Advanced YouTube Video Ranking & Strategies For Musicians
So, you want to dominate YouTube rankings.
Be forewarned: This will take work. And if you’re timid at heart, or shy, or lazy, or nervous about getting the word out about your videos, these methods aren’t for you.
But if you want to hedge your bets on video marketing – and I think this is a promising medium – then you’ll like what I’m going to be sharing with you.
Per HubSpot, mobile video consumption is increasing by 100% every year, and one-third of all online activity is spent watching video! This is way more time than people spend reading articles, and video consumption is just going to keep going up for the foreseeable future.
Are you ready to get started? Here we go!
P.S. Use what you learn here in conjunction with this guide for best results.
But first, if it's your aim to do music professionally, you'll want to check out our free ebook while it's still available:
Free eBook: Discover how real independent musicians like you are making $4,077 - $22,573+ monthly via Youtube, let me know where to send the details:
Get As Many Views On Your Videos As Early As Possible
It sounds simple, but it isn’t.
The thing about YouTube is that they’re moving towards an algorithm-based system. That’s right, it’s just like when Facebook started cutting off your organic reach. So, moving forward, if your video doesn’t gain some immediate traction, it may just sit there collecting dust for a long time, or at least until another one of your videos takes off and people start checking out your other uploads.
Good video takes time to produce. So, it’s sad when I see musicians put all this time and effort into beautiful videos that no one even sees.
I have a friend whose videos could be seeing way more traction if he just put better keywords in his titles. He’s not a household name, but he’s performed all over the place, and he knows his niche, so I know for a fact he could be doing better.
But I’m going to assume you know all the basics about optimizing your channel. So, if you haven’t done your homework in that regard, do it now.
You can cry about YouTube’s algorithm if you want. But I would suggest leveraging your following to get as many views on your videos as possible. It’s getting harder to reach thousands of people let alone tens of thousands of people on YouTube, but if you’re getting your content to the right people, you only need a few hundred views for it to make a difference. I’m serious.
So, here’s what to do when you’re ready to publish your video:
- Think strategically about when to publish. If you can’t promote it the moment it goes live, then hold off until you can.
- Tell all your fans about your new video. Use email, social media (i.e. Facebook Live, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.), and your own blog or website (embed it) to get the word out.
- Get people to watch, like, share, and comment on your video. Get them to subscribe to your channel and embed the video on their blogs or sites. The more interaction, the better. Reach out to everyone you know, and do it in a polite way. Find an angle and let them know what’s in it for them.
- Reach out to bloggers to get them talking about your video. We’ve covered how to do this elsewhere on the blog.
This is just the beginning. Keep reading, because there's more work for you to do.
Use vidIQ To Spy On Other People’s Videos
YouTube used to show you what tags people were using to get their videos ranked, and how many. They removed that feature a while back.
The good news is there’s a tool called vidIQ you can use to spy on other people’s videos. There’s a Chrome extension, so get that. There’s a free and paid version of the software, but you only need the free one for now.
By the way, I’ve done a bit of research on tags, and some videos use 30+. I used to be conservative with tag use myself, but not anymore. Don’t be shy with tag usage, though please do make them as relevant to your video as possible (no spamming – this never works out long-term!).
My mind was kind of blown when I found this app. There’s so much you can learn about how popular videos are performing just by installing and using it.
In addition to tags, you can also see:
- The video’s SEO score.
- How many links are pointing to the video.
- How many times the video has been embedded.
- How much money the channel is earning (estimated).
- Average daily subscribers.
- And more.
Not sure what to do with this information? Let me tell you…
One thing you can do is incorporate popular and relevant tags in your videos. This in itself might not do much, but it can’t hurt. Find videos in your niche that are getting a good number of views, and take inspiration from them (i.e. don’t just rip all their tags – this is bound to be ineffective).
But here’s the best part. Since you can see who is embedding and linking to these videos (I think you can only see the top 10 with the free version, but that’s okay), you now have a list of people to hit up. Maybe you can get a link or an embed from them too.
Look, nothing in life is guaranteed. But you won’t know unless you ask. So, reach out to these people. Say something like:
Hey, I noticed you shared so-and-so’s video on Twitter (or blog, or website, or wherever they shared it). I just put together a similar video (key point), and would love to hear your thoughts on it. Maybe you could share it too, but if it’s not for you, don’t worry about it. Look forward to hearing from you.
That’s all you need to say (remember to customize your message). If you want to take it a step further, you could tell them you’ll give them a shout-out in your next video, or link to their Twitter profile (or blog, or website, or… you get the idea).
Now, please promise me you’ll do your research. A top sharer could potentially be the person who created the video in the first place. Do you really think they’ll be interested in sharing your content? Maybe in some cases, but if they see you as a direct competitor, probably not.
Leverage YouTube Ads To Get More Views
Do you know who your target audience is?
I sure hope so, because your ad performance is going to suck if you don’t. You need to be using the right keywords and targeting for best results.
About six months ago, I helped a local band run a YouTube ad that helped them get nearly 3,000 views on a single video (on a small budget). It’s not an amazing video by any means. It’s under 30 seconds, it promotes a single performance date, it’s made up of short clips of the individual band members performing, and it also contains all the show details at the end. But that’s it.
This video continues to get views organically without any effort. Huh? Remember what I said earlier about getting lots of views early on? Now you understand the power of that.
This band only has five videos on their channel, and the next highest performing video (essentially a music video) is at 1,304 views. So, driving views to one video has helped them get more views on their other videos too.
But like I said, sometimes a few hundred highly targeted viewers are all you need for it to have an impact.
Google AdWords used to suck. I’m sorry, I just never liked their interface. You could tell it was built by engineers. But it's gotten better and easier to use (still not perfect), and you can even run YouTube ads right from their interface now. I’ve done this a couple times, and the results have typically been good to great.
There are a lot of marketers out there using YouTube ads, and I don’t watch them because they just annoy me. But guess what? It doesn’t matter that I don’t like what they’re doing, because they’re generating huge business from it! If they keep promoting, it means it’s working. Follow their example.
So, promise me you’ll start experimenting with YouTube ads immediately. Use a small budget and try different targeting strategies, different videos, and so on. If an increased view count is the only benefit you see, at least it will help your video get more exposure thanks to YouTube’s algorithm.
Buy Up Old Domains & Point Them To Your Website Or YouTube Channel
If you’ve set up a website before, then you know that domain names are cheap.
The thing is, people let go of domain names every single day, even if they have huge traffic coming to them. Don’t ask me why.
You can use a tool like Expired Domains to buy up domains and point them to your videos. After all, when you buy a domain, you don’t have to build a website on it. You can use it as a domain forward.
Let’s say I was in a metal band. So, I’m just going to put the keyword “metal” into Expired Domains.
Now, some of the domains you’ll see are going to be expensive. Others aren’t going to apply, or just aren’t relevant. It’s probably best not to bother with these. Fortunately, there are still plenty you should be able to get for a reasonable price.
The other thing to look at is the SG score, which tells you how many global monthly searches this domain is getting. By the way, no results are guaranteed, so don’t misunderstand what I’m saying here – you’re not necessarily going to get this traffic coming to your site or channel just by pointing to your web properties. You may be able to capitalize on some of it, and that’s what we’re after. Obviously, the higher the global monthly searches, the better.
Some interesting opportunities I see here include:
- metalslug.com with 1.2 million monthly searches. It costs a little more than the average domain name, but not much.
- metal-gear.it with 201,000 monthly searches. This one also costs a bit more than the usual $9, but not much.
- heavimetal.com with 165,000 monthly searches. It costs about the same as metalslug.com
Starting to get the idea?
Now, in some cases, there are brand names (or former band/brand/business names) attached to these domains. As long as you’re using them as domain forwards, this shouldn’t be a problem. But don’t come back to me crying if you build a website on a domain like this and get a seize and desist letter. You’ve been warned.
Build Links To Your YouTube VIdeos
I’ve already given you a few ideas that should help you build links to your videos. Now I’m going to talk about a few “gray hat” tactics, but really, these could be considered white hat because it’s what many PR companies do. Either way, you need links to increase your rankings, and here's how you can get them.
Here’s a rapid-fire list of tactics you can use, but only if you’re serious about getting more views for your videos:
- Guest post on other relevant blogs. They may not let you link to content in the body of your post, but they usually let you link to anything in your author byline. Use that.
- Use press release services to drive links to your channel or videos. There are so many free ones you can use – Torial, Mi2N, Before It’s News, and so on. No, you might not get a ton of traffic from these. But links help your videos rank, so don’t forget that.
- Write an article for eZine articles. Or, write as many as you want. You can link to your channel or videos in the “resource box” section. This isn’t massively effective, but I tested it earlier this year, and it still works.
- Set up free blogs on Tumblr, Blogger, WordPress.com, Medium, and similar sites. Use your press release or blog post about your video on these sites. Don’t worry about duplicate content – that only applies to your own site. You can use the same article on as many different sites as you want (though always a good idea to attribute the original source). Again, this won’t be huge for you, but everything adds up.
Ready to get to work? I know I am.
No one said marketing would be easy. I’ve been learning about this stuff for six years, probably even longer, and I’m still learning new things all the time. And I’ve only been getting a hang of it in the last few months.
So, be patient. Make a checklist for yourself, and follow it. Keep building. Results will not be instantaneous, but if you put your head down and do the work, you’ll see amazing things happen.
P.S. Remember though, none of what you've learned will matter if you don't know how to get your music out there and earn from it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free ‘5 Steps To Profitable Youtube Music Career' ebook emailed directly to you!