YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google. The statistics for July 2019 states the following.
That’s why YouTube is one of the most effective tools for driving new clients. All across the globe, marketing specialists use this platform to demonstrate new products and introduce companies. YouTube is famous not only among millennials but among older/younger people as well; that’s why any brand could find their target audience on this platform. However, to drive that audience to your channel, you have to know how to promote videos on YouTube. If you don’t know this yet, we hope our article will help you fill in the gaps. From this article, you’ll learn everything about video promotion on YouTube.
The ranking factors of YouTube videos change all the time, and, unfortunately, YouTube representatives aren’t eager to share them with everyone. Native and foreign bloggers, along with marketing specialists, distinguish tenths of factors that affect the promotion of videos to the Top.
Judging from our experience, the most significant ranking factors that should be applied comprehensively are the following:
- Engaging the users and maintaining their interest. The ability to hold the audience is one of the main conditions for ranking a channel on Google. The longer a user watches your video and the more such videos you have on your channel, the better this channel ranks in search engines. However, it’s hard to rank in search engines by video keywords, as only the first four videos appear in search results. Those videos which reach the fifth place and lower cannot count on the search traffic. Long interesting videos (that last more than 10 minutes), which users watch from start to end, rank the best.
The thing is that YouTube’s earnings depend on the time users spend on this platform. Therefore, the algorithms prioritize the content that people interact with for a long time. The videos that users stop watching during the first 30 seconds, on the other hand, are considered not interesting and stop displaying in search results. You can check the total viewing time of the videos in the ‘Overview' tab of the ‘Analytics’ section.
- The number of views. YouTube algorithms cannot ignore the number of video displays. Many users use a filter that takes the number of views into account while searching for new videos. At the same time, we don’t recommend cheating and purchasing views. Keep in mind that this won’t help you hold the audience for long; respectively, your content won’t be able to make it to the Top.
- The optimization of titles and descriptions. Both a video title and the first lines of a video’s description have to include keywords and, preferably, to be unique. The bigger the text volume is, the more chances a video has to make it to the Top. Don’t forget about the tags: they have to be relevant to the target queries as well.
- The CTR (clickability). A relevant title and a video cover with a face on it could help you increase the number of clicks.
Here are some tips that could help you hold the audience’s attention and interest:
- Focus on the first 15 seconds of a video. During this time, a viewer decides if they want to watch the rest of this video or not. That’s why it’s extremely important to know how to catch a viewer’s attention during these first 15 seconds. We recommend learning more about the peak and the drop of an audience’s interest: to check these metrics, open the ‘Overview' tab, and scroll down.
- Track the peak of a video’s views. This could help you understand which part of a video is the most interesting. You could also notice a place when the views drop: this is when the viewers get bored. If you notice an abrupt drop during the first third of a video, this most likely indicates that either a video doesn’t seem interesting to the viewers or a title doesn’t represent the context of a video. In this case, you could either re-film the video or change a title to fix that. If you notice an insignificant drop at a certain point, you can add a tip with a link to other videos on your channel or to a survey.
- Track time a user spends on YouTube after watching your video. YouTube encourages the channels that manage to keep the viewers on the platform. In other words, if a user finds your YouTube channel, watches a video, and stays there to watch other videos, this is a good indicator. In this case, you’ll definitely receive bonuses for the channel's ranking. We recommend creating playlists with catchy names to encourage users to stay on your channel a bit longer. It’s also good to add links to the subscription and other videos on a channel.
- Encourage the users to interact with your videos. Comments and likes affect the ranking and, respectively, the promotion. Ask people to like your videos, no matter how trite it may sound. Ask them to comment on the information you give in your videos, ask questions, and reply to customers’ reviews. Leave comments on popular websites dedicated to similar topics, as it could generate additional traffic to your channel.
- Analyze the keyword relevance and remove irrelevant hashtags from your hashtag list. The VIDIQ plugin helps to track the keywords that don’t have any positions.
- Connect additional traffic channels: your own website (we recommend placing a video in the top right part of a webpage or at the center, and adding a transcription to it), email newsletters, blogs.
The following things also play a role in ranking:
- the number of comments, likes and dislikes;
- the number of users who added a video to their favorites/subscribed to a channel;
- the number of reposts;
- the number of transitions from other resources, such as websites and social media.
Long videos, titles and descriptions, unique texts, correct keywords, the number of subscriptions and shares, and external links — these are the things that significantly increase the possibility of your videos making it to the Top of YouTube. In the next part of this article, we’ll tell you more about the specific steps you have to take to create YouTube videos and optimize them for promotion.
Stage 1. Selecting search queries for a video
YouTube search queries completely differ by quality from the ones the other search engines use. The same search query in Google can generate you 100 times more traffic than on YouTube, and vice versa. Therefore, it’s crucial to add keywords for all search engines at once to your videos’ description: this will help the videos make it to the Top of Google and Yandex as well, along with YouTube’s Top.
We recommend using the following popular services to select keywords for YouTube video promotion. SEO specialists of the ADINDEX agency widely use these services.
- Keyword planner by Google Ads;
- Wordstat by Yandex;
- YouTube tips (just enter a keyword in YouTube’s search bar, and you’ll see the tips immediately).
Stage 2. Creating a YouTube video
The ability to engage your audience and hold their interest and attention is one of the most crucial ranking factors. Therefore, you have to do your best to encourage as many users as possible to watch your videos until their end. You can achieve this by creating engaging and useful content that is easy to understand.
Here’s how you can improve your metrics for the duration of YouTube video views:
- at the beginning of a video promise that it will be useful, provide a short preview;
- try to add stories and examples to serious information: this way your content will be more interesting and easy to understand;
- create playlists, as they help your audience stay on your channel longer. Be sure to include keywords in playlists’ titles (the longer the keywords are, the better). This positively affects the overall channel’s ranking;
- add links to your channel and other interesting videos at the end of your videos; also, don’t forget to encourage the viewers to subscribe.
Video editing is also extremely important, as it could help draw attention even to those videos that are initially not very good. Billets with texts on them, animation, music effects are the things that make the perception of information easier and encourage the users to watch your videos until the end.
Don’t forget about the metrics that help to rate the quality of your videos (we mentioned these metrics before in the ‘Ranking factors of YouTube videos’ section).
Tips on video creation
- Try to divide long videos into a few parts.
- Be sure not to overdo when you ask the viewers to subscribe to your channel, like and comment on your videos. Three invitations in a video should be your limit.
- Something has to happen in a frame. A still position or a ‘talking head’ is bad for any channel that wants to grow. Gesticulate, express your emotions, move; however, be sure not to overdo with these things as well.
- The beginning and the end of a video are things that people remember the most. Try to come up with ways to catch the viewers’ attention during the first and the last seconds of a video.
Stage 3. SEO optimization for a video
If you want a video to rank well and drive as many viewers as possible, you have to optimize it for search queries.
For starters, let’s figure out the benefits of YouTube video optimization.
- Your channel and videos will be displayed as recommended to all those people who are interested in your niche and looking for any information about a relevant topic.
- You’ll be able to increase the coverage of a target audience and boost the channel’s ranking on YouTube, Google, and Yandex search.
- Search engines provide not only links to the websites but also links to several videos that match a user’s search query the most. Optimized videos have more chances of getting into that list and driving additional traffic to their channel.
What does the SEO optimization of YouTube videos include?
- The optimization of video’s Title
- YouTube enables you to give your videos’ titles that are up to 100 characters long. However, when a user sees a list of videos for their search query, only the first 40 characters of a title are displayed. Therefore, it’s important to include the main key phrase in the first 40 characters of a title, trying to fit all of this phrase without any breaks of the words.
The optimal title length is 60 characters. You should keep that in mind, as many search engines cut the rest of a title in the search results. A long text might not look presentable in this case.
- Pick the most high-frequency query for a title; you can do that, using keyword selection services. Add some selling phrases to this query: you can use YouTube tips for that. For instance, a combination of traffic phrases in a title looks good: ‘context advertising’ + ‘for beginners’ + ‘learning' + ‘settings' + ‘2020’.
- Keep in mind that a title should be unique. A title that is both attractive and intriguing increases the number of clicks on a video. For instance, ‘A major overhaul in 30 days’, ‘Learn which clothes you should get rid of in 2020’, and so on.
2. The video’s Description
Use no more than three keywords in the description; also, make sure that they are no less than 200 characters in length. It’s better to fit the most important information in the first 100 characters: this is the exact length the users see in search results.
It’s crucial not to duplicate the content of a title in the description and vice versa. A description should provide more details about the title. You could also add useful links to resources mentioned in a video, specify the key moments of a video, and provide the time codes for them.
3. The tags
- These are the keywords that a search engine will use to identify your videos and offer them to people who search for information on similar topics on YouTube, Google, and Yandex. They don’t affect the ranking significantly, and the users don’t see them; however, the search crawlers scan them.
- Your list of tags could be up to 500 characters in length, and the more characters you use, the better. To select tags, use high-frequency search queries by video’s topic. For instance, ‘car repair,’ ‘pizza delivery.’ You could also add low-frequency queries if you rank in Top of search results by them. For instance, ‘power tools for home,’ ‘picking household appliances for a kitchen,’ and so on.
- Tags could include several words and one word that characterizes your niche/services/kind of activity. For instance, if you sell sea salt, you could use tags ‘sea salt’ and ‘salt,’ but not the ‘sea’ one, as it could drive the users away from a video’s topic. You could specify the brand’s name or names of specific products.
- How to check if you picked the right tag? Just enter it in YouTube’s search bar and check the results. If the videos on your topic appear in these results, you could surely use this tag.
- Add tags that overlap with a video’s title. This helps a search engine to easier match your videos with search queries. For instance, if you have a video blog dedicated to a healthy lifestyle and name your video ‘100 squats’, you could add a ‘squat' tag to the tag list.
4. The speaker’s speech
The speaker’s speech should also contain keywords. The thing is that YouTube automatically transcribes all the videos: the transcription is based on voice recognition and on a text that a speaker pronounces. The clearer this speech is, the better YouTube recognizes a text. However, as a rule, such transcriptions still have too many errors; therefore, it’s better to edit in on your own after transcription is finished.
You could use subtitles to expand the viewers’ circle and add people with disabilities to it. The subtitles are added:
- automatically. YouTube uses speech recognition technology to transform speech into a text. However, this technology doesn’t work with all languages, is sensitive to extraneous noises and intelligibility of spelling, and requires further editing;
- manually. The subtitles are created with the help of specialized services and then uploaded to YouTube as an SRT file.
You could also turn to your subscribers for transcription or hire freelancers to do it for a reasonable price.
Don’t forget to come up with an attractive cover for your video. Don’t settle with just one frame from a video: edit it to make it look good (for instance, with the help of Adobe Photoshop or Canva) and make sure that it reflects the content of a video. Though a cover doesn’t affect SEO, it drives the viewers’ attention; therefore, you have to make it look good and unique to help your video stand out, among others.
Come up with several call-to-actions that reflect your specific goals for YouTube video promotion (the subscription to your channel, likes, and comments, transitions to a website, the subscription to your social media channels). Be sure to both voice these call-to-actions in a video and add them to the video’s description.
Stage 4. YouTube analytics
The final stage is the analysis of users’ behavior and activity on your YouTube channel. This analysis shows which results you managed to achieve for a specific period of YouTube promotion, and what you should do next to grow your channel.
Successful promotion of YouTube videos depends on a variety of factors: good speaker, interesting content, optimization of the videos, detailed studies of analytics. Your interaction with a channel’s audience is essential as well: you have to be friendly towards it, sincere and open to their suggestions, comments, wishes, and answers.
Keep in mind that even the most awesome optimization methods won’t be able to hold an audience on your channel for long if your videos aren’t interesting. However, even if the situation is the opposite, the lack of optimization could significantly slow a channel’s growth, even if your videos are amazing, and your speaker is fun and charismatic. One is impossible without the other. Only a complex approach to video promotion will help you achieve your goals. Remember that when you decide to create a YouTube channel for your business.