Since 2017, I've grown my YouTube channel from zero to over 490,000 subscribers. YouTube is the second most popular search engine on Earth. I'm ranked for keywords on YouTube that are some of the most competitive, like SEO and content marketing.
Become an authority in a specific area
In other words, you need to be an expert. You know how Google has the E-algorithm? YouTube doesn't have an E-algorithm, but it's very similar. Channels that are very specific versus talking about everything, tend to do better when it comes to ranking. Google wants to rank authoritative channels that are really, the key, the end-all, be-all authority on that subject versus just random people. Why? Because it provides more value and that keeps people more on YouTube longer.
So with my channel, I tend to stick with marketing. SEO, content marketing, blogging. You don't see me creating topics about my family and videos about my life or driving their car, because that doesn't really have anything to do with marketing. So whenever I try to go out of this expertise, I don't get much traction and I don't rank well even if I do all the stuff that's right. But when I focus, I do really well. For example, my buddy Derek Halpern told me to create a video on sales because it got him a lot of paid speaking gigs. When I did that, even though I copied the right format, I did all the right SEO stuff, I didn't do well. Why? Because I'm not known as a sales expert. So no matter what, you need to have one focus area for your channel. I kid you not, that really helps you rank better.
Pay attention to feedback
You'll notice that some topics will always have good performance on your channels, and others won't. If people love certain topics, then do more of them. If some people hate certain topics, then do less of them. Sure, you can't always keep creating the same video over and over and over again. But you can do variations of it, you can expand upon it. Like I know you love SEO videos from me. Yeah, sure, all my videos don't have to just be about SEO, they can be about link building, they can be about content marketing, they can be about Google algorithms, they can be about international expansion. There's so many areas that you could take it, but really listen to your audience. And sure they may not just tell you this feedback in a comment, but you can also tell by the views, the likes, the dislikes. All this will give you feedback.
Understand search demand
Much like SEO, having the right keywords, with the right search volume gives you the best chance of success in the long run. See, today, search is the second biggest traffic source to my channel, accounting for 25.5% of all views to my videos. You can use Ubersuggest to find the right keywords. Under the Keyword Ideas report, you can see tabs for questions, prepositions, comparisons. This will give you ideas for content that you can create, as well as it'll tell you what's being searched. The last thing you want to do is create content on things that just aren't searched. Sure you'll rank number one from something that gets no volume, but who really cares, because it's not driving any traffic.
Do your keyword research, but focus on the value of your content
When people do keyword research they're like, "Okay, I'm going after these keywords, "so I want to optimize my title tag, my meta description, "say the keyword within the video, "because if this video's on SEO "and I say it 10 times in the video, "like 'SEO, SEO, SEO,' YouTube picks that up, "I'm going to rank better." But what about the value of the content? See, YouTube measures retention. How long is someone watching your video? And are they leaving? And not only do they measure how long someone is watching your video, they measure how long does your video keep someone on YouTube, because after your video is over, they tend to autoplay other videos even if they're not from your channel, and if that user keeps sticking around and watches five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 videos, a lot of that credit goes to your video, which will help it rank higher, because that helps YouTube also generate more ad income.
So look at the quality of your videos. You want to hook people on early on. You want to tell them why they should stick around. You want to keep them entertained. All these types of things will do well. There's this lady named Sunny. She has something called the hot script. Look it up. It'll help keep more people on your YouTube channel. And if you're just boring and talking in monotone like this, no one's going to stick around. But when you have amazing content that people like, "Oh my god, this is so entertaining, "you have great animation, good transition," that'll keep people around longer.
Pay attention to your video format
See, I've found that certain formats of a video, like how it's structured, how my story, how the whole five or 10 minutes is structured, really helps keep people around, also subscribe to my channel and increase my rankings. So here's my formula that I use with my videos.
First, I start with the hook. This is the idea where I capture the attention of my audience by telling them what the video's about, why it's important and why it matters to viewers.
Then, I tell people to subscribe. And I just don't say, "Hey, subscribe to my channel." I tell them, "You have to click the alert notification," because if they click the alert notification, more people will get notified of your videos. This action at the very beginning is very important. It's really helped change my channel and helped boost my ranking.
Third, I lay my content out in a step-by-step format, bulleted explanations. I use stats, I use actionable advice. I explain things so anyone can understand. I just don't want to give a lecture and be like, "Hey, I'm Neil, I know everything about SEO or marketing." No, I want to break things down so you can implement and get results, because if you do, you'll keep coming back. If you do that with your audience, they'll also keep coming back. And that's why I also try to keep things short, sweet and easy to understand, so whether you're a newbie or you're advanced, you can get value.
And finally, I give them some additional calls to action, talk to them about my ad agency, telling them to like the video, telling them to share it, telling them to leave a comment. This all helps boost my engagement, which helps with my ranking.
Keep an eye out on what's working within your market
Your audience isn't only watching your content or your channel. There're other channels that are competing with you. Look at their channels. See what's working. See which one of their videos is doing the best. Analyze it. Copy their best concepts and strategies. I'm not saying you should copy their video word for word. I'm talking about their concepts and strategies. If someone created a video on link building or infographics because it does really well, I can do my own take on that as well. That's another example.
It's all about the first 24 hours
See, YouTube's SEO algorithm is the opposite of Google's SEO algorithm. See, with Google, you rank well over time. It's a long and steady race. With YouTube, the videos that tend to do really well in the first 24 hours tend to rank really quickly. In other words, I'll release a video and I can get ranked really highly for a keyword within the first 24 hours of the term I'm targeting. Sometimes it takes a week, sometimes a few days, but it doesn't really take longer than that. So the first 24 hours, I push it out to all my social channels, like Twitter, saying, "Go to YouTube, watch this video." I'll do email blasts, push notification blasts through Subscribers.com. All this helps my videos rank higher because it's so popular in the first 24 hours, YouTube sees it, it's much more likely to do well in the long run.
Now, I could end it here, but I have another bonus tip for you, and the reason I want to give you this bonus tip, because it's not really a tip that matters too much that you don't already know about, but it still impacts your ranking. You really want to focus on your headline. Copyblogger has a headline formula. Check it out. It'll teach you how to write headlines. And to give you a quick stat, eight out of 10 people will read your headline, but only two out of 10 will click through and read the rest of your article or click through and watch the rest of your video. That's why headlines matter. Because if your headlines suck and no one's clicking through on them, you're not going to rank well. But if you get a lot of clicks, you will rank better as well. So that's it.
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