Learning how to increase YouTube views is perhaps the most important aspect of your content delivery strategy. YouTube, like Google, likes to see things as they are “naturally”. In other words, don’t try to game the system. As someone who manages a YouTube channel with over 83,ooo subscribers, I should know. The Strategies and specific tactics I’m about to show you will place you far above the typical video blogger and get you into the YouTube Most Viewed category.

The Four Areas Of YouTube Ranking

The four areas that impact YouTube ranking are your YouTube channel, your video itself, retention & reaction, and sharing. Let’s take each of these one at a time. It may seem daunting but it’s actually quite fun to see your views grow with a few simple tweaks!

1. Your YouTube Channel

OK, the things to keep aware of here are all based on trust. The age of your channel, the number of time s you log in, the number of times you engage with other channels as well as number of subscribers you have all play into the rankings. So the lesson here is be consistent and be about “the community”. Comment, rate and engage in other channels.

Make sure you link to your home page and your channel title relates to your content. AND… create playlists and segment your videos into appropriate lists.

Also, another great way to optimize your YouTube channel is to create a brand trailer. YouTube now allows you to add a trailer to your channel page. This is an excellent way to build rapport (know, like and trust) with your audience. State your “WHY” (why you are creating videos) and ask visitors to subscribe.

Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 2.27.01 PM2. Individual Videos

Your Message to Content Match Will Help Increase YouTube Views

When someone sees your YouTube thumbnail, they develop an expectation of what they are going to get if they click on it. Likewise, the title they read will hopefully encourage them to click and deliver on that promise. If your thumbnails and titles are not representative, dark and blurry, or from a random screen grab, you are loosing out on a huge opportunity to communicate effectively with your audience. I’ll cover the 4 elements (I call them the 4 T’s) that can help increase your YouTube views.

Here are the 4 T’s: Thumbnail, Title, Tell & Tag

Here are the quick and easy rules to follow to make sure these 4 Titans (see what I did there?) are working hard for you.

YouTube Thumbnails

Your thumbnails need to be quickly comprehended in a variety of sizes including the smallest, 120×90. A compelling thumbnail can be a title card, an image from the video or a graphic combination. For a series, you can go the extra mile and add the episode number too.

Here’s a bad example:

thumb_notgood

Here’s a better example:

thumb_good

YouTube Title

The title should have your keywords in it. Ideally, it should have your keywords first. The title must convey what your video will be delivering. Your MESSAGE must match your CONTENT or your MARKET will leave and not come back. The title and thumbnail should compliment each other to help you get the message across.

Measure for Success

Check out your retention using the YouTube Analytics Retention Report. If a video has a marked decline up front, then your viewers were expecting something you didn’t deliver.

Tell (Also know as YouTube Description)

I like the word Tell because for one, it rounds out the other three key components of video seo –  the title, tag, thumb. But more than that, if you begin thinking about TELLING your audience about your video, you will have much better results. Not only in SEO terms, but in viewer appreciation! What should you TELL your viewers? Glad you asked…

  1. Tell them what the video is about
  2. Tell them who is in it
  3. Tell them your WHY (Why you created this video and who it is for)
  4. Tell them where to find more information about you (URL to your site)
  5. EXTRA CREDIT – Tell then where in the video they can find things by adding time code!

YouTube relies HEAVILY on your description to help it deliver your content to your audience. Don’t slouch here. Give it some thought and write a great description and tell the world what your video is all about.

YouTube Video Tags

Just as good SEO for your blog includes keywords in the title, content, description and tags, your videos should also follow this same practice. Your keyword set is in the title, description (tell) and your video reflects this, now make sure your tags do too. I use Google Adwords Keyword Planner to help me identify high demand and low competition words and phrases. By looking at ad group ideas in the tool, I can quickly identify a whole slew of keywords that will help me identify my videos and my market find them.

Your YouTube tags need to be relevant to your content. Don’t game the system here. Add only tags that reflect what’s actually in your video. Use all the tag space that YouTube gives you. Again, YouTube doesn’t “see” what your video is all about, you need to tell YouTube what’s in there. Finally, use keyword phrases but not “stop” words like “of, no to, and a”.

3. Retention & Reaction

The percentage of your video that people actually watch is important. Both absolute and relative. Absolute is the average length of view of your video and Relative is the view length compared to other videos of the same length. Here are two graphs showing this:

Absolute - Increase YouTube Views

Relative - Increase YouTube Views

This video is doing well compared to other videos of the same length. Now this video is over an hour long. The sweet spot for YouTube videos is still 2-4 minutes in length. Wistia reports that  your 2 minute videos will retain 75% of viewers and your 4 minute videos will retain 60%. The above video shows that 34% were still with it at the hour mark. Shorter is still better on YouTube!

That addresses retention, now what about “Reaction”? Reaction is how folks are commenting and giving your video the thumbs up. The more interaction you have the better obviously. Not only from a strictly SEO perspective, but you ALWAYS want to engage your audience. So if they are commenting, reply back! Engage them!

 

4. Sharing

Sharing is the final component. When your stuff is so good that people want to share it with their friends, everyone wins! It’s now super easy for people to share on to their social media sites of choice. Currently that list of sharing sites numbers 13 and includes Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Google+, Linked in and the list goes on. Your viewers can even mail the video and embed the video on their own site if you allow them to.

Screen Shot 2014-07-18 at 4.32.08 PM

How do you get your audience to share  your videos? That’s a topic for another post to be sure. But the easiest way is to ask them to. The BEST way is to make your content shareable. More on this in another post.

SUMMARY

In conclusion (I always wanted to say that) you can increase YouTube views by:

  1. Optimizing your Channel (Trailer, Name, Website Link)
  2. Optimizing your Video (Title, Tag, Tell, Thumb)
  3. Retention & Reaction (Short is better, ask for feedback)
  4. Sharing is Caring (Ask for the share, make it sharable)

I hope this has been helpful. You’ll notice that there are no tricks, just solid ways that YouTube itself suggests to increase YouTube views. In a subsequent post, I’ll show you my sure fire way to make your videos shareable and to get folks to pass the love around. Until then, leave me some love in the comments below!