How to Grow Your YouTube Subscribers Without Spending a Ton of Money

Let’s talk about how to grow your YouTube channel consistently. Keep in mind that YouTube is the number two search engine in the world.

YouTube second largest search engine

In 2017, I committed to doing more video. Our Growth Everywhere channel has been getting bigger.

Growth Everywhere downloads

We’ve started doing these Facebook Lives on a daily basis, so that’s basically one video every single day to Facebook and YouTube as well.

Growth Everywhere YouTube channel

We have one new episode of Marketing School going live every single day to the YouTube channel and then also one Growth Everywhere episode. Things are starting to pile up.

We’re getting more views all of a sudden and our subscriber base is growing. We’re adding 20-25 subscribers every day. And that’s just the beginning, because a lot of stuff that we’re publishing is being auto-published and we’re not optimized for TADs or for titles either. We can do a better job. The thumbnails are huge, too. We haven’t really had anyone optimize the thumbnails in Canva.

Learn More: A YouTube Video Marketing Guide to Increase Prospects in Your Funnel

5 Tips for Growing Your YouTube Channel

First and foremost: think in terms of playlists.

You should be doing playlists every week because playlists can increase watch time and watch time is one of the primary metrics for growing your YouTube subscriber list.

More watch time means they’re going to be serving more ads in general, which means they make more money.

You also want to make sure that you have the right tagging in place. You can use a tool like TubeBuddy to make sure that you have the right tags, and you can see how you’re ranking for each tag (these are the things that people are searching for). If you want to rank for content marketing, for example, that might be one of the tags you use and it’s going to show you how well you’re doing.


Learn More: The Complete Guide to YouTube SEO

Another thing you want to pay attention to is the thumbnail. You can use a tool like Canva to make sure that you have a good thumbnail because people click on good thumbnails (this is true for Facebook and YouTube).

Titles are also really, really important. If you don’t know how to write good titles, just Google Copyblogger’s How to Write Magnetic Headlines post. 

Getting a good number of clicks has everything to do with your thumbnail and your title.

If you can’t entice people to actually click, you’re not doing your job as a marketer or a creator.

Finally, you have to be consistent. I mentioned the fact that we’re doing one new video almost every single day and one new podcast episode every day plus one longer interview podcast every week. We’re aiming for this kind of obsessive consistency because we know it will pay off—more and more people are going to talk about what we’re doing.

If People Are Thanking You, You’re Doing It Right

What I really like looking at, especially when you’re first starting out, are the people who are Tweeting at you  or emailing you to say how helpful your content is. As long as people are saying that your content is really good and it’s helped them a lot, just keep going. Stay consistent.

You’ve heard me talk a couple times about how after the first year of Growth Everywhere I was only getting nine downloads per day. After the second year, I was getting maybe 50 downloads per day. After the third year, it went as high as 15,000 downloads in one day. It just takes a lot of time to get this machine going, but it’s absolutely worth it.

When I watched the Patriots come back to win when they were down 28 to 3, I kept thinking that this type of comeback is only possible with consistency. You’ve got to stay persistent to make it happen.

Related Content: 7 SEO Tools for Better YouTube Marketing

This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post:

The Complete Guide to YouTube SEO This post originally appeared on Single Grain, a growth marketing agency focused on scaling customer acquisition. Most Internet marketers focus on things like blogging, SEO, AdWords or Facebook ads to drive traffic to their site. But many of them completely forget about the second biggest search engine: YouTube. If you approach it the right way, you can reap the benefits of both video marketing and higher search engine rankings, which ultimately results in more awareness at the top of the funnel.

Facts about Video Marketing

Video is quickly emerging as one of the top mediums of choice for marketers, and with good reason—it’s easily digestible. Consider these facts:

Learn More: The Ultimate Guide to Video Marketing In this post, we’ll talk about how to optimize your YouTube videos to attract more prospects at the top of the funnel by improving your SEO rankings. There are two ways you can grow your YouTube SEO. The first is by improving your search rankings within YouTube itself, and the other is by getting your YouTube video to rank high in Google.

How to Grow your YouTube SEO

Keyword Research

Before you can start ranking your videos, you need to figure out which search terms you want to rank for. When searching for YouTube SEO keywords, make sure that you choose a search term that already has YouTube video results on the first page of Google. Complete Guide to YouTube SEO Some keywords, such as “Content Strategy” for example, don’t have YouTube videos that show up in the SERPs. Google provides video results for the following search terms:

By making sure that you choose a search term that actually results in YouTube videos showing up in the SERPs, you can work your way towards getting your video ranked in Google search and not just YouTube search. is a tool you can use to quickly generate YouTube-specific keyword ideas. You can search for any of the types of keywords that result in YouTube videos being displayed on the front page of Google to see what people are looking for. The Complete Guide to YouTube SEOIf you don’t want to pay for a monthly subscription, you can copy and paste the keywords into Google’s Keyword Planner to check your search volume. Your target keyword should get at least 300 searches per month to ensure that it gets a decent amount of searches within YouTube in addition to Google.

Free Bonus Download: Get ready to receive the perfect accompaniment to YouTube SEO with this detailed guide on YouTube video advertising! Click here to download it free.

Creating Your Video

Once you find the right keywords to rank for, the next step is actually creating your video. Because YouTube users come to this platform with the purpose of watching videos, production quality becomes a lot more important. You’ll need a few key elements when it comes to producing great YouTube videos:

Learn More: How to Craft a High Converting Explainer Video Storytelling Good storytelling is what’s missing from many online videos. Some businesses believe that their services or products are too “boring” for them to be able to tell interesting stories about them on video, but with a little creativity, you’ll always be able to create interesting content for a dry product or business. Check out this 1-minute video:

Remember when you were in school? You probably had a teacher who made even the most dull subject seem captivating. It just depends on how you tell the story. Editing Editing is one the the most frustrating, time-consuming parts of video production, but it’s also the most important because this is what really separates the quality videos from the terrible videos. The process of editing can (and should) happen before you even start filming. Once you’ve written your script, you should pare down all the superfluous content that isn’t directly related to the story you want to tell. And then after the video is shot, you’ll take an even more heartless approach (because that’s what it will feel like) to cutting everything out that isn’t necessary. Besides cutting footage out, this is also where you’ll really start to put the story together through pacing, points of view, etc. You can also hire a videographer to do most of the hard work for you. Ultimately, good production quality is about making your video interesting so that more users engage with it. You can’t get a bad video to rank in Google. Composition If you really want to showcase your awesome video creation skills, learn to storyboard your idea. Obviously, the more complex your idea, the more attention you will need to pay to composition (as opposed to just filming a guy standing there talking about his product—but of course, you wouldn’t make a boring video like that, would you?). Storyboarding is a way of visualizing your video before you shoot so as not to waste time and helps you communicate your story in the most compelling way you can. To storyboard like a pro, you need to understand composition, and to understand composition, you should be familiar with the rule of thirds: This “guideline proposes that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections.” When you follow these guidelines, it helps to create “more tension, energy and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject.” Just ask Spielberg. The Complete Guide to YouTube SEO

Understand YouTube Analytics

YouTube uses a few specific criteria to measure the quality of your video. This is the same criteria that’s used to rank your video. The main ones are:

Complete Guide to YouTube SEO

You can track this data on your YouTube analytics page. The Complete Guide to YouTube SEO

Free Bonus Download: Get ready to receive the perfect accompaniment to YouTube SEO with this detailed guide on YouTube video advertising! Click here to download it free.

Optimize Your Video for YouTube SEO

There are a few things to keep in mind when optimizing your YouTube video for the best possible SEO ranking.


Whenever you upload an image on your site, it’s usually good practice to include your focus keyword in the image tag. Similarly, when you upload your video on YouTube, you should use your keyword in the filename of the video.

Video title

According to Backlinko, the title of your video should be at least 5 words so that you can include your target keyword within a longer phrase. For example, this video called “Advanced SEO Strategy That Gets Results” targets the keywords “advanced SEO.” The Complete Guide to YouTube SEO


Writing good descriptions are the most important part of increasing your YouTube SEO. Read More: How To Write Blog Posts that Actually Convert Readers into Customers When you write blog posts for your site, Google can crawl through the post to gauge the content quality. But search engines can’t watch videos. That means they lean heavily on the description text to get a feel for what the video’s topic is, what it covers, and how in-depth it is. And the more that YouTube knows about your video and the keywords it covers, the better it can rank you for those keywords. Your video descriptions should be at least 200 words. Here’s an example of a 291-word description of an SEO video by Backlinko: The Complete Guide to YouTube SEO This helped the video rank to number one for keywords like “infographic seo strategy.” The Complete Guide to YouTube SEO Also, notice how the description above includes the link to the site at the very top. Placing your link at the top of your description helps maximize the number of clicks back to your site, which helps you get more visitors as well as grow your website SEO.


Including the right tags can also help your video rise in the rankings, although tags for YouTube videos tend to be less important than other factors like the description. When it comes to your tags, you should include a few keywords on what your video is about. These tags can help your video get discovered in YouTube’s side bar in the “related videos” section.

Encourage People to Share and Subscribe

Link building is still important when it comes to improving your Google rankings. Encouraging your YouTube video viewers to share your video with their friends shows Google that you’re producing something that people like. Check out this short video by marketing experts Neil Patel and Eric Siu, “Link Building for Better Google Ranking“:

YouTube also uses user experience signals to rank videos within the platform and weighs them heavily. So if people subscribe to your channel after viewing your video, then chances are that you produced some quality content. Having people “like” your videos is another metric that measures user experience, although that has less significance than number of “subscribes.”

Free Bonus Download: Get ready to receive the perfect accompaniment to YouTube SEO with this detailed guide on YouTube video advertising! Click here to download it free.

Create Keyword-rich Playlists

A great way to get more search traffic in YouTube is to group your videos into playlists. By building a keyword-rich playlist, you give YouTube a deeper level of understanding of your video. Once you have at least 10 videos on your channel, you should group them into playlists. As an example, check out how “FitnessBlender” grouped their videos: The Complete Guide to YouTube SEO Learn More: Greg Smith Reveals How Thinkific Uses YouTube to Organically Drive $3-4K a Month in Additional Revenue (podcast)

Promoting Your Video

The tactics for getting your video to rank high in search are pretty similar to the tactics you’d use for a blog post. Link building, connecting with the right people, and asking them to share your content, are all important. You can write blog posts on sites like Medium or answer questions on Quora, linking back to your video where appropriate. If you link to your video in response to a Quora question related to what you cover in your video, for example, you’ll be presenting your video in front of an audience that is already searching for an answer. Because you’re sharing your video with a targeted audience, it will help you get a higher retention rate on your videos and a higher subscription rate, which will help grow your rankings. You can also guest post on high-traffic sites in your niche and link back to your YouTube video within that post where appropriate. Links from high-authority sites in your field will let Google know that your video has quality content.


The biggest thing that’s different about how YouTube ranks their content compared to Google lies in the fact that search engines today can’t crawl and analyze the quality of video content. Instead, they rely on video descriptions and user engagement factors to see how well people respond to it. As the Internet gets more and more saturated with content, our ability to process everything decreases. Because of that, we respond to content that’s easily digestible, and video content is easier to digest than a long-form blog post. In fact, according to Cisco,  80% of Internet traffic will come from video by 2019. So getting your videos to rank high in both YouTube and Google is the best way to adapt to these changes. What will you add to your YouTube strategy to increase the ranking of your content? Check out the next post in this YouTube SEO series: 7 SEO Tools for Better YouTube Marketing

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