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Getting Your Video to Go Viral on Youtube

There’s a lot of competition for video views on YouTube, and it’s no wonder why, with more than 1 billion users viewing hundreds of thousands of videos every day. The best way to get these people viewing your videos is to get your video to go viral on YouTube. The most obvious starting points toward this goal are to create quality, useful, relevant videos. A great video, of any kind and on any subject, tells a story. Beyond that, there are a few other things you can do to give the odds of your video going viral an added edge.

Keep it Short

Attention spans aren’t getting any longer as on-demand video content gains in popularity. Hence, short videos get more views. According to “Dancing YouTube Sensation” Karen X. Cheng in Fast Company, just under 2 minutes is best.


SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it’s one of the most powerful ways you can help search engines like Google (which owns YouTube) to find your content, deem it valuable, and promote it to prospective viewers in search results.

The key to SEO is to identify a keyword or keyword phrase describing your content (or, as many video marketers do, research lucrative keyword phrases and create content around them) and then market your video using that keyword phrase and related ones. YouTube gives content creators extensive SEO opportunities in its Creator Studio. After uploading any video, you can–and should–do the following:

  • use the primary keyword phrase in your video title
  • use the primary keyword phrase several times throughout your description
  • insert the primary and secondary keyword phrases into the Tags field

At any time, you can also edit videos that you’ve already uploaded to YouTube to fit these criteria.

Provide Closed Captioning

Not only does providing closed captioning make your video accessible to people with hearing impairments, it also makes it viewable to people who have sound or speaker issues with their computer or mobile device. What’s more, if the audio in your video is poorly mixed, or if some of the voices in it speak with heavy accents, closed captioning will make sure your video’s full message still comes across. You can either do this yourself manually using YouTube’s built-in tools, or hire a captioning service to handle it for you.

Provide Subtitles

Subtitles make your video accessible and relevant to viewers who don’t speak your native language, whether they live in other countries or your own. Just like closed captioning companies exist to provide captioning for your videos in its native language, so too can you find subtitling services (sometimes from the same company) to translate your video into other languages and create subtitles for your video with those translations.

Given a quality video to start with, each of these tips will go a long way toward toward helping you get your video to go viral on YouTube. The best tip of all, however, is one that may sound obvious, yet so often goes ignored. You’d be amazed how many people are creating content on YouTube but not viewing the content others create–let alone liking, sharing, commenting on, or subscribing to it. This isn’t just a platitude on giving as you’d like to receive, either. Engaging on YouTube as a viewer has practical–sometimes viral–benefits for your videos as well.

As people get to know you, and discover you, based on the channels you subscribe to, the videos you share and like, and the comments you leave, they may become inclined to look up your profile and see if you have a channel with videos of your own. What’s more, simply populating more YouTube pages with your name through these engagements creates a direct link to your profile on each of these pages, which automatically improves the rankings, and therefore viral possibilities, of all your videos.

Written By

Dennis Hung is an entrepreneur and product analyst specializing in mobile technology and IoT. He’s spent most of his career consulting for businesses in North America.

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