How’s it going? Our chicks are growing fast over here! They’ve already got feathers and everything.

Last week I talked about how I’m valuing my time with my family more than ever and how I am doing as much as I can to save myself and others time, so they can do more of the things they love.

This week, one of the strategists on my team, D’Laina, and I talk about some common SEO tactics that you’ve probably heard that are actually a waste of your time. I know this might ruffle some feathers for those of you with a background in SEO/marketing, but after 10+ years of experience and working closely with YouTube, we can tell you what’s been disproven straight from the horse’s mouth.

Here are some things that you may be wasting your time on.

  1. Keyword research. The truth is that YouTube systems don’t depend on keywords to determine what your video is about. Back in 2012, YouTube switched over to watch time being the main driver of how videos perform. They learned that people were misleading with their keywords and they didn’t know what to write there. What we recommend researching instead is topic research. Figure out what your target audience is searching for and what problem they’re trying to solve. You’re not just looking at keywords here but titles, thumbnails, comments/questions viewers are asking in other videos. Use that to create great videos your audience wants to see.
  2. Naming the video file with your keyword. There’s no robot to trick. Just make content people respond well to. That’s it.
  3. Adding your own closed captions. There’s nothing wrong with adding CC’s to be more inclusive to the disabled community, but a lot of people are doing this because they think the more they include their keywords (even in the captions), that it’ll make their videos perform better. That’s not the case. Do this because it serves your viewer better, not because you think it’ll make your video perform better.
  4. Adding channel keywords. If you didn’t already know, you can add keywords to your channel, rather than just on one video. There’s nothing wrong with adding those in, but it won’t make a huge difference on the performance of your videos either.
  5. Optimizing your video description and tags. Descriptions are great to share links or add any pertinent information your viewers may need to know. You don’t need to enter your keyword in here 10x though. YouTube has said they don’t really use this feature other than to determine common mispellings. Just write this in normal, conversation English. Don’t write this like you’re writing it for a robot.
  6. Trying to get more comments. There was a study done that showed that the videos with the highest views had the highest number of comments. The reason for that, though, is probably that these videos served the viewer the best, elicited an emotion, and prompted someone to comment. If comments were disabled on those videos, they still would perform well because it’s a good video. Comments don’t cause videos to perform better. This is just a correlation.
  7. Finding a perfect video length. Your video needs to be as long as it needs to be. If you are creating filler content to make it a 10 minute video, you’ll lose your audience. If it only takes you 5 minutes to get your point across, post that. This makes absolutely no difference to the performance of your videos. It’s less about how long your videos are and more about how well you can hold an audience’s attention. Once you can’t, end the video.
  8. Getting more subscribers. There’s nothing wrong with wanting more subscribers or that being a goal for you. However, the amount of subscribers you have doesn’t cause your videos to perform better. Our clients don’t take off because they have more subscribers. They take off (and get more subscribers) because they have videos that serve people well.
  9. Promoting your channel. We’re not saying don’t promote your channel. The thing we’re seeing from a lot of creators, though, is that they’re trying to prove to YouTube that their content is valuable or that there’s some hack or tweak they have to make to move the algorithm in their favor. While promoting your channel can be a good way to get started when you don’t have an audience yet, it won’t make a huge difference in bringing people over to your channel (unless you have an existing audience on another platform). Utilize the very large pool of existing users on YouTube’s platform and don’t worry so much about transferring people from other platforms to YouTube.
  10. Paying for ads to grow. Unless your video is a dedicated sales video that is pointing to a product or service, we wouldn’t recommend paying for ads to grow. We’ve never seen it work with the thousands of creators we’ve worked with and it’d be a much better use of your budget to use that money to collaborate with another creator or brand.
  11. Posting more. Consistency is definitely important, but not necessarily from an algorithm standpoint. Your audience may care about how often you post – because they’ll expect you to post it at a certain time, but YouTube doesn’t. It’s possible for people to post a lot of content that no one wants to see. It’s also possible for creators to post less frequently but the quality is SO good that a viewer will drop what they’re doing to watch. Be consistent, but prioritze quality. Most of our clients find that 1x a week is a good schedule for them to keep their quality up and stay consistent with uploading.

Remember, we’re not telling you NOT to do these things… we’re just telling you not to die over these hills.

At the end of the day, optimize for people. Not for robots.

The robots (algorithm) are only following the behavior of the people (viewers). So, serve your viewers well and you will win!

Thanks for reading.

Keep changing lives,


P.S. Feeling overwhelmed or like you’re not sure what to do after reading about all of the things you shouldn’t do? We’re opening up our next round of . In Video Labs, we’ll hold your hand and walk you through how to turn your views into income in 8 weeks! We’d love for you to join us. .

Creator Spotlight: TJ Hanes
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