Six Ways to Increase YouTube Traffic

By Nikki Lam

There is no doubt that YouTube has revolutionized the video industry in the digital space. It has become not only a hub for entertainment, self-expression and information but an important tool to boost online presence. Video marketing has become a necessity, and it’s no wonder since it can lead to engagement, stronger brand loyalty, and even direct purchases of products. But with billions of videos and millions of competitors on YouTube, how can your brand break through the clutter? We’ve put together a useful guide below that outlines six methods that can help you increase your YouTube traffic.

Related: YouTube – Basics

Don’t Forget to Optimize

With a seemingly infinite number of videos and channels fighting for audience attention, it’s critical to optimize your YouTube videos to rank higher in terms of SEO. Millions of users search for YouTube content daily and how your videos rank can make a huge impact on how many views you receive. So what can you do to improve your rankings?

 

 

When you think about it, YouTube is a sort of search engine for videos. And just like any search engine, it uses an algorithm to rank content and help viewers find videos relevant to what they are looking for.

Here are some handy tips for ranking higher on YouTube through optimization:

  • Utilize Keywords: YouTube relies heavily on keywords, so don’t forget to do your keyword research to see what words and phrases people are searching for that relate to your video. One of our favorite (and free!) SEO research tools we love for discovering YouTube keywords is Keyword Tool For YouTube. We also recommend running the keywords through Google’s Keyword Planner to make sure your video would show up in Google searches as well.

  • Optimize Your Metadata: This includes using your keyword research to optimize the following:
    • Video Titles – the more keyword-rich your title is, the more you will show up in results on both YouTube and Google. Although it can be tempting to take a creative approach to naming your videos, you will see a lot more hits when you cater each title to what people are actually searching for.
    • Video Descriptions – a quality description that tells viewers what the video is about and why they should be interested in watching it is key. Be careful to use keywords in conversational ways rather that keyword-stuffing, which can hurt your rankings.
    • Video Tags – YouTube offers category tags when a video is uploaded to help define what overarching subjects it may relate to. The number of tags you can include is limited, so be sure to use only the most relevant keywords and phrases in your video tags.  
  • Post Regularly: Posting relevant videos consistently is critical for growing your rankings and your number of channel followers. Not only do users enjoy seeing new content, but YouTube’s algorithm takes regular uploads into consideration when ranking.

Related: Keys to SEO Optimization of Your YouTube Videos & Channel

Choose Great Thumbnails

 

 

An important yet often overlooked tool that can help draw viewers to your YouTube content is the video thumbnail. By default, YouTube randomly chooses a frame from your video to use as the thumbnail in search results, but changing it to something more interesting or relevant can make a huge impact on whether someone clicks through to your video. Be sure to choose a thumbnail that catches the attention of possible viewers, and if you’re a YouTube partner, do not neglect the option to upload a custom thumbnail! After all, the thumbnail image is almost always the first thing viewers see that can make them decide whether or not to click “play”.

Take Advantage of YouTube Analytics

 

 

YouTube offers a variety of analytic tools that are just a click or two away. By viewing your video or channel’s analytics, YouTube provides you with invaluable information including watch time and audience retention, demographics, traffic sources, devices, and more. It also provides you with interaction reports showing subscriber activity, likes and dislikes, comments, shares, and so forth. All of this information is easily accessible and can help you understand who your audience is as well as their habits. Leverage this information to better target your viewers and create content that is the most appealing to your core audience.

Create a Playlist

 

 

Another feature of YouTube that content creators often fail to take advantage of is the option to create playlists. Thoughtfully organized, descriptive playlists can have a number benefits. When you group related content together into a playlist, it not only organizes the content of your channel for viewers, but keeps them watching as videos auto-play.  This leads to longer watching sessions, which show users are engaged and could impact your YouTube search rankings. Additionally, playlists provide another searchable item for your channel, adding to your discoverability. Sometimes your individual videos and playlists will even show up in the same user search! Plus it will expose viewers to your other content, including videos that might not be as popular on their own. Optimization is essential again here and just like with the videos themselves, you will want to edit the playlist metadata using keywords and quality content for the best search visibility.

Monitor Comments and Engage with Your Audience

 

 

Like any social media channel, active reputation management is important when it comes to YouTube. Be sure to take the time to read comments on your videos and your channel, and engage in meaningful ways with your audience. Reply to positive comments with reinforcement, answer any questions viewers may have, and reply with solutions to any negativity that can be addressed. Be sure that you are also keeping an eye out for any spam comments or harassment, and delete or report any that you come across. Not only will monitoring and replying to comments establish you as an authority on the content of the video, but it will help you build an online sense of community with your audience while increasing your presence.

Leverage YouTube Cards

 

 

YouTube offers a variety of cards that can be added within or at the end of videos. These include:

 

  • Channel cards, which link to a channel you would like your viewers to visit
  • Donation cards, which solicit fundraising for nonprofits
  • Link cards, which link viewers to external websites, crowdfunding projects, or merchandise for sale
  • Poll cards that allow the audience to vote on a poll related to the content’
  • Video and playlist cards, which link to another video or video playlist within YouTube

 

All of the above are incredibly useful tools that cannot only improve your rankings and drive user engagement, but lead viewers to your other content, your website, and more. In addition, compelling images can be added to end cards to draw attention to the content being highlighted.

Wrapping Up

Whether you’re creating for a company, person, or brand, it’s obvious that YouTube has become an indispensable video marketing platform. With these tips, you’re on your way to building a bigger audience and providing an even more rewarding YouTube experience for both your viewers and your brand!

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