05.30.20176 min read

Video Marketing: How to Rank on YouTube

For years, I would take the time to make the best videos I possibly could to post on my YouTube channel. They would have the best storyboards and calls-to-action known to humankind. And they would sit there, like books on a shelf, rarely being opened and read—even with my continual email links to it and references from social media.

Finally, I got the right training from various online courses and learned the secrets of getting YouTube video views. Despite my topic or video, I can now easily, on-command, get 5,000 to 12,000 views in a week. Want to know how?

Read on—I can’t share everything I learned in my courses, but let me share the highlights that matter.

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Keywords and optimizing your video

The very first thing you want to do is to put some test keywords or keyword strings into the YouTube search bar. For each keyword, you’ll see how many results there are—that’s your competition. Now, order the videos based on video views, top to bottom.

Get your keyboard or pen and paper out now, and take notes. Write down the top viewed videos that have both high numbers of views and impressive numbers of subscribers to their channel. High views with no subscribers is a flash in the pan. You want views and subscribers. Write down the title of the video, the channel, the views, the subscribers, and any keywords you notice they use in the title or description.

Once you have that homework done, you want to compile your list of videos, channels, and keywords.

Now you want to optimize your video on YouTube. Write your title and description using your best keywords. In the description, you want to put your call-to-action link first, so it can’t be missed.  

Then describe your video in helpful terms that your audience will appreciate and find via keywords. Put your YouTube channel ID there as well. In the description, you want to list all those channels and video titles that had so many views, and give them credit for all the wonderful work they have done on your topic. They came before—you are standing on their shoulders. You must do this, as YouTube will ban your video if you don’t.

When you get to tagging your video, you’ll want to use your keywords, plus all the channels that have huge views and subscribers.

Why use other video successes and channels? Because your video will get associated with their videos in the right-hand column of the “Up Next” videos. It’s a great way to get your video seen after people watch popular videos in your category.

Getting YouTube views

You’ll start getting YouTube views from your subscribers, who get notified when you post new videos. You’ll also start getting views from those popular relevant videos and channels you listed in your description and tags.

The way to rocket your video views is to link your YouTube Channel with a Google Adwords account. Remember, they are both owned by Google. Go into your connected Adwords account and start running an Adwords campaign where your video starts playing a “True View Instream Ad,” which is the video you see as a commercial before the video you want to watch. If your video is watched more than five seconds, and your viewer doesn’t click “Skip Ad,” then you’ve just earned a video view.

So make sure your first five seconds grabs the attention of your target audience so they stay longer than five seconds.

In YouTube, you can pick your keywords, audience interests, demographics, locations, etc. Do a careful job of that, so that you are putting your video in front of your desired audience.

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You also get to choose how much you will pay for each view of your video. Choose one penny per view, or the lowest option Adwords offers. Start there. You can get thousands of views if your video is optimized and tagged well in both YouTube and Adwords, and you’ve chosen your target audience, interests, and geo-location thoughtfully.

If you want views to happen quickly, or if views fall off after a first launch, you can choose to increase your pennies per view. Splurge—go up to a nickel.

Watch the magic happen

What happens next feels truly magical.

When you look at your video views on YouTube and in Adwords, you’ll see a couple of amazing things. You’ll see your video views have taken off based on your Adwords campaign. Let’s say you get 5,000 views, but when you look in your Adwords account, you’ll see you’ve been charged $20 for only 2,000 views. What happened?

First, because your views grew quickly, YouTube is going to rank your video higher on the pages where your keywords are relevant. Look up your keyword on YouTube, and see where your video ranks. I rank in the first five to 10 videos for more than 20 YouTube keywords/strings.

Second, because your video is popular with views, Google is going to rank your video highly in Adwords, so your video gets seen more. Google wants to push and support popularity and success, so you get more free views.

Third, because your video is highly viewed and ranked, it will show up more frequently in top videos of relevant keywords, and you’ll get more random views and even more subscribers who want to see more from you.

Fourth, remember those popular videos and channels you gave credit to in your YouTube video description? Your video is now being displayed in “Up Next,” and the more views you have, the higher to the top you get listed.

This is an organic, integrated, multi-media, multi-tactic way to get video views and subscribers.FYI, I have a YouTube channel on a relatively obscure topic, and with these methods, I now have close to 140,000 video views with more than 1,100 subscribers.

One last note: Your subscribers will love you more if you post on a schedule and provide new, reliable, helpful information, so make this a habit. 

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Jonathan Marx, MBA, is the senior vice president of InQuill Medical Communications, LLC. He has a 25-year career in major media companies, and 10 years in medical and healthcare marketing. You can find him on LinkedIn. He can be reached at [email protected] 

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