The length of time that people watch your video is called Audience Retention—and YouTube has gone on record stating that retention is a very important factor when it comes to ranking.
They have said, “Your goal is to keep audience retention as close to 100% as you can (because this means viewers are watching all the way through your videos). And videos with consistently high audience retention and watch time have the potential to show up more frequently in Search and Suggested locations on YouTube.”
In other words, if your video keeps people glued to the screen, YouTube will rank your video higher in their search results.
After all, YouTube wants people to stay on their platform so that they’ll click on the ads, and if you help them do that, they’ll reward you for it.
So how do you create high-retention videos?
There are a few basic steps:
Start off your video with a summary. Lead with the topic. About 20% of the people who watch your video will leave in the first ten seconds. Often, this is because the video didn’t do a good job of letting the viewer know they were in the right place.
Jump right into the content. Ditch the long introductions get right to the heart of what your video is about and who it’s for.
Add open loops. This involved providing previews of what is coming up later in the video. This gets viewers excited about your content and encourages them to stick around.
Here’s how to extract the most SEO value from your video:
Say your target keyword:
You’ve probably already noticed that YouTube is now automatically transcribing your videos. So, by speaking your target keyword, naturally within the context of your video message, you’ll further optimize your content.
Your title should be at least five words long so that you can include your full keyword without “keyword-stuffing.” And like a blog post, you get a slight SEO boost by putting your keyword at the beginning of the title.
So, if you’re trying to rank for “Dog Grooming Tutorial” you’d want a title like “Dog Grooming Tutorial: How to Clip Your Poodle.”
Make your description at least 250 words and include your keyword in the first 25 words. Also, include that keyword 2 to 3 times in the description for maximum impact. This SEO-optimized description tells Google and YouTube what your video is about without being “spammy.”
They aren’t as important as they used to be, but they do help. Your first tag should be an exact match keyword.
Also, include a few variations on that keyword or phrase. Finally, expand by adding a few tags that cover other key topics covered in your video.
Targeted tags not only help you rank for your target keyword, but they also get you to show up more often as a related video in the sidebar area of YouTube.
And don’t be afraid to use the same tags your competitors use—it’s a marketing strategy that has worked for years!
If your video tags match another video someone is watching, your video has a good chance of showing up in the Suggested Video section.