YouTube is the most visited site in the world with an estimated 1.6bn visits from organic traffic each month. Not only that but it is now deemed the second biggest search engine behind Google.

So how can you increase your video views and appear top of the search results?

Unfortunately it’s not quite as easy as optimising your video for SEO. YouTube’s product chief underlined the reality of the impact of suggested-to-watch videos in an interview, noting 70% of a user’s time spent on the platform was dictated by the company’s suggested video algorithm. So first of all you need to familiarise yourself with the YouTube algorithm.

How Does the YouTube Algorithm Work?

YouTube uses an algorithm based on 3 main criteria:

  1. Relevance: YouTube explores the pairing of title, description, tags, and content with a search query.

  2. Engagement: aggregates the number of responses from users, including watch time, engagement, and frequency.
  3. Quality: rating is determined by a channel’s ability to demonstrate trustable authority.

In addition to these three qualifiers, YouTube’s algorithm also assigns a score to user’s historical views, based upon frequency of channel uploads and other attributes. These figures allow YouTube to recommend videos that resonate with a specific viewer based upon their interests.

So, How Do You Improve Your Organic Reach on YouTube?

  1. Keywords and Metadata
    It’s clear that content relevant keywords in your title, description, tags and captions optimise your video for search as they adhere to the YouTube algorithm. So treat your video content like your website. Put together keyword research to help increase the amount of times your video can be seen.
  2. Optimise Your Description
    YouTube prefers lengthy descriptions, so don’t be afraid to write too much. Although viewers can only interact with the first two lines without having to click ‘read more’. So make sure the most important and engaging content goes here.
  3. Transcribe Your Video
    Captions not only help those with accessibility needs but they also allow users to watch videos in silence. Uploading subtitles yourself means that these captions can be indexed for search as opposed to auto-generated subtitles which may not be entirely accurate.
  4. Whole Video Views
    As we know, YouTube ranks videos by engagement. So the longer someone watches your video the higher the chance of your video being shown in the recommended videos. If you’re struggling with viewer attrition rates, then try adding a hook at the beginning to make people watch till the end.
  5. Where To Go Next
    You don’t want a user to just disappear after watching your video, so try directing viewers to another video on your channel. Add watermarks, cards or speak to them directly. By directing viewers to another video on your channel, you increase interaction as well as the likelihood of them returning to watch future content feeding into the YouTube algorithm.
  6. Subscribe, Subscribe, Subscribe
    When someone subscribes to your channel, you automatically increase your organic following. Make sure you’re creating regular, original and engaging content that people want to see to increase the number of subscribers on your channel.
  7. Creating Loyal Fans
    To help inspire people to watch more videos, try creating playlists or create a mini series that a user cannot wait to watch the next episode!
  8. Share Across Social
    Your social media accounts are free advertising for your YouTube channel. Promote your videos on all your social channels, website, and in your email marketing to generate new views.
  9. Make Use Of Analytics
    Analytics can help identify what is, and more importantly what isn’t working. By discovering what does and doesn’t work you can put together new content strategies to create fresh and engaging content.