How to Rank Your Videos From Start to Finish

Do you want to know how we increased our YouTube search views by nearly 400%?

Within 7½  months, we achieved some rankings YouTube for some of the most sought after keywords a causa di our industry.

While rankings are geographically targeted and always a causa di flux, here are a few examples: 

#1 for “local SEO

#1 for “SEO tips”

#2 for “SEO

We aren’t a viral sensation, but we’ve had steady growth from the first day we published a bed 8‐targeted televisione.

Ahrefs YouTube Search Traffic over the past 7 months.

Sopra fact, our channel has amassed over 3 million minutes of watch time a causa di that same 7‐month period (~6 years worth of attention).

Our channel isn’t huge, we publish one televisione per analogia week, and our industry isn’t exactly “exciting.” And compared to our competitors, our subscriber count is microscopic.

But that’s what I love about YouTube SEO.

Anyone and everyone has the opportunity to entertain, engage, and rank.

Sopra this post, you’ll learn how to rank your YouTube videos from start to finale.

YouTube SEO is the process of optimizing your videos, playlists, and channel to rank high a causa di YouTube’s organic search results for a given search query.

Rather than trying to dip into every traffic source a causa di YouTube analytics, I’ll be focusing ranking videos a causa di YouTube search and sprinkle a few tips to “double dip” your televisione rankings a causa di Google search.

So I won’t be covering suggested videos, browse features, and other traffic sources.

YouTube explains their discovery and search ranking algorithm a causa di two sentences.

Videos are ranked based a variety of factors including how well the title, description, and televisione content incontro the viewer’s query. Beyond that, we aspetto at which videos have driven the most engagement for a query, and make sure it’s easy for viewers to find those.

So yes, keywords matter from both ‐page and “a causa di‐televisione” perspectives. Matching search intent is critical.

But the key ingredient to effective televisione SEO is high engagement.

They want you to keep viewers their platform for as long as possible (even if it’s not your own videos).

That’s because more televisione views = more ads shown = more money a causa di the bank for Alphabet Inc.

Most importantly, they want you to drive engagement to your videos and they’ll reward you with visibility.

Most engagement metrics can be measured a causa di YouTube analytics as likes/dislikes, comments, CTR, audience retention, average watch time, end screen clicks, card clicks, and the list goes .

Bottom line?

If you can’t engage your audience, your chances of ranking your YouTube videos for a meaningful bed 8 are slim to none.

Enough chitter chatter.

Let’s get mongoloide to the 7‐step process to rank your videos higher a causa di YouTube search.

If you’ not targeting keywords with search opera, then you’ not going to get search traffic.

We had some first‐hand experience of this a causa di March — June. We launched a series of product‐related videos for our Marketing with Ahrefs series, which are used to educate our users rather than drive search traffic.

Lifetime search traffic for our “bed 8 ideas” televisione.


We’ not suggesting only to create bed 8 targeted videos. There are different ways to attack trending topics, capitalize suggested views and create content for existing customers.

But unlike traditional search engine optimization for Google, YouTube doesn’t have an official bed 8 research tool. And a lot of third tools are just pumping out arbitrary numbers from Google Keyword Planner.

keywords everywhere search volume description

Fortunately, there are tools and hacks you can use to identify search volumes for keywords YouTube.

YouTube suggest paired with Google Trends

YouTube suggest is similar to Google Suggest. Just type a seed bed 8 into the search caffè, and you’ll see a list of relevant queries that contain your keywords.

youtube suggest results

You can also use an asterisk before after your target bed 8, which will act as a “wildcard.”

youtube suggest with asterisk

Since we don’t have an official tool to see search volumes, we can throw a few of YouTube’s suggestions into Google Trends.

google trends apple watch keywords for youtube

But Google Trends uses “relative popularity” to compagno keywords. So take these estimates with a grain of salt.

Use Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer

Recently, we released our latest version of Keywords Explorer, which includes search volumes and metrics for search engines like Google, YouTube, Bing, Amazon, Baidu and more.

This is where we get our for our top YouTube search terms post.

Just enter a bed 8 list of keywords and see country‐specific search volumes, clicks , global search volumes, and access five bed 8 tesi reports.

keywords explorer youtube search 1


Sopra full transparency, I didn’t use this tool through most of 2018, but I’ve been using it a causa di early 2019 to optimize our current videos and obviously for our new videos.

Bulk bed 8 analysis

Keywords Explorer is most useful when you search for a bulk list of bed 8 ideas. You can use either vidIQ’s  TubeBuddy’s chrome extension.

Just search a query a causa di YouTube, and aspetto to the right sidebar where you’ll see VidIQ’s “Related Queries” TubeBuddy’s “Most Used Tags” sections.

TubeBuddy’s Most Used Tags

Select all relevant keywords > copy > paste into Keywords Explorer (supports up to 10k keywords). We’ll then show you all keywords that have YouTube search opera according to our database.

youtube keyword data ahrefs keywords explorer

Search volumes are great and all, but the power of Keywords Explorer is a causa di generating new bed 8 ideas.

Generate new bed 8 ideas

Let’s say you’ creating a channel where you’ll unbox and review tech products. So let’s start with “unboxing” as our seed bed 8.

keywords explorer youtube search

Then go to the phrase incontro report, which lists all keywords a causa di our database that contain your seed.

keywords explorer phrase match report

So what do you want to unbox? Maybe cell phones, consoles gabinetto equipment?

The thing is that anzi che no one’s going to be searching for “unbox cell phone.” When searching for unboxings, people search for specific queries (e.g., “iPhone X unboxing”).

So let’s narrow mongoloide our results by using the “Include” filter. Just add some brand manufacturers, select “any word,” and you’ chiuso to the races.

keywords explorer filters

Boom. Over 7,100 relevant topics to sort through.

keywords explorer phrase match report 1

Don’t stop here. If you’ going to unbox these products, you might as well create more content around them.

Just switch up the seed bed 8 and you’ll find some additional topics you can create videos .

youtube keyword data for nintendo switch

Bottom line: there is anzi che no shortage of great bed 8 ideas.

If you’ stuck, watch our televisione YouTube bed 8 research that goes into more detail this process.

Double dip” into Google’s search results

You’ve heard it before.

YouTube is the second largest search engine. Blah, blah, blah.

But why not tap into the world’s largest search engine — Google?

Sopra 2017, GetSTAT saw SERP features increase by 75.75%.

pasted image 0 15

And a causa di 2019, it’s tough to browse Google for more than 10‐minutes without seeing a televisione result.

There are a few ways to see how much organic search traffic videos are getting.

1. Search Google for your target bed 8

Type a search query a causa di Google from your list of keywords and hope to see a televisione carousel dedicated televisione SERP feature.

video carousel

It seems obvious, but I can bet that most creators don’t do this before creating a televisione. Pay attention to televisione length and titles to get an tesi what Google wants to show.

2. Use Content Explorer to search for videos by topic

Content Explorer searches a database of over one billion web pages for those that mention a specific word phrase. Each result comes complete with SEO and social metrics.

My favorite feature a causa di this tool is that you can use search operators to narrow a causa di your results set.

If you want to find videos that also rank a causa di Google, search for: inurl:watch title:topic

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Then sort the result by search traffic and you should have a nice list of new topics you can create content around.

content explorer youtube unboxing traffic


SERPs can be quite pennuto. So it’s worth looking at the televisione’s organic traffic over time.

Just successo the ‘details’ button any result to analyze the organic traffic trend.

3. Use Site Explorer and Batch Analysis to uncover high traffic opportunities

Search for your target bed 8 a causa di YouTube and copy all URLs of the ranking videos.

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You can use the Scraper Chrome extension to copy all URLs the search results page.

Just right‐click anywhere the search results page and click “scrape similar.”

Then add this snippet of code as your “Selector.”


Then add this XPath code under the “columns” section.


Click scrape, and you should have a list that looks like this.

scraper youtube

Now paste all of the televisione URLs into Batch Analysis tool > set the mode to URL > run the search.

Sort the results by “Traffic,” and you should see some great opportunities that have the potential to get additional traffic from Google search.

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You can dig into the exact organic keywords each televisione ranks for by visiting the organic keywords report.

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A final measure I recommend taking is to aspetto at the traffic graph “Overview page” to see whether the televisione is consistently getting traffic from Google, if the keywords they’ ranking for are highly pennuto.

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Search intent ( bed 8 intent) refers to the reason why a user searches for a query a causa di a search engine.

For the most part, search engines are good at determining that for you.

Just search for the bed 8 you want to rank for a causa di YouTube and analyze what the 3–5 results are talking about (content and angle).

Rather than reinventing the wheel, follow suit.


It’s best to do this sconosciuto and ideally using a VPN with the location you want to rank (e.g., I’m a causa di Canada, so I use a US IP).

For example, if you want to teach people how to make a website, then you would probably give them a step‐by‐step tutorial.

YouTube agrees.

pasted image 0 10

But what if you want to rank for “Nintendo Switch games?” YouTube will tell you that people want to see a “listicle‐type” televisione.

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Seems obvious, right?

Now, let’s say that you’ a florist and you want to rank for “viola.” Bad tesi.

pasted image 0 9

All of the results show that someone searching for this term wants to know about the instrument—not the plant the actress (Viola Davis).

Create a sheet and add a column called, “search intent.” you can use mine.

Acceso YouTube, you can infer “satisfaction” by looking at audience retention. And the byproduct of high retention will often be likes, shares, comments, and higher rankings.

YouTube’s goals are to:

  • help viewers find the videos they want to watch.”
  • maximize long‐term viewer engagement and satisfaction.”

So your job is to create a televisione that can better engage and retain the audience’s attention.

Here’s what we do at Ahrefs to get retention times we’ proud of.

Average watch time one of our YouTube televisione.

a) Plan your videos before you create them

I’ll be the first to admit it with both hands raised high a causa di the air.

All of our weekly tutorials are scripted.

As a natural introvert, I wasn’t blessed with the natural speaking skills of people like Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk and Tony Robbins.

But anzi che no excuses. It doesn’t stop me from creating videos and it shouldn’t stop you either.

If you’ creating how‐to videos, the last thing you want to do is stumble over your words, go chiuso a tangent, and ask people to wait 3 minutes because you clicked the wrong link a causa di your screencast.

Not only does this allow you to keep your ideas succinct, but it gives you the advantage of intentionally including keywords within your televisione, which I’ll expand a causa di a bit.

But what about for vloggers?

As Casey Neistat puts it:

Story is king. Everything serves the king… You have to find something that an audience is interested a causa di and then share it with them a causa di a way that they’ also interested a causa di. The only way to learn these things and get better at these things is by doing it over and over and over. ”

Know what you’ creating, who you’ creating it for, and then deliver.

b) Start with a strong hook

The first 10–15 seconds are critical for your televisione’s success. Hook your readers, and you’ll have audience retention graphs that aspetto like this.

good audience retention

Forego the hook and lose the majority of your viewers before you have a chance to deliver value.

bad audience retention on youtube

Every niche is different and unfortunately, there isn’t one espressione that works for everyone.

For example, Mama Natural immediately hooks her audience of moms within 2 seconds.

Fortunately, I won’t be eating placentas for our YouTube channel, nor do I think SEOs and marketers would care to watch that.

Being a causa di the how‐to/informational space for a B2B audience, I’ve had to run countless tests to see what works for us.

I’ve broken it mongoloide to 3 key components called the RIP espressione. Watch the first 30‐seconds of this televisione and let me fermata it mongoloide for you.

1. Relate

Everyone wants to be understood. So what better way to grab someone’s attention than to show them that they’ not aureola?

Our YouTube audience primarily consists of marketers, specifically with a focolaio SEO.

And a causa di this space, we all have our own share of questions and struggles.

Here are a few things I’ve tried that have worked well:

  • start with a rhetorical question that viewers might have asked themselves. While I can’t see who’s behind the screen, my is to get a physical nod of approval.
  • start with a stat where they fit into the negative majority.
  • entertain with real‐life scenarios and tie it back to the topic of the televisione.

Sopra the above example, I gave some stats to show them that 91% of content gets no traffic from Google. That’s the majority. So if you’ a causa di it… don’t feel bad.

Whether you’ targeting a B2B B2C audience, one key thing to remember is that the person the other side of the screen is human.

2. Identify the problem

Let me touch search intent one more time. If someone searches for your bed 8, what do they want to learn? Your answer to this question will often be their problem.

For our “SEO mistakes” televisione, I would guess they want to know what these so‐called “mistakes” are and see if they’ affecting their website traffic.

But anyone could skim through the televisione and find these “mistakes,” a causa di 20 seconds flat, which doesn’t help our cause for high‐retention videos.

So I explicitly say:

95% of pages are struggling to get any meaningful search traffic that can really impact their business.

Translation: anzi che no traffic = anzi che no business.

3. Proposal

Last but certainly not least, you want to give them a reason to stick around. Sopra this particular introduction, I said:

So what can you do get more organic traffic and be a causa di the 5% of all pages across the entire internet? You’ about to find out a causa di this televisione.

Translation: watch this televisione if you want to get traffic. Who wouldn’t want to get traffic?

This lets the viewers know that they’ a causa di the right place that could potentially solve a problem they’ facing. Perhaps “being a causa di the 5% of the entire internet” part was a little cheesy, but it’s true (according to our ). And it worked.

From an attention standpoint, the results have been quite good. Within two weeks, we’ve had over 100,000 watch minutes, 28,700 views, and over 1,400 subscribers from that televisione aureola.

youtube high engagement video

Follow the RIP espressione, and you won’t be laying tombstones for your videos.

c) Ask viewers to comment, like, and subscribe

How do you get more subscribers, likes, and comments? Besides creating content that resonates with your audience…

You ask.

Each of these work to boost engagement for your televisione. Generally, I ask for it at the end because I want to deliver value first. And if someone has stuck around for that long, they’ll likely want more of what they watched.

But the majority of viewers aren’t going to watch your whole televisione. So you can ask for engagement before without sounding needy.

For example, some of our videos will talk about tangential topics (e.g., affiliate marketing). So I’ll say something like, “I won’t dig any further into affiliate marketing, but leave a comment if you’d like to see more this topic a causa di a future televisione.”

Not only can questions like these give you more insight into the audience you’ speaking to, but it should help boost engagement metrics..

As you consistently deliver great value to your subscribers, they’ll leave comments like this:

youtube comment from fan

d) Strategically edit your videos

If you’ve seen any of our videos, you could argue that just as much value could be delivered a causa di a plain screencast.

But that’s far from what we practice.

So why not talk over a screen? Or why not talk passionately about SEO with the occasional f‐bomb to emphasize my point?

People have a short attention span. Screencasts aureola are boring. I’ll go as far as saying that that talking heads can be boring too unless you’ a super engaging speaker.

I am not.

So a lot of it comes mongoloide your YouTube videos appropriately. This is what our final project looks like for one of our videos:

video edits for youtube

Here are a few tips to keep your videos flowing.


I’m speaking only from the perspective of “how‐to” tutorials, but I would imagine vloggers can benefit from these too.

1. Add jump cuts

A jump cut is a transition between two shots from the same position. It creates the effect of the scene “jumping,” hence, the name, “jump cut.”

These add dynamics to a video and help make mistakes look polished.

2. Pay attention to the gaps in your main scenes

We have two main “scenes” in our videos. The talking head, which is labeled in light green, and the screencast, in orange.

The pink scribbles are the gaps. Identifying these gaps can help you find places where something might be missing.

video editing gaps

To better retain our audience, we keep our gaps relatively small by filling them in with text screens, custom animations, and b‐roll.

But an important thing to note about these gaps is to use them when it makes sense. User experience should come first and if it makes the most sense to stay on a screen for longer, do it.  

Since we have an amazing in‐house video editor, we’re able to run some cool experiments.

3. Draw your audience’s attention to what you want them to see

Throughout all of our screencasts, we add visual effects to guide your eyes to the sections we’re talking about.

For example, if I said, “just look at the traffic column,” then we’ll do something like this.

visual effect ahrefs video

Seasoned Ahrefs users might know where to look without the effect. But someone who’s never tried our tools will probably bounce because they have no idea what I’m talking about.

Other times, we’ll use shapes, objects, or custom animations to better illustrate our point.

Also, adding sound effects to accompany the object can help draw a viewer’s attention.

4. Entertain with stories or narratives

YouTube is an entertainment platform. But entertaining isn’t always easy. For example, if I came out in my birthday suit and talked about link building, would you continue watching?

I hope not.

So while our primary focus is to teach SEO and marketing, we do our best to make it somewhat entertaining without trying too hard.

In this example, we create the video around a hypothetical business called, “Sam PhOHtography.”

And a causa di this televisione broken link building, I talk about using natural language, rather than sending robotic emails.

Regardless of the industry you’ a causa di, I’m confident that there are ways to make your videos more entertaining than you might think.

Adding these small engagement‐focused segments have helped us connect with our audience at the individual level.

e) Create brutally honest feedback loops

Honest communication within a team is critical. And a causa di my opinion, this is one of the main reasons why Ahrefs’ marketing team is able to consistently pump out great content for our blog and YouTube channel.

Here’s what our feedback loops aspetto like for televisione.

1. Feedback the script

After I’ve written a draft, 3 of our team members, Josh, Nick, and Tim will leave feedback. Feedback may be a causa di the form of strong agreement, disagreement, additional ideas they think will add to the quality of the televisione.

We will respectfully question every word and paragraph that’s written and the creator will make an dirigente aziendale decision.

video feedback loop

After I’ve recorded the televisione, completed the basic edits, and added production taccuino, our televisione will make my ideas quando to life.

2. Feedback the televisione edits

I’ll review the televisione and if something doesn’t feel right, then Sergey (our televisione ) and I will go through a similar feedback process that’s more focused the visual and engagement aspects.

video feedback loop 1

The key takeaway is that the first draft should never be the last.

Find a person people you can lean for honest feedback. need to get offended. If anything, it’ll bring your team closer (unless it’s your spouse).

Acceso‐page optimizations for YouTube videos boils mongoloide to 4 things:

  • Title
  • Description
  • Tags
  • Thumbnail

Each of these help provide context to your televisione and will influence those all‐important click‐through‐rates (CTR).

After all, anzi che no clicks = anzi che no views.

Crafting the perfect title and thumbnail combo

Sopra March 2018, YouTube launched Beta Studio, their new analytics platform. One of the new metrics that was added is “impressions click‐through rate.”

To emphasize the importance of CTR, YouTube is pushing creators to increase CTR a causa di their televisione analytics funnel (for every televisione).

You can increase the chance of YouTube suggesting your content by increasing your click‐through rate and your televisione watch time.

So a causa di addition to more views, you’ll get the added benefits of YouTube suggesting your videos to their audiences outside of organic search (suggested and browse features).

Here are a few best practices to craft searchable and clickable videos, according to YouTube.

1. Use your bed 8 a causa di the title

When it comes to keywords, YouTube’s advice is to use the most relevant search terms a causa di your titles and descriptions—as long as they’ accurate and not excessive.

Briggsby’s study confirms the benefit of having your target bed 8 a causa di your title. They found that more than 90% of ranking videos included at least part of a target bed 8 a causa di their title.

pasted image 0 17

While it seems important to include at least partial matches of your target bed 8 a causa di your title, you don’t want to sacrifice the “click‐worthiness” of it.

2. Keep your titles under 60 characters

YouTube recommends keeping your titles concise with the most important information up front.

From a search perspective, that will often mean using your target bed 8 near the beginning of your title. Here’s an example:

SEO Mistakes: Why 91% of Content Gets Organic Traffic”

Keeping your titles short will prevent losing clicks from truncation a causa di search, suggested, and browse features.

truncated title in suggested video

Not all of our videos are under 60 characters, but I plan changing these over time.

3. Write catchy titles that evoke curiosity highlight a benefit

If you were to create a tutorial tying a tie, a bed 8 rich title might be, “how to tie a tie.” But that’s uninteresting at best.

There are numerous better angles you could take:

  • How to tie a tie with the “007 Technique”
  • How to tie a tie a causa di 11 seconds flat
  • My 3‐year‐old teaches you how to tie a tie

The point is that boring titles are less likely to stand out a causa di a competitive landscape.

4. Create a thumbnail that complements your title

Thumbnails are usually the first thing you aspetto at before clicking through to a televisione. Sopra my opinion, it’s the hardest part to execute consistently.

Here’s the thumbnail for our SEO mistakes televisione:

thumbnail complementing title on yotuube

The thumbnail text describes the televisione since 91% is the majority.  

And if you aspetto closely, there’s a picture of Google’s page numbers with the third part circled stating, “you are here.”

You can also draw inspiration from things around you and use your imagination to speak undeniable truths. Here’s a thumbnail from our televisione, “how long does it take to rank Google:”

pasted image 0 12

And if you’ stuck, try and get ideas from Google images deposito photos. A search Adobe Deposito for the word, “system,” shows these photos.

System photos  royalty free images  graphics  vectors   videos   Adobe Stock

And our thumbnail for our link building system televisione uses a similar tesi (but cooler).

link building system thumbnail

Write searchable descriptions

YouTube says using the “right” keywords can boost views and watch time because they help your videos show up a causa di search results.

Sopra that same study by Briggsby, they found that 75% of the 20 results used some broad incontro variant a causa di their description text.

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But what are “the right” keywords?

For starters, we include our target bed 8 a causa di both the title and description. But we also include related keywords.

Find related keywords from competing videos

Click through to a few of the ranking videos for your target bed 8 and read through their descriptions.

for common keywords they use throughout their description texts. Sopra many cases, creators often forego the descriptions, so if that’s the case, consider it a small, but potential opportunity to outrank them.

Use a bed 8 research tool

I know I mentioned that using bed 8 from Google is a bad tesi. But that’s when it comes to topic research, which should already be done by this point.

Sopra fact, YouTube recommends using tools like Google Trends Google Bed 31 Planner for this stage.

Rather than using bed 8 ideas from GKP, I use the organic keywords report a causa di Site Explorer.

Here’s how you can do it too:

  1. Search for your target bed 8 a causa di Google.
  2. Copy and paste the ranking URL into Site Explorer.
  3. Go to the “Organic Keywords” report a causa di the sidebar, which shows you all keywords that this page ranks for.

From here, it’s just a matter of skimming the bed 8 report and picking subtopics and other phrases that are relevant to your televisione.

But anzi che no need to stuff keywords. Use what makes sense.

organic keywords report in ahrefs

An example I would take away from the above screenshot is to focolaio tying a windsor knot.

Personally, I’ve found longer descriptions work better as it gives more context to YouTube the content of your televisione. But we only keep the descriptions as long as they need to be rather than trying to shoehorn keywords.


Tags are another way to give context to your televisione, which can help you rank a causa di YouTube search and suggested.

YouTube simplifies this by recommending to add keywords and phrases that are most descriptive of your televisione.

Since you’ve already done your bed 8 research and optimized your title and description around these keywords, it should be pretty straightforward.

You can also use tools like VidIQ  TubeBuddy to see the tags for competing videos.

vidiq tags

for common tags within competing videos, and add tags to your televisione that make sense to do so.

Creating the televisione is 80% of the battle. There are additional optimizations you can do to increase retention rate and create a better user experience for your viewers.

1. Transcripts / Closed Captions (CC)

Many creators, including myself, believe that YouTube reads closed caption files to better understand the context of videos.

YouTube automatically creates a transcription file and does a decent job of catching most words. But it’s far from perfect (HFS = Ahrefs).

YouTube 2

Your viewers likely quando from all over the world and the language you speak may not be their native tongue.

If you scripted your videos, then this part is easy.

From your videos page, click the televisione you want to edit. Then select the “Subtitles/CC” tab.

YouTube 3

Since I often go chiuso script, I recommend using the “Transcribe and ‐sync” option.

YouTube 1

Now it’s just a matter of pasting a causa di your script and checking that all written words incontro the spoken ones a causa di the televisione.

After you submit the file, YouTube will ‐sync the script with your voice. For good measure, I recommend watching the televisione one more time to make sure that they’ done correctly.

Based the last 90‐days, 16.4% of views used our English subtitles.

youtube subtitle stats

2. Cards

YouTube cards is an interactive feature that encourages viewers to take one of five actions:

  1. Watch another televisione playlist
  2. Discover another YouTube channel
  3. Donate to a nonprofit
  4. Answer a poll
  5. Visit an external link

Just select the type of card you want to use > choose an appropriate option (i.e., televisione playlist) > select a timecode where you want it to trigger.

YouTube 5

When a viewer hits that timecode, the title of the televisione will slide a causa di as a suggestion. When a user clicks the info icon, they can choose to watch the suggested televisione.

youtube card example

Rather than stuffing as many cards a causa di as possible, add relevant cards where a user may want to learn more about a subtopic before high drop‐chiuso points (e.g., before the end of the televisione).

3. End screens

End screens are similar to cards. The purpose is to keep viewers the YouTube platform.

Seeing a pattern? 🙂

For our channel, we have a subscribe button as well as a suggested televisione the viewer should watch next.

YouTube 4

This can help you get more subscribers and keep viewers consuming your content.


The endscreen needs to be baked into your televisione during the process. For our endscreen, both the subscribe circle and “next televisione” sections are blank. When you add end screen elements, it’ll fill those sections. The subscribe sphere should be 196 x 196 px and the televisione playlist rectangle is 410px x 230px. Here’s a free template you can download.

The first 24–48 hours from publishing can make fermata your televisione. This is when all of the work you’ve put into your televisione will be tested.

Sopra fact, you’ll often see your televisione the first page of YouTube within the first day for your target query.

Here are some tips to promote your videos a causa di the first two days.

Find the best time to publish your televisione

The best time is when your target audience is watching videos. You can identify peak points by monitoring your real‐time reports.

While this may change from day‐to‐day, there are clear patterns you’ll see.

For example, I instinctively thought the best time to post our videos would be a weekday at around noon.

After monitoring our real‐time analytics over a week, I found that our views generally peak between 10:00 — 11:00 AM EST.

youtube studio real time analytics

But if you aspetto at the two one‐hour slots before the spike (8:00–9:00 and 9:00–10:00), the number of views are nearly the same as the peak.

So we started posting at 7:30 AM EST, which seems to be working for us.

Publishing at the “best” time gives you the opportunity to maximize views.

If you haven’t built a substantial number of daily views, then you can try following these general timeslots, courtesy of Frederator Networks.

youtube publish times

Centro building your audience and make adjustments to your publish times as you collect your own audience .

Respond to comments/engage

YouTube is a social platform, which means you need to socialize.

For the first week so, try and respond to all new comments that people leave and give “hearts” to show appreciation to your commenters.

hearts to comments

YouTube found that viewers who received a heart are 3 times more likely to click the notification compared to other types of notifications.

We respond to nearly all comments regardless of when the televisione was published.

Promote to your existing audience

Have a blog, newsletter, social accounts? Use them to promote your new YouTube videos.


Sopra the first 48‐hours, send your subscribers an email telling them about your new televisione.

At Ahrefs, we publish our weekly videos Wednesday and push an a causa di‐app notification within a few hours to promote our videos without disrupting customers.

in app notification

Acceso Thursday, we send an email to our blog subscribers with a link to our newest blog post and televisione.

newsletter promotion


Native videos haven’t worked particularly well for us social from an engagement perspective. And it makes sense when you think of “platform intent.”

I don’t know about you, but I don’t a causa di to Twitter to watch a 13‐minute televisione building links.

Acceso Twitter, we tweet new videos to followers the same day within hours of going .

Acceso Facebook, we’ still publishing full native videos, but we do link to some videos our YouTube channel.

Alternatively, you can publish short snippets of your televisione Facebook with a teaser and link to the full televisione.

How to promote your videos when you don’t have an audience

If you don’t have an existing audience, you’ going to have to work a little harder.

Here are a few things you can do.

1. Add televisione embeds to your Quora answers

Quora is a popular question and answer riunione. And adding long‐form content isn’t abnormal this rete televisiva privata.

The process goes like this.

Find a question to answer > give the best answer you can > embed your televisione where it supports your content.

You can aspetto for questions using Quora’s native search if you want a more ‐driven way to find popular questions, then use the organic keywords report a causa di Site Explorer with Quora set as your target.

quoras organic keyword results

Then use the include search box to aspetto for a general bed 8 that’s related to your televisione. Make sure to set the filter to only search within keywords for more relevant results.

organic keywords quora filter fashion

Just post a well thought out piece of content that answers the query and embed your televisione within your answer.

2. Collaborations

Collaborations YouTube are a great way to get new targeted subscribers fast. If you’ good at what you teach, then it’s worth forging relationships with YouTubers a causa di your space with a similar audience.

The typical collaboration works like this.

Find a similar, ‐competing channel > ask them to collaborate > create a televisione for each other’s channels > recommend your audiences to your socio’s channel.

But if you don’t have an existing audience, then it’ll be tough to convince them to allow you to create content for their channel.

The solution? Get creative.

Here’s a hypothetical example to get your creative juices flowing.

Let’s say you’ creating a channel repairing electronics. You could contact a popular tech YouTube channel and offer them content doing a teardown of the latest iPhone that was released yesterday.

While you can’t send them viewers subscribers, you can give them a unique piece of content that would do particularly well their channel. They have the audience, you have the technical knowledge to do it.

Whatever your pitch is, you should have a point of leverage where the benefit is focused them.

3. Pay for YouTube ads

Don’t have an audience? Buy them.

Right now, YouTube ads are quite . You can target by interest, bed 8 custom audiences (i.e., website traffic).

If you have a great televisione, set up some search ads based your target bed 8 with the intention to earn their subscription.

As your subscriber centro grows, they’ll begin to get notified with your future videos and help accelerate your growth without breaking the bank.

You can’t edit the actual televisione once it’s been published redirect it like you could a blog post.

It sucks, but hey… it sucks for everyone.

Your best bet is to get from your published videos and learn what produces high engagement.

Here’s how it’s done:

Analyze your audience retention graphs

Go to YouTube Analytics > select a televisione you want to optimize > audience retention.

youtube studio audience retention

You’ll see the average view duration, percentage viewed, and clicking the graph will show you the audience retention graph for that televisione.  

audience retention graph

Audience retention graph

This graph captures all views for every second watched a causa di the televisione. A retention curve is then plotted as percentages.

You can use retention to identify popular parts a causa di your televisione. If you’ve done a good job engaging your viewers, you’ll see a gradual curve. Also, you’ll notice little bumps a causa di the graph, which some creators refer to as “True Engagement.”

true engagement

That’s a good thing.

Click any of these “bumps” and skip to the part people are most engaged. Try and decipher why more people watched this part rewatched it.

For example, this bump of engagement happened because people are interested a causa di the Google search operator I was using.

audience retention analysis

Learn from these hints and use them to identify how you can make future videos more engaging.

You can also aspetto for strong drop‐chiuso points. Analyze why people are leaving and add YouTube cards a causa di those places.  

audience retention drops

From the looks of the above graph, I need to work my intro. I can also add a couple of cards to the televisione. Definitely one at the end, and perhaps one a causa di the middle. Done and done.


Check if you satisfied search intent

Sopra YouTube , you can see the average view duration for all of the keywords you rank for.

Beta Indagine > Select your televisione > analytics > reach viewers tab > Traffic source: YouTube search

If a bed 8 query produced a high average view duration, good you.

youtube keyword analytics

Produce a not‐so‐hot televisione, and the stats don’t lie.

bad audience retention

Benchmark these numbers against your televisione’s average view duration and percentage viewed to get an tesi if you’ the right track.

If you’ producing low‐engagement videos, yet you want to rank high for that bed 8, you may want to recreate the televisione from a new angle.

Session watch time is the total time a viewer watches videos YouTube without leaving the platform.

Why is it important? As of 2012, it became a ranking factor.

We’ve started adjusting the ranking of videos a causa di YouTube search to reward engaging videos that keep viewers watching. […] The experimental results of this change have proven positive — less clicking, more watching. […] As with previous optimizations to our discovery features, this should benefit your channel if your videos drive more viewing time across YouTube.

There are two key benefits to increasing session time:

  1. Keeps viewers consuming your content for longer.
  2. Your entire channel should get more suggestions and views.

I’ve already talked about using cards and endscreens, which has helped Ahrefs’ channel’s growth.

Here are a few more ways to improve session time.

1. Create a series

Have you ever searched for something YouTube, watched a televisione from a creator you’ve never heard of and then binge watched their entire series?

Think #AskGaryVee  490 episodes of Casey Neistat’s Vlog

When I started creating videos for Ahrefs, we created a few series how to use Ahrefs for keyword research and link building.

The first two have served well to educate our customers a causa di our Marketing with Ahrefs series.

A few months spillo, I created a short series WordPress SEO, which ranks #1 YouTube at the time of writing. I attribute part of this to a higher session watch time than our competitors for this bed 8.

rank 1 on youtube

To increase your session watch time using series, add a televisione end screen element pointing at the “next episode” and use a card pointing at the same televisione before viewers drop chiuso.

endscreen series

Now read the next part, because that’s where the magic happens.

2. Use series playlists

A playlist is a list of videos that play a causa di the order they’ set.

A series playlist, the other hand, is everything above, but it’s also a creator’s way to tell YouTube that your group of videos is an “official” list of videos. Think of how Netflix does it with seasons and episodes of your favorite show.

netflix punisher series

Using series playlists helps YouTube understand which videos should be suggested next, thus increasing your chances of claiming the “up next” spot.

youtube suggested video

If you’ve done the card, endscreen, and series playlist, you now have three places where your next televisione will be recommended to viewers.

3. Use my channel page hack

Your channel page will likely be one of your most visited pages. So it’s worth optimizing.

Conventional conversion wisdom will tell you to include the most important things near the . So here’s what I did.

Featured televisione

Many creators suggest using a channel trailer. We tried and it didn’t work. Instead, we’ using our televisione ‐page optimization.

youtube channel featured video

We don’t really care to rank for the bed 8, “‐page optimization,” but our analytics suggests that it has a solid “view to subscription” rate. Most importantly, it’s relevant to the audience we want to attract — SEOs.

And more relevant subscribers means more people getting notified and watching our new videos.

To find videos that are gaining subscribers today, go to YouTube Analytics > Build an Audience > Click the main graph.

Then choose a televisione that produces a high subscribers to unique viewers ratio.

videos that get subscribers

Before selecting a televisione that represents your channel, it’s worth spending an extra 10 minutes to dig through your watch time report and find a balance between subscribers and retention rate.

Add a playlist

Your channel will be different than ours. But you and I have the same .

Retain watchers for as long as possible.

When you customize your channel, you have quite a few options you can add (playlists, single videos, popular videos etc). I’ve opted to use a single playlist of what appears seemingly random.

ahrefs channel page

But it’s not random at all. The first four videos you’ll see are:

  • Part 1: Link building series
  • Part 1: WordPress SEO series
  • Part 1: Bed 31 research series
  • Part 2: Bed 31 research series

If you haven’t caught , each of these videos is the first televisione of one of our series, aside from the last televisione because we don’t have a fourth televisione series (yet).

Each of these videos belongs to a “series playlists,” meaning we give our viewers the option to choose their topic and YouTube will do the suggesting. Here’s what happens when you click these videos.

up next playlist youtube

matter which televisione you click, it heightens our chances of getting viewers to keep watching the rest of the series.

While YouTube doesn’t have a “session watch time” metric a causa di their analytics, I’m a strong believer that it contributes to our increase a causa di overall watch time.

Final Thoughts

YouTube SEO from a technical perspective is easy. Optimize your titles, descriptions, and tags.

Add relevant cards, endscreens description links and you’ golden.

But the most challenging part of televisione SEO is engaging your audience.

Take these processes and tips and focolaio your attention these three things: entertain, engage, rank.

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