7 Ways to Create More Engaging Videos That Rank Higher in YouTube

What you need to know when it comes to creating videos people can find and will want to watch.

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By James Wedmore


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Getting someone's attention is different than holding his or her attention. That's the logic behind a big shift that's under way with YouTube's ranking system.

Videos that keep viewers watching longer will be given higher ranking over those that capture clicks. Not only should this motivate contributors to create high-quality content but, according to Eric Meyerson, YouTube's head of content partner marketing, it's in alignment with YouTube's goal to become the "most important media in people's lives."

So how does a video marketer or aspiring YouTube star extend his or her average minutes watched metric? Here are seven ways to create stronger engagement and gain higher ranking within YouTube's evolving algorithm:

1. Don't waste time trying to beat the system.
Don't bother trying to figure out a way to bypass the algorithm and gain higher ranking. The moment you think you have things figured out, they will change.

Focus your time on keyword research for video titles and continuing to produce videos on a consistent schedule. Consistently producing content that's congruent with your market's needs will ideally generate the results you're after.

Related: How Keyword Research Can Improve Your SEO

2. Know your audience.
You should be able to describe your audience with detail. How old are they? What are their hobbies? What are the trigger words that will capture their attention? What benefits are they in search of?

All of this is simple, but tends to be overlooked. Don't assume you know what your market wants and needs. Research it.

3. Be clear and give a reason to stick around.
Make sure viewers know in the first five to 10 seconds exactly why they should keep watching. Tell them, and show them the benefits they'll get from watching your video.

4. Plan ahead pre-production.
Quality videos don't happen by accident. They're created with pre-production planning. The following are a must:

  • Shot list (list all the different shots you need)
  • Story board (draw out a simple drawing of any complex shots or transitions)
  • Prop list per scene
  • B-roll (additional footage that will make your story come to life when it comes time to edit)

5. Have energy.
People who demonstrate passion and energy on camera are more likely to hold a viewer's attention than being monotone and dull. Just watch any stand-up comedian and see how his or her energy affects an audience.

Try speaking a bit louder than normal and be a littler more animated with your body language. It will feel strange in front of the camera, but can create a more engaging video.

6. Take risks.
Once you have a handle on who your audience is, trust your gut and take a calculated risk. There's a lot of untested assumptions in every niche so don't be afraid to put common beliefs to the test. It can demonstrate that you think unconventionally, and can help you discover a new way of doing things.

7. Pay attention to headlines and descriptions.
You may already be creating engaging videos but simply lack the keywords people are searching for in your headline and tags. Use Google's keyword tool to help determine if your word selection is popular. Look for at least 10,000 global monthly searches with "low competition."

What tips can you share for creating engaging YouTube videos? Let us know in the comments below.

James Wedmore

New York City-based James Wedmore is the author of The YouTube Marketing Book (Level 5 Publishing, 2012) and founder of Video Traffic Academy, a community of video marketers.

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