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By pure search numbers, YouTube has become the second largest “search engine” in the world. Many still look at YouTube as a content delivering website, but it’s time that people start to think of it a little bit more like Google – a search engine.
One of the biggest myths that are still going around, and seemingly with no end to it, is that “content is king” on YouTube. You need look no further than jumping over to the YTTalk.com forums, the biggest unofficial YouTube forum on the net, to see this reiterated over and over again. It usually goes something like this: FrustratedYouTube’er: “No one is watching my videos! I try to upload frequently, and do good edits, nice commentary, but I’m just not getting any views!” “Seasoned” YouTube’er: “You just need to create great content! YouTube channels don’t grow quickly, just keep making amazing videos, and eventually you’ll build up a big fanbase, and all will be well!” That’s a little bit like telling a bakery: “You don’t need to advertise your bakery. You don’t even need a shop where people can find it! Just put your shop in the deepest corner of an unknown alley, and make great bread. Eventually, people will come.” But that’s just not how the internet works. Ok, granted, if you make amazing videos, and you continue to do so every few days, for several years, yes, eventually, at some unknown point in time, people will slowly start stumbling across your videos. But why waste so much time, when you can do it so much more efficiently?
One thing people need to understand, is this: YouTube doesn’t care about you. It really doesn’t. With days worth of video uploaded every single minute, there is enough content on YouTube to keep fresh content popping up pretty much no matter what they do. They aren’t out to make you a star – they’re out to make money. [pullquote]One thing people need to understand, is this: YouTube doesn’t care about you.[/pullquote] And, as frustrating as it is, their current strategy for making money isn’t promoting new talent, but rather vetting and grooming the big talent already present. And really, why should they take a chance on you? They have tens of thousands of channels, that are already subscribed by hundreds of thousands of people, and it’s pure logic that they would rather put their money on channels that have already proved to be successful, that waste it trying to promote people that may or may not continue to create great content. Uploading a great video to YouTube, and just leaving it like that, is like creating a painting and then hiding it under your bed. People just don’t know it’s there. How would they? You need to actually get viewers in front of your video for them to watch it, and like it, otherwise you might as well not have put it up there at all. Allow me to re-purpose an old saying: If a great video is put on YouTube, but no one watches it, does it exist?
Of course, you could take YouTube’s own solution to this: AdWords for video, and promote your video, by paying YouTube, to gain viewers and followers. But that’s expensive. Really expensive. Unless you’re a giant company, or you’re specifically promoting a video where you sell a product, using AdWords for Video will pretty quickly leave you very poor. To get around 2000 views to a video, with an extreme spread on keywords (meaning generally untargeted visitors), the lowest you could hope for is about 0.01$ per view. That’s still 20$ for 2000 views. Now imagine doing that every time you upload a video ((3 videos a week * 9 weeks)*20$) = 540$, for just promoting your videos for 2 months. And what do you get? A total of 54000 views. That’s less than what ONE video from SourceFed, who upload around 4 videos a day, get.
Of course, you could use a service like Virool – except that they are actually more expensive than YouTube’s adwords. Using the minimum price for views on Virool, those 54000 views above would have cost you 2160$, a whopping 4 times more than AdWords. Considering how much average YouTubers make, that’s just not feasible for most people. Last, you could get those fake views. You know what I’m talking about, those “buy 10000 views for 5 bucks!” type services. Sure, you could. But doing so, you run the high risk of getting not only your video removed, but also AdSense account permanently banned, and possibly the removal of your YouTube account. Don’t think that’s very likely? Just a few months ago, YouTube made those exact penalties to some of the biggest names in the music industry. Uploading a great video to YouTube, and just leaving it like that, is like creating a painting and then hiding it under your bed.
It’s weird that people already know this about websites, but neglect it with videos. When people make a new website, they don’t just automatically assume that people will magically start visiting it. They know they have to market it, promote it, make sure it shows up in the search results. So, when YouTube is the exact same, but just for videos, why do people ignore this already-known aspect? I assume it’s because, like I said in the beginning, people still think of YouTube as a website, and not a search engine. Really, what YouTube is, is a Search Engine that also just happens to host its own content. That’s exactly why I ended up making the Rankify YouTube SEO course! That’s why SEO is just as important for YouTube videos, as it is for any other website. Before you can start building a following, you need to actually get to your video in the first place. Now, SEO without great content is a waste of time, you may see short-term boosts, but they won’t be permanent. You’ll be fighting an uphill and losing battle. That said, great content without SEO is also a wasted effort, since no one is going to watch it in the first place. I suggest you start thinking about YouTube content as the cornerstone of your house: without the cornerstone, no matter what you build, it will eventually crumble – but if you just put up your cornerstone, and nothing else, that’s not going to magically make a house appear. Just like baking great bread won’t make you magically sell it, if no one knows you’re baking it. You can also read more about how to properly set up your YouTube account for SEO, with my free SEO guide here.
It’s time YouTube content creators start to think about YouTube as a different beast. Many are still stuck in their ways, and continue to use YouTube as it was 3, 4 or 5 years ago – but it’s not the same anymore. It is vastly different now, than it was back then, and for you to succeed on YouTube, you need to start changing along with YouTube. Competition is massive, and with the absolutely immense amount content being uploaded every single second, you need to not only stand out with your content, but also stand out in your marketing efforts. YouTube is a search engine. Start optimizing for it.