There are some simple ways that you can make your channel and content more discoverable on YouTube so that your audience can find your videos. Engaging content that your audience enjoys drives watch time and will help your videos show up in search results more often. Focus your energy on making your channel great to watch, share, and return to. Avoid spammy tricks that attempt to “game” or abuse our systems with misleading metadata. Instead, add descriptive titles and descriptions, design elements of your channel so that they appeal to more viewers, and utilize subscriber notifications to your advantage.
Learn simple ways to make your videos more discoverable on YouTube.
Make the most of your metadata
Metadata refers to information about the video. This includes the title, description, tags, category, thumbnail, subtitles and closed captions. The reason we have metadata is so that you can add additional contextual information to your videos to help them be discovered by the correct audience. Make sure your video’s metadata represents the content contained in your video; misleading metadata added in an attempt to game discovery algorithms will lead to the removal of your video and a strike against your account. Here are a few hints to help you add metadata correctly so that your video can be found in more search results:
- Be succinct with your video's metadata. You don't need to describe every possible topic, word, or idea; instead, if you only had a few words to tell a friend about your video, what would you say.
- Upload subtitles and closed captions for your videos. These files are indexed and broaden your audience to non-native language speakers and viewers who are deaf and hard of hearing.
- Add a translated description to your video for content that may appeal to viewers from multiple countries or who speak another language. Just keep it succinct and relevant.
- Follow the rules! You’ll want to avoid adding metadata that can be seen as misleading. For more specifics, check out this video from the Help center.
- Optimize watch time
- Learn more about search and discovery
- Spam, deceptive practices, and scams
- When do subscribers see my video?
See it in action
Indy Mogul offers concise metadataIndy Mogul’s channel trailer video description contains succinct yet descriptive metadata with key points about the channel and the opportunity to subscribe. (Video in English)
Improve video discovery
Aside from metadata, there are other things you can do to help optimize your videos and enhance their discoverability. Try out some of these creative tips:
- Observe how titles and descriptions appear in search results, suggested videos, What to Watch, etc. Shorter titles often work best because long titles can be cut off depending on available width. Good descriptions add context to the video when it appears in search results. Consider replacing links from the top of your description with relevant text that gives context for prospective viewers.
- Have an engaging thumbnail. Don't make it misleading, but remember that many times viewers make decisions at a glance, so take the time to give them a reason to watch your video instead of other results they see.
See it in action
A Model Recommends provides context and contactsRuth, from A Model Recommends, writes a brief letter to viewers in the video description with pertinent contact and channel information. (Video in English)
Help suggest videos and craft engaging subscriber notifications
Suggested videos introduce other great videos, playlists, and channels to the viewer. Similarly, What to Watch and My Subscriptions pages present updates from channels to which viewers have subscribed. What to Watch shows personalized notifications for each viewer based on their viewing preferences and past behavior. My Subscriptions displays the most recent activity from all channels that a viewer subscribed to. Take advantage of these strategies for increasing your visibility and viewership:
- Use playlists and annotations to program your viewers' behaviors. These can help influence what YouTube suggests in related videos for your viewers.
- If your content is grouped into seasons or episodes, use a consistent naming structure so YouTube’s systems can know which episode to suggest next.
- Be an active uploader, commenter, and curator. Your subscribers can be notified in the What to Watch and My Subscriptions sections when you add videos (even other creators' videos) to your playlists, when you "like" a video, and when you comment on videos. These notifications can help keep your audience coming back for more.
- Consider how often you upload. If you upload multiple times a day then your subscribers may feel "spammed" by your channel, so take advantage of the "Notify subscribers" option in the video editing page to avoid too-frequent upload notifications if you fall into this category.
- Share your videos on linked social platforms so you reach off-site audience members, who can then continue watching videos from links in your end cards and annotations, playlists, or our algorithmic suggestions.
See it in action
A big event, or what many call a tent-pole event, is an event that has broad appeal to your audience. Examples of big events can be holidays, large cultural events (like award shows or sporting matches), rallies around social causes, or even trending topics in popular media. Television networks and popular YouTube channels have even had success creating their own big events like Discovery Network’s Shark Week, or PewDiePie’s Charity Water campaign.
Aligning video content around big events allows you to build up your fan base and enhance the discoverability of your channel. For instance, a cooking channel may be able to reach more people by creating videos specifically around food-themed holidays.
Creating videos around a tent-pole event takes planning and promotion. The name you choose for your event can be critical to its success. Be sure to choose a memorable name that distinguishes it from other similar videos on YouTube so that viewers can easily associate it with your channel. Remember, other channels will most likely release content that addresses the same tent-pole event as you, so make your video stand out!
What keywords could you add to improve the discoverability of your metadata?Try it now
Check out the traffic sources report in YouTube Analytics and click the YouTube search link to see a list of what terms people search for to find your content.
How much of an impact does changing your metadata have on older videos?Try it now
In the Views report from YouTube Analytics, click on the Comparison feature to evaluate views and watch time performance before and after you update your metadata.