Most YouTube creators focus primarily on getting discovered on search when they’re starting out on YouTube.
You might have heard from other YouTube “experts” that you need to use certain keywords in your title and description to “rank” your video to the top in search.
Here’s why that doesn’t work.
YouTube doesn’t work like Google does.
“Ranking” your video isn’t a thing.
Recommendations drive 70% of what we watch on the platform and the algorithm studies each individual user’s viewing habits. So, when I search “Disney Vlog”, I will have different videos that appear for me based off of my viewing habits than what you see.
This is actually really cool because it means YouTube is learning what content we like to watch, so it can push the best content for us in front of us.
When we see explosive growth happening on the platform, we see 90% of the traffic is coming from homepage and suggested… not search. So enough with the keywords. 😉
What we’re not saying is to not focus on discoverable videos because those are important to capture attention and bring in a new audience to your channel and that’s important for the growth of your channel! Search is a great tool to bring people in that are looking for a very specific value, but typically these viewers are not looking to stay long-term or they’ll skip ahead to the value they’re looking for.
With traffic that comes from the homepage, viewers may intend to spend a bit more time on YouTube. They may just want to kill some time and be more willing to discover new creators (like you!) We notice the retention on videos from homepage traffic is much longer than that from search. However, the home page does favor new content, so it’s more difficult to get older content there (unless someone watches several of your videos in a row).
With traffic that comes from the suggested bar, you get to reach an audience according to their current preferences AND people also are watching longer. Suggested videos can also tap into other traffic sources. And that’s why our vote is aiming to increase suggested traffic vs. search.
And the best way to do that is to create your content (including titles, thumbnails, and your description) for HUMANS, not robots.
(i.e. Instead of trying to stuff a keyword or phrase into a title a certain way, write an interesting title that someone would be tempted to click on. That will perform WAY better – because you’re crafting it for a human.)
Try it and watch what happens to your channel growth.
Hope this helps!
Keep changing lives,
P.S. I know all this talk of traffic sources and how to increase traffic in one area vs. another can get a little daunting. If you’re feeling lost, my team and I created a step-by-step method to walk you through some of these analytics and more. Check it out here.