As the 2nd largest search engine in the world, YouTube is a widely used channel to promote, entertain, and educate audiences. YouTube has roughly 22 billion monthly visits and the average session duration is just under 40 minutes.
People like YouTube. A lot.
However, like all things on the internet getting more YouTube views has been a pursuit that people have started to throw money at–sometimes through shady enterprises–to promote their content. People are buying YouTube views in hopes of either fooling YouTube’s algorithms or convincing people that so many others have watched their video so they should too.
There’s just a few problems with this approach:
- YouTube’s bot detection capabilities are getting better and better
- The algorithms are paying more attention to user behavior rather than view counts
- It can be expensive
If you’re a marketer or content creator wanting to increase your YouTube views for free, then the process will take time and effort; however, if you do it right you’ll be rewarded with more views, a better user experience, and opportunities to expand your content and audience viewership.
With its extensive amount of users, YouTube is one of the premier platforms in the world to reach audiences. Whether you’re sharing recipes, teaching people how to create muppet origami, or spoofing presidents, the platform has the ability to reach billions.
So, how do you generate more views on YouTube and get people to view your content?
Get Views from YouTube’s Organic Search Results
Like Google’s search results algorithms, YouTube has its own algorithms used to showcase the best and most relevant videos to users. Imagine if a blind person had the task of categorizing content by which content was best. Sound difficult?
Thankfully, YouTube has a wide variety of factors in its algorithm to decide which videos are the best and rank in the top of its search results.
1. Use Descriptive and Keyword Rich Titles
This is where your keyword research will come into play. A descriptive and interesting title will do two things: provide keywords for the algorithm to sort for relevancy purposes and attract users and inform them about what the video is about. To conduct keyword research, you can use typical SEO methods like using TubeBuddy or other keyword research tools.
Optimizing your video content for the right keywords will help gain organic views by informing users and the search engine just what your video is about.
2. Have Quality and Keyword Rich Descriptions
The video description is where you can better inform the search engines and users just what exactly your video is about. This will help increase the click-through-rate and thus the views, as users will know what to expect in your video.
Try to both stand-out and remain generic; you should capture interest while still trying to rank for short-tail keywords. Entice users above the fold with your descriptions and optimize them correctly for the YouTube search engine as you would with a normal SEO meta description.
3. Use Tags
YouTube video tags further help distinguish what your video content about and helps the algorithm understand what users will view when they see your video. These, along with your description and title, should reflect the core of what your video is about. Think short-tail SEO again.
If you need keyword help, you can use TubeBuddy, as mentioned above.
4. Optimize Your Thumbnail Image
Your thumbnail image, like a hero-image, can work wonders when increasing your YouTube views whether they’re on the organic results page, suggested videos section, or appearing on social media. Use high-quality images that feature readable and engaging fonts and facial-closeups, if they’re featured in your video.
Have your thumbnail be a visual correspondent to your title and description to boost your video views.
5. Create Transcripts of Your Videos
Captions or transcripts of your videos have been heavily debated as to their ability to increase your YouTube ranking. However, closed captions can help get more YouTube views as they cater to international audiences and the disabled.
Ranking well for YouTube’s organic results can increase your views immensely and provide a sustainable method of viewership traffic. Buying YouTube views may provide a quick boost in views, but it’s not a good long-term solution as behavioral analytics are more meaningful ranking factors in the eyes of YouTube’s algorithms.
Increase Views With Your Video Content
The content in your video is the most important factor in deciding just how many views it will get. Good content will result in better behavioral analytics that YouTube’s algorithm will recognize and reward your video with better organic search positioning.
6. Provide Content that Educates or Entertains or Both
Your video content should provide value to the viewer; whether it’s teaching them how to do or understand something, or simply keeping them engaged and entertained. When users find your content valuable, they’ll return for more and increase the views on your other future video content.
7. Piggyback off of Viral Trends
Create video content that piggybacks off of already existing viral trends. There’s already a built in market desire to view content within the context of a viral phenomenon, so you should tap into it.
A good example is all the YouTube videos that were made in response to the United Airlines PR fiasco.
It’s not always easy or possible to tie your video content in with ongoing trends; however, if you can find a clever way to do it, you can boost your views on YouTube with the help of a hungry public looking for more trending contextual content.
8. Use Guest YouTubers
Similar to guest posting for blog content, guest YouTubers, industry influencers, or persons of note with their own following can do wonders for boosting your views. Similar to influencer marketing, guest YouTubing can entice your users with household industry names and provide a different and unique perspective to your industry’s sphere.
Offer a link to one of their videos or websites in your description and you can form a beneficial relationship built on reciprocity.
Generating Views From the YouTube Platform
YouTube’s bottom line is to keep users on the platform. They rake in a huge amount of cash from advertising and the more users watch videos, the more they’ll increase profits. Thus, there are numerous ways you can be active on the platform to increase your subscribers and video views.
9. Create Video Content that Imitates Your Industry’s Best
Picasso once said “good artists borrow, great artists steal.” While I would never advocate for plagiarism of any kind, Picasso’s point rings very true in regard to popular YouTube videos. A potential goldmine for boosting your views comes from the Suggested Videos section that appears on the sidebar and in a grid after a video has been completed.
YouTube’s algorithms will present content here as they would for an organic result with one caveat: the video a user just watched may have less to do with the original query they put in, and more to with the relevancy to the video the user just viewed. Thus, the content presented at the end of a watched video will be similar to the content that was just viewed.
By optimizing your video to be relevant to other popular videos, you’ll increase the chances of driving users to view your YouTube channel and video, fast.
You can target similar keywords and descriptions and create video content that covers the same topic with a more engaging tone or with more information presented in a more accessible way.
10. Use Cards
These YouTube optimization features enable you to promote your other content within your video. You can create cards that can be used to:
- Promote other video content
- Get more channel subscribers
- Donate to a non-profit
- Send traffic to your website
- Encourage users to participate in a poll
In regard to increasing your video views, you should use these cards to encourage users to visit your lesser watched content and subscribe to your channel. Use your behavioral analytics to see at which points users stop watching your video and implement the card beforehand to ensure it gets seen by more viewers.
YouTube behavioral analytics provide you with a lot of actionable insights and metrics to inform every decision you make to increase your video views.
11. Create End Screens
End screens serve the unique function of doing a little bit of everything at the end of your video. It’s a chance to provide users who enjoyed your content with all the relevant information regarding your channel, other playlists, recommended videos, and your verified website.
Whether you’re gaining more subscribers or linking to your other videos, both optimization features directly or indirectly to boost your YouTube views.
To add end-screens, go to your Video Manager, click edit on the video you want to add to, and click End Screens & Annotations. From there you’ll be able to add the additional features.
End screens are a great way to promote your own content before YouTube’s algorithms recommend other popular videos and pull people away from your channel and videos.
12. Promote a Marquee Video
Having a marquee video on YouTube can help spread awareness to your other videos and to your YouTube channel. A good marker is for your video to have at least 5,000 views so that it will appear in more search results due to its already existing popularity.
As mentioned above, you can create cards, end screens, and other links to your other video content within your marquee video.
Like internal linking on websites, your marquee videos can be a great way to push traffic and views to your lesser-known videos and channel in general.
13. Use Autoplay for your Embedded Videos
Autoplay will automatically begin playing a video when it’s been embedded. You should be careful when you do this, as auto-played videos may annoy some users. If the video content is explanatory, then it might be a good idea to use it as users can immediately jump into the video that’s explaining how to do something.
14. Create Playlists
Create playlists for your content so viewers can watch it consecutively. After the first video ends, your other videos will automatically play, which will get more views for each played video without them having to navigate off the player.
You can embed playlists, post them in your channel, or have users share them to increase the total views for each playlist.
Make each one unique and give them flow and relevancy with the order in which they are played. These are great for educational or entertaining content that tells a story or goes in depth into how different components make up a whole.
15. Be Present Within Your Niche Community
Promoting yourself as an expert in your own videos is one thing, but being an active member in your niche community is another. Comment on other videos and offer your advice or feedback, and if there’s video content that is missing some vital information, link others to your content to provide them with more information.
Try to be as helpful as possible and you’ll be rewarded with more users to increase your subscribers and ultimately, your video views.
Off-page View Boosters
YouTube has the unique ability to be present on a variety of different social media platforms. It can be embedded and shared, sometimes virally, with just a few clicks. Here are some ways to get more YouTube views outside of the platform.
16. Increase Your Video’s SEO Ranking
Traditional SEO is also a viable factor to increase YouTube views as the videos have the potential to even outrank the website that they’re featured on in the search engines.
Video embeds do count as backlinks and in this case, the links are pointing to the YouTube video, which help it’s SEO ranking. With a decent ranking on the SERPs, you can double-down on the traffic your video gets and increase your views.
17. Post Links to Your Videos on Your Social Media Profiles
Cross-platform promotion, especially with YouTube can work wonders in driving users to view it. You can reach your entire base by sharing links on other profiles to funnel them toward your video. Share the link as a post, or put it in the description of your profiles to boost your views.
Also, by pushing traffic from your social media profiles to YouTube, you’ll gain favor with the algorithms by becoming the source of many session starts, which are sessions that originate on certain videos on the platform. Sessions starting on your video show that your video is bringing users to YouTube, which will result in a more favorable organic ranking and more appearances in suggest views sections.
18. Find Niche Communities to Share Your Video with
There are a wide variety of places you can share your content. Different subreddits on Reddit or Quora topics that are relevant to your video’s interests and share target audiences are a great place to share your content.
There are even places just to share your video with YouTube enthusiasts to increase it’s views like the subreddit /r/GetMoreViewsYT. On this subreddit, people post videos and vote on the ones they like the best. The winner gets stickied to the top of the subreddit for the next week for people to visit and watch.
19. Reach Out to Influencers to Promote Your Video
Influencer marketing is fast-becoming a go-to source to reach audiences for big name brands. They have built in audiences that re-share and post their content, which has the potential to provide a surge in views on a viral scale.
As viewers are already following these influencers and regularly engage with the content they provide, one share of your video can generate a lot of views for your YouTube video and channel.
20. Embed Video Subscription Plugins Widgets on Your Blog
Embedding your video will already gain more views for your video, but supplying a subscribe button to your channel will prove extremely valuable in the long-run. About 50% of views for a video come from subscribers, so increasing your subscribers will give you a good bump in views on your videos .
To install the subscription widget, follow these instructions from YouTube and use the widget on pages with your video embedded.
21. Post About Giveaways and Promotions with the Links Embedded in Your Video Description
Everyone loves a good giveaway. Posting about a promotion, giveaway, or raffle on social media and telling your followers that the link to participate is in your video’s description will send the users to the video’s YouTube page, resulting in an increase in views.
Remember to Be Patient
Getting a lot of views on YouTube takes time. The platform has its own checks and balances to ensure that quality video content is reaching its users always and often. Try building an active subscriber base, and they will make up the lion’s share of your views.