As I work to improve the YouTube channel for WriterSanctuary, I need to address the next biggest problem. That is getting into Suggested Video columns for viewers who are not subscribed.
Unfortunately, this is far more difficult than what many “YouTube experts” claim. Especially when you have a channel that seemingly has such a narrow niche.
I think I have a valid method for improving the average view duration of videos. But, I won’t know for sure until I started getting other people to watch outside of my subscribers.
What is Suggested Video?
In the YouTube world, Suggested Video is a column that appears to a viewer with ideas about what to watch next. And if you’re videos are not being suggested, you need to hope for YouTube search or cross your fingers someone stumbles across your content while browsing.
Essentially, being suggested is one of the quickest ways to grow an audience.
From what I gather, this relies on pleasing the YouTube algorithm…which is far more fickle that Google search, if you can believe that.
What Can I Do to Get Into Suggested Video?
Here is where it gets fun. It’s time to do some research, both in YouTube as well as Google. And if there is one thing I am exceptionally good at, it’s research.
There was a reason why so many clients and teams came to me in Textbroker.
Alrighty, let’s get on with this train wreck. The next few sections are elements I’ve come across to possibly try. And there are a lot of videos and blog posts to go over.
The hardest part is finding good videos within the past year that are still relevant. YouTube has undergone a lot of changes recently. This means some coverage may be out of date.
So, I’ll set the filter in YouTube to show videos from the past 12 months.
Work on Description Links
Using links in the video description works a bit like link juice for Google. The more you connect with authoritative material that accentuates your own, the more it appears you’re interested in quality content.
I’ve actually seen this work first-hand while working with client blogs in Google Search. You’d be amazed by what a good statistic link can do to improve impressions of your blog content.
This may work for both video content and actual channels.
Include External Videos within Playlists
Another element to add is creating playlists for certain types of content and then adding other creator videos to that playlist. I suppose this is why I’m seeing some of my videos getting played from playlists I’ve never created.
Someone else has added mine to their own.
But, it takes more than just setting up the playlist. I’ll need to essentially advertise it with links, cards, and mentioning it in a video. Anything to get people to check it out or click.
Also, make sure I’m filling out the descriptions for those playlists. They often appear in search…duh. I can’t believe that I haven’t bothered to do this before now.
Pinning Links in Comments
Another method to help with making a suggested video and associate content with another in YouTube is to pin links to those videos within the comment section. It is more widely seen than simply adding links in the video description.
I haven’t been doing this a lot lately as the videos are scheduled ahead of time. And I’m unable to add a comment until the video goes live.
So, this means I’ll need to make a conscious effort to go back to past videos and add those links.
Yay…more stuff to remember. Maybe I can just add it as a task in Asana.
Collaborations Work Well
Collaborating can get your videos shared between audiences. And I’ve been offered to do this a couple of times, so far. Nothing has come of them yet, so I don’t know how serious these other creators are.
Maybe I need to start working on getting these going. Not only do they sound fun, but they can potentially lead to more growth.
Just make sure the collaborations are between channels that are in the same niche.
The click-through rate impacts how often a suggested video is delivered. According to YouTube itself, anything between 2 and 10% is ideal. My CTR generally sits at around the 5% mark.
Titles and thumbnails are what play the biggest role in CTR improvements. Maybe I should consider trying something different for mine to increase CTR.
Making Sure Videos are Watched
Once someone clicks on a video, make sure they spend some time absorbing the content. I think I addressed quite a bit of this while working on improving average view duration.
Unfortunately, the new layout of videos just take so long to make for having a half of the total viewable timespan. In other words, the videos are half the length they used to be.
If I can come up with a good flow to cut the creation time down a bit, that would be great.
Part of what might be causing the problem is how short the newer videos are comparatively. So, if I want to have an easier time getting into a suggest video list, I need to make them longer…somehow.
Try to Get Along Side Relevant Videos
This will involve doing some research on other creators to see if I can accentuate the topic with a “extension” video.
Now, they are not necessarily my competition. But if I have information that can boost the information offered by the other creator, I could see an increase in views.
One method Dean from Backlinko explained was the “Skyscraper Technique” when trying to create a blog post. This is when you take someone else’s content and see what you can do to make it bigger and better.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure if this is going to work all that well for me considering my time is limited throughout any given day.
However, perhaps I can offer additional information alongside someone’s video that they forgot to cover or didn’t quite detail.
Optimizing Video Suggestions
Here are a few suggestions for optimizing videos for YouTube:
- Find valid and searchable terms, one or two for each video. (Perhaps long-tail for search intent)
- Write term for SEO – meaning in title as well as the description. (Which I already do as I turn the description into a mini-blog)
- Make sure tags center search term. (Which I already do while using vidIQ to determine value)
- Optimize for end screen links. (Connect videos in like-minded patterns to keep people watching)
- Take a look at all videos and find patterns for high CTR and as a suggested video. (This is going to be a pain in the ass since I have more than 200 videos at the moment)
- Make longer videos. (Yeah, because I have a lot of time for that)
- Analyze which external videos are sending traffic my way. (this will be in traffic source in YouTube analytics)
- Update video links regularly.
I already do a lot of these suggestions. But, perhaps there is something more I can do to improve each point.
Targeting Videos for Specific Viewers
Just like a blog post, videos need to be sent to a target audience. This means creating videos while keeping search intent in mind.
This goes along the lines of getting next to relevant videos and perhaps using the skyscraping technique.
At any rate, I need to create a viewer profile…much like how I do for clients as well as myself for blogs.
Use Google Trends
Google Trends can show what people are currently interested in over a range of time. Creating something on the downward slope can result in less views…because fewer people have an interest.
The best part is that you can set Google Trends to analyze search interest on YouTube.
And yes, freelance writing is a pretty poor topic to cover in the United States.
Is there really a way to create seasonal content from a perspective of freelance writing? I’m not really sure, but I might have to give it some thought.
Then again, I could also do WordPress tutorials for seasonal plugins. For example, show people how to add snow and Chirstmas effects to a blog starting in November?
Perhaps there’s a bit more I can do from a perspective of blogging when it comes to seasonal content.
After all, my channel is all about writing online in all forms….well, at least it is now.
The Most Import Factor to Get In as a Suggested Video
A lot of the above are elements I already implement. Though, I did get a few ideas about different things I could try. But I think the primary takeaway for me is to focus on better content.
Create videos people are looking for and what they might want to see alongside popular creators.
This is similar to search criteria in Google. And vidIQ will show a keyphrases competition score when searching in YouTube. But, if few people are actually looking for the content, you can’t expect a million views.
I need to be more selective with the topics I cover and try to answer questions people might have. This is why my Textbroker videos do so well compared to my other content.
Planning Out WordPress Performance Video
OK, let’s do a step by step of creating a video to boost WordPress performance. It’s going to be a list video with 9 easy ways anyone can improve the performance of WordPress.
First of all, “wordpress performance” only has 260 searches per month in YouTube according to Ubersuggest.
Gathering Tags and Ideas for Titles
According to vidIQ, there are actually quite a few high-value terms I can include.
So, the term WordPress performance isn’t necessarily the best term to use. It has a search volume of 1,203, but “WordPress Speed Optimization” has 48,039 searches with a better competition score.
To start with, I’m going to go through these 90 terms and copy the most relevant for my video. But, I’m only going after those with a score of 50 or better.
Images and B-roll
One element that is taking up a lot of time in these newer videos is collecting images and B-roll. While some are quick grabs from a stock photo site, a lot of what I do is unique.
So, I have to spend time taking screen shots, finding data to share, and recording certain aspects of setting up WordPress for performance.
This process has been taking anywhere from one to two hours depending on what I’m making a video about.
In this case, I’m also using Canva to create the numbered image separators for each section of the video. This alone takes nearly a half an hour.
In this most recent video, I’ve already spent just over two hours preparing, and I haven’t even recorded the video yet. This was all in B-roll and images.
I don’t know if I can keep up with this level of quality while maintaining everything else I do. I have a full-time job, after all.
Recording the Video
This time around, it took just under 20 minutes to record the raw footage. I made a ton of mistakes and almost forgot one of the points I wanted to make.
That’s perhaps my biggest failing…I am a far better writer than speaker.
Editing the Video
So, it took me nearly two hours to edit this video and I wound up saving around eight minutes worth of footage. This goes to show me that I need to find a better way to make the raw video.
I make so many mistakes during filming that it just takes so long to finish.
Once the video is uploaded and scheduled, I’ll take a look at its 7-day stats to see if I get any more suggest video views.
It’s still a work in progress.
It’s only been 24 hours since the last video uploaded. Using all of the tips and suggestions above from experts, it actually performed worse than nearly every one of my videos on the channel.
Perhaps I simply need to work on training the algorithm that my channel has more to do with writing than just Textbroker. But then again, my video about AdSense form two years ago is still getting views.
I would have thought for sure that I would have at least ranked in search. But, it’s really too early to really panic. It’s only been 24 hours.
14-Day Stats for Suggested Video Placement
So, this is perhaps one of the WORST performing videos I’ve ever made. What I don’t understand is why. After seven days, it flatlined.
The average view duration is only 50 seconds with a 10.7% average viewed rate.
I just can’t wrap my mind around why the video did so poorly. I thought it was probably one of my better videos. Full of information, no filler, b-rolls and images, background music…it had all of the hallmarks of a great video, according to experts.
I’m hoping it is just a matter of being slaughtered by the competition. But, that wouldn’t explain the low retention rate of those who did watch the video.
I suppose I’ll just keep trying the same methods on other videos. Perhaps it’s something to do with the background music or topic.
It’s getting really difficult not to take this personally.
Has this Been a Viable Effort?
Not yet. Even the videos that people hate on my channel gets more watch time. I don’t know what the hell happened. Even when I follow the best advice YouTube has to offer, I actually did worse!
This is not conducive to getting into the Suggested Video column.
I’ll keep trying with all the videos for May. But at the rate things are going, I’m not holding my breath.
Nick Nimmin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXp5Ni45NFY
Little Monster Media Co. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLLv0QJ5BaI