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Why One Little-Known Factor Can Explode Your Youtube Channel – Here’s Why #119


Most guides to optimizing your videos for YouTube search cover the basics of video titles, descriptions, and tags. But do you know the most powerful YouTube ranking signal of all?
In this episode of our Here’s Why digital marketing video series, we explain why optimizing for just one often overlooked factor can blow up the reach of your YouTube channel.

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Eric: Mark, with so many social networks now implementing video, both recorded and live, YouTube can begin to feel a bit old fashioned. Is it still an important place for marketing videos?
Mark: It sure is. I think it may be more important than ever, Eric. Sure a lot of people are viewing video content on Facebook, or Instagram, or SnapChat, and elsewhere, but YouTube is still the go-to destination when video is what a person wants to see. Google tells us that over 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every day, and 4 out of every 5 persons between the ages of 18 and 49 watch YouTube videos.
Eric: Those are great stats, but with that many videos being consumed, how can we make it more likely our videos on YouTube will even be seen?
Mark: Obviously you want to promote your videos as much as possible, both inside YouTube through paid promotion and outside via social media, your email lists. and other means you might have. But it’s also worth going after organic traffic on YouTube.
Eric: Organic traffic?
Mark: Yes. Don’t forget, YouTube is the second largest search engine on Earth. Organic traffic comes primarily from people finding your video via search. So it pays to optimize your videos and channel to be found in YouTube search.
[Tweet “Youtube is the second largest search engine, so it makes sense to optimize for Youtube search.”]
Eric: How do we do that?
Mark: There are plenty of great guides out there that cover the basic optimization techniques. I mean things like your video titles, your descriptions, the tags, so I won’t go into all that in this brief video, but I do want to share with you and with our audience a very important optimization ranking factor that many YouTube marketers aren’t aware of.
Eric: What’s that?
Mark: It’s no secret that watch time for your videos is among the important factors that YouTube looks at for ranking in their search. Watch time, by the way, means the average time people spend watching each of your videos.
Eric: If that’s no secret as you say, then what’s the factor that most people are missing?
Mark: It’s this. YouTube doesn’t just care how much each of your videos people watch, they care about how much YouTube people watch in a session. So if people watch one of your videos and then continue to watch other videos without doing another search, the total time they end up spending on YouTube is credited to your video and to your channel.
Eric: What do you mean by credited?
Mark: I mean that the ranking power of your channel and videos will be raised if you are consistently causing people to start a YouTube session and keep going. If they just watch most or all of your one video and then leave, well that’s good for that particular video, but doesn’t have as powerful an effect as when the person goes from your video to another one.
Eric: How can we optimize for that? I mean, how can we encourage this to happen more often?
Mark: The first thing I do is make sure most of your videos are in playlists. Unless a user has disabled that feature on YouTube, when a playlist video completes another video from the same playlist starts playing. If you’ve done a good job of holding your viewer’s interest in the first video, there’s a good chance that they’re going to want to keep watching.
Eric: And that probably underscores the value of programming videos into a related series like we do with the Here’s Why videos.
Mark: Right. It’s more likely the user will keep watching if the next video has some relevance to the previous one. Another tip would be to keep the majority of your videos brief and laser-focused on their topics. Don’t give any chance for the viewers’ attention to drift away. A drift away usually becomes a click away.
Eric: Right. So what about videos you pay to promote, do they factor into this?
Mark: I’m so glad you asked that because here’s a little known but powerful fact about YouTube. We know that in Google search there’s no way to pay to boost your organic search rankings. Your AdWords ads have absolutely no effect on your organic search rankings, but not so on YouTube. Metrics such as watch time on the videos you paid to boost count toward the ranking power of your channel.
Eric: That’s a great hidden benefit of using paid promotion on YouTube.
Mark: It sure is. I mean, as you get better at targeting the right audience for your videos, you’ll be putting them in front of the people most likely to want to watch them. And that means that not only you get more views, but longer watch time, which is, as we’ve said, raises the organic search power of your whole channel. Now I’ve talked with other YouTube users and channel owners, and they’ve noticed what we noticed. As the watch time of our promoted videos went up, so did the organic traffic to all our videos from YouTube search.
Eric: Thanks Mark for sharing these important tips to getting more out of your YouTube channel for marketing.
Mark: You’re welcome, Eric.

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Eric Enge

Eric Enge is part of the Digital Marketing practice at Perficient. He designs studies and produces industry-related research to help prove, debunk, or evolve assumptions about digital marketing practices and their value. Eric is a writer, blogger, researcher, teacher, and keynote speaker and panelist at major industry conferences. Partnering with several other experts, Eric served as the lead author of The Art of SEO.

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