At the YouTube Partners MeetUp in New York in June, Ryan Nugent of YouTube’s NextUp Lab gave a presentation on the YouTube’s Partner Playbook – ways to optimise people finding your video by using metadata correctly. Here are our top 5 tips to get your views up on YouTube, and make it easier for people to find you, and your wonderful musical sounds.
YouTube is the the second biggest search engine in the world, which means that in terms of success and reach online, it’s very important that artists understand how to use the tools it offers effectively, optimizing the chance of people finding their videos.
Speaking at the presentation event last month, Ryan Nugent said that, “Fifty per cent of the work is making a great video, and the other fifty per cent is what you do when you upload it”, meaning that even if you have a brilliant video, people aren’t going to find it unless you get the metadata side of it correct.
Let’s start by clearing up a few terms – ‘metadata‘ simply means the title, tags and description of your video. It’s paramount that these are all used in the most effective way, so that your video can be easily found in a search.
Now, because YouTube is a part of Google, it uses Google ‘algorithms‘ , which basically means when someone searches for a keyword(s) on YouTube, it trawls through all the titles, tags and descriptions of every video on the site, and returns the most relevant results to the viewer. Therefore it’s very important to get your keywords correct, to optimise your video coming up in search results.
So, here are the top five ways that artists can use metadata to optimize their YouTube views:
1.Tags – For artists, the title of your videos is going to be pretty straightforward, your name or band’s name, and then the song. But with the tags you can be a bit more creative. YouTube gives you 120 characters to put as many keywords in as you can, and it’s important to fill all the space – the more words, the more chance the algorithm will pick your video up. The words you use should be a mix of common and specific words, for example if you’re in an indie band, common words would be ‘music’, ‘indie’ and ‘band’. The more specific words would be along the lines of any sub-genres you have, e.g. ‘electro’ if you are an indie-electro band, and instruments like ‘guitar’ and ‘synth’. It’s also a good idea for your first tags to be the words in the title of the video, in order, for even better optimisation.
2. Description and thumbnails – It’s one thing getting your video to come up as a result in a search, but you need people to actually click on it. When the results are returned, only the thumbnail picture and the first two sentences of the description are shown, so having a good opening and a clear, interesting thumbnail picture is a must for encouraging people to see your video. Remember all those keywords you put in your tags? They should all be in your description too. Ryan Nugent talked about having an SEO (search engine optimisation) tag line of two sentences in your description that you could put on all your videos, meaning greater chance of one, or all, of them being picked up. In the rest of the description it’s a must to have links to your social media sites and where to buy your music, as people are more likely to click on a link than source it out themselves.
3. Annotations – It’s important that your videos have a ‘call to action‘. It’s been proven that when you ask, people are so much more likely to subscribe to or favourite your YouTube channel, or leave comments. The best way of doing this is through annotations – the pop-ups of text that can appear on your video. Encouraging people to comment, favourite and subscribe all goes towards improving your ranking in the algorithm, meaning you are more likely to come up in a search. Don’t have too many though, as it will annoy people if there are constantly pop-ups appearing when they’re trying to watch a video. Have them towards the end as the video is tailing out – as it will be the last thing people see and it’s not as distracting, they are more likely to act on it.4. Video response – So one of your videos has got loads of views – amazing! But your other videos are feeling left out, they’re just as good, so why haven’t they got as much attention? An easy way to get your other videos views and make them a bit happier is to post them as a response to another video in the comments section. Hopefully you’ve got lots of subscribers by using your annotations, and lots of people commenting, so when they go to your channel they will see your other video and take a look.
5. Keyword suggestion and updating – If you’re feeling a bit stuck and your worrying about the best keywords to use, don’t panic. The YouTube Keyword Suggestion Tool can help you. It has loads of data about which the best keywords are, what words are the most popular and return the most results etc. However, don’t use a popular keyword that has no relevance to your video – if one of your tags is ‘Michael Jackson’ and your video has nothing to do with him, the algorithm can tell (it’s pretty clever, you see) – so it actually won’t help you in any way at all. Lastly, don’t forget to update your metadata. The words you entered don’t have to (and shouldn’t) stay the same ’til the end of time. Check how trends and keywords change, and adjust accordingly.
You can also check how all your YouTube content is doing by using their Insight tool. It has analytical data such as the demographic of your viewers, and which parts of the video they liked etc. It’s always useful to know your audience.
So there you have it. Five easy ways to get more people watching your music videos. Now go forth and apply our wisdom! We’d love to hear how things are going for you on YouTube, so leave us a comment below and let us know.