How do I make my videos better

14 Proven Tricks to Get More Views on YouTube

Since joining YouTube in 2015, we've had more than 6.1 million views.

Sounds unbelievable? Take a look at our channel stats:

In this blog post, I'll show you 14 tried and tested tactics that have helped us get more views on YouTube.

  1. Pick a niche
  2. Create videos on topics people are looking for
  3. Rank your videos on Google
  4. Increase your click through rate with an engaging title
  5. Create an eye-catching thumbnail
  6. Create a compelling video description
  7. Use series playlists to get more views on the suggested videos
  8. Include your videos in forums that get traffic
  9. Embed your videos in relevant, topic-related blog posts
  10. Create endscreens and endcards
  11. Add timestamps to your videos so your video jump marks will show up on Google
  12. Publish your videos at the right time
  13. Add relevant, topic-related YouTube tags
  14. Get more engaged views with YouTube ads

YouTube makes money with ads. So it is in their best interest to keep people on their platform for as long as possible in order to be able to display more advertisements.

Because of this, they recommend similar videos in the sidebar. For example, if you watch a video about the preparation of ribeye steaks, the sidebar mainly recommends other steak recipes and preparation instructions for other cuts of beef.

So that makes sense.

If you want to know how to cook a ribeye steak, you might also be interested in how to cook a Philly cheese steak.

But you may have noticed in the screenshot that many of the recommended videos are from the same channel as the video being played.

This is an important point because one of the easiest ways to get more video views is to let people watch more than one video of you. That's why it's so important that your videos appear here.

How do you do that?

While there's no way to secure a spot in the sidebar, you can increase your chances by posting similar videos on your channel. That is why it pays off at the beginning to choose a niche and specialize thematically.

So don't just get started with a cooking channel. This is too extensive. It is better to start with a channel on the topic of barbecue or grilling meat. This increases your chances of being recommended for your own videos in the sidebar - which leads to more views.

And that's exactly what we did. Our first videos in 2015 focused exclusively on link building and search engine optimization (SEO):

Of course, you don't have to keep your topic focus so narrow forever.

As soon as you generate more views, you also get more subscribers. Since your subscribers will always be notified about your videos, you can expand your topic a bit. Perhaps you would like to develop your topics now and make videos about marinades or side dishes, for example.

And that was basically exactly what we did. While we're still mostly focused on SEO, we've also started producing videos on related topics such as blogging, content marketing, video marketing, and affiliate marketing:

2. Create videos on topics people are looking for

One of the biggest mistakes new YouTubers make is creating "me-centered" videos, such as "This is the camera gear I use".

Unless you have as many subscribers as iJustine, nobody really cares who you are or what you do.

So a better option is to focus on topics that have search traffic potential. Because even if people are not interested in what equipment I use, they are still looking for advice on camera equipment.

In fact, the search query “Best Camera for YouTube” is made about 3,400 times a month in the US and 6,100 times worldwide.

So if you choose topics with search traffic potential for your YouTube videos, you can get hits. This works even if you don't have a single subscriber.

How do you get to these topics?

The easiest way is to use the free YouTube Keyword Tool from Ahrefs.

Here you can simply enter a topic-related word or phrase and you will be shown up to 150 keywords including their monthly search volume.

Are you looking for a larger number of suggestions?

With Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer, all suggestions can be retrieved from our database, which contains over 800 million YouTube keywords.

Once you've done keyword research for your videos, you need to start looking at how to rank those videos on YouTube. Take a look at this video:

3. Rank your videos on Google

Fun fact:

Google generated over 230,000 views of our YouTube videos in the last ~ 12 months.

As the? Because YouTube videos are sometimes displayed on Google too.

For example, look at the search results for “How to make scrambled eggs” (or “how to make scrambled eggs”). Google shows quite a few YouTube videos in the results.

The question, however, is how do you find video topics that have the potential to generate traffic via Google?

Very easily. Search for videos that have already been hit by Google and create videos on the same topics. You can do that with Ahrefs' Content Explorer, a searchable database of over a billion websites - including SEO metrics.

Start with this search:

Sort the results by organic traffic - in descending order from highest to lowest - and you'll get a list of relevant YouTube videos that are currently receiving traffic from Google.

For example, the recipe video is obtained from Amritsari Chole Masala an estimated 1,900 monthly hits from the search. Not bad.

Once you've found a list of topics worth targeting, the next step is to create an "optimized" video that will be ranked on Google.

How do you do that?

Read this blog post or watch this video:

4. Increase your CTR with an engaging title

No matter how highly your video is ranked, you won't get any views if no one clicks on it.

That's why you need a compelling, compelling title that makes you click.

But that doesn't mean you should do clickbaits like “This one trick got us 15 million hits in an hour”. While this may lead to clicks, it is unlikely that you will be able to keep that promise, which in turn will reduce the trustworthiness of your channel.

So how do you write good titles for YouTube videos? Here are some tips:

  • Mention your main keyword. Briggsby's study shows that there is some benefit in having your most important keyword in the title. This also goes hand in hand with YouTube's recommendation to integrate relevant search terms into your title.
  • Keep your title short. YouTube shortens titles that are too long. Keep it as short as possible without losing any of its expressiveness.
  • Focus on the benefits. Make it clear why someone should watch your video.

5. Create an eye-catching thumbnail

Improving your click-through rate (CTR) doesn't just depend on the title. You also have to create a suitable and eye-catching thumbnail (preview image, miniature image).

For example, take a look at the thumbnails in our channel:

We purposely designed them to stand out.

Here are some tips for creating thumbnails that will entice searchers to click:

  • Don't use a still image of your video. It usually doesn't look appealing, nor is it contextual. Instead, create a unique and engaging version to grab the seeker's attention.
  • Use an image that matches the content. Make sure your thumbnail shows clearly that your video provides an answer to the user's query. For example, for a video tutorial on "How do you tie a tie?" shown someone tying a tie.
  • Use the contrast to your advantage. YouTube is mainly in the colors white, gray and red. Avoid these colors as they will visually match the search results.
  • Use descriptive text on the thumbnail. We usually use a short text to complement the title. For example, our video about learning SEO has the words “Learn SEO” on the thumbnail.

6. Create a compelling video description

YouTube's search results don't just include the title and thumbnail of your video. The first sentence of your video description is also displayed.

Since this can potentially affect your click-through rate, try to make this description as engaging and enticing as possible.

While the first few lines are arguably the most important, you shouldn't neglect the rest of your description. This is a great place to encourage your visitors to watch more of your other videos, subscribe to your channel, and more.

Here's our description for our video on SEO in 2020:

We use the same scheme for all of our descriptions:

  • 1-2 convincing sentencesthat entice you to click;
  • A link to subscribe (Just add
  • Links to related YouTube videos on our channel;
  • Detailed description of the video (we try to keep this between 500-1,000 words);
  • time stamp for key moments in the video (see tip # 11);
  • Another link to subscribe;
  • Links to our social channels

Very easily.

Here is a template if you want to use this format as well.

7. Use series playlists to get more views on the suggested videos

When someone clicks on your video in the sidebar, it has been suggested to that person.

We already mentioned how you can increase the chances of your video appearing in the sidebar. But there is a second part, and this concerns the function “play next video automatically”:

And that is a place that you definitely want to use.

The reason for this is simple: the next video will automatically play after the current video ends.

But here's the problem: If you have a small or new channel, it's difficult for other people to suggest your video on the videos. So if you're just starting out, you'll need to make sure you're using the “Auto-play next video” feature on your own videos.

How? By using a series playlist.

A series playlist allows you to mark your playlist as an official collection of videos for viewing together.

Think how Netflix does it with the seasons and episodes of your favorite series. It wouldn't make much sense to watch the videos out of order.

To set up a series playlist, go to your playlist, click on “Playlist Settings”, then click on “Advanced Settings” and select “Set as official series for this playlist”.

For best results, put the videos in a logical order. Because your chances of your video automatically playing next increase if people actually watch the videos in the order you set them up.

8. Include your videos in forums that get traffic

Forums and Q&A websites are likely to have questions that your videos can answer.

For example, here's a question on Quora that one of our YouTube videos helps answer - that's why we embedded it when we responded to the thread:

The trick for this tactic to work efficiently, however, is not to answer any and all questions. It consists of finding relevant threads that are receiving consistent traffic from Google - and answering them.

You can do this with Ahrefs' Site Explorer.

Just add a popular forum like Quora or a well-known industry-specific forum like WarriorForum, then go to Top Pages reportto see the threads that are driving the most search traffic.

This is what it looks like for Quora:

Next, enter a relevant word or phrase (e.g. “recipe” / ”recipe”) in the “Add” field to limit the results to relevant threads.

Search the report for relevant, topic-related questions that you might want to answer.

Let's say the “best egg substitute in a cornbread recipe” looks promising. The final step is to click the caret, click “Summary” and then go to the “Organic Search” tab to see the organic traffic on the site as a time history.

What you want to see now is a consistent month-to-month history of organic traffic like this:

These are the questions that are most worth answering as they will most likely generate a large number of video views.

Also interesting: Quora Marketing: ~ 1 Million Views Generated. Here’s How to Replicate Our Success

9. Embed your videos in relevant, topic-related blog posts

Our blog post on affiliate marketing receives an estimated 12,000 hits a month.

And since we have a video on the subject, we embedded it, which has resulted in an additional 2,553 views to date.

Pretty cool right?

So the thing is clear: if you have a blog, you should embed your videos in relevant blog posts.

How do you know which pages to embed your videos on?

The easiest thing to do is to use common sense. If your video is on the same topic as one of your blog posts, then you should embed it.

Another option is to search Google Analytics or the Google Search Console for high-traffic pages that could result in video views on YouTube.

Google Search Console: Some of our pages that have the highest traffic.

If you haven't set up Google Analytics or the Google Search Console, you can enter your domain in Ahrefs' Site Explorer and see the report on the Top Pages to find out which pages are getting the highest organic traffic.

10. Create endscreens and endcards

End screens are video thumbnails that you can add towards the end of your video. And when someone clicks on it, that video will start playing.

Endcards, on the other hand, are insertions that you can add anywhere in your video.

You can use them to suggest other videos and playlists, add polls, or add links to a website.

Well, even if it is tempting to always link to your website and move the traffic there, maybe it would be better to keep users on the YouTube platform.

In our experience, the cumulative value that you get from longer session watch times (playback times) exceeds a few link clicks.

If you haven't yet added endscreens and endcards to your videos, you should do so from now on. It doesn't take too much time, and it got us tens of thousands of video views as well.

11. Add timestamps to your videos so your video jump marks will appear on Google

Google sometimes shows key moments from YouTube videos in search results:

These jump marks / "Key Moments" enable visitors to jump to marked points that are of interest in your video.

Now, Google is more likely to show these key moments for your videos when you add timestamps and captions to your YouTube video description.

You can use a time stamp to mark a specific section of your video in the format [hour]: [minute]: [second]. “Labels” are short and clear descriptions of the marked sections.

[Note] You can ignore the [lesson] if it is not needed. [/annotation]

To add timestamps to your video:

For example, check out the timestamps and captions in our SEO video on YouTube:

These timestamps guide viewers to specific sections of the video. For example, clicking 13:01 will take you to the part where Sam describes how to do video optimizations.

And it seems these tweaks are working. When asked, Google shows "How do you make YouTube videos rank?" now the jump marks / ”key moments” for our video.

Here are some tips for adding timestamps and labels:

  • Place each timestamp on a new line, and put the caption on the same line.
  • Arrange the timestamps in chronological order. For example, don't put the timestamp 15:24 before the timestamp 11:33.
  • Keep the captions short, but meaningful and clear. Longer labels will be cut off by Google. So just describe directly what the section is about instead of obsessively packing your keywords into it.
  • Adjust the screen content to match the lettering. If your label says “chop onion”, try adding the timestamp where you can see chopping an onion on the screen.

12. Publish your videos at the right time

The best time to post is exactly when your target audience is watching videos. You can find out peak times by checking out YouTube's new report, “When Your Viewers Are On YouTube”:

[Note] This report is new and is still considered experimental by YouTube. [/annotation]

Well, what we'd recommend here is to post about an hour before peak time, and not right at peak time itself. This gives our viewers plenty of time to discover and watch our videos, which leads to more views.

For example, a good time to post our videos would be between 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. (Singapore time or 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. EST).

If you don't have enough daily views to be able to use this report effectively, then you can try to stick to these general time slots, kindly provided by Frederator Networks.

13. Add relevant, topic-related YouTube tags

There is evidence that YouTube tags aren't all that important. But since they can be entered in just a few seconds, they are worth adding - even if they only help a few people find your videos.

At Ahrefs, we do this in 3 steps:

First: Set a day as your main keyword.

YouTube's official tag recommendation is to “use words and phrases that make the most sense for your video”. So it makes sense to start with your most important keyword.

For example, if we were to add a tag for our video about content promotion, it would be “content promotion”:

Secondly: Add general, relevant keywords from top-ranked videos.

You can use browser extensions like vidIQ and TubeBuddy to find them. Simply install one of these extensions, search for your target keyword on YouTube, open the 3-5 most relevant videos, and search for general and relevant tags.

For example, we see that the tags “content promotion plan”, “how to promote your content” and “how to promote your blog” are displayed for all competing videos on the topic of “content promotion” so we add these to our video .

Third: Add relevant keywords with search volume.

The easiest way is to paste the tags from the previous steps into Ahrefs' Keywords Explorer using the search engine set to YouTube. Search the list for relevant keywords with search volume.

In this case, “blogging”, “content marketing” and “content marketing strategy” would probably make sense, so we added them to our video:

We go through these steps in more detail in our guide to YouTube tags.

14. Get more engaged views with YouTube ads

If you have the budget, the best way to get more video views is to pay for it. And that works with the YouTube ads.