watch on YouTube is determined by its recommendation algorithm.

So when people are dealing with problems in life, they are going to YouTube to help find answers. When they struggle with answers on how to raise children or deal with disappointment, or understanding tragedy, they are looking for answers. Too often, they find wisdom from the world instead of Biblical wisdom to help guide them back to God. Unfortunately, many churches aren’t optimizing their videos so that they can easily be found.

How YouTube Works

Before we start learning how to improve our search engine skills on YouTube, we need to understand how YouTube decides what to show when people search. The best place to look is YouTube itself. They have provided a great example of how YouTube search works.

From Youtube – “With over 500 hours of content uploaded to YouTube every minute, finding what you need would be nearly impossible without some help sorting through all of the videos. YouTube’s search ranking system does just that by sorting through loads of videos to find the most relevant and useful results to your search query, and presenting them in a way that helps you find what you’re looking for.”

There are four factors that determine what shows up when you search for a video:

#1 – Relevance – How well does your title, tags, description, and content match what people are searching for?

#2 – Engagement – Do people watch, like, comment, and subscribe to your channel?

#3 – Quality – Do people trust your videos to provide the answers that they are looking for?

#4 – Search and Watch History – Each person receives unique results based on what they have watched before.

So with that in mind, how do we increase the chance that people will find your videos. Here are a few quick tips.

Three Tips for Naming Church YouTube Videos

#1 – Make Your YouTube Title is the Answer to A Question People are Asking

We’ve all been guilty of uploading videos to YouTube with bad titles. It’s easy to use the date as a title, or possibly the sermon title. But what if we took the main point of our message, and turned it into the answer for a question. It may be like Jeopardy, but it really works. If your video is a sermon, think about the pain point that your message addresses, and think about the people needing to hear that message. Then write your title as the answer to that question. Make it something that people will want to click to learn more.

If you currently only upload completed sermons to YouTube, let me challenge you to think about uploading more content. Additional topics for church YouTube videos could include weekly Q&As with the pastors or ministry leaders. You could also take shorter segments from the sermon and use those as specific answers to questions. In 2 Peter 1:3 (NLT), we learn that “By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.” It’s up to us to help people learn how the Bible helps us learn the answer to life’s most pressing questions.

If you are struggling to know what questions people are asking, it may be good to do keyword research. Take a topic or word and see what people are searching for. There are many free tools to do this, but I recommend simply using Google Trends to see the questions people are asking. It may also give you ideas for new video content or sermon series.

#2 – Create Interest by Tapping Into Curiosity

This may sound a little too much like marketing, but people are curious. If you write a title that promises to give them an answer, they will be intrigued and interested in learning more. That’s why so many sermon titles are based on phrases like “Four keys to financial freedom.” When you share a title like that, it can create enough suspense to help people click the video to learn those secrets.

#3 – Simply Tell People What the Video is About

This last tip is probably the easiest to implement. For some church YouTube videos, just clearly and succinctly sharing what it is about is the best strategy. This works well when people are searching for very specific questions.

These tips will get you started, but there is more you can do to get your videos noticed. YouTube offers a Creator’s Academy to teach you the basics, and I recommend this for everyone to learn more about the details of how YouTube works.

Hubspot also offers a good article on helping improve your search ranking. They list 8 SEO tips that can help you show up in more searches.

#1 – Rename your video file using a target keyword.
#2 – Insert your keyword naturally in the video title.
#3 – Optimize your video description.
#4 – Tag your video with popular keywords that relate to your topic.
#5 – Categorize your video.
#6 – Upload a custom thumbnail image for your video’s result link.
#7 – Use an SRT file to add subtitles & closed captions.
#8 – Add Cards and End Screens to increase your YouTube channel’s viewership.

The goal of this is not to get more likes and subscriptions. It’s to help transform lives with the power of the Gospel. If you start implementing these ideas in your videos, you will see more lives touched by the truth that you are sharing.

Below is a list of articles we’ve published in the past on this topic:

Social Media Policies for Churches

6 Ways to Promote Easter Using Social Media

8 Social Media Tips to Boost Your Holiday Church Attendance

Mike Morris
Mike Morris
Mike is the lead pastor of Cornerstone Community Church in Galax, Virginia, and has been helping churches simplify the complexity of online ministry for over a decade. Mike is the founder of OnlineMinistryMadeSimple.com and will be sharing blog posts, online courses, and Facebook workshops to encourage frustrated and discouraged church leaders to learn how to do discipleship from a distance through online ministry.


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