Are you tired of creating YouTube videos nobody watches?
I bet you are. After all, it can be a pretty soul-destroying feeling.
You pour your heart and soul into a video and upload it, filled with hope that this is the one, only to see that the same handful of people have tuned in.
No matter what you try, it just feels like you can’t move the needle, doesn’t it?
If so, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, I want to show you exactly how to get more views on YouTube for free.
There are no crazy tactics. No extreme measures. Just simple, practical, strategies to help you organically grow your channel to where it should be.
What You’ll Learn
- How to create a “viewing loop” to keep viewers for longer
- How to properly SEO your videos and rank in YouTube searches
- How to do the opposite of your competition to gain real traffic
- How to speak so people want to listen (and why that really matters)
- How to put yourself in front of bigger audiences
- How to create discoverable content to generate new viewers
How to get more views on YouTube
Create A “Viewing Loop”
A viewing loop is a way of keeping people on your channel. And, it’s one of the most effective – yet overlooked – ways to increase your views.
It works by prompting people to watch more interesting or relevant content you’ve created and forms a “loop” where people stay tuned into your videos.
You’ve probably experienced this already on other channels. For example when you’re watching a video and a banner like this appears:
Or, when you reach the end of a video and you’re prompted to watch more by the same creator:
These are great tools for you as a video creator because you make your viewer’s choice of what to watch next really easy, sucking them into the viewing loop. You’re also more likely to convert a viewer into a subscriber if they’ve watched more of your content.
So, how do you take advantage of these? Mainly two ways:
- Add in-video links
- Add suggested “watch next” videos
And because we promised to tell you everything about how to get more views on YouTube, we’ll explain how to do these do things on your YouTube videos.
How To Add In-Video Links
The first step is to create a clickable link in your video whenever you mention a topic you’ve covered in a different video.
Let’s say you’re a travel vlogger. You’ve created a video about your latest trip to Iceland.
In that video, you mentioned you brought your new Fjallraven winter jacket with you. Funnily enough, you have a video about choosing a travel-friendly winter jacket.
You can create an in-video link which prompts people to click if they’re interested. You can even say “click here” in your video to encourage people.
Here’s a video from YouTuber, Stephanie Gass, on how to do that:
How To Add Suggested “Watch Next” Videos
“Watch next” suggestions come either at the end or at a specific time, in your video. They should be relevant, interesting and have at least a loose connection to the content they’ve just watched.
To stick with the travel vlogger example; if a viewer finishes your video about Iceland, it might be because they’re planning a trip to Scandinavia or they like hiking in the great outdoors. This is your opportunity to share a video which intersects with the intent behind their viewing choice.
Suggest the right video and they’ll be drawn to stick around and watch some more.
Here’s a simple tutorial from Quick Solutions on how to do this:
Although he suggests not to add this to the end of the video it’s really worth taking advantage of the space there.
Search Engine Optimisation
YouTube is the world’s largest video search engine. Basically, it’s the Google of videos.
If you’ve been thinking about how to get more views on YouTube for a while, this could be where you’re struggling.
Being able to optimize your videos so they show up in searches can attract hundreds, if not thousands, of new viewers to your videos. In fact, YouTube Employee, Tom Leung, says it’s key to getting your videos seen.
If this sounds like it’s going to be too technical, don’t worry, it’s not.
At the most basic level search engine optimization (SEO) on YouTube comes down to three elements:
- Your headlines: Ensuring your headlines are relevant to what people are searching
- Your thumbnails: The still image for your video is attractive and relevant
- Your descriptions: The description of your video is accurate and relevant to what people are searching
How about we look at an example to see what I mean?
Let’s say you were looking to change a bike tire. You’d pop over to YouTube and search, “How to change a bike tire”.
You’d then be presented with a list of relevant videos to your search. Here’s the most relevant one:
You can see this video is a great match for your search. The title is a great match for your search, and the thumbnail is accurate to what’s included in the video.
The description is also rich in context and keywords (the words included in a search) which helps it to rank highly. Here’s a quick breakdown:
To capitalize on this you need to have an understanding of the problem your video solves and the keywords your viewer is going to search.
Although you’ll need to figure out the answer to these yourself, there are tools to help you uncover the keywords people are searching for, such as Keyword.io.
All you have to do is pop the problem you think people will search for into their search bar, and it will suggest keywords for you to use.
You can then add these keywords to your headlines and descriptions, in a way which sounds natural, to optimize them for searches.
As for your thumbnail all you really need to ensure if they aren’t clickbaity. You aren’t trying to trick someone into clicking; Instead, you’re setting the expectation for what they’ll find when they do click through.
If you want to learn more about how to take advantage of YouTube SEO, I recommend you watch this video of Brian Dean. It’s a long one, so grab a coffee first!
Focus On The Long Tail
YouTube is pretty crowded.
There are lots of people fighting for attention for the major topics in almost every niche. And, only the top few percent are winning.
If you’ve ever tried to create a video around a popular topic or trend in your niche – like a video game or a seasonal makeup tutorial – you’ve probably felt the effect of this. But what makes this so hard?
It’s because you’re competing for the short tail. The few topics where millions of people are looking for videos to watch. You know, topics like:
- iPhone X unboxing
- Fall makeup tutorial
- FIFA tips
- Chicken breast recipe
- Nike Pegasus review
These are the areas where only the big and well-established channels can be seen. So, what are you supposed to do?
Well…do the opposite.
You should focus on the long tail of YouTube. The topics with fewer searches, but also fewer pieces of content to compete with.
If you’re a runner everyone is going to creating videos and talking about the new Nike Pegasus shoes, so why try and compete? Instead, create a video about the latest New Balance!
There are still people looking for videos about these topics and they’re not finding any. Which makes it your job to create them.
It could be the difference between 500 views from a short tail term, or 15,000 from a long tail one. If you can get seen, and create the content people are looking for, it’s a win for you. Let the others battle it out amongst themselves.
When you’re next looking for a video to create, do the opposite of what everyone else is doing. It’s in these less explored areas you’re likely to find your next big hit!
Give People Reasons To Keep Watching (And Improve Their Experience)
One fatal mistake people make when trying to get more views is forgetting the people who are already watching their channel.
The data these viewers provide is paramount to getting views on your videos from new people. Let me explain…
YouTube relies on user experience data like:
- Watch time: The cumulative minutes people watched your videos for
- Shares: How often your video was shared to third-party platforms (like social media)
- Likes: How many “thumbs up” your video gets
- Dislikes: How many “thumbs down” your video gets
- Comments: How many people commented on your video
To decide which videos get recommended to other users. The more positive these metrics are, the more likely they are to show up as suggested videos and in searches.
For example, high likes – which you can directly ask for as a call to action in your video – can have a direct impact on how many views you get.
But there is one metric in particular you need to focus on.
YouTube has been pretty open about the importance of watch time. Here’s an excerpt from one of their training videos in their creator academy:
“Your content benefits when it leads viewers to spend more time watching videos – not just on your channel, but anywhere on YouTube.
Watch time is measured in cumulative minutes watched, and each video uploaded – as well as every channel on YouTube – is “ranked” by watch time. Channels and videos with higher watch times are likely to show up higher in search results and recommendations.”
That means the longer people watch the more exposure you’re going to get. But how do you increase watch time?
Well, there are a number of ways. I’m going to split them up into technical and verbal for ease of reference, with technical focusing on the quality of your video and verbal focusing on how you speak.
Here are the technical points you can improve:
- Clear sound quality
- Great video quality
- Captions and subtitles
- Adjusting camera angles (eg. zoom in or out)
- Cutaways to relevant content (nobody wants to watch a talking head)
And here are some verbal points you can improve:
- Quickly explain the point of the video
- Create a video “hook”
- Allude to upcoming points in the video (“In just a few minutes we’ll talk about [X], but first…”)
- Use rhetorical devices to keep people interested (“But wait, there’s more!)
If all else fails, watch this TED Talk on how to speak to so people want to listen:
YouTube isn’t a zero-sum game. What do I mean?
It’s not you against the other YouTubers out there. You aren’t at loggerheads fighting for the same audience. Instead, it’s a community, and you’re all trying to help, education or entertain people.
So why not work with each other to create a big win for the both of you?
Collaboration has been a core part of YouTube – and building an online brand – for years, and it’s proven to be really useful. You help someone create a piece of content and you get seen by their audience (or vice versa.)
Benny is the world’s foremost blogger and YouTuber on the subject. He has the largest following and they’re pretty well engaged. Lindsay, on the other hand, has a smaller audience.
By working on this video together, Benny gets a solid piece of content to share with his audience. His workload has been lightened and his posting schedule a little padded out.
Lindsay is able to be seen by a much larger audience. A percentage of who, if she performs well in the video, will jump over and become part of her audience as well. She’s also picked up a little networking power with Benny.
This method is really simple and you’ll be surprised how many people are willing to collaborate with you. Creators always need more content and want to be seen as active in their community.
If you want to use it yourself, simply identify people in your niche you could collaborate with and flesh out some ideas for ways you could help them! Be sure to pitch them with a well thought out, attractive idea, and not just a “wanna do a video? Lmk.” message.
Create “Discoverable” Content
If I asked you to think of the type of video content you create, you’d probably go right to the style of video. You know, is it a tutorial, a vlog, a list or something else.
But how often do you think about the type of purpose your content has?
By becoming aware of this – what your content’s goal is, and why – the more you can grow the YouTube views you generate.
Tim Schoyer from Video Creators points out your videos will always fall into one of two categories:
- Community content: Made for people who are already in your community
- Discoverable content: Made to attract people who should be in your community
If you’re like me, and many other YouTubers, you’re great at making community content. The stuff that engages the people you’ve already converted to your cause. You know your niche inside and out and, because you’re passionate about it, you can create stuff which helps them.
But this is often why we often find ourselves reading articles like this and wondering why we can’t get more views. Because we forget to create the discoverable content.
Let me show you some examples from Smart Passive Income’s Pat Flynn to illustrate what I mean.
This video from Pat is what I’d consider community content. And, it’s probably similar to some of the videos you’re creating right now.
It’s made to meet a need he knows his audience has, namely building a business by design. It’s for people who already know they want to start a business and need more advice.
The headline isn’t catchy and, at 25 minutes long, it’s unlikely to go viral. You can even see in the short description next to it, it’s not really targeting a keyword.
Now let’s look at a piece of discoverable content. The video below looks a lot different to the last one:
The headline is catchier and it’s clearly targeting someone who isn’t aware of Pat yet. They’re at the start of their journey and need something a little “lighter” to start them off.
Here are some key points:
- The content is shorter
- The thumbnail shows Pat’s authority
- It’s focused on a keyword (“how to make passive income online”)
- It’s designed to “wow!” an audience
This is the kind of video you see regularly pop up as a suggested video on YouTube, and that was exactly the purpose it was designed for.
It does a little teaching and makes you aware of what’s possible if you were to follow Pat for more information like this.
Do you see the difference?
If so, it’s time to get around to creating some well-polished discoverable content.
Take the top-level problem your channel is going to solve and create something unique and shareable around it. Look to create a video which, if someone found it, they’d be intrigued to know more about you.
This may take a few attempts, so don’t be disheartened if you don’t get it straight away. Just keep plugging away at it.
You can also read our guide on how to create a killer YouTube video to help you do it!
Wrapping This Up…
I hope by now you’ve figured out how to get more views on YouTube, and you’ve got a few methods you want to try.
As long as you’re focused on creating a positive experience for your viewers, optimizing your videos, collaborating regularly and recording discoverable videos, you’ll be on the right path.
But before you go off and try them, I want to know…
Have you found any of these methods helpful? Did anything give you an “a-ha!” moment? Let me know in the comments…