Nowadays, it seems like everyone has a YouTube channel. Whether someone is looking for reviews of a place or product, watching these videos has become a favorite way to help consumers make decisions. But spend a few minutes on the channel, and you’ll notice that not all YouTube videos are created equal. How can you ensure your videos get enough views to bring you leads?
What are the factors YouTube considers when ranking content?
Optimizing your videos is very important when you’re trying to increase YouTube views. You could follow every strategy involved with creating content, but if you lack the backend blueprints for optimizing, your videos could fall into the abyss of poorly optimized YouTube videos.
There are four crucial ranking signals you want to optimize for.
1. Watch Time: How long are users watching your video? When YouTube ranks videos, they want quality to rise above the rest. If people click your video for two seconds and close it, there’s an underlying issue. For example, the video might be off-topic or not interesting enough to keep the viewer engaged.
2. Video Length: The average length of page-one YouTube videos is 14 minutes and 50 seconds. Quality content often correlates with longer content. A longer video typically provides topic relevancy and creates satisfactory user intent.
3. Subscribers: Channels with more subscribers send stronger authority signals to search engines. Popular channels tend to rank higher off initial video releases because more viewers see their content.
4. User Interaction: Sharing, commenting, liking, subscribing, and linking. All of these interactions show that viewers are getting involved with your videos. YouTube wants quality content, and when its users show interest, it exemplifies its primary goals.
Every video you post should be created to improve these ranking signals, as they’re the core building blocks for making quality, high-ranking content.
How To Optimize Your Content on YouTube
Now that we have the core strategies for what we should focus on, we can get into optimizing. The following tips can be used to improve your current videos or when creating new videos to allow for the best performance with YouTube.
1. Put a keyword into your YouTube channel name.
This is the best way for viewers to find your video organically.
2. Fill out the “About Us” page.
The first 48 characters of your About Us page display in search results. Be concise and detailed while utilizing proper keywords to increase on-page visibility.
3. Use channel keyword tags.
Keyword tags provide more context for search engines to crawl. You have 100 characters of space to insert relevant, search-friendly meta tags on your channel.
4. Update your channel trailer.
These should be 30-60 seconds in length. Include some of your best highlights to pique viewers’ interest, but keep some suspense.
5. Publish long videos.
As we mentioned, the average length of page-one YouTube videos is 14 minutes and 50 seconds. But make sure the content is valuable. Don’t fill up space to meet the time requirement. Doing so will make viewers lose interest.
6. Focus on the first 15 seconds of video to maximize watch time.
This is the hook for viewers, so make sure you entice viewers to stay for the duration.
7. Create playlists that enhance watch time.
Having videos on similar subjects drives up watch time – YouTube’s top ranking factor! If there is plenty of content to describe your goods and services, consider breaking it up into several videos.
8. Say your keywords in the video itself.
This will help with your search engine optimization. Do so at the beginning of the video to let viewers know they’ve clicked on the right content.
9. Strengthen user interaction signals.
These include embedded “share” and “like” buttons, incentivizing subscriptions, and asking viewers to comment below the video and hit that like button.
10. Customize video thumbnails.
Brand your videos! This helps make videos intriguing to potential viewers. You should always keep it tasteful, though. Don’t go too wild…unless that’s your brand strategy.
11. Include compelling language in the titles.
In addition, include the year in the description. This will help viewers determine whether your content is current.
12. Use video cards and end screens.
This is useful for added context and SEO value. These include CTAs, social promotions, and specific elements viewers can click on, e.g., “Subscribe.”
Editing Tips for YouTube Videos
Now that you know how to strategize and create compelling videos, you must know how to edit for optimal results. Doing so will make your videos look more professional and keep viewers watching. Some of the best tips include:
1. Edit to maintain attention.
YouTube gives a lot of control to the viewer when they consume content, so you need to prioritize maintaining attention when you edit your videos. It might seem counterintuitive when your goal is to increase watch time, but reducing your video by cutting out unnecessary footage will help keep your viewer wanting more.
2. Keep your intro short.
Most good YouTube videos begin with a short tease of what to expect from the video and then an intro scene that introduces your channel. This is an excellent chance to introduce your brand and help viewers understand who they’re watching, but if this intro is too long, you’ll lose the viewer. Short and simple intros do best.
3. Make use of the end screen features.
The end of your video is the best opportunity to gain a new subscriber or get a viewer to watch your next show. Use those last 20 seconds to encourage the viewer to stick around — but do so in a way that provides value to them. Also, if you’re planning on creating related content in the near future, let them know that part two of the video is coming up and to subscribe to the channel to receive a notification of when it’s posted.
Effective Video Presentation Skills
In the rapidly emerging new world of video conferencing, presenting, meeting, and eventing, there are plenty of overlaps from stage presentation skills to video presentation skills. And a few major differences. Here are where four major differences lie.
When a person speaks on stage, they speak to multiple people in the same room. In this case, addressing many people at once is normal by saying things like “I’m excited to share these insights with everyone.” When a person speaks on video, they talk to one person. Think of it this way–the person watching the video is almost always a single viewer, not a roomful of people. Those watching a video on their laptop or phone are usually alone in the room. When creating a YouTube video, speak to that one person to connect in a more personal way. Never start a video with “Hey, you guys…” or “I wanted to talk to you all about such and such…” because that breaks the personal connection with the single viewer on the other end.
2. Eye contact.
To further deepen the personal connection, think of your camera lens as a set of eyes, and look into them as you would when speaking to a person. Don’t break eye contact to look at yourself on your monitor. This distracts the viewer and can make them feel left out, like an observer rather than an active participant. The best way to do this is to cover your monitor with a piece of paper, and you can even draw an arrow pointing at the camera to remind you where to look. If you have notes, put them on your monitor and glance at them like cue cards.
Put the camera at eye level, not below you, or you will be looking down on your audience pretentiously, and they will look up your nose. If you place your camera above you, you appear smaller and less authoritative. Prop up your camera or laptop on a pedestal, and adjust your chair height so that you look straight into the camera. Yes, it will feel awkward at first! News anchors do it all of the time–watch them. Eventually, it will feel more natural. Watch a few of your favorite video presenters. Notice when you feel most connected with their message. Emulate them.
Most video presentations are BORING…mainly because the presenter doesn’t know how to create energy through the camera. The physicality of speaking on camera is a learned skill. Remember that you have a relatively small area to contain your movement. Any subtle shift in your weight can throw off the balance of your shot. Don’t bounce or sway as you speak; those tiny movements will look much grander in that small 16:9 space. It’s okay to gesture, but keep your hand movements small, slow, and intentional.
The best way to inject energy and animation into your presentation is through exaggerated facial expressions. You really can’t smile too big on camera. A subtle smile barely registers and makes the presenter look bored and indifferent. Lastly, remember to blink, and blink often! It’s easy to stare awkwardly when looking into a camera. (Watch for this during video presentations! It is quite funny when you recognize it is happening.)
When presenting on video, you and you alone are responsible for propping the set. Set up your camera in advance and look at the environment behind you, as your audience will see. Use minimal propping. Natural light should be in front of you. Face a window if you can. If there is no natural light, pick up an LED light that is made for video conferencing. Watching national morning news and infotainment shows, notice how the rooms are set up behind the remote guests. There are usually some books and a few personal photos, no windows, and no distracting clutter. Use props that best represent you, your company, and your brand, and place them around you in the background — never behind you so that they appear to be coming out of your ear or sitting on your head.