In this post I’m going to show you how to get more views on YouTube.
In fact, these are the exact techniques that I used to grow my channel to 244.6K views per month.
Let’s dive right in.
1. Use “BOGY” Thumbnails
It’s no secret that your video thumbnail is HUGE.
According to YouTube, 9 out of 10 of the most-viewed videos on YouTube use a custom thumbnail:
And YouTube themselves state that:
The question is:
How do you create a thumbnail that stands out?
BOGY Thumbnails are thumbnails that use these four colors:
Why is this important?
Well, if you look around YouTube, you’ll notice that the site is mostly red, black and white.
And if your thumbnail also uses red, black and white… your video will blend in.
But when you use BOGY thumbnails, your videos stands out and grabs attention.
(Which makes people MUCH more likely to click)
For example, I use green as the main color in my thumbnails:
This is partly for branding reasons (green is the main color on my blog and YouTube channel).
But it’s also to stand out on the YouTube platform:
How about another example?
The Bright Side Channel (which has 19 million subscribers) uses yellow, orange, blue and purple in most of their thumbnails:
Of course, you can use a little bit of red, white and black in your thumbnail.
You just don’t want to make them your main thumbnail color.
For example, I use some black and white in this thumbnail.
But 80%+ of that thumbnail is green.
And now it’s time for…
2. Copy This Proven Video Description Template
YouTube has confirmed that your video descriptions “let YouTube’s algorithms know what your videos are all about”.
With that, I have some good news:
I recently developed a YouTube description template that works GREAT.
Here it is:
Now I’ll break down each section in detail.
First, you have the Strong Intro.
The first few lines of your description are SUPER important.
Specifically, you want to include your target keyword once in the first 1-2 sentences.
That’s because YouTube puts more weight on keywords early on in your description.
So make sure to mention your target keyword in the beginning of your description.
Here’s an example from my channel:
You also want to sell your video.
The first few lines of your description show up in YouTube search:
And if that snippet is super compelling, more people will click on your result:
Plus, some people even read your description after they land on your video page.
So it’s important that the content above “Show more” really sells your video.
Next, you have the 150-word outline.
All you need to do here is outline what someone will learn from your video.
And don’t be afraid to get into the nitty-gritty details here. In fact, I recommend writing AT LEAST 150 words here.
That way, YouTube can fully understand what your video covers.
For example, check out this description from one of my videos:
It’s 233 total words.
And that thorough description has helped my video rack up 299,173 views to date:
Finally, you have your description links.
I actually got this tip from YouTube themselves:
The goal here is to send people to your website and social media channels.
I’m most active on Twitter, so I only include a link to my Twitter profile:
But there’s nothing wrong with linking to several different sites that you’re active on.
And if you want to get more subscribers, I recommend adding a call-to-action to subscribe here too:
Which leads us to…
3. Alternate Playlist Layouts
If you’re like most people, you include a ton of playlists on your channel page.
(Which is smart)
Well, I recently discovered a simple way to get MORE people to watch your playlists:
Alternate vertical and horizontal playlist layouts.
Here’s an example from my channel:
Why is this important?
If you only use one playlist layout, your playlists don’t stand out from one another:
But when you alternate layouts, each playlist really stands out:
To change layouts, head over to your channel page. And hit “Customize Channel”.
Then, click on the little pencil icon next to one of your playlists:
And choose the layout:
Then, alternate between “vertical lists” and “horizontal layouts” for each playlist.
Simple. Yet effective.
4. Boost Your Video Title CTR
Your title is a BIG part of your video’s success.
In fact, YouTube’s internal data has confirmed that your title can make or break your entire video:
With that, here’s exactly how to write video titles that get tons of clicks:
First, add brackets and parentheses to the end of your title.
An industry study by HubSpot found that adding brackets to a title increased clicks by 33%:
To be fair:
This study looked at blog post titles.
But I’ve found that the same rule applies to YouTube videos.
For example, this video from my channel has 299,173 views:
And the “[New Checklist]” at the end of my title is a big part of that video’s success:
Next, use a number in your title.
This number can be:
- The number of tips or strategies you’re going to cover
- The current year
- Number of steps in a how-to video
- The amount of weight someone lost (or lifted)
Or pretty much any number that makes sense for your video.
For example, here’s a video on my channel about keyword research:
My original title was just “Advanced Keyword Research Tutorial”.
That title is pretty flat.
So I decided to add “5-Step Blueprint” to the end of my title:
Which has helped that video rack up over 100k views so far:
Finally, use titles that are between 40-50 characters:
A study by Justin Briggs discovered that videos with titles less than 50 characters ranked best in YouTube search:
5. Get More “Suggested Video” Views
Over the last few years I’ve studied dozens of YouTube channels.
And I’ve noticed one consistent pattern:
Successful channels get lots of views from Suggested Video.
As a reminder, “Suggested Videos” are videos that YouTube promotes next to the video you’re watching:
And as it turns out, Suggested Video can bring in MORE views than YouTube search.
For example, my channel gets 34.8% of its views from SEO…
…and 38.2% from Suggested Video:
How can you get more views from Suggested Video?
Use the same tags as your competitors.
In fact, YouTube has stated that they use metadata (like your title, description and tags) for Suggested Video rankings.
So when your tags match the tags in a popular video, you have a good chance of showing up next to that video:
Here’s a video that walks you through this entire process in detail:
Speaking of tags…
6. Use The “MVC Formula” For Video Tags
You already know that tags are important for video SEO.
That’s because YouTube uses tags to understand your video’s topic.
In fact, when we analyzed 1+ million YouTube videos, we found that YouTube video tags correlated with rankings:
How do you use tags the right way?
The MVC Formula.
Here’s how it looks:
The MVC stands for: “Main Keyword”, “Variations” and “Category”.
I’ll break this down with a real-life example…
First, you have “Main Keyword”.
This is self-explanatory.
You want to use your main keyword as your first or second tag.
For example, my target keyword for this video is: “link building”.
So I made that exact phrase my first tag:
Next, we’ve got “Variations”.
Here’s where you sprinkle in a few variations of your main keyword.
For example, in my link building video, I used a few variations of that term:
Finally, include 1-2 tags that describe your video’s overall category.
These broad tags are designed to help YouTube understand your video’s overall topic and category.
For example, in my video, I included three broad tags: “SEO”, “online marketing” and “digital marketing”.
7. Share Videos On Quora, Reddit and Forums
Online communities are GREAT places to promote your YouTube videos.
That’s because people on these communities have burning questions…
…questions that your video can answer.
For example, let’s say that you see someone asking this question on Reddit:
Well, if you had a video that talked about frozen Paleo meals, you could link to it in that thread.
In fact, I used this exact approach to promote one of my videos on Quora:
Which helped my brand new video get a handful of high-quality views.
8. Rank Your Videos in Google Search
Ranking your videos in Google can lead to LOTS of extra views.
In fact, Google sends my videos 8,396 views per month:
How do you get your videos to show up in Google?
Well, it’s not all about ranking #1 in YouTube.
In fact, a study by Stone Temple Consulting found that 55.2% of YouTube videos ranking in Google were different than the top videos ranking in YouTube’s search results.
For example, if you search for “backhand drills” in YouTube, this video is shown at the top:
But when you search for that same keyword in Google, that video is nowhere to be found
With that, here’s how to boost your video’s chances of ranking in Google:
First, say your keyword out loud in your video.
For example, a while back I published this SEO tutorial video on my channel:
And I made sure to actually say the exact phrase “SEO Tutorial” four times in that video:
Which is one of the main reasons it ranks in the top 3 for that term:
Second, upload a transcript of your video to YouTube.
That way, Google can understand 100% of the content in your video.
Sure enough, I made sure to get a professional transcription for my SEO tutorial video.
YouTube wants to see that people ENGAGE with your video.
In fact, I recently conducted a YouTube search engine ranking factors study:
And we found a significant correlation between ranking in YouTube and user engagement.
Specifically, we found that comments:
All correlated with rankings in YouTube search.
What’s the best way to get more engagement on your videos?
It’s simple: ask people to engage with your video.
For example, let’s look at this video from my channel:
At the end of my video I ask people to leave a comment:
Which has helped that video rack up 4,348 comments:
And 396,000 total views:
10. Improve Your Channel’s “Session Time”
Audience retention? Important.
Watch Time? VERY important.
But neither of these two metrics are close to session time.
Session Time (also known as “Session Watch Time”) is the total amount of time someone spends on YouTube after watching your video.
And it’s one metric that YouTube cares A LOT about. In fact, YouTube has said:
So if someone watches your video and then leaves YouTube, that’s going to hurt your channel’s Session Time:
But if that person stays on YouTube, your Session Time is going to increase:
And the best way to improve your Session Time?
Promote your BEST videos on your channel page.
That way, you’re showing people videos that will keep them watching.
For example, I show off my best videos at the top of my channel page (inside of playlists):
Evan Carmichael even replaced his traditional channel trailer with one of his popular videos:
As it turns out, there’s another easy way to boost your Session Time.
Which leads us to…
11. Optimize Your End Screen for Views
Here’s how to get extra views (and Session Watch Time) using your end screen:
First, pick a popular video from your channel.
To do this, head over to the YouTube Studio and find a video that generated lots of views over the last 90 days:
Next, find a video from your channel that someone would want to watch AFTER they finish watching your popular video.
For example, this video was one of my top 10 videos over the last 90 days:
So I asked myself:
“What does someone that just learned about keyword research want to learn about next?”
How to use those keywords in their content.
Luckily, I published a video on that exact topic a few months earlier:
Finally, link to that video in your End Screen:
And because your “Next Video” is EXACTLY what someone wants to see, they’re super likely to watch it.
12. Master YouTube SEO Fundamentals
If you want to get more views on YouTube, you need to learn as much as you can about YouTube SEO.
Specifically, you want to master SEO basics like:
- Keyword research for videos
- Optimizing titles, descriptions and tags
- Improving Audience Retention and Watch Time
- YouTube engagement signals
And if you want a crash course on SEO for YouTube, I recommend watching this entire video:
13. Use Eye-Catching Playlist Titles
I used to name my playlists with whatever word popped into my head first.
For example, one of my first playlists was called “Advanced SEO Strategies”:
Not a horrible name. But not super compelling either.
So I added “and Case Studies” to make the title more interesting:
And I’ve applied this same rule to all of my playlist titles.
For example, one of my most popular playlists is called “How to Get Higher Google Rankings”:
My original title for that playlist was: “SEO Tips and Strategies”.
But I knew that my audience wants to learn “how to get higher Google rankings”.
So I made my playlist title that exact outcome.
14. Feature Your Videos On Your Blog
You might have noticed that I’ve embedded quite a few of my YouTube videos in this post.
And there’s a good reason for that:
These embedded videos lead to a ton of high-quality views.
Not only do these embeds help you get more views, but they can also help your videos rank higher in YouTube’s search results.
An industry study found that #1 ranking videos have 78% more links and embeds than videos that rank #2 or below:
15. Share Video Clips On Social Media
Back in the day I’d share my entire YouTube video on social media:
And sure, this led to a handful of views.
But not as many as I wanted.
That’s when I realized something:
Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites want to keep people on their platforms.
(Yup, just like YouTube)
And when you post a link to your YouTube video, their algorithms are going to hide your post from your followers.
What’s the solution?
Upload a clip from your YouTube video as native video.
Here’s an example:
Because my clip was native to Facebook, it was promoted around the platform like crazy.
(Which led to 23k views on my post)
And once you post the clip, link to the full video as the first comment:
That way, people that enjoyed your clip can easily find the full video on YouTube.
16. Upload Videos When Your Audience is On YouTube
What’s the best time to upload a video on YouTube?
Is it Tuesday at 3pm?
How about Saturday at 6am?
The real answer: when your subscribers are on YouTube.
Unfortunately, YouTube doesn’t tell you when most of your subscribers are online.
So I recommend testing a few different days and times to see what works best for your channel.
You can even use a tool like VidIQ to analyze your channel for the best times to post:
17. “The Card Bridge” Technique
This is an easy way to boost your Session Time and views.
Here’s how it works:
First, look at the audience retention report for one of your videos.
Here’s an example from my channel:
As you can see, this video has a massive retention drop at 6:16.
Next, have a card appear at that time.
(That’s “The Bridge”)
And that card sends people to another video on your channel at the exact moment they would have clicked away:
Bonus #1: Get Featured On The YouTube Homepage
The YouTube homepage can be a GREAT source of views.
(Especially for new videos)
For example, look at the traffic sources to this video the week after it went live:
39.4% of all of my views came from “Browse Features”.
(Most of which are views from the YouTube homepage)
And getting on the homepage led to 3,097 views in my video’s first week.
As you probably know, your YouTube homepage is highly personalized.
So when I say “get featured on the homepage”, I’m talking about getting on the homepage for users that are signed in.
With that, here are two ways to boost the odds that your video will appear on people’s homepages:
First, promote your video in the first 48 hours after it goes live.
YouTube’s homepage algorithm tends to feature videos that have two things going for them:
- They’re new
- They’re popular
And when you get lots of eyeballs on your new video, YouTube will happily feature it on their homepage.
For example, I promote my new videos on social media:
And to my newsletter subscribers:
Which helps push lots of people to my brand new content on day 1:
Second, boost your total YouTube subscriber count.
I’ve noticed that YouTube’s homepage tends to feature content from channels that you’re already subscribed to.
(Which makes sense)
So the more subscribers you have, the more views you’ll get from the homepage.
Bonus #2: Double Down On What Works
In other words:
- Find videos from your channel with above-average audience retention.
- Use what worked in future videos.
How about an example?
This video from my channel was my first successful video:
(Most of my other early videos completely flopped)
So I decided to apply what worked in this video to my future videos.
And it worked!
Because I doubled down on what was already working, I was able to grow my channel in record time:
Specifically, I looked for spots in my video where my audience retention was higher than average:
For example, I noticed a big retention spike at 3:51:
3:51 laid out the steps for one of the strategies in my video:
So I decided to show steps in text form in all of my future videos:
This is an easy way to get your subscribers PUMPED about your next video.
Here’s how to do it:
First, publish a post about your upcoming video in your community tab.
This can be a sneak preview shot:
Or anything that builds anticipation for your video:
Either way, your community post makes people look forward to your upcoming video.
(Which means they’ll be MUCH more likely to watch it when it goes live)
Now It’s Your Turn
Now I’d like to hear what you have to say:
Which strategy from today’s post are you ready to try first?
Are you going to use BOGY Thumbnails?
Maybe you’re ready to preview videos in your Community Tab.
Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.