How to Increase the Visibility of YouTube Videos: 7 Crucial Hacks
It’s a question that both new and seasoned content creators face at some point: How do I increase the visibility of YouTube videos?
You’re producing killer videos. You’ve invested in great equipment, captivating scripts, and professional editing.
But you’re still not getting the views or traction you’ve been hoping for.
And more importantly: What can you do about it?
This article looks at 7 key strategies you can use to give your videos a boost, make sure viewers find them, and captivate your audience.
Part One: Optimize Your Metadata
The first step to increase the visibility of your YouTube video is to make sure that they’re easy to find and look good in the search results.
You can do this by optimizing the video’s metadata.
This includes its title, description, tags, category, and thumbnail.
All this gives the YouTube algorithm more to work with, and makes your video more attractive to viewers when they see it.
1 - Craft a Captivating Title
To start with, your title should be viewer-centric and to the point. Instead of being cryptic, let your audience know what they can expect in your content.
Also, keep ’em short. Titles that don’t get cut off in searches are more attractive to viewers.
Plus, your title should include your SEO keywords – more on those in Part Two further down.
2 - Tailor Your Description
Second, optimize your video description.
Officially, the length limit is 5,000 characters – but only the first two or three lines of text will actually be automatically displayed. To get more information, viewers will have to click on “show more”.
Consequently, you should start off with the most important information. And again – include your keywords.
3 - Use Appropriate Tags and Categories
Next up, #tags help both viewers and YouTube itself know what your video is about, and understand its context.
They also make your video more likely to appear alongside similar, popular content.
What’s more, YouTube introduced hashtag landing pages in early 2021. When you click on a hashtag, you get forwarded to a landing page that contains videos that use the hashtag in question.
If you put hashtags on your video, it gets an extra chance on appearing on one of those.
Tag generators can help you quickly get a bunch of ideas for tags – but don’t copy them over uncritically.
The key is to only include relevant tags. Simply adding popular, but unrelated tags might get you penalties rather than more views.
Similarly, categories help the platform group your videos with related content. This increases the chances of your target audience finding them.
You can choose which category you want your video to appear in under its advanced settings.
Be careful, though. You’ll need to do some research first to see what’s the best match, and what competition is like in every category you might be thinking of.
4 - Set Custom Thumbnails
Finally, design and set your own thumbnails rather than going with YouTube’s auto-generated ones.
It pays off: 90% of the best-performing videos on the platform have custom thumbnails.
YouTube recommends using images with a 16:9 ratio (1280×720 pixels). You can use .jpg, .gif, .bmp, or .png files smaller than 2 MB.
If you want to give your thumbnails some extra pep, you can use online design tools like Canva, Adobe Spark, or Fotor.
Some useful video content management tools – TubeBuddy, for instance – also include fast thumbnail creation features.
Part Two: Harness YouTube SEO and Keyword Research
YouTube is a search engine. The second largest after Google, in fact. That means you need to keep search engine optimization (SEO) in mind when creating your content.
In 2022, YouTube SEO is a complex, multi-faceted topic, and there are plenty of in-depth guides out there if you really want to dive into it.
Here are the basics you need to know to increase the visibility of your YouTube videos in the long run.
1 - Base Your Content on Keyword Research
In Part One above, you already learned that your videos’ metadata should include keywords. They are crucial for YouTube SEO.
Basically, keywords are the words and phrases that your target viewers search for. They capture where their interest lies.
To catch that interest, you need to identify keywords that are popular in your niche. Then, you can produce content that meets your audience’s demand.
To identify good content keywords, you can use YouTube’s autocomplete function, scan your competitors’ videos, or use keyword research tools, such as AnswerThePublic, Ahrefs, BuzzSumo, or SEMrush.
You can then turn these into an entire content strategy.
2 - Take Advantage of Timestamps and Key Moments
Launch a Google search for pretty much any term, and some of the top results will be YouTube videos. And in those videos, Google will have highlighted certain key moments.
While Google’s algorithm does automatically detect key moments, setting them yourself is better. This way, you can make sure that everything is indexed properly, and – again – with the right keywords.
Check out our key moments guide on how to do this.
3 - Upload Transcripts
If you’ve watched videos with auto-generated captions, you know that this does not always work well – especially when speakers have a non-standard accent.
Another instance where auto-captions are often hit-or-miss: the names of people, brands, or products. Subtitles let people know what you’re talking about, even with the sound off!
Uploading your own transcripts lets you make sure that everything is correct, and that your keywords appear prominently.
Plus, you can also add transcripts in other languages. That way, you’ll increase the visibility of your YouTube videos for a multilingual or international audience.
For example, adding Spanish captions can give you bonus points with 38 million potential viewers in the US alone.
If you’re working from a good YouTube script, you’ll have half the work for transcripts done already.
Conclusion: Increase the Visibility of YouTube Videos with Optimized Metadata and SEO
Making sure that your content appears in searches and recommendations isn’t easy.
To increase the visibility of YouTube videos sustainably, you have to systematically optimize metadata, and weave SEO into your content strategy.
The good news? If you consistently check these boxes, nothing stands in the way of your videos gaining traction and going viral.