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Grow YouTube Channel
People nowadays watch video content when looking to buy a product or service. This explains the growing interest in video marketing. While social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, are introducing new video features, nothing rivals the popularity of YouTube.

If you like to know how to grow your YouTube channel, take Buffer's case for example. SEO Expert Brian Dean has helped Buffer grow their YouTube channel by 59% in just a month. The secret? YouTube SEO.

What Is YouTube SEO?


According to Alexa traffic rankings, YouTube is the second most famous website, next to Google. However, many digital marketers still consider it like any other social media website. To achieve success on YouTube, you need to treat it like a large search engine website and start optimizing your video around a keyword.

Buffer's videos begun to rank for popular keywords, like "social media marketing tips". Their first page rankings resulted in more views and traffic.

A lot of optimization work can be summed up in a process that you can implement to all your past videos and then to every video as you post it. You're about to learn that step-by-step process below.

Step 1: Begin With Keyword Research


Provided that YouTube is a huge search engine, you should optimize content like you would with a regular website. This means performing keyword research to discover what your audience wants and how they speak about it online.

Keywords are everything to YouTube. Using the right keywords will rank your videos on top of the search while choosing the wrong keywords will make your videos invisible.

Using the right keywords

In the past, Buffer didn't exert much effort on keyword research. While the videos looked professional and were made with good content, it isn't optimized around a keyword that individuals look for on YouTube. As a result, Buffer had very little views.

So how should you conduct proper video keyword research?

First, make a list of seed super broad topics or "seed keywords". Next, pop these keywords into the YouTube search box and check what YouTube suggests. If you want to take this to a higher scale, use the KeywordTool.io.

When you type a seed keyword on the tool, it'll show hundreds of keyword suggestions. If you find that a keyword is suggested on both YouTube and keyword tool, then use it. But is it the right one?

Now, time to check the competitiveness of the keyword. There's a tool for that and Buffer uses TubeBuddy. This tool displays stats for every keyword directly in the search results.

To optimize your video well, you should choose keywords that generate a lot of searches and aren't very competitive. When you have selected the right keyword, it's time to make your video, which brings me to the next step.

Step 2: Improve Watch Time


Admit it, you're also one of those people who make videos not optimized for Watch Time. What is Watch Time anyway? Watch Time is the total time spent in viewing a YouTube video.

You want to achieve a higher Watch Time because YouTube's algorithm puts more focus on it. Each uploaded video is ranked by watch time. Your channel and videos are more likely to show up high in the search result rankings and recommendations if they have higher watch times.

In other words, your video will rank higher if people spent more time in watching it. So how do you make videos that generate a higher watch time? Here are five tips to follow:

Make Long Videos

In the past, Buffer published 1-2 minute videos on YouTube. These short videos suit well on Facebook but not on YouTube. When Buffer started making longer videos with rich content, they gathered a ton of views and improved its Watch Time by 61%.

I suggest that you make a video of at least 10 minutes and pack as much value as you can.

Grab The Attention Of Your Viewer

The first 15 seconds of the video is crucial, according to YouTube. At this short time, you should be able to grab your viewer's attention. Avoid giving too much background info in your introduction, or you're going to bore them to death.

People online usually have a short attention span. To catch their attention, give a quick preview which tells exactly what your viewers are going to learn from your video. That way they'll know what they can gain from watching the full video.

Integrate Pattern Interrupts

If you want people to view your video until the end, utilize Pattern Interrupts. They're elements that contrast the rest of the video. Literally, they break the pattern of the video by offering visuals and different shots. Other samples of Pattern Interrupts are animations, sound effects, and video graphics.

Script Out Your Videos

Having a script is important to deliver the best information in your video. Make a script in every line so people can follow along with your points. You also need an outline at least so you'll know the general topics to cover.

Find Tried And Tested Strategies

Before you complete your script, know what's already been tried and tested to work. How? Simply view the top three videos for your target keyword and find out their common elements. Integrate these common elements into your video.

Improve Watch Time

Step 3: Optimize Your Video


Now that you know the basics, let's get down to the real deal. Here are the steps on how to optimize your YouTube videos for success.

Write Keyword-Rich Titles That Grab Attention

Keyword-optimized titles of your video aren't that big a deal but it can help in driving traffic to your video. More importantly, use Power Words that will grab the attention of users so you increase your click-through rate (CTR).

YouTube uses CTR as a ranking signal, unlike Google. Your video is more likely to be recommended if more people click on your video. This is something that successful channels, like Buffer, has found out.

Examples of Power Words are "awesome", "effective", and "wow". You don't want your title to be too wordy. Instead, make a title (at least five words long) that briefly relate why people should bother viewing your video. Tell them the benefits.

Don't forget to conduct keyword research when deciding on the title. Check the keywords used by your competitors. You want your title to be good or better than theirs. When you found the right keyword, include it in your title.

Customize Thumbnails

When attracting the attention of YouTube users, the thumbnail image is actually more significant than the title. You could use the right keywords for your title, but if you have an ugly thumbnail, then it's all in vain. No one will click on a hideous image.

Keep in mind that the thumbnail can give a hint of what your video is all about. If it looks plain and boring, then no one will click on it, thinking that your video isn't worth the time.

To appeal to users, customize your thumbnail and include a graphical text. Of course, you need to get verification from YouTube to do this. Here are tips for making a customized thumbnail:

  • Include fun graphics on the thumbnail image
  • Consider using professional shots as a thumbnail
  • Make it interesting and well-lit
  • Don't use an invasive logo and clashing colors
  • Don't use a random, unprofessional-looking still image
  • Don't use all text

    YouTube video optimization

    Write Long Descriptions

    A lot of people commit this common mistake- that is writing a short video description. YouTube actually recommends long descriptions of up to two paragraphs. You can include some more detailed information about what to anticipate on the video.

    This is your opportunity to include other important information in your video which includes performer bios and calls to action. If you want YouTube users to check out your website, include a link that directs to your website. Also, include some type of attractive hook in the first sentence that will tempt people to click the "Show More" prompt.

    Transcribe The Video

    Yes, YouTube offers automated transcription process but it's not accurate. There are still errors which may discourage your users who want to follow your tips on the video. For error-free transcription, edit the automated transcript or hire a professional transcriptionist to do the task for you. If you consider the latter, don't forget to time-stamp the video to match with the audio.

    Keyword-Optimize The Tags

    Tags need to be optimized for keywords like any other elements of the video. Buffer is good at this. They use these simple steps.

    Use three to five tags that comprise your target keyword and any close variants.

    Open TubeBuddy and type the target keyword into the Tag Explorer feature.

    Check and use the tags of your top competitors. That way your video will show next to your competitor as a recommended video.

    Make Optimized Playlists

    Playlists are often underestimated. Do you know that playlists significantly increase your session time? Session time is the total time spent on YouTube after they begin viewing your video.

    YouTube considers the session time as another important ranking factor. Your channel gets a lift when users watch any video on YouTube after spending time on your content. You're helping YouTube when you're creating content that lets people view more from your channel.

    Let's say, someone begins viewing your video and closes the browser after they're finished. Because your video causes users to leave YouTube, your video is going to be downgraded. However, if the users watch another after watching your video, then YouTube is going to promote your video.

    This is where playlists come into play. When a person finishes watching a video in your playlist, it directly plays the next video. This means, a longer session time.

    Call To Action

    To increase the number of your subscribers, ask people to subscribe to your channel at the end of your video. Have a little arrow directing to the subscribe button. You need to be this obvious just in case people don't get the hint.

    Put Translations

    If you want to globalize your video, put foreign language translations in your video. This is better than reshooting your video in a different language. It also gives your video the opportunity to rank in that foreign language. For instance, you could translate your video into Japanese and time-stamped the translated transcription.

    Monitor And Analyze Performance


    Once you've optimized your video, you can upload it to YouTube and keep track of its performance. Here are tools that can help you monitor and analyze performance:

    YouTube Analytics

    YouTube Analytics is a good tool for analyzing the people who are watching your videos. Some data you can find include demographics, traffic sources, and subscription rates. With this data, you can determine where to concentrate your resources and make content that suits specifically to their needs.

    For better results, use Google Analytics together with YouTube Analytics. You can access more features and watch activity on your channel page.

    What Is YouTube SEO?

    Third-Party Analytics

    There are more third-party analytic tools that can offer deeper perceptions into your video performance metrics, including view count, comments, and replies. These performance metrics can help you optimize your video content even better.

    Subscriber Conversion

    A more obvious way to determine your success on YouTube is to check your number of subscribers. If your audience is increasing, then your optimized video might be the reason.

    Fortunately, YouTube Analytics will tell you what particular video is racking up the subscribers. Use this information to give your audience what they like.

    If you need assistance in SEO and video marketing services, contact Cloud LGS or request a callback. We can help you implement the same strategies that Brian Dean and Buffer used to great effect!

    Source: The original content was created by Backlinko and his client Buffer.

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