Promote YouTube Videos Focus on Creating Great Content vs On Page SEO vs Off Page SEO & Link Building ... and 10 more

Edited by Jay, Maria Quinney

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YouTube has no doubt cemented itself as the largest video content site on the Internet. Since Google snatched it up back in November of 2006 for $1.65 Billion, it has grown to gargantuan proportions. Currently, YouTube boasts a user base of over one billion. With hundreds of millions of viewing hours each day and billions of views, YouTube is a fantastic way to get the word out about your business, brand, service, or interests.

In addition to the massive volume of viewing hours and views, YouTube has become known as the second search engine. Many people today are performing their search queries via YouTube's search engine instead of Google traditional search. This is a clear indication that people are increasingly preferring content in video form. Understanding how to efficiently promote and advertise YouTube videos is an important skill set for any creator, business owner, hobbyist, or video enthusiast.

Now that we know (you probably had a hunch...) that YouTube is a traffic giant, how do we go about promoting YouTube videos? The subject in itself can be a little overwhelming but if you follow through with even just a few of the promotional methods below, you'll be well on your way to increasing your reach and subscriber base.

It's important to remember that any online promotion takes consistency and testing. Not all methods work well in all niches or subject areas. Once you find a few promotional methods that work, become an expert at them. If you can only manage a few of the suggested methods below, that's perfectly fine. It's much better to maintain a consistent level of action over a few strategies than to fall short on attempting all or too many of them at once.

Method 1: Focus on Creating Great Content

This might seem obvious, and you may even question the validity of it being on this list, but without original quality content, users will not be subscribing or coming back in the future. So as much as this isn't a promotional method, it's still very important.

Don't worry if you're not a professional video editor/producer. There are a plethora of user-friendly applications available to help even the most novice of users produce professional level videos. It's important to render your videos in HD whenever possible. Pretty much every video creation application has the ability to render in HD quality.

The key is to provide value to your current and potential subscribers. Whether it's educational, emotional, or entertainment value, there has to be something in it for the user. This can be a laugh, cry, challenge, surprise, a learning experience, etc, it just has to provide some kind of value. People are more inclined to share something that "stuck" with them in some way or another.

Three Things to Consider Before Creating Videos

Know and understand your target audience

This is extremely important and should be the first thing addressed prior to writing a script or collecting footage or images.

Narrator or text alone

Depending on the style of your video, you may want to have someone voicing over the captions and text sections. This can help add a layer of personalization to your content that works wonders for user retention.

What your main objective is

Your video will flow much better if you keep your main objective in mind throughout the production phase. If you're trying to drive an action for example (get opt-in, or make a sale), having strong call-to-actions in your videos is necessary.

Free Easy-to-Use Tools for Video Production

There are many more programs available, below are three popular applications for editing and producing professional looking videos.

Method 2: On Page SEO

Besides creating quality content, the on-page SEO for your video is the next most important thing. Actually, it can be argued that the title, description, and tags are just as important as the video itself.


Titles that are short and to the point generally do well on YouTube. Ten or fewer words is ideal, and it should include your main keyword. Numbers can be very effective as well, use them when you have a list or set of steps in your video. If you can mention a benefit into your title, it will increase the likelihood of being clicked. If your video is about repairing something, a benefit that comes to mind is saving money for example. One last thing to remember when writing your title is to keep things simple. Don't use fancy jargon that only a small percentage of people understand. Humor that involves the video's subject matter, for example, might not be understood by someone new to your niche.


YouTube and Google both factor the description into their search algorithms. It's important to not skimp on the description in terms of pre-selling your content.

The entire description should be at least 150 words, should summarize your video, and naturally include your keywords. The first two lines of the description are visible when YouTube's search results populate, it's important to make them count. You want to grab people's attention and set yourself apart from your competition somehow. For example, mention something about your video that's different than everyone else.

At the bottom of the description, you should list any resources or tools used in the video. You can link your site or blog, as well as your social media accounts. If you really want to get the most out of your YouTube promotional methods, whichever they may be, mastering your descriptions is integral.


Tags are another important area of YouTube on-page SEO. Tags are used to help people find your content. YouTube allows up to 500 characters in their tag field, so use only the best.

There are typically three types of tags that should be added.

  • Specific tags; your main keywords and words that specifically describe your video. "gripping a skateboard"
  • Broad tags; single words that are related to the general topic or subject matter. "skateboard equipment" or "skateboard tools"
  • Generic tags; general words that help distinguish the type of video. "diy" or "tips"

When you upload your video, it's also crucial to use an eye-catching thumbnail. Something that's related to your content, but still, stands out above the crowd. Your thumbnail can make or break the popularity of your video. You can have the nicest, most professional looking video on YouTube, if the thumbnail doesn't pull clicks, nobody will ever watch it. Always upload a quality, eye-appealing thumbnail with ALL your YouTube videos.

Method 3: Off Page SEO & Link Building

Although the world of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an ever evolving and changing thing, quality backlinks still play a huge role in ranking potential. That being said, if your video ends up on the first page of Google for a search term that has some decent volume, you're going to end up with a nice flow of daily organic traffic. More traffic to your videos or channel means more subscribers, and of course more views. Getting a link back to your video on authority sites within your subject area or niche will go a long way in the eyes of Google's algorithms.

It's important to remember that not all backlinks are created equal, or even have the same value in terms of ranking. For example, your exact keyword match anchor text (the text for your link) percentage should be 1% or lower. What that means is, of all the backlinks you have indexed in Google, only 1% of them should have the exact phrasing for your main keyword. In most cases (but not all) this will be somewhere in the title of your YouTube video.

Method 4: Social Media

Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are superb for promoting YouTube content. Countless people spend hours upon hours a day browsing their favorite social media sites. In 2014, 1.2 billion users were logging into Facebook every week on their mobile devices. Pretty much anytime a video goes viral, it's due to being shared around on one of the major social media sites.

Facebook and twitter allow you to post links to videos directly in posts and comments. This is very powerful because there is a massive amount of traffic on any of the main social media sites at any given time of the day. If you're creating the types of videos that have share potential, Facebook and Twitter are great places to post. With Facebook, you can also join groups related to your niche or subject area. This is nice because you'll be sharing your YouTube content with people interested in your niche.

Instagram is a little different in that, you can only leave an outbound link in your profile. Because Instagram is all photos, you can take still shots from specific parts throughout your videos, and post them as images. This is just one simple suggestion, the idea is to get creative and test different things.

If you only have time for a few promotional methods, social media should be one of them, regardless of the niche you're in.

Method 5: Your Own Website or Blog

If you're serious about promoting your YouTube content, and you don't have a website or blog online to complement your channel, you're leaving subscribers, views, and traffic in general on the table. This also applies to those who have sites and blogs but don't utilize YouTube to increase their overall authority and popularity.

Keeping up with content on your site or blog is incredibly important. It can be as simple as writing up a blog post about a particular video you just uploaded, and embedding it on your site. A professional looking site that supports the content on your YouTube channel, as well as being updated regularly, will maximize it's potential in both Google's main search engine, and YouTube's search engine.

A great way to obtain feedback on your content is via the comments section on your blog or site. You can interact with the people watching and reading your content. This is a great way to engage your audience and to take cues on what's working and what needs improvement.

Method 6: Related Forums

Internet discussion forums are an excellent way to promote video content. There is a forum (many times multiple) for pretty much anything and everything. Wherever there is a high interest in a topic or subject matter, there is a healthy forum with a vast list of users.

The key to successfully promoting YouTube content on forums comes down again to value. You cannot just create an account, and start spamming your links all over every thread or post. Instead, you need to interact and join in the on the discussions. If it's on a topic that you're passionate and or knowledgeable about, you should have no problem adding something useful to existing threads, or creating your own to help add value to the community.

Once you have a few posts and have contributed to the forum for some time, you can add a link to your YouTube video/channel in your forum profile signature. If you join forums related to the type of content you offer in your YouTube videos, linking to your channel or blog from your signature is completely acceptable. Please be sure to read over the forum's rules before joining to ensure they allow outbound profile links.

Method 7: Paid Advertising

Using advertising services such as Google Adwords or Bing Ads is another effective way to promote YouTube videos. This method is typically geared towards business owners and requires a budget to do successfully. Buying ad space can do wonders for branding or getting the word out about your YouTube channel, but it needs to be handled with care and precision.

If you're just starting out it's important to keep your daily spending budgets relatively low. The idea is to test, split test, and then test again until you find a winning combination of ad copy and targeting. The objective when buying traffic is to get the most exposure for the lowest amount of $ spent. The term ROI, or return on investment, is used frequently in advertising and represents the how much you gain (views and subscribers) for how much money you spent on the campaign. The higher the ROI, the better.

Method 8: Guest Posting

Guest posting is a wonderful way to not only get eyes on your video channel but also to get traffic to your blog or website. In most instances, you'll be allowed to leave a link or two somewhere in your post.

The best and easiest way to go about getting guest posting opportunities is to simply contact site owners in your niche or subject area. Search for keywords about the type of content you're offering and create a list of sites to reach out to. Remember that when you get a chance to guest post, be sure to provide the very best content you can, under delivering will greatly reduce your chances of posting there again. A good tip to remember is to contact sites that get good amounts of traffic.

Method 9: Posting Comments

Leaving quality comments on high traffic articles or posts is another excellent way to get traffic to your YouTube content. Almost everyone scrolls through the comment sections on a popular post and if your link sticks, it will continue to get traffic while the site is online.

The key to commenting comes down again, to value and quality. Only leave valuable comments that either ask a good follow-up question or add to the discussion. Not all site admins will allow outgoing links, but to check, simply scroll through the comments to see if anyone else has left a link. Take notice of the date of any comments with outgoing links, if it's three days or more days old, chances are it made it through moderation. Remember that the better the comment, the better chances you have of your link sticking.

Method 10: Paid Video Promotion Service

This option might be better suited for someone running a company or business, with a budget for advertising and marketing. There are quite a few professional services available to help people and businesses promote their YouTube content. Be careful when using a service like this, do due diligence before spending money on a promotional company. For example, places that offer to increase views can sometimes do more damage than good. Always seek out unbiased reviews, and trust your gut when exploring your options.

Method 11: Press Release

A press release is a great way for a business or company to announce something important to the media. On the internet, press releases get syndicated and displayed on multiple sites across multiple networks. If you run a business and use YouTube to help promote it, a quality, well written press release can go a long way in exposing your brand and objective. there are several professional press release outlets online, both free and paid.

Method 12: Subscriber List

A list of active subscribers is a very powerful asset to have. This ties in with owning your own website or blog and is an awesome way to promote anything, including YouTube videos. Building a list of subscribers is something that takes time, but as it grows, so does your reach. If you run a website or blog, you should really consider adding an opt-in page somewhere to capture emails. It doesn't really matter what niche your site is in, there is always a way to provide a newsletter and or notifications to your subscribers about new content you've posted. If there is any commercial intent with your YouTube content, building a list is something you should seriously look into.

Method 13: Udemy

Udemy is an online learning site that offers people a wide variety of educational courses. These courses are held by experts who can either charge a tuition fee or offer the materials for free. Udemy has grown in popularity since being founded in 2010 and is a great online resource for professionals looking to expand or upgrade their skills.

If you have experience or a strong understanding of a particular subject, you can create and offer a course on Udemy. You can use your videos as part of the course, in fact, most online courses today make use of video in their actual training. All your students will end up as subscribers and it's a great way to expose your YouTube content.

In Conclusion

Because only a tiny fraction of videos that get uploaded actually go viral, knowing how to promote your content yourself is an important skill set to acquire. As mentioned in the introduction of this guide, if you only have time to focus on a couple of the methods above, do it! If time is an issue, it's much better to start out with a few promotional strategies that you can put your full attention to. Jumping from method-to-method without allowing any time to assess your results will ultimately leave you with fewer views and more frustration. Once you find a promotional system that works for your content, scale it up and get your brand or ideas out there.

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


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Recent edits by: Jay

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