YouTube, launched in 2005, the second most visited website in the world. It’s available in 100+ countries, features videos in 80 different languages, and its users watch over a billion hours of content daily.
Many businesses take advantage of the large number of users and daily viewership to advertise for their business. In fact, YouTube is the second most popular channel for businesses sharing video content.
However, despite the sheer amount of hours watched every day, it can be challenging to hold up on YouTube. Creators sometimes struggle to get their channel off the ground, resorting to paying for YouTube views to generate engagement. The platform’s algorithm has become better at detecting bots, and, as you can guess, fake engagement doesn’t do much in the way of meeting your business goals.
Although it will take time, it is possible to generate views (for free) and grow your channel on YouTube. In this post, we’ll go over how to get more views on YouTube and how to continue growing your channel after reaching your first 1000 views.
How To Get More Views on YouTube For Free
Getting views on YouTube takes time and effort. But, if done right, it pays off (Forbes estimates that you can make anywhere from $3-$5 per 1000 views). Below, we’ll go over a few ways to get more views on your YouTube account.
1. Be mindful of SEO and organic search results.
YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world, only topped by Google. To get more views on YouTube, follow the same SEO tactics you use to surface your content in organic Google search queries.
Since Google owns the platform, YouTube has similar algorithms for displaying the most relevant content. The video below goes into detail, but the tips that follow highlight the best steps you can take to obtain more views.
2. Use keyword-rich descriptions.
Your viewers initially see the first 100 characters of your video descriptions (example below), so you should aim to use keywords in snippets that provide the most relevant explanations to your viewers.
But using your keywords doesn’t mean an excuse to be dull. Get creative with your descriptions and aim to stand out. After all, the goal is to entice users to view your videos over your competitors.
Your first 100 characters should also entice users to click ‘Show more’ to learn more about what you have to say.
3. Use business-relevant tags.
YouTube’s algorithm determines 70% of what people watch on the platform. Using relevant tags for your business is key to surfacing your content in search results and obtaining more views.
Opt to use a combination of long-tail and short-tail keywords that truly relate to your video, listing the most important keywords first. Be mindful of keyword stuffing, as it is against YouTube policy and doesn’t help you generate more views.
4. Create unique, enticing titles.
Video titles are what people read first when browsing search results. So, aim to create compelling, unique video titles that clearly describe your video’s content and make people curious and interested in learning more. For SEO results, you can include your most relevant keyword in your video title.
Be mindful of clickbait, though, when creating your titles. It can be a valuable tool for getting users to click on your videos (see this article from a HubSpotter who was effectively clickbaited), but it can also backfire.
You don’t want to say your videos will be about one thing and have interested users find that you don’t touch on it at all. Ensure that your titles align with your content.
5. Use creative, relevant thumbnails.
Just as titles are the first exposure to your video content, thumbnails are the first images. Creating thumbnail previews that are exciting but relevant to your content is an excellent strategy for driving views. High-quality, engaging thumbnails can attract users in organic search results.
Your thumbnails can be screencaps from your videos or even text-based titles. Here’s an example of a thumbnail from popular YouTuber Marques Brownlee. He’s effectively created a thumbnail that depicts the content of the video: reactions to upcoming Apple product rumors.
6. Use closed captions and transcripts.
Subtitles and closed captions are another way to optimize your video SEO, as they highlight additional keywords and phrases for the algorithms to detect when indexing your videos.
Most importantly, closed captions and video transcripts make your YouTube account more accessible. If you solely rely on audio and visuals, you’re probably going to lose a large portion of your audience that’s unable to interact with your content in that form. When you create content that is accessible, all audiences can enjoy what you have to offer.
You should also opt for using closed captions instead of subtitles, as closed captions include dialogue and additional sound descriptions for actions like laughter or closing a door. Here are some resources that can help with understanding web accessibility and how to align your content with accessibility standards:
- Bureau of Internet Accessibility – Closed Captioning Guide
- Accessible Media Inc. YouTube Accessibility guide
- Google Accessibility Resource Database for Developers and Publishers
7. Encourage subscribers
While organic search results can be great, the algorithms won’t always surface your videos. Encouraging viewers to subscribe to your channel is another way to ensure that people can see your videos.
This means that when you post, your videos will show up in their subscriptions tab (shown below).
In addition to encouraging subscribers, ask users to turn on post notifications to get notified when you post a video.
Notifications can be a valuable tool for generating excitement. Users may feel they want to stop what they’re doing to watch your videos so they can actively participate in conversations about your content.
8. Repurpose your existing quality content.
Content repurposing is re-using existing content and presenting it in a new format to prolong its shelf life. Repurposing could mean creating a video from a high-performing how-to blog post (the bonus here is that YouTube users love how-to videos) or posting recording sessions from a popular podcast episode.
You’re repurposing helpful content and sharing it with a new audience in a format you know they enjoy.
9. Create a unique introductory hook for your videos.
It’s a unique tip, but it’s worth considering as many popular creators use this strategy.
Mr. Beast is a famous YouTube persona with almost 52 million subscribers. Each one of his videos begins with a clip of an exciting moment that doesn’t usually play out until at least halfway through the video.
Users must keep watching to see the moment unfold. Here’s an example: