These 25 Tips Will Help You Get More Views on YouTube
Whether you’re using YouTube as a platform to promote your business, or whether you intend to turn your YouTube channel into a business, there’s no doubt that your ultimate purpose on the platform is still the same: getting your videos seen by as many people as possible.
It’s true that making good content is still the number one factor in getting more views on YouTube, but with so many videos being uploaded daily, getting discovered on the world’s second largest search engine is not an easy task.
This article aims to help with that by providing some tips and general guidelines to maximize the chances of your video ranking higher in the search results and showing up in the suggested videos section, resulting in more views.
Obviously, these suggestions won’t magically give you views, but following them will drastically increase the chances of your videos succeeding. After all, what’s the point of spending so much time and effort on writing, recording and editing if your videos are never going to get viewed because of bad SEO?
So, without further ado, let’s jump right into the tips and tricks, starting with the first thing that YouTube asks you for when uploading a new video:
1. The title
At first sight, deciding on a title for your YouTube video seems like a pretty straightforward task: just name the video based on what it’s about, right?
Well, yes and no. While it is true that video titles should always be representative of the video’s content, there is a little more to it than that.
If you want to get as many views as possible on your video, you need to make sure that your video shows up in the YouTube search results (this is going to be a recurring theme throughout this article). And doing that is going to require a little bit of keyword research.
What is video keyword research?
While the term may sound fancy, video keyword research means figuring out the words that people use the most often when looking videos up on YouTube.
This is important because if your video title contains more popular keywords, then it’s guaranteed to show up in more people’s search results, resulting in more potential views.
Now, that doesn’t mean you have to create your content around the most popular keywords.
It means that phrasing your title in certain ways can result in more views for your videos.
How do you do keyword research on YouTube?
Doing keyword research on YouTube is often as simple as using the autofill suggestions in the search bar or looking at the search results for a given keyword.
Let’s say that you made a video on how to make tomato soup. Your main keyword for this video is obviously going to be “tomato soup”, and it’s obvious that you should include that in the title, but what about the rest?
Let’s type “tomato soup” into the search bar and see what the suggestions are:
Just based on those, you can already see some ideas of what other words to include in your title, the most obvious one being “recipe” (although “Indian style”, “Chinese style” and “for babies” also seem to rank high and would make for good inclusions IF they fit the content of your video).
Now, let’s press Enter and see what the top results are when searching for “tomato soup” on YouTube:
Notice how most of the results include the keywords “tomato soup” towards the beginning of the title and then sometimes even mention it again afterwards.
You should always try to have your keywords in the beginning of the title, if it makes sense!
Next, let’s look at what other words the top results have in common: “easy”, “homemade” and “how to make” all seem popular choices.
Now that you’ve analyzed the search results, you can already figure out how to phrase your title. Something like “Tomato soup Recipe - How to Make an Easy, Homemade Meal” is definitely going to rank higher than “How to prepare tomato soup”.
Obviously, you could have just arrived at that first title on your own since the subject of tomato soups is not necessarily all that nuanced, but it’s always better to do your research and formulate titles based on that, in order to make sure that your videos get as many views as possible.
Now that we’ve figured out how to make a video title that appears in the search results, let’s focus on the next thing:
How to improve your video’s clickthrough-rate (CTR)?
Like we discussed previously in our article about the most important YouTube video analytics, the clickthrough-rate (or CTR, as it is often shortened) represents the percentage of people that click on your video after being presented with it in their search results, on their YouTube homepage or in the suggested videos section.
Since your video’s title (along with the thumbnail) is the first thing someone sees when deciding whether or not to click on your video, it’s important that you have a title that can get you those clicks.
A common tip that works for both YouTube videos as well as articles or blog posts is to add a number to your title (if it makes sense to, of course).
Time and time again, research has shown that people are more likely to click on titles which contain numbers, which can also explain the popularity of listicles and “top 10 videos” on the internet over the last decade.
Expanding on that, you should try to include the current year in the title as well, if it makes sense to.
If you’re making a software tutorial, for example, people are more likely to click on a video that has the current year in the title since they’ll know the person making it is using the latest version of the software (whereas older videos might be outdated due to interface or functionality changes).
Another common way of using your title to increase your video’s CTR is to use words that grab the viewer’s attention and evoke a strong emotion. If your title promises a sad, happy or surprising/exciting story, then people are a lot more likely to click on it, but remember: clickbait is bad for your channel.
A person that feels misled by your title is either going to stop watching early or, even worse, dislike the video.
People leaving your videos early on due to clickbait titles will make your Audience Retention plummet and cause YouTube to stop recommending your videos and the same is true for a bad likes to dislikes ratio.
That’s not to mention that no brand usually wants to associate its image with cheap, clickbait-y content. So, for the sake of your channel’s success, remember the golden rule from the beginning of this article: the title must always be representative of the video.
Now that we’ve finished talking about video titles, let’s sum everything up!
To get more views on your YouTube videos, your titles should:
- Contain 2 to 3 keywords.
- Have the main keyword at the beginning (if it makes sense).
- Contain a number or the current year (where it makes sense)
- Be attention grabbing or evoke a strong emotion.
- Be representative of the content in your video.
2. The Description
A lot of content creators tend to treat them as an afterthought, but in reality, YouTube video descriptions play a huge role in getting you more views by helping your video show up in search results and drawing people in.
Depending on which channels you watch, you might be used to seeing descriptions that are only a few sentences long, so you could be tempted to do the same for your videos.
Most experts, however, agree that if you want your content to have more chances of getting discovered or suggested, the YouTube video description should be at least 200 words long, with 300 - 350 being the optimal length.
Just like with the titles, YouTube themselves recommend that you put the main keywords towards the beginning of your description.
The beginning part of your description is also very important when it comes to increasing the click-through rate of your video by drawing people in.. The first 100 characters of your description will show up in the YouTube search results, along with the title and thumbnail of your video.
That’s why these first 2-3 sentences need to present people with the value they would gain from watching your video, in order to entice them into clicking. Once again, you need to be smart about ‘selling’ your video, but don’t be deceiving. Dishonest descriptions can hurt your video performance, channel and brand image just as much as a clickbait title.
Moving past the first 2 to 3 sentences, you should use the rest of your description to describe what your video is about.
You might nobody will ready it, but a lot of people will scroll down and click the Show More button to skim the description during the first seconds of your video and decide whether or not to keep watching.
Having a solid summary of your video will prove to them that your content is valuable and keep them engaged with your video for longer.
It’s also important to keep keywords in mind while writing the main body of your description. YouTube will still take them into account even though they won’t weigh as much as the ones in the first part, and they’ll still increase the chances of your video ranking high in the search results or getting suggested.
In fact, you might even want to check out some of your competitors’ successful videos that are in the same niche and deal with the same topic and try copying some of the keywords from their descriptions, if they fit. This will increase the chances of your video showing up in the suggested videos column next to theirs. If their video gets a lot of views, yours might end up getting some clicks as well!
That being said though, make sure you don’t overdo it with the keywords. Your description should make sense. If someone who has no idea what your channel is about can understand what the content of your video is based solely on the description, then it means you’ve done a good job writing it.
If possible, we would also suggest writing it in a light, conversational tone.
Oh, and even though getting keywords from competitors’ videos is perfectly fine, you should never copy someone else’s description.
Not only is it bad form, it will also severely hurt the chances of your video getting a lot of views.
And that’s not just us saying it! YouTube themselves have stated this: “Be sure each video has a unique description; this makes it easier to find through search, and helps it stand out from similar videos.”
That’s it for descriptions. If writing a good description still feels a little daunting, don’t worry!Practice makes perfect and if you stick to your uploading schedule, you’ll get better at writing them in no time. For now, though, let’s do a quick recap of what we’ve learned so far:
To get more views on your YouTube videos, your descriptions should:
- Be over 200 words, but no longer than 350.
- Have the main keywords in the beginning.
- Explaining the main value of your video in the first 2 to 3 sentences.
- Contain related keywords.
- Be coherent and written in a relaxed, conversational tone.
- Be optimized for suggested videos.
- Describe the content of the video accurately.
3. The thumbnail
Given that they take up the most space on the screen, thumbnails are the main thing that people take into account when deciding whether or not to click on your video.
As opposed to the title and description, however, thumbnails are only meant to appeal to the human element, not YouTube’s search algorithm.
This makes the task of creating an effective thumbnail a little more subjective, although there are still some guidelines that you can follow to increase your chances of success.
The main thing to keep in mind here is that your video thumbnails need to pop. Most of the time, your video will only appear to people in a sea of other clips, so you need to make sure that your thumbnail sets it apart from the crowd.
Solid colors work best! Red, green, yellow and blue are considered to be the best colors to use as a background!
Text should be kept to a minimum. That’s what the title is for! If you do include text, make sure to make the letters big, since thumbnails tend to be pretty tiny, even when viewed on large screens.
Similarly, branding is fine, but you should try to do it via the colors and overall design, rather than logos. If you do include your logo, make sure to keep it simple and discernable.
Lastly, human faces displaying strong emotions (such as fear, sadness, happiness and excitement) usually get a lot of clicks, too. They’re a surefire way to increase your overall views, but whether or not using those sort of thumbnails is something you should do depends a lot on whether it fits with your brand and the content of the videos.
Which brings us back to the golden rule: make sure your thumbnails are representative of your videos!
Just like with titles and descriptions, a deceiving thumbnail will make people back out of your video really quickly, bringing down your audience retention (or even messing up your likes and dislikes ratio).
In conclusion, to get more views on your YouTube videos, your should abide by the following guidelines when designing your thumbnails:
- Use red, green, yellow or blue as a background.
- Make them eye-catching and distinctive enough to stand out.
- Make any text you’re using big enough to be legible even if the thumbnail is small.
- Avoid using logos, or keep them simple and easily discernible.
- Include human faces displaying strong emotions, if it makes sense.
- Make sure they’re representative of the video!
4. YouTube tags
If you choose to click on More Options when uploading, you’ll be presented with the option of adding tags to your video.
These are not to be confused with hashtags, which you can add to the description or title of your clip.
YouTube themselves claim that “Tags can be useful if content in your video is commonly misspelled. Otherwise, tags play a minimal role in helping viewers find your video.”
Despite that, however, many popular YouTubers and video SEO experts support the idea that are still worth paying attention to and that there are a couple of general tips and guidelines that you should follow when deciding on which tags to use for your videos.
The first rule is to make sure that the first tags are the exact keywords you are trying to rank high for.
For the rest of your tags, consider using a mix of both broad and focused terms. To go back to our tomato soup example from earlier, this means you could use both “cooking” and “tomato soup recipe” as tags.
However, tempting as it may be, it’s generally recommended that you don’t use more than five to eight tags, with each of them being between two and three words in length.
It’s also important that you keep your tags accurate. If you throw all kinds of unrelated buzzwords into the tags section, YouTube won’t be able to accurately determine what your video is about, causing you to miss out on potential views.
Ideally, someone should be able to understand what your video is about just based on the tags you’ve used (even if they aren’t visible to the public).
To sum everything up, if you want your videos to get more views on YouTube, your should keep this in mind when filling in the tags:
- The first tags should be the exact keywords you are trying to rank for.
- Use a mix of both broad and focused terms.
- Don’t use more than 5-8 tags, each of them being 2-3 words each.
- Keep your tags accurate.
The last thing that we’re going to talk about in this article are subtitles.
When it comes to subtitles, there’s only one main rule to talk about: always upload subtitles, when possible.
Even though YouTube’s automatic subtitles have gotten pretty good at making videos more accessible over the past few years (at least when it comes to videos that are in English), there is another reason why you should upload your own subtitles for clips: subtitles get indexed as well.
What that means is YouTube looks through the text in your subtitles for keywords and uses that to determine where to rank your video in the search results. Coupled with all the other search engine optimization we’ve done so far, this can give your videos the extra edge they need to show up on that coveted first page and get some extra views.
Oh, and the best part is, you don’t even need to work hard to create the subtitles! If you just upload the script, YouTube will automatically sync the subtitles with your voice, so you don’t need to put in any hard work. It just means your synced subtitle is going to become available a few hours after the video has already been up.
That’s it for now! Congratulations for making it this far, we know this was a long article but we’re hoping these tips and tricks will help you grow your YouTube channel and brand!
There’s still a lot of ground to cover when it comes to this topic, so stay tuned for a sequel! If you’d like to be notified when that happens, please consider subscribing to our newsletter or following us on Facebook and Twitter.