Shows how many different websites link to this content. Generally, the more websites link to you, the higher you rank on Google.
Shows the estimated monthly search traffic to this article according to Ahrefs data. The actual search traffic (according to Google Analytics) is usually 3-5 times higher.
The number of times this article was shared on Twitter.
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Sounds incredible? Check out our channel stats:
In this blog post, I’ll show you 14 proven tactics that have helped us get more views on YouTube.
1. Pick a niche
YouTube makes money with ads. This is why it’s in their best interest to keep people on their platform as long as possible so they can display more ads.
This is why they recommend similar videos in the sidebar. For example, if you watch a video on how to prepare ribeye steaks, the sidebar will mainly recommend other steak recipes and preparation instructions for other cuts of beef.
So that makes sense.
If you want to know how to make a ribeye steak, you might also be interested in how to make a Philly cheese steak.
But you may have noticed in the screenshot that many of the recommended videos are from the same channel as the video being played itself.
This is an important point, because one of the easiest ways to get more video views is to have users watch more than just one video of yours. That’s why it’s so important to have your videos displayed here.
How to succeed?
While there is no way to secure a spot in the sidebar, you can increase your chances by providing similar videos in your channel. That’s why it pays to choose a niche and specialize thematically in the beginning.
So don’t just start with a cooking channel. That’s too broad. Better start with a channel about barbecue or grilling meat first. This increases your chances of being recommended in the sidebar of your own videos – which leads to more views.
And that’s exactly what we did. Our first videos in 2015 focused exclusively on link building and search engine optimization (SEO):
Of course, you don’t have to keep your topic focus that narrow forever.
As soon as you generate more views, you get more subscribers. Since your subscribers will always be notified about your videos, you can expand your theme a bit. You might want to unfold your themes now and make videos about marinades or side dishes, for example.
And that was basically exactly what we did. While we still focus mostly on SEO, we’ve also started producing videos on related topics like blogging, content marketing, video marketing, and affiliate marketing:
2. Create videos about topics people are searching for
One of the biggest mistakes new YouTubers make is creating "me-centric" videos, such as z.B. "This is the camera equipment I use".
Unless you have as many subscribers as iJustine, the truth is that no one cares who you are or what you do.
So a better option is to focus on topics that have search traffic potential. Because even if people aren’t interested in what equipment you’re using, you’ll still be able to find it me use, they are still looking for advice on camera equipment.
In fact, the search query "best camera for YouTube" gets about 3 a month.400 times in the USA and 6.100 times worldwide.
Search volume from the Keywords Explorer of Ahrefs
So if you choose topics with search traffic potential for your YouTube videos, it can get you views. This works even if you don’t have a single subscriber.
How to get to these topics?
The easiest way is to use the free YouTube Keyword Tool from Ahrefs.
Here, you can simply enter a topic-related word or phrase and you’ll be shown up to 150 keywords, including their monthly search volume.
Are you looking for a larger number of suggestions?
Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer lets you retrieve all the suggestions from our database, which contains over 800 million YouTube keywords.
Once you’re done with keyword research for your videos, you need to address how to rank those videos on YouTube. Check out this video on how to do that:
3. Rank your videos on Google
Google has been able to increase its search volume in the last
12 months for over 230.000 views on our YouTube videos.
Like this? Because YouTube videos sometimes show up on Google, too.
For example, check out the search results for "how to make scrambled eggs" (or. "how to make scrambled eggs"). Google shows a whole bunch of YouTube videos in the results.
The question, however, is how do you find video topics that have the potential to generate traffic via Google?
Very simple. Search for videos that are already getting traffic from Google and create videos on the same topics. You can do this with Ahrefs’ Content Explorer, a searchable database of over a billion websites – including SEO metrics.
Start with this search: site:youtube.com inurl:watch title:topic
Sort the results by organic traffic – in descending order from highest to lowest – and you’ll get a list of relevant YouTube videos that are currently getting traffic from Google.
For example, the recipe video from Amritsari Chole Masala ESTIMATED 1.900 monthly hits via search. Not bad.
Once you’ve found a list of topics worth targeting, the next step is to create an "optimized" video that will rank in Google.
How to do this?
Read this blog post or watch this video:
4. Increase your click-through rate with a compelling title
No matter how high your video ranks, you won’t get views if no one clicks on it.
Here’s why you need a compelling, irresistible title that encourages clicks.
But that doesn’t mean you should create clickbaits like "This one trick got us 15 million views in one hour". This may lead to clicks, but it is unlikely that you will be able to deliver on this promise, which in turn will reduce the trustworthiness of your channel.
So how to write good titles for YouTube videos? Here are some tips:
- Mention your main keyword. Briggsby’s study shows that there is some benefit to having your most important keyword in the title. This also goes along with YouTube’s recommendation to include relevant keywords in your title.
- Keep your title short. YouTube shortens titles that are too long. Keep it as short as possible without losing message power.
- Focus on the benefits. Make it clear why someone should watch your video.
5. Create an eye-catching thumbnail
Improving your click-through rate (CTR) doesn’t just depend on the title. You also need to create a thumbnail (preview image, thumbnail) that matches it and is eye-catching.
For example, take a look at the thumbnails in our channel:
We intentionally designed them to stand out.
Here are some tips for creating thumbnails that will entice searchers to click:
- Do not use a still image of your video. It usually doesn’t look appealing and isn’t contextual either. Instead, create something unique and engaging to grab the attention of the searcher.
- Use an image that is consistent with the content. Make sure your thumbnail visually illustrates that your video provides an answer to the user’s search query. For example, for a video tutorial on "How to tie a tie", you should?" someone is shown tying a tie.
- Use contrast to your advantage. YouTube is mainly white, gray and red colors. Avoid these colors, as they visually align with search results.
- Use descriptive text on the thumbnail. We usually use a short text that complements the title. For example, our video about learning SEO has the words "Learn SEO" on the thumbnail.
6. Create a compelling video description
Not only the title and thumbnail of your video appear in YouTube search results. Also the first sentence of your video description will be displayed.
Since this can potentially affect the click-through rate, you should try to make this description as appealing and enticing as possible.
Even though the first few lines are arguably the most important, don’t neglect the rest of your description. This is a great place to encourage your visitors to watch more of your other videos, subscribe to your channel, etc.
This is what our description looks like for our video on SEO in 2020:
We use the same scheme for all our descriptions:
- 1-2 convincing sentences, Enticing clicks;
- A link to subscribe (Just add ?Add sub_confirmation=1 to the channel URL to link to subscribe);
- Links to similar YouTube videos on our channel;
- Detailed description of the video (we try to keep this between 500 – 1.000 words);
- Timestamp For key moments in the video (see tip #11);
- Another link to subscribe;
- Links to our social channels
Here is a template in case you want to use this format as well.
7. Use series playlists to get more views on the suggested videos
When someone clicks on your video in the Sidebar, it has been suggested to that person.
We’ve already mentioned how you can increase your chances of your video appearing in the Sidebar. But there is a second part to this, and it concerns the "autoplay next video" feature:
And that’s a spot you definitely want to take advantage of.
The reason for this is simple: the next video will automatically play after the current video ends.
But here’s the problem: if you have a small or new channel, it’s hard for your video to be suggested among other people’s videos. So if you’re just starting out, you need to make sure you use the "autoplay next video" feature on your own videos.
Like? By using a series playlist.
A series playlist allows you to mark your playlist as an official collection of videos to be watched together.
Think about how Netflix does it with the seasons and episodes of your favorite show. It wouldn’t make much sense to watch the videos in disorganized order.
To set up a series playlist, go to your playlist, click "Playlist settings", then "Advanced settings" and select "Set as official series for this playlist".
You’ll get the best results if you put the videos in a logical order. Because your chances of having your video automatically play next go up when people actually watch the videos in the order they’re set.
8. Integrate your videos into forums that get traffic
Forums and Q&A sites are likely to ask questions that can be answered by your videos.
For example, here’s a question on Quora that one of our YouTube videos helps answer – that’s why we embedded it when we responded to the thread:
The trick to making this tactic work efficiently, however, is not to answer any and all questions. It consists of finding relevant threads that get consistent traffic from Google – and answering them.
This is what you can do with Ahrefs Site Explorer.
Just add a popular forum like Quora or a well-known industry-specific forum like WarriorForum and then go to the Top Pages report, to see the threads that get the most search traffic.
Here’s what it looks like for Quora:
Next, enter a relevant word or phrase (e.g.B. "recipe"/"recipe") in the "Add" field to narrow down the results to relevant threads.
Search the report for relevant, on-topic questions you might want to answer.
Let’s say that the question about the "best substitute for eggs in a cornbread recipe" looks promising. The final step is to click on the caret sign, click on "Overview" and then go to the "Organic Search" tab to see the site’s organic traffic as a time history.
What you want to see now is consistent organic traffic month after month like this:
These are the questions most worth answering because they will most likely drive a large number of video views.
Also of interest: Quora marketing:
9. Integrate your videos into relevant, on-topic blog posts
Our blog post about affiliate marketing receives an estimated 12 per month.000 search hits.
And since we have a video on this topic, we’ve embedded it, which to date has resulted in an additional 2.has led to 553 views.
Pretty cool, right?
So the point is clear: if you have a blog, you should embed your videos in relevant blog posts.
How to know on which pages to embed your videos?
The easiest way to do this is to listen to common sense. If your video has the same topic as one of your blog posts, then you should embed it.
Another option is to look in Google Analytics or Google Search Console for pages with high traffic that may lead to video views on YouTube.
Google Search Console: some pages of ours that have the highest traffic.
If you don’t have Google Analytics or Google Search Console set up, you can enter your domain into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer and view the report on the Top pages View to find out which pages are driving the highest organic traffic.
10. Create end screens and end cards
Endscreens (credits) are video thumbnails that you can add towards the end of your video. And when someone clicks on it, it will start playing this video.
Endcards, on the other hand, are inserts that you can add anywhere in your video.
You can use it to suggest other videos and playlists, add polls or links to a site.
Well, even though it’s tempting to always link to your website and drive traffic there, it might be better to keep users on the YouTube platform.
In our experience, the cumulative value you get from longer session watch times (playback times) exceeds a few link clicks.
If you haven’t added end screens and end cards to your videos yet, you should do so from now on. It doesn’t take too much time and has additionally given us tens of thousands of video views.
11. Add timestamps to your videos so that your video jump tags show up on Google
Google sometimes shows jump marks ("Key Moments"/central locations) of YouTube videos in search results:
These jump marks/"key moments" allow visitors to jump to highlighted spots of interest in your video.
Now Google is more likely to show these jump tags/"key moments" for your videos if you add timestamps and captions to your YouTube video description.
With a timestamp you mark a specific section of your video in the format [hour]:[minute]:[second]. "Labels" (captions) are short and clear descriptions of the highlighted clips.
[Note] You can ignore the [hour] if it is not needed. [/note]
Here’s how to add timestamps to your video:
For example, check out the timestamps and captions in our SEO video on YouTube:
These timestamps take viewers to specific sections of the video. For example, clicking on 13:01 takes you to the part where Sam describes how to do video optimizations.
And it seems that these optimizations work. Google shows for the search query "How to get YouTube videos to rank?"Now adjust the jump marks/key moments for our video.
Here are some tips for adding timestamps and captions:
- Place each timestamp on a new line, and include the caption on the same line.
- Line up the timestamps chronologically. For example, don’t put the 15:24 timestamp before the 11:33 timestamp.
- Keep the captions short, but meaningful and descriptive. Longer captions are truncated by Google. So just directly describe what the section is about instead of obsessively stuffing your keywords into it.
- Fit the on-screen content to the caption. If your caption says "chopping an onion," try to add the timestamp at the point when the screen shows the chopping of an onion.
12. Publish your videos at the right time
The best time to publish is exactly when your target audience is watching videos. You can find out peak times by checking YouTube’s new report, "When your viewers are on YouTube."
[Note] This caption is new and is still considered experimental by YouTube. [/note]
Now, what we would recommend here is to post about an hour before peak time, rather than right at peak time itself. This gives our viewers enough time to discover and watch our videos, which leads to more views.
For example, a good time to post our videos would be around between 20.00 and 21.00 o’clock (local time Singapore resp. 8.00-9.00 a.m. EST).
If you don’t have enough daily views to use this report effectively, you can try following these universal time frames, courtesy of Frederator Networks.
13. Add relevant, topic-related YouTube tags
There’s evidence that YouTube tags aren’t all that important. But since they can be entered in just a few seconds, they’re worth adding – even if they only help a few people find your videos.
At Ahrefs we do this in 3 steps:
First: Set one tag as your main keyword.
YouTube’s official recommendation for tags is to "use words and phrases that make the most sense for your video". So it’s logical to start with your most important keyword.
For example, if we were to add a tag for our video about content promotion, it would be "content promotion":
Second: Add common, relevant keywords from top-ranked videos.
To find these, you can use browser extensions like vidIQ and TubeBuddy. Just install one of these extensions, search YouTube for your target keyword, open the 3-5 most relevant videos and search for common and relevant tags.
For example, we see that the tags "content promotion plan", "how to promote your content" and "how to promote your blog" are showing up for all the competing videos on content promotion, so we add those to our video.
Third: Add relevant keywords with search volume.
The easiest way to do this is to add the tags from the previous steps into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer, using the search engine that is set on YouTube. Search the list for relevant keywords with search volume.
In this case, "blogging", "content marketing" and "content marketing strategy" would probably make sense, so we added them to our video:
We go over these steps in more detail in our guide to YouTube tags.
14. Get more "engaged views" with YouTube ads
If you have the budget, the best way to get more video views is to pay for them. And that’s what YouTube ads do.
This is actually something we’ve been experimenting with for a while now. We do this by targeting keywords on YouTube that are already getting high play times ("watch times").
The reason is simple: we don’t just want more video access ("views"). What we want are "Engaged Views".
Since these videos produce high play times ("watch times"), this means that someone who originally views the video as an ad is likely to finish watching it. And these people may even decide to watch more of our videos because they liked the first one.
To get started, go to the "Traffic Source" report in YouTube Analytics and click on YouTube Search.
Here’s an overview of the keywords that drove views for your videos, and the average play times ("watch times").
As you can see, for us "seo" and "seo tutorial" achieve excellent playback times ("watch times"). That’s why we created an ad that targets exactly these keywords.
At a cost of $0.07 per call, this is a pretty cheap way to get "engaged views".
Don’t forget that you can effectively reach your existing audience outside of YouTube as well. If you have an email list or reach your target audience through social media as well, make sure you share your video with them here as well.
And finally, ask your visitors to like and share your videos as well. Yes, this sounds a bit trite, but it really doesn’t hurt to add it to the outro resp. Add credits (also called end screen, end card) to your video.
Just remember not to put your "ask" to like and share every minute in your video.
Did I forget any cool tactics that you can use to get more video views on YouTube? Let me know on Twitter.