Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Most Comprehensive Guide To YouTube SEO

Complete YouTube SEO GuideWhether you're just starting out on YouTube, or
you're a hardened YouTube veteran, you can always learn something new about YouTube SEO.

This is the most comprehensive guide about it on the web. (Excluding the YouTube PlayBook and Creator Studio which a lot of people haven't heard of.)

When I just started out, I had to spend hours on google searching and reading tiny 200 word articles about YouTube SEO.

They were useful, but I wished someone compiled all of the most useful content into one big post, and that's what I did here!

This is everything I've ever learned about SEO, from watching Creator Studio videos, reading blog posts, or spending time on Reddit. Everything is here!

For each part of the YouTube ranking puzzle I will write what worked for me, what worked for other people, and what the Key Takeaway for that puzzle piece is.

I run a gaming channel, so most of the examples will be related to gaming channels, but the following SEO information applies to all YouTube channels!

I've spent many hours writing, editing, and finding content for this post so I hope you find it useful!

This is my biggest post so far, so if you would like to skip around, you're more than welcome to!

Click on the links below to jump to the respective part of the post!

Who Am I?

AVA Gameplay Second RankI am a let's play video creator who's had some success with getting his videos to rank high on YouTube, and who would like to share my (and other people's tips) with you.

I have a video in the number 2 spot for the keyword "AVA Gameplay", in addition to 4 other videos that are in the top 20 for that same keyword.

I also have a video in the number 1 spot, 4 spots above PewDiePie, for the keyword "Soccer physics pc", another number 1 video for "Chick can fly", and numerous other high ranking videos.

Anyway, enough about me!

Let's get started with what you're really here for!


YouTube Ranking Guide

There are numerous factors to getting your videos ranked on YouTube, and I will go over all of them in as much detail as I possibly can.

Pick Keywords Before Recording

In an ideal world I would not put this before watchtime and content. 

However, I know most people are not going to read through this whole guide, and it is incredibly important to do proper keyword research if you want to have a chance of ranking your video.

A good start would be writing out all of the possibly keywords you can think of on a sheet of paper and doing a YouTube search check for them to figure out what kind of competition you're up against.

If you want to rank your video not just on YouTube, but also on Google search, focus on video-specific search keywords containing words like:
  • Gameplay
  • How to
  • Tutorial
  • Reviews
  • Top 10 lists
  • Funny video compilations
Figure out what keywords look easy to rank for and pick one or two hard ones that you want to focus on.

Then create a long tail variation of one easy to rank and one hard to rank keyword and focus on raking that by using proper titles, descriptions, and tags.

As your video will start ranking for the easy keyword, it will bring in more traffic and watchtime, and slowly it will start ranking for the hard to rank keyword.

You should also read this article to find out what other keyword research tools you can use.

After publishing your video, periodically check the keywords that your video is being searched for in the traffic sources analytics tab. 

If you're appearing for another high competition keyword, it might be a good idea to add on to your description and tags to improve its ranking.

Key Takeaway: Figure out what keywords you're trying to rank your video before-hand and focus on one easy one and one hard one. 


Watchtime

A long time ago, YouTube changed their algorithm so instead of ranking videos by the amount of views they got, it now ranks them by the average watchtime it gets in addition to other factors.

This makes it harder to utilize cheap methods like click-bait thumbnails and titles, and makes it easier for high-quality creators to rank higher.

Almost everything you do should be an attempt to improve watchtime either directly or indirectly.


Content

Cats are good for YouTube
Cats = Good Content!
Even though some people might not consider this being the most important factor for ranking on YouTube, I believe that the quality of your content is an incredibly important factor for ranking your videos.

You could have the largest amount of backlinks, social shares, likes, dislikes, and everything else, but if your content is terrible, sooner or later your video will disappear from the top page because of low watchtime.

Good content also drives organic shares, likes, and comments which is the best thing that can happen to you.

Would you rather spend an hour a day trying to get shares for you video, or would you rather have them come naturally because your content is absolutely amazing?

Key Takeaway: Focus on the quality of your content first, and optimizing your videos second. Good things will come to you that way.

Authority

PewDiePie terrible video tagsAuthority is another key factor in getting your YouTube videos high up in the search rankings. 

Have you noticed how PewDiePie and other big YouTubers can rank for almost any keyword without putting almost any effort into the description, tags, and titles?

He can simply put up a video with the keyword somewhere in there, and he will be in the top 10 within a couple hours of his video going up!

That is authority at work. 

The more subscribers you have, the older your channel is, and the more important it is to YouTube, the easier it will be for you to rank your videos. 

Till Boadella has a very interesting post on Uncover Marketing about the "100 rule" of YouTube channels.

He says:
From my experience, YouTube starts to send you significantly more traffic once you’ve passed the threshold of 100 subscribers. That’s when the “snowball” starts to roll down the hill and your views, engagement and subscribers start to compound over time.
Once you get more subscribers, YouTube realizes that people like your videos and starts showing them more often in related videos and searches for the keyword.

Of course 100 subs is just a nice estimate, but if this happens when you hit that milestone imagine what happens when you're at 1,000,000 subscribers!

At that point ranking your video is child's play. Even if a big YouTuber doesn't do proper SEO, his channel authority will usually carry him to the first search page even for the most competitive of keywords.

Now how can you increase your channel authority?

Make sure that you:
  • Utilize the proper Titles, Descriptions and Tags
  • Have a call to action somewhere in your video. (So your viewers interact with your video.)
  • Ask your viewers questions and ask them for feedback. (You get comments and you also find out what you need to improve on)
  • Connect your Google+ account/channel to your website if you have one.
  • Keep posting videos consistently and improve your channel steadily.
Key Takeaway: The higher the channels authority, the easier it will be for them to rank their videos. Keep working hard and doing proper SEO and someday you might have a high authority YouTube channel!

Titles

Now let's talk about the keyword aspects of your videos. These include Titles, Tags, Descriptions and Captions.

What works for me:
How do you pick a title for your videos? You need to focus on two things:
  1. How attractive it sounds to someone who finds it in a random YouTube Search.
  2. What keywords you have in the title.
I've found that the following seems to be a pretty good way to make a title for gaming videos:
Your Game Name Gameplay EP1 Couple Words Describing The Video.

For example, I might have my videos be named something like:
  • AVA Gameplay EP1 My First Time Playing! 
  • AVA Gameplay EP115 New Airborne Map + Playing With Subs Info
The actual formula doesn't matter too much as long as you make your title long and descriptive. 

That will allow your videos to rank for searches like:
  • Your game
  • Your game gameplay
  • Your game EP1
  • Your game + Words Describing The Video
One thing to never do (and I'm really disappointed that I have to say this) is to have your titles be something ridiculous like:
  • LOL Playing A New Game CHECK IT OUT PLEASE
  • AVa Playing Ahaha
  • Omg Funny Game
Some people name their videos like that and then have the audacity to ask why their videos aren't getting any views.

What works for others:
You could also put the Words Describing The Video with the episode number before the game name.
  • Words Describing The Video + Your Game EP Number
Creator Academy Reccomendations:
  • Make your title work with your thumbnail to draw in your audience.
  • Update titles as time goes on.
  • Don't use misleading titles.
Key Takeaway: Make your titles appealing to people and search engines by making them descriptive and using the right format.


Descriptions

Creator Academy Description Guide
Description template courtesy of Creator Academy
There is one huge mistake I see people making all the time with their descriptions: not making it as long as humanly possible! YouTube gives you all this space to put in details about your video, so why not use it up?

Don't spam the descriptions with tags and keywords, but make it useful to your viewers and have it describe what your video is about to the Google Search Algorithm!

You should also have at least a couple links in your videos, either to other videos, your social media pages, your website, or anything! It looks better to YouTube if you have some outbound links from your video.

Some people say that the first 160 characters of the description or so is what YouTube really uses for ranking your videos and I've seen evidence for that. However, it's still important to make it longer and add useful information after those 160 or whatever characters.

What I usually do for descriptions is I have a copy of the title and a chunk of 2-5 sentences describing what my video is about at the very beginning of the description. (The title is there for the sake of repeating keywords.)

Then I have my social media, website, and game links.

And then I describe the game that I'm playing. (When it was released, who's the publisher, what type of game it is, etc... It's the same general description for every video.) This helps YouTube know that I'm playing this specific game instead of something completely random.

Of course, if you're posting more than 1 video a day, you won't have the time to completely customize your descriptions for every video and make them super long and descriptive, but in that case I would just have a general description of the game you're playing with social links, and I'd add the title of the video at the beginning of each new description.

Creator Academy Recommendations:
  • Include links to other relevant sites.
  • Continue the "narrative" of the title and thumbnail, or add information that didn't fit in the title.

Key Takeaway: The beginning of the description is the most important part for ranking and it should be as long as possible.

Tags

Tag optimization is a very touchy subject on YouTube forums because there's two main sides to it.

One side says that you should put as many tags as possible that even slightly relate to your video while the other side says to only put tags that are directly related to your video and that it can actually be found for.

I greatly prefer the second philosophy so I'll describe it first, but I'll also touch on the first one and let you choose your favorite.

Only Using Directly Related Tags

Directly Related Tags Example
Directly Related Tags Example
From my experience it appears as if the more tags you have the less weight each tag carries. That means that you're less likely to be high up in the rankings for all of the tags. (You're spreading out your authority and "ranking juice" over too many tags.)

Because of this, using tags on your videos that you have no chance of ranking for at all doesn't make sense because it decreases your chance of ranking high for other keywords.

Is it really possible to rank your video for tags like: let's play, walkthrough, playthrough, video game, video, gameplay and others?

That's a task that even the great Pewds might be scared of!

Deleting tags like those and instead using tags like: your game + gameplay, your game+let's play, your game+playthrough, your game+level name, detailed descriptions of the game you're playing, and some other general tags that I'll talk about later.

Using As Many Tags As Possible

Keyword Stuffing Example
Keyword Stuffing Example
Using as many tags as possible also seems to work for some people because in this case you give yourself a chance to rank for more keywords, so the chance that you luck out on one of them is much higher than using the previous method.

If you're using this method, you would stuff your tags with things that are barely related to your video, but that you still might want to rank for.

Some people also like to use generally popular tags like: PewDiePie, World Of Warcraft, lol, funny cats, and whatever else is popular at the moment.

I don't recommend doing this because this is attempting to game the system and there is a chance you will get banned, and even if you don't get banned, if your video comes up for "funny cats" and the content of your video is a different game, your video's rank will drop because the viewer will click away right away.

Examples include: let's play, walkthrough, playthrough, video game, video, gameplay, playing video games, and other tags that might be slightly related to your video.

General Tags That Everyone Needs

Related Videos By Me
3/4 of the first videos in the Suggested Videos
box are by me
Wouldn't it be great if nearly all of the related videos to your video were created by you? 

If a viewer likes your video, instead of clicking away to a competitor's one, he could keep watching your videos!

How do tags help with this? 

If you have an abstract tag (your channel name+game name or just your channel name) in all of your videos of the same genre, YouTube realizes to group those videos together, and they will be shown more often in the related videos box.

I want all of my videos to be related so I put the tag BeatDaBest in all of them. I also have a couple of other special tags for the specific games that I play in my other ones.

Key Takeaway: For YouTube tags you can either stuff them with partially related keywords, or only use tags very specific to your video so they get more power in YouTube search. No matter what you do, don't forget to use your channel name as a keyword so your videos show up in the related videos box!

Captions/Transcriptions

Captions are a very important part of ranking your videos which is something most people don't realize.

According to an article by Lily Bond on ReelSEO, after adding captions to their videos, "Discovery Digital Networks found a significant increase in views attributable to captioning, as well as proof that captions improve SEO. In the first 14 days after adding closed captions, they documented a 13.48% increase in views; the lifetime increase in views was also significant, at 7.32%."

Close captioning their video increases their search engine presence and got them more views, but that's not all!

They searched on YouTube for keywords that appeared in the caption file of a video but did not appear in the description, title, or tags. They found that their video ranked 4th for the term, proving that captions influence search rank and improve keyword density and diversity.

How crazy is that?

If you have a keyword in your transcription, but not your title, description, or tags, your videos can still rank for that term!

Creating subtitles for every single one of your videos is very time-consuming or costly.

The cheapest Fiverr gig is $5 for a 5 minute video, and captioning all of your videos yourself takes a long time!

If you upload often and your channel has a lot of videos it might be worth captioning the ones that are already ranking high on YouTube so they can rank for even more keywords.

Once you're done with that, you should make captions for your gateway videos, and other short videos you might post that you want to rank high. (You can find more information on gateway videos at the end of this guide.)

Key Takeaway: Your videos can rank for keywords found only in your subtitles. Making captions for all of your videos is time/money consuming, so you should only caption gateway and popular videos.

Viewer Engagement

Viewer engagement is a very large category that includes the shares, backlinks, and user reactions that your videos get. It also includes audience retention and annotation click-through rate.

Shares

YouTube places a pretty big importance on the shares that your video gets.

If someones tweets about it, shares it on Facebook, Reddit, or another site, it must mean that they really liked it, hated it, or the video is very controversial.
YouTube Shares


Either way YouTube realizes that viewers like it and it has the potential to make them money so they put it higher in the rankings!

If your video is shareable, it won't just rise in the YouTube rankings. 

You will also get views and backlinks! The video usually has to be pretty good to be shared originally so that means that you will get more watchtime from people interested in it.

Now what makes for a shareable video?

Content that is short, funny, crazy, or weird is always good! Some people even create special, short videos for their channel called gateway videos to get more subscribers and viewers.

You can find more information about gateway videos at the very end of this guide. 

Your 20 minute video probably will not get as many shares as a 1 minute video of an amazing moment from your long one, because in this age, people are very impatient and they want high-octane action right from the start. 

They click on a video, and they need to be entertained right away, and if you don't they will click away quickly!

Key Takeaway: If your video is short and entertaining it has a higher potential to be shared on social media which increases it's rank on YouTube and brings you more views! Go to the end of the blog post to learn about Gateway videos!

Backlinks

Backlinks are related to shares in that if someone shares your video, it usually counts as a backlink.

However, no-follow social backlinks are not nearly as good as do-follow contextual backlinks from high reputable sources.

Backlinks help YouTube see that people are interested in your content, and since YouTube is a part of Google, and backlinks are how Google ranks videos, the YouTube search algorithm must also have at least a small part of it based on backlinks.

This isn't something to be aggressively pursued however. Letting it happen naturally is your best route. 

Key Takeaway: Backlinks do help your videos rankings, but aggressively pursuing them is not necessary for success.

User Reactions

User reactions refer to the comments, likes, dislikes, and favorites that your video receives. Shares could also be placed in this category, but they're important enough to get their own.

Comments

The more comments you have on your video, the higher your video will rank.

They don't affect the ranking nearly as much as other factors, but YouTube still places some importance on them because someone commenting on your video shows YouTube that they were interested enough in it that they took the time to write a comment.

This is why it's important to ask questions during the video! It can help it rank higher.

Key Takeaway: Ask questions during your video that your viewers can answer in the comments and increase the rank of your videos.

Likes And Dislikes

YouTube Likes And DislikesLikes and dislikes both help your video rank higher.

Likes are not inherently better than dislikes. The more likes and dislikes your video has, the higher the chance of it getting into a better position in search. 

When someones leaves a like or dislike on your video, the YouTube algorithm thinks about it this way: "Hm, this video was interesting or controversial enough that it caused a lot of people to engage with it. Let's put it higher in search so we get more money from showing it."

Of course if the ratio of likes to dislikes is very high, the boost might not be as big, but if the watchtime of your video is high, and you get a lot of dislikes YouTube will still put it higher in search because it could be a highly controversial video that's not necessarily bad because users are watching a large part of it.

Key Takeaway: Likes and dislikes both help your video's ranking as long as the watchtime is fairly high.

Favorites

Once again this shows that the viewers are interested enough in your video to favorite it with the possibility of watching it later.

There's really nothing you can do to try to increase this except making your videos as high quality as possible, as fun as possible, or as informative as possible.

Key Takeaway: Make your videos high quality and the favorites will come.


Thumbnail Quality

Great thumbnail courtesy of YouTube Academy
Great thumbnail courtesy of YouTube Academy
Having a good-looking custom thumbnail will not necessarily increase your videos' ranks, but it will increase the click-through rate of your video once it appears in search which will let YouTube know that people prefer this video over the other ones shown for a certain keyword, and it will rank higher.

If you want to learn more about what a good thumbnail is, you can check out my blog post here, but here's a quick summary!

A good thumbnail:
  • Should be eye catching.
  • Shouldn't have a lot of text.
  • Should let the viewer know what the video is about.
  • Should make the viewer interested in watching your video.
If you're pumping out more than 1 video a day it might be hard to create a custom thumbnail for every single video, but even something as simple as a screenshot from a game and an episode number looks better than just a random YouTube thumbnail!

Creator Academy Recommendations:
  • Always use custom thumbnails.
  • If your mobile viewership is high, extreme close-ups work very well as thumbnails because they're easy to see on smaller screens.
  • Make thumbnails work together with the title.
Key Takeaway: Make custom thumbnails for every video you post. Even if they're simple, a custom thumbnail is nearly always better than a YouTube picked one.


Small Tweaks

YouTube channel advanced settingsThere are some small tweaks to your channel that can help you rank higher, make your channel look more attractive, and get more subs.

Advanced Channel Settings (Channel Tags + Linking Website)

If you go to your channel Dashboard -> Channel -> Advanced you will get to a very useful page for your channel.

The first thing you should do is set the channel keywords to your channel name, and the games that you will focus the most on. You can also add some game genres in there, but try to keep the number of tags to 5 or less. 

YouTube channel tagsThis will help YouTube understand what your channel is focused on.

Next, you can scroll down until you hit the Associated website tab, and paste your website URL (if you have one)

This makes your channel look more official, and gives you a bit more authority on YouTube.

After that you should make sure that Channel recommendations are turned on because it's free advertising for you.

If you want you can also insert a Google Analytics code, which will help you understand your audience better, but won't improve your search engine rankings. (You can find a guide on adding YouTube to Google Analytics here.)

Key Takeaway: Adding channel tags and connecting your website to your YouTube account gives you more authority and helps YouTube classify your channel.

Branding

Go to Dashboard -> Channel -> Branding

I don't recommend using a Branding introduction, but a Branding watermark is definitely something you should have. 

Instead of creating an end slate, you can have a little square pop up in the upper right corner that will subscribe the viewers to your channel once they click on it.

I have it at the beginning of my video, and at the end I just do a verbal call to action, but you could do whatever you want.

Recommendations for the branding picture:
  • Have the word subscribe in it.
  • Make the images big, because the picture is fairly small.
Key Takeaway: Increase the number of subscribers by adding a small branding watermark on all of your videos!

Featured Content

Go to Dashboard -> Channel -> Featured Content.

Channel Featured ContentYou can show off your latest videos on all of your other ones for a couple of seconds. This helps keep viewers on your channel, and can ultimately lead to them subbing to you! 

You can also select a Channel ad which is free advertising provided for you by YouTube!

This can be your channel trailer, a short video of your gameplay, or a special video you make for advertising.

Whatever it is, there is no reason to not utilize this feature as it's completely free advertising.

Key Takeaway: You can get free advertising from YouTube for you channel. 

Channel Art

Channel art relates to your profile picture and your channel banner.

First impressions matter a lot. When someone visits your channel for the first time you don't want to turn them away because of an ugly channel banner.

You can either get someone on Fiverr to do it for you, have a fellow YouTube graphic designer do it for free, or do it yourself. 

However you do it make sure that:
  • It looks at least somewhat professional.
  • It's not too distracting.
  • It's high quality.
For your profile picture:
  • Don't put text in it, unless it's 3 letters or less.
  • Make it simple, but memorable.
Key Takeaway:  First impressions are important, so making sure that your profile picture and channel banner look good is a must!

Playlists

YouTube PlaylistsPlaylists help YouTube group your videos together, and automatically go on to the next video once the current one is finished.


This helps you get more views and keeps the viewer watching your videos instead of someone elses.

Managing playlists can be a lot of work if you don't use the automated video adding feature that YouTube offers you.

To use it, all you have to do is:
  1. Create a Playlist
  2. Click on it and go into settings.
  3. Click on Auto Add.
  4. Add the parameters for adding a video.  (I usually do it by title, because most of my titles are Game Name + Gameplay)
This greatly simplifies my playlist process, and all I have to do is create a playlist, setup the settings and forget about it!

You can also add videos by words in descriptions or tags.

Key Takeaway: Having playlists allows YouTube to group your videos together, and keeps viewers on your channel. 

File Name

When you're uploading your YouTube videos, make sure their name is related to the title you're going to use on YouTube and that it's not the random generated title like 122314.avi.

YouTube uses the name of the file to get keywords for your video, and if the title of the file matches with the video title, you get bonus strength to your keywords!

Key Takeaway: Title your videos properly before uploading to YouTube for a maximum boost to keyword power!

Channel Trailer

The channel trailer automatically starts playing whenever someone who isn't subscribed to you lands on your channel page.

If this video grabs their attention, and it's entertaining it might even get them to subscribe to you! (Which is the ultimate goal of the video)

Your trailer should:
  • Be short.
  • Be exciting.
  • Describe your channel to the visitor.
  • Explain to them why they should subscribe to you instead of other people.
If you haven't made a trailer yet, you can make the temporary trailer your gameplay highlights or another short video.

Key Takeaway: Your channel trailer should capture the viewer and get them to think about subscribing to you.

Channel About Page

Your about page is another opportunity for you to tell YouTube and your visitors who you are, what you do, and what your channel is about.

Your description should describe your channel, and it's always a good idea to put the games that you're currently playing, or that you're planning on playing in there also.

You can also edit the links shown on the bottom right corner of your channel banner.

If you have a website, twitter, twitch, or a facebook page, you can put a link to them there and get some visitors!

Key Takeaway: Don't leave your about page empty, and don't forget to add relevant links to your channel to it!

Annotations

With the addition of the Channel Branding annotations aren't as necessary as they once used to be.

However, they can still be useful to controlling the flow of your viewers, and getting them to watch more of your videos.

One way you can implement annotation into your videos is if you still use endslates. You can make items on the endslate clickable by using them.

If you also have a video that gets a lot of views, you could put an annotation at the beginning of it saying that it's outdated and sending them to a newer video of yours.

Key Takeaway: Use annotations to direct the flow of viewers and get more views from your popular videos!


Video Quality

Some people wonder about what their video quality should be when they're just starting out.

Should you record in 720P, 1080P, 30fps, or 60fps?

At this point most of new YouTube videos are going to be at least 720P at 30fps, so if you have the option of recording at that quality, go for it!

Simply having high quality videos won't make you stand out, but if you have lower quality ones, it'll be harder for you to compete with other channels!

As a rule of thumb for video games: if you can run the game at 60 fps and record at a higher resolution of framerate, do it!

It will give more options to your viewers, and who doesn't like the sweet, sweet 1080P at 60fps?

Key Takeaway: If you have the capability to record at a higher resolution or framerate, do it! Otherwise don't worry about it because it's not that important.

Custom Channel URL

Do you want a shiny, special URL just for your channel so users can find it more easily?

To get a custom URL you need to have 500 subs, have your channel be at least 30 days old, and have a picture for your profile picture and banner.

Or you can simply connect your channel with your website!

To get the custom URL, you can follow the direction on Google's Official Support page.

Getting a custom URL makes it easier to find your channel for viewers, but be careful! 

You can only change your URL once!

Key Takeaway: You can change your channel URL only once, and you should do it when you're able to so it's easier for interested parties to find you.

Frequence Of Posting

Depending on the editing and recording time your videos take, you might only be able to upload one video a month, one video a week, or even one video a day.

It doesn't matter how often you upload, as often as the content is high quality and you upload consistently.

You can only upload one video a week?

Make sure to state that in your channel trailer, description, and make sure that your video is high quality!

Most viewers would rather have a channel that they know will post a good video on a certain day, rather than having a channel spam their subscription wall at random times of the week or day. 

Key Takeaway: It doesn't matter how often you upload, as long you stay consistent and keep producing high quality content.

Collaborations

Doing collaborations with channels in the same niche as you can really help you.

When planning on doing a collab, ask yourself the following questions:
  • Do I seem to work well with the person?
  • Does the person bring something interesting, new, or different to my channel that my subscribers will be interested in?
  • Will the audience of your collab partner's channel enjoy, or be interested in you/your content?
The answer to all of the above questions should be yes, and if it's a no, think about what you can improve in your relationship, and whether doing this collab is truly good for your channel.

Collaborations often aren't one time things, so working well with the person and being able to play off of each other is a must.

Creator Academy Recommendations:
  • Approach other creators with fully formed ideas. This gives you a higher chance of them saying yes, and lets both of you know what you're getting into.
  • Use the Fans tool in Analytics to see which other channels your fans watch to find a possible collaborator! (Only available to 1000+ sub channels)
  • You can create one separate collab video for each channel, and let your viewers know about the other video in an annotation, link, or a shoutout. (Gives you a higher chance that the viewers will visit the other person's channel)

Key Takeaway: Do collaborations with people you think you'll work together with, and who have viewers who will enjoy your content. Make sure the collab is beneficial to both parties!

  

Bonus Information

We are mostly done with the SEO part of this post.

However, there are still a lot of learnings to be done! ;)

Gateway Videos

Gateway videos are short videos that are meant to capture the viewers attention and hold it for the entire video.

If you're a YouTuber who usually creates videos that are 10 minutes+, creating a high quality gateway video should give you a good boost of views and subscribers in a fairly short period of time.

Gateway videos can be:
  • Highlight videos
  • Top 10 videos
  • Tutorials
  • Funny moments mashups
The key to gateway videos is to make them as entertaining as possible! 

Every second of it should be either entertaining or highly informative.

It should be something that people will want to share, and something that will get you a lot of views if you post it on Reddit or in another forum.

Key Takeaway: Make short, highly entertaining videos to draw in new viewers and subscribers to your channel.

RPM VS CPM

CPM- Cost Per Thousand. This is the amount of money that YouTube and you get for 1000 views combined.
RPM- Revenue Per Thousand. This is how much money you make for 1000 views.

If you're planning on joining a network, you might want to know your true RPM and compare it to what the network offers you.

There is a great post on Reddit about this, but here's a quick rundown:
  1. Get your Total Estimated Earnings number.
  2. Get your Estimated Monetized Playbacks number.
  3. Divide #1 by #2 and multiply by 1000.
 The number that you get will be how much money you make for 1000 monetized views. (You might be surprised to find out that your Estimated Monetized Playbacks are tiny compared to your total views.)

Your RPM should be between $5-$10, depending on the season and the niche that your videos are in.

Key Takeaway: To find how much money you get for 1000 monetized views, divide your Total Estimated Earnings by your Estimated Monetized Playbacks and multiply by 1000.

The Truth About Networks

Networks aren't inherently bad by themselves, but the problem is the fact that many YouTubers who are just starting out fall into the trap once they receive a couple of network messages.

There is yet another great post on Reddit about it, but the basic idea of it is that most of the people who approach you will be a partner of that network who gets a percentage of your revenue if you sign up under him.

Some of the things networks claim to offer you, you already have.

Partnering with a network in an attempt to increase your CPM will not work. The only reasons for partnering with them is to:
  • Get a lower limit of withdrawing your earnings. (YouTube's limit is $100, while most networks have a lower one.)
  • Get collab opportunities. (Nothing you can't do yourself, especially if you get out there and talk to people.)
  • Get free music. (Some networks have deals with music producers that allow you to use their music in their videos.)
Just remember, no matter what network you join, they will be taking away at least 10% of the earnings that you would get if you were partnered with YouTube.

Think about all of the advantages and disadvantages of joining a specific network, and do your research on it!

Key Takeaway: Just because someone approaches you with a message that your channel is special and you should join their network, doesn't mean that's actually the truth. Do your own research and don't rush into signing a contract.

How To Promote Your YouTube Channel

I'm going to make another huge guide on promoting your YouTube channel later, but here are some sites where you can post your videos:
You can post your video on those sites to get some views.

If your video is not gaming oriented, another option is to join a forum focused on the same topic as your videos, become a trusty member of it, and post your videos on it from time to time. (Probably the best way to promote)

Twitter is a great way to promote your videos, but do not do follow for follow because that will clutter up your feed, and you will get followers who don't care about your content at all.

All you will get is an inflated number that doesn't demonstrate how many people are really interested in what you post.

The right way to do is, is find some larger, or same size channels that you like, tweet at them and get a conversation going and possibly collab with them.

Whenever someone likes your video and posts on Twitter, you can also favorite their tweet and tweet a "Thanks" at them.

Key Takeaway: Do not do sub for sub, or follow for follow. Do not spam, and try to make friends with people before asking them to collab or follow.

How To Find Out Your Opponents Tags

If you're constantly trying to get your videos to rank higher on YouTube, it might be useful to you to look at the tags of people ranking above you.

I have a fairly lengthy post about it that you can find here, but here's a quick rundown.

  1. Download the VidIQ Google Chrome Extension
  2. Create an account with them, sign-in, and connect your YouTube account.
  3. Click on a competitors YouTube video and look at their keywords to the right of it!
Or you could press f12 in Google Chrome and looking inside the tag! (Courtesy of SwingPoynt)

Key Takeaway: Looking at your competitors tags using VidIQ and adding the ones you don't already use to your video could help you rank higher.

How To Choose A Proper Microphone

If you're planning on doing Let's Play videos, or recording your voice while you're sitting at your computer it shouldn't come to you as a surprise that you will need a fairly good microphone.

In my opinion, the Teknmotion headphones seen on the right are the best bang for you buck.

They're under $25, and the quality of my voice is higher than that of my $90 SteelSeries headphones.

The Steels definitely beat the Teknmotion ones if you're comparing the quality of the sound that you hear, but for recording the $25 Techs are my favorite. 

You can also check out this post on Reddit to get some more options!

Key Takeaway: Buy a good microphone so your sound quality doesn't make babies cry!

How To Find Motivation To Record

No Zero DaysDiscipline is bigger than motivation! (A great video by Elliot Hulse. You can't always be motivated, but if you're disciplined the process of putting out a video will become nearly automatic.)

Use the idea of no zero days. (This is a great post about not having any day be zero day for you.)

A zero day is basically a day where you don't do anything towards your goal.

Your goal should be to avoid those days completely.

Your goal is to become a famous YouTuber, but you're feeling sluggish and don't want to do anything?

Use the idea of no zero days and do one small thing towards your big goal.

It can be:
  • Watching a video about how YouTube works
  • Improving the title, description, or tags of one video
  • Going on r/Letsplay and answering people's questions.
Whatever it is, try to get as many non-zero days in a row as possible!

Key Takeaway: Try to have as many non-zero days as possible and work towards your goal every day. Discipline is more important than motivation.

Useful Websites For YouTubers

YouTube requires a lot of resources and effort.

You might need music, images, and other information, and paying for it would make Donald Trump poor.

You can check out my post on 50 of the most useful websites for YouTube if you need free images, music, or need to figure out what games you can, and can't monetize!


I Read This Guide, But I still Want To Know More

If your appetite for learning about YouTube SEO still isn't satisfied, you can check out these great posts, sites, and videos!

Still Have Questions?

Still have questions after reading this guide, and the suggested resources above?

You can always comment below or ask a question to the very knowledgeable Let's Play subreddit!

Just please don't spam your video links. No one likes that!

Closing Words

Thank you for reading this guide! 

I really hope you found it useful!

Please comment below if you have any questions or just want to thank me for the guide! ;)

52 comments:

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