Whether you’re posting clips of your stand-up, a web series, vlogs, or any other content, YouTube is a wonderful way for comedians to reach a new audience.
But how do you break through the clutter of the billions of videos available? Simple. You learn how the system works.
1) There are three places the YouTube search engine uses to recommend a video: the title, the description, and the tags.
2) The more of those three places in which a word or phrase appears, the more it is worth in the search algorithm. The title is worth the most, followed by the keywords and then the description.
3) The sooner a word or phrase appears in any of those places, the more it is worth. i.e. if the title is “American comedian in Paris”, the word “American” is weighted more heavily than the word “Paris”
4) You’ll want all of your videos to come up in the side bar when someone is watching one of them. The best way to do that is to have your name (or the name of your channel) in the title of every video. Even if it is just in parenthesis after the rest of the title.
5) An easy way to get every word in the title to appear in the description is to simply start the description with the title. Copy and paste the title and have it be your first line in the description. Then put in a line break and begin the rest of your description.
6) Your description can be 5,000 characters. Don’t be lazy! Write at least a 2-3 sentence description of your video, using various synonyms to the main keywords. Then if someone searches something similar to your title, your video may still come up.
7) Use your description to pump your social media. Have obvious links to subscribe to your videos, but also have nice, easy to find links to all of your various accounts.
8) You have 500 characters for your tags. Use them all.
9) What tags should you use? Aside from the main words/phrases in the title and description (and your first name, last name, and full name), use Google Trends to find out what related words people are searching. For example, I found out that people who search “heckler” often search “owned” – which is why I named my heckler series “Heckler Owned”. Google Trends can be customized to show just YouTube data (and you can also limit your search by country) so drill down as far as you’d like.
10) Get Tube Buddy, and get it now. One of the best purchases I’ve ever made, Tube Buddy will save you a ton of time. It also has amazing features like suggesting keywords, sorting keywords, etc.
11) Never engage in clickbait. You can use gripping language in the title, but promising something you don’t deliver is a BAD idea (it will lead to clicks, but not subscriptions – and your thumbs down ratio will rise quickly). I say things like “Heckler owned” but I don’t use all caps, I don’t use a bunch of exclamation points, and I never title it something that doesn’t actually happen. (Though I only own people figuratively. Literally owning someone is illegal).
12) YouTube rewards videos based on length and how new they are. Longer videos are more likely to come up in searches. Search “stand-up comedy” and take a look at what appears first. You’ll see most of them are full specials or new clips. The reason for this is that YouTube wants to increase total watch time – and they do so by pumping up long videos and giving new ones a chance to go viral.
13) Because of YouTube’s desire for watch time, playlists are treated like long videos. A successful playlist can really boost your channel. Playlists have descriptions just like videos do, and you can create lots of different playlists for your channel.
Those are the basics. Now that you know these tips, create something awesome. Because content will always be king. These tips will just help get people to watch.