YouTube keeps its rankings playbook off the record. The platform gives us some hints on what makes some videos rank higher than others, but it’s usually up to experts like Fresh Ink Marketing to crack the code with research and testing. We’ve found that a major factor in obtaining a high video view-count is in how you upload videos to YouTube.
You can jump start your video’s success by uploading the video in three stages:
At each of these stages, you’ll need to optimize your video and share it accordingly so it’ll be ready for an official public release. Doing this effectively will signal to YouTube that your video is engaging and should be ranked high in search results.
Here’s how to upload your videos in three stages for maximum views:
Always start here. In fact, we recommend that you select private as the default upload setting. When you upload your video as private, no one can view it unless they’re logged into your account. And having your video listed as private means YouTube hasn’t started ranking your video. Their algorithm isn’t studying your engagement rates or view times in order to determine how engaging the video is. You can stay here as long as you like without a penalty.
In this stage, you’ll do most of your prep work. You’ll make sure your video description is keyword rich, and your end screens are engaging. Every little detail is addressed.
Tip: Be sure to optimize your metadata! This means you need to name and describe your videos and photos before uploading them to YouTube. For example, change your image’s name from “image 001” to “How-to-maximize-your-viewcount-photo,” and type out a keyword rich description of the image under image details. When you upload the image or video to YouTube, the description and file name will help improve your rankings.
Testing with Unlisted
You’ll have 48 hours to optimize and share your video in this stage before YouTube starts judging your video according to its engagements. Consider this as your soft opening—you need to create a stir within your community before going public.
When your video is unlisted, sharing and promoting is crucial. Send out email blasts featuring your new video, post it all over your social media outlets, and get your network to engage, engage, engage. High engagements at this point shows YouTube the energy and interest around your video, signaling to the platform that your video should be promoted.
Tip: Don’t start the clock early. You should wait the full 48 hours before releasing your video public.
This is your video’s grand debut, so you must continue the engagement momentum you’ve built during the unlisted stage. Push your video out again through all social media channels, pin your video to the top of your Facebook page, and set it as your featured video on your YouTube page. Do everything to make sure your video gets as much visibility possible within that first day of its release.
Tip: Reach out to your favorite industry bloggers to see if they can embed your video on their latest post.
From the moment you go public, YouTube will begin ranking your video and tracking how audiences engage with it. Make sure your video is ready by optimizing it behind the scenes, building its popularity through your network, and pushing it out to the public. This will maximize your views.