YouTube is the biggest online video platform in the world, so it perhaps goes without saying that brands and marketers should be striving to make their video content visible on the site. But were you aware of the measures you can take to help make that happen?
As the Reel SEO website points out, the majority of YouTube viewership comes from the suggested videos column at the side of the viewing page. It’s worth noting that this section is divided into three categories: suggested videos, which are selected by algorithms; related videos, which are similar to yours; and recommended videos, which are based on the viewer.
YouTube uses a range of metrics to determine which video the algorithm will display, including relevancy, engagement, viewership history and ‘watch time’. Let’s take a look at some ways you can influence these metrics and dominate that all-important suggested videos column:
Create engaging content
First and foremost, you’ll need to create video content that keeps viewers engaged; by which we mean, watching for an extended period of time – around seven minutes or more. That’s because YouTube’s algorithms are designed to promote videos that make people stick around for longer, both on an individual video and for an entire viewing session.
According to a recent report by Novel Concept, the search results algorithm may favour videos with lots of engagement actions – such as likes, comments and even dislikes. Of course, the videos that tend to engage people are also the ones that receive higher watch times and viewer retention figures, but emotional reactions are also a good measure of longer watch sessions – one of the reasons you can end up watching hours of cat videos without realising!
Optimize video titles and meta data
The title of a video can do three things, all of which have an impact on the suggested videos algorithm: it gets people to click on the video; it tells the algorithm how many of our videos are relevant to each other; and it can try to secure high rankings for certain keywords.
Similarly, the tags, captions and descriptions used in your video all make up its meta data, which can affect search rankings in much the same way as SEO works for websites. Around 10-12 tags should be included (focusing on one primary keyword) while descriptions should be at least three sentences long and be placed before any other content in the description, such as links.
Use compelling custom thumbnails
Many video creators would argue that custom thumbnails are the most important factor in getting a viewer to click on their videos – and the more people who click, the more watch time builds up. Some fail-safe thumbnail tips include using close-up faces; showing strong emotions; using bright backgrounds; and being consistent across your branded videos. One of the most important elements is to make sure the thumbnail is not misleading – this will only cause people to click away and put them off watching your videos in future.
Connect your videos with Playlists
Playlists lead to longer sessions and longer views, which increases your watch time and help you stand out in the YouTube algorithm. Annotations, which link in your videos, are also a great way to get people to keep watching your content, therefore increasing both your watch time and your views.